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Partner doing nothing with baby at all

(98 Posts)
greyandblack Sat 20-Feb-21 03:13:08

I’m starting to feel a bit resentful and that probably isn’t good.

DP is currently WFH. Yesterday I had a bad night with baby (10 weeks) and asked dp to have her at 7 so I could get an hour before he started work. In fairness to him he had her until 9.

He briefly held her (she wouldn’t be put down) in the morning while I unloaded the washing machine and folded some clothes. Then we went out at 1130, back at 430. DP finished work at 530, said hello to me and baby and had a quick chat, then had a zoom chat with his friends until 830. During this time baby started crying and I took her into the bedroom to rock her and her her to sleep for a bit. She did so and dp probably felt guilty as he came in but he never keeps his voice down and it woke her up. So I went back in the lounge.

He came out of his chat at 830. Gave her a bottle so I could express some milk, then I took her for her bath. Again for some inexplicable reason he came in while I was on the toilet (!) then went for his dinner. Got baby out of bath and she was unsettled and crying, so got her into bed. His only contribution all day has been to have her for those two hours in the morning.

I’m just fed up of having to ask for help as it makes me feel bad and incompetent. I don’t really understand why he isn’t offering to have her for a stretch in the night on Friday or Saturday when he doesn’t have to be up the next day. He’ll sleep until 10/11 tomorrow morning. But then sometimes it’s easier without him. Does anyone else find this?

He does help in other ways, he’s brilliant with his hands and can and has fixed up loads in my house (I haven’t sold it yet) and he’s generous and kind. But I do feel like he’s lazy with the baby and doesn’t do anything even approaching an equal amount.

OP’s posts: |
ivfbeenbusy Sat 20-Feb-21 03:47:41

Yup sounds totally normal for most fathers. I have newborn twins (sat up feeding them at the moment) and going through this at the moment with my DH and I feel really sad and disappointed to be honest about the lack of
Help (he's asleep in the spare room). These are IVF babies after several losses so very much longed for babies but at the moment I feel
Like a single mother.

I'm going to speak to him tomorrow about what I "need" which will include him sleeping in with us when he doesn't have work the next day. And also taking over one of the night feeds before he goes to bed in the evening (he gets up for work at 430am) so I'm going to drop a breastfeed so he can do a bottle feed so I can at least try and get more than 2 hours sleep at a time.

CupOfTeaAlonePlease Sat 20-Feb-21 04:04:13

You shouldn't have to ask.

You have every right to be disappointed in the lack of engagement and effort he's putting in vs what you are putting in.

Someone will be along to advise you to just walk out for a few hours and leave them to it, but I really recommend waiting until you've both had some sleep and sitting him down and saying you feel there isnt a balance in terms of sleep, relaxation, social time etc. he shouldn't be chatting on zoom while you're struggling with a baby you've had all day.

You're only 10 weeks in. It takes some people longer to really adjust to parenting a baby. I wouldn't give up on him yet but you are right to want and expect more. It just isn't fair and he's not being a partner.

I can't bloody stand it when men expect to maintain their career, sleep, social lives and hobbies completely as before while their partners have their health and well-being run into the ground to facilitate this.

alexdgr8 Sat 20-Feb-21 04:06:43

many men feel that babies are women's world of expertise.
he may feel like a child in comparison to you, re the baby.
so it may not be laziness, it may be a feeling of not being the lead officer in the baby dept, that you have the expertise and authority.
whether this is true or how you see it, is not the point.
it may not even be how he sees it, consciously.
yet that may be operating deep in his psyche.
try to get him on board as part of the team in project baby management.
don't complain. schedule a meeting, as if you are at work, with a new trainee. he may need encouragement, and specific tasks and instructions.
then have some discussions where you can each share problem areas, and ask for ideas how to tackle those.
involve him. don't alienate him with unspoken expectations.

crazycatlady7 Sat 20-Feb-21 04:10:38

It's hard as I think most men don't get it. I have to state to DH what I need. I'm up with DS 16 months- he's sorting us a drink. But I've been up over an hour he's been awake 15mins.

I do most of childcare. DH has Monday evenings for his social I have Saturday afternoon. He really struggles with his 2hrs soloing. But he's finding it easier. We have a lay in at the weekend and the other gets up with DS. But this took a year to get into place.

As a newborn DH would either take DS between feeds in evening or early morning so I could sleep. He's always done bath and story as that's their time together. But I had to stress this was important and a routine, this is my housework time. Neither of us laid in until we got to around a year old. Just tell your DP what you need to function as my DH needs telling not asking.

And it gets easier when they sleep longer.

Cocogreen Sat 20-Feb-21 04:14:21

If he’s not initiating it, just hand him the baby and tell him either you need a break or you want to do X and leave him to it.
I don’t think you need to sit him down for a chat - just give him responsibility.
If he’s on a zoom chat for 3 hours he could have held the baby for a while as he did it?

