Monday, March 7, 2011

When are you going to wean?

Because I love my FIL dearly, I did not have the same "grrrrr" reaction when he asked me, "When are you going to wean her?" He was speaking of my nine month old baby girl, of course. His question took me by surprise because we were not on the subject of breastfeeding. We were talking about how Lily and her dad might develop a closer relationship. I suppose I can see how the question might relate. Breastfeeding does have the reputation of creating an intense bond between mother and child. I would add that everyday caregiving activities such as bathing, changing diapers, rocking to sleep, playing, cuddling, talking, reading, spending time, etc also create an intense bond between caregiver and child. Breastfeeding is the only activity that strictly falls to the mother-the father can do anything else involved in keeping the baby happy, healthy and safe.

My husband is at a disadvantage in that he spends 40+ hours a week less alone time with our daughter than I do. Because babies are most comfortable with those with which they are most familiar, it is only natural that babies who spend most of their time with their mothers would feel most comfortable with their mothers. Is breastfeeding really to blame for the fact that our baby seems to be more comfortable with me? Or is it the fact that she spends most of her time with me? If I were to quit breastfeeding today, would she suddenly feel more comfortable with her dad? My guess would be no.

After my husband came home to join the conversation, he asked his dad if he and his brother were "like that" when they were babies. My FIL responded by saying that many times, after he got home from work, he would pick one of them up. They would proceed