QuestionsCategory: Fatherhoodcompetition with my partner
Dad who wants to help asked 2 years ago

We have a 9 month old little girl.  She’s well and happy and I enjoy looking after her.  My partner will be happy for me to hold her and bath her and change her but if Annie starts to cry she’ll always want me to pass her the baby.  I don’t want to argue but sometimes I’d like the chance to show that I can soothe Annie, figure out what’s the matter.  How do I persuade my partner that I can do stuff?

1 Answers
Riverside Cares Staff answered 2 years ago

Thank you for your question, Jill and Emma will be answering. Over to Dr Emma Haycraft first: 
Having a baby is a big adjustment for both parents and it can take time for each of you to become established in your roles.  It’s probably worth having a chat with your partner about this so that she’s aware of how you’re feeling.  You could also create times when your partner is away from Annie for a while – perhaps run her a bath, or encourage her to go out for a coffee for an hour.  Leaving you and Annie alone will give you a chance to show that you can comfort her and will help your partner to become more comfortable with this.
Best wishes 
Dr Emma Haycraft 
Child Feeding Guide 
Jill Wheatcroft adds: 
The default of baby crying being handed back to mum can creep in by accident for some very obvious reasons, the good news is that this is easy to tweak now breastmilk is not the primary source of nourishment. If your partner was breastfeeding on demand then, early on it would have been the first course of action for mum, hearing her baby cry, to see if the baby needed feeding, it’s unconscious and instinctive. Added to this (and this may not be the case in your household) Dad returns to work ahead of mum. The big win is that you are aware and want to take part in all aspects of the care of your child together and what you need to figure out is a way that best delivers that. Emma’s suggestion of creating ‘daddy-time’ is a smart idea as it gives mum a break and allows you to develop your own special bond with your baby more. It also allows your partner to see that you can confidently soothe your baby or (and this is not a problem at all)  it can highlight things you’d like to learn more about (after all every single day is a new learning experience for both of you).
Perhaps the next time your baby cries do ask your partner if you can help by carrying your baby around for a bit or ask your partner if she can advise you about the most effective ways to calm her as you would like to gain more confidence doing this. The action of asking your partner for help may help make her feel more relaxed about her role and ability as a caregiver.   There are a number of great videos online showing different baby-holds so you could always look at some of these together.
BTW did you know we have a special Riverside Cares Fatherhood series of free sessions that you can log into here’s the link
Jill Wheatcroft 
Riverside Cares 
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