MustBeTheWine Sat 20-Feb-21 04:20:37

I think a lot of men are like this. My ex is a wonderful father to our DC but I had to ask him to hold the DC when I needed to eat, shower, do the dishes etc. I honestly don't think he was trying to be unhelpful but it did get frustrating at times always having to be the one to point out the obvious to him cause he just didn't see it. When we broke up he would and still does to this day call frequently to ask questions regarding the DC. I think you need to sit your DP down and have a conversation about how you're feeling cause he might not even realise you're feeling this way.

Magnificentmug12 Sat 20-Feb-21 04:45:23

Why are you asking for help, it isn’t help?

Does he ask you to help with the baby?

You need to lay some ground rules (that shoukd have been done before getting pregnant with a loser)

OldChinaJug Sat 20-Feb-21 05:14:35

A lot of men think that women are built with a an innate ability to parent and knowledge of what to do 🙄 I met a man once who said he and his wife nearly split up because he genuinely believed she would just know what to do and put his own lack of innate ability down to being a man (double 🙄 and then some).

He felt she was failing in something that other women were just able to do!

Anyway, aparently she sat him down and helped him join the dots about this... He ended up becoming a SAHD and was far better with her once she got to toddler stage.

Unfortunately, the whole 'women are nurturing and natural mothers' trope has a lot to answer for.

The bottom line is that babies are boring and not many men choose to do things they find boring because they don't see why they should.

LatteLover12 Sat 20-Feb-21 05:15:15

This is my situation at the minute too. My DP has taken to sleeping on the sofa every night leaving me to deal with our 5m old on my own all day and all night. I'm breastfeeding so I can't just hand the baby over.

DP honestly believes that he is literally, physically different to me in how much sleep he can 'manage' on. He thinks I am better at operating on less sleep. I've tried to explain that it's because I have to be awake for the baby but it goes in one ear and out the other.

I tried to initiate a conversation about how lonely I am but all I got was 'well you're on your phone a lot' which is probably true but that's because I'm on my own a lot too.

Tonight has been tricky. Baby woke up at about 3am and has only just gone back to sleep but I'm still awake. DP will be expecting to sleep (on the sofa) until at least 9am.

I keep telling myself that this stage doesn't last for long and how lucky I am at all the extra snuggles etc but it does irritate me that this was DP's longed for baby and I'm the one who has to deal with everything.

Highfalutinlootin Sat 20-Feb-21 05:25:47

This thread is depressing, all of you tolerating this sexist behavior like there's nothing you can do. Why do you put up with it? You can talk to your partner. You can force them to take care of the baby while you simply leave the house sometimes. You can leave your partner. You don't have to live like this.

blackcat86 Sat 20-Feb-21 05:44:04

I was you OP and here is my advice. Get angry and fast - how dare he disrespect you and treat you like his live in nanny. Let the emotion out in front of him. Shout,cry, scream whatever just don't accept this crap and let him continue to drift through life whilst you struggle. Be honest with those around you as to what is happening so that a) he doesn't rewrite the narrative as to what a fantastic dad and partner he thinks he is, b) you start getting support. Talk to friends and family. Have you got anyone who can come and stay to help you, to look after you, to do what you need to step up because this is about your partners pride, ego or image, its about helping you before you get physically or mentally unwell, c) it tells serious it is. I told DH.we were going to start couples counselling because I was reconsidering the marriage due to his behaviour. My final bit of advice is be really clear what you expect. If your bfibg then tell him that he needs to be fully responsible for xyz like cooking, cleaning etc. If not he needs to be proportionately sharing the wakeup. Even if its that you want a lay in on a Saturday morning. He prepared that you may end up alone so consider you finances, support and work prospects. I did manage to turn things around with DH to some extent as DD is 2.5 now but I still carry a lot of resentment for those early days and months and how someone who says he loves and me and DD so much could have let me struggle alone and suffer so much.

peachypetite Sat 20-Feb-21 05:47:27


This thread is depressing, all of you tolerating this sexist behavior like there's nothing you can do. Why do you put up with it? You can talk to your partner. You can force them to take care of the baby while you simply leave the house sometimes. You can leave your partner. You don't have to live like this.

Completely agree. Stop hoping he’s going to step up. He isn’t unless you sit down and have a serious chat, nip this in the bud now.

RhymesWithOrange Sat 20-Feb-21 05:58:56

What @blackcat86 said. Stop this right now. He should be waiting on you and your baby hand and foot when he's not working. His life has changed now he has a baby. He needs to be switched on to how much sleep you are missing and jump in to take the baby as much as possible. He can at least do weekend nights.

Not all men are useless. My DH did every single night wakening when my daughter was tiny. Every single one. He would get up, get her from her cot and give her to me to breastfeed, then change her and settle her back down while I went back to sleep.

Bathtime should become his daily responsibility.

greyandblack Sat 20-Feb-21 06:07:05

I’m glad it isn’t just me, to be honest. I don’t really want ‘ground rules’, we are at home, not school. I just want him to have the baby a bit more!

