Co-Parenting: Allowing Dad To Help with Baby
Letting your partner find his own way is part of the parenting process.
Maybe you need a quality nap or you're dying for a hot bath, or you just want to see a flick with a friend — sans baby. Who better to watch your critter for an hour — or the duration of an afternoon matinee — than the guy sleeping right next to you: Daddy! Even if he hasn't had much experience in baby care (without you looking over his shoulder, at least), now's the perfect time to help him get up to speed.
The first step toward getting Dad on duty? Ask him. It's okay to acknowledge you need help or just a couple of hours to yourself. He may actually relish the chance to do things his own way (at least when it comes to changing a diaper).
The next step: Back off, Mama, and let Papa have some fun. Let him give the baby a bath or handle a few feedings (or if you're nursing, ask him to put the baby to sleep). Welcome all questions but try to zip it on the backseat driving. Daddy may seem to have ten thumbs when it comes to wrestling junior into a onesie, but that's just because he hasn't had nearly as much practice as you. If you're hypercritical or bossy, he might just decide to throw in the towel (and the diapers, bottles, and washcloths) and that's not good for anyone involved, including the baby.
Hey, if your husband really wants to triple bag every dirty diaper, let him. In the past, the two of you have managed to mesh your differences (you've got that cute baby to show for it), and parenthood is no exception. Remind him (and yourself) that you're new at this too — you learned by doing and so can he. Plus, change is good — a different style of playing (perhaps more physical or high-energy than your usual way) will stimulate your baby in new ways.
Keep in mind that your spouse is your partner, not your helper, and should be as fully involved in childrearing as possible (even if he's the type to need a little shove to get going). You wouldn't think of leaving him out of the big decisions and events that'll shape your baby's future, so why exclude him from the everyday stuff that also makes up your life as a family?
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