When I had my first baby, she was completely in love with me and wanted me all of the time. I had carried her for nine months, so I was quick to cuddle her when she needed something. I was also breastfeeding, so milk was high on her priority list. I also stayed home with her, so I was usually the one comforting her anyway. She would take naps on me after nursing and just wanted to be near me. She often just wanted me, but it was important for my husband to have time with her also.
Even when encased in the baby fog, there are many reasons to relinquish control. I had a hard time doing this with both kids, especially the first time around. Trying to hand over the baby when I knew she’d be up for more milk soon didn’t make sense. I’d rather be the one to hold her, but there were times when I made sure that she had time with her daddy, both for their benefit as well as mine.
Why Your Spouse Should Have Baby Time
So they have a chance to bond.
Because I breastfed, I had plenty of opportunities to bond and cuddle with the baby. I also have time during the day to dedicate because I’m the one home with them. My husband has limited time and often doesn’t feel like he sees the kids enough. When he is here, I try to make sure they get some valuable time together. It is good for the kids and him to have some time to play and just be together. It makes the time even more precious.
So you can get a break.
As moms, we are notorious for always being on the go. Being home with the kids, I often need a break when my husband is home. Having some time when it’s not all on me does wonders for my mood. Having someone for backup when I need it is invaluable.
So your spouse doesn’t feel left out.
My husband has said that our daughter didn’t even like him until after her younger brother came along. Fathers may feel excluded from the close relationship that usually naturally develops between a mother and child. I did so much with our first, and when our second came, I needed him to focus on her more than he had before. He needed to be the one to put her to sleep and take care of her while I was taking care of a newborn.
To help your spouse gain confidence.
Fathers usually start fatherhood with even less confidence than new mothers. They may wonder about their new role, especially with a breastfed baby. Giving your spouse time to bond and learn about his new baby will help him gain the confidence he needs.
So you don’t burn out.
Babies are all-consuming and demand a lot of us. At the beginning (or longer), we are often super sleep-deprived and adjusting to a completely different way of life. Having a baby dependent on us for everything is a huge and exhausting life change. It is essential to share the load of this with your spouse to help neither of you burn out. Asking for help is important.
Ways to Help Your Spouse Feel Connected
We all know that skin-to-skin contact is crucial for mom and baby after birth. Many benefits include maintaining infant body temperature, stabilizing glucose levels, and initiating breastfeeding. Spouses can also reap the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. Even just 30 minutes of this time rewires a dad’s brain and causes a rise in dopamine and oxytocin. This contact will help the bonding process between dad and baby. I didn’t get a ton of skin-to-skin with my first because I needed stitches. My husband did skin-to-skin with my daughter while I was gone, and I was so glad she had him around to do this with her.
Babies sleep a lot and tend to fall asleep while nursing. This couch time can be very confining for mothers. Sometimes she just needs a few minutes to herself. If the baby allows it without waking up, you could transfer the baby to daddy after she’s asleep. We did this with both of our kids so I could get a chance to run to the bathroom or get something to eat.
Make sure that dad has plenty of playtime with the baby. Playing is great for bonding and interacting with the baby.
Having your spouse get the baby ready for bed is another excellent opportunity for them to connect. This routine could include bathtime and pajamas. Even if the baby still needs to nurse before bed, at least dad had a chance to spend some time with the baby first.
Cultivating a strong bond with your baby and your spouse is important and rewarding for both of them. Doing this also helps mom not burn out as quickly or as often. Supporting each other and working as a team is essential when caring for a new baby.