OP’s posts: |
Grimsknee Sat 20-Feb-21 06:09:11

He shouldn't "offer" to "help" like it's an act of generosity. It's not helping, it's parenting. You don't ask - asking implies he shd have a choice. You state what needs to happen , and you state your expectation that it will happen.

Rockettrain Sat 20-Feb-21 06:25:09

I agree with @RhymesWithOrange. There is this assumption that men are often ‘just like this’ but it’s not the case. My DH also did pretty much every single night wake for the first 6 months because I was exclusively expressing so every time baby woke up I would pump and sort out the milk and he would feed/change/settle baby. He got exactly the same amount of sleep as me. During the day he went to work and I looked after the baby, as soon as he got home it was straight back to 50:50. He didn’t require any special coaching or direction in order to achieve this (and he comes from a very traditional family where his mum did everything domestic and child related and his dad doesn’t know how to work his own washing machine). He just took his responsibility seriously and saw what was fair and what needed to be done and did it.

The reason you get maternity leave from your job is because you can’t go to work and look after a baby at the same time. So when he’s at work, you’re at work too, on baby duty (but I agree he could hold baby for the odd 10 mins here and there if he’s working from home). The rest of the time it’s 50;50. If that’s not possible at night due to breastfeeding, he can do winding/changing/settling and you can go back to sleep quicker.

greyandblack Sat 20-Feb-21 06:38:13

It does make me feel a bit rubbish. Got baby to sleep after three attempts at around 11, then wake ups at 230 and 530. I spend the night alone and dp sleeps in the spare room. I get this during the week but at weekends I could use his help as I could express milk while he feeds. Maybe I need to talk to him again.

OP’s posts: |
Hodgeheg92 Sat 20-Feb-21 06:41:59

This thread is sad, it's just not acceptable for father's to behave like this!

You say you don't want "rules" but it's not necessarily "rules", it's routine. We have set routines that we've established and as the needs of our children and us change, we adapt the routines. We alternate bathtime, we put a different child to bed each night, we alternate who stays in bed on the morning (5am waker). When our youngest was small, DH held them from roughly 7pm till 11pm, cos that way the baby stayed asleep and I got a chunk of sleep myself. He then went in the spare room while I did the rest of the night. It's part of parenting, you should talk to your dp and establish some routines to try.

peachypetite Sat 20-Feb-21 06:42:19

So he’s been asleep all night? Go and wake him up and tell him he’s on duty now and you go back to bed for some uninterrupted sleep now. You sound passive - maybe I should talk to him again - no shit.

greyandblack Sat 20-Feb-21 06:44:51

If I asked he would have baby without hesitation from 9-1, then put her in with me. That’s what we used to do. However a couple of weeks ago she started refusing daytime naps. I can only get her to sleep for a couple of hours in the day, so she’s really, really tired by the evening and goes down in her crib at around 9-10 usually. He tends to stay awake until midnight/1. So that’s how that happened.

OP’s posts: |
Littlegirlplustwo Sat 20-Feb-21 06:48:00

*Yup sounds totally normal for most fathers*

It really isn’t!! Maybe on Mumsnet, but I’ve never found this to be the case in real life.

There is no excuse for it and we need to stop justifying it. No wonder there are so many women with postnatal depression when their husbands won’t ‘help’ with the baby.

OP I assume the baby is bottle fed? That makes things even easier, just let him know in advance it’s his turn to wake up with the baby, pass the baby over and let him find his own way. He might surprise you that he’s not actually as useless as he’s pretending to be!

TakeMeToYourLiar Sat 20-Feb-21 06:48:06

You do need to talk to him.

I have an 8 week old who only sleeps being held.

Here's how the last 12 hours have been in mu house.

6pm dinner. Cooked by DH. I have baby in sling and we all eat.

7pm bedtime for our 4yo. DH does bath and bedtime while I put baby into pyjamas and bf.

8pm DH takes baby in sling and has 3 hour zoom chat with friends. I express for an hour then go to sleep

11:30 DH wakes me. I feed baby and cuddle them whil they sleep. DH sleeps.

03:00 I wajke DH. He holds baby while i go back to bed.

06:00 DS wakes up i take him and baby downstairs for breakfast

DH will get up around 9 abd we will spend day together.

He was a bit like your DH when our eldest was a baby. But soon realised how unfair he was being

greyandblack Sat 20-Feb-21 06:50:43

She’s fed expressed breast milk. It doesn’t really make it easier. She won’t go in the sling so that’s difficult, I can see he can’t really have a zoom chat with her squirming and crying.

OP’s posts: |
whatwherewhywhenhow Sat 20-Feb-21 07:00:29

What’s with the sleeping in the spare room business? I don’t care if he has to go to work the next day. If that’s the case you should be getting at least two nights in the spare room yourself on weekends. If you’re breastfeeding he could bring in the baby, you feed (hopefully staying half asleep), and he takes baby back straight away. I just don’t understand how you think this is reasonable or fair. Get angry and sort this out.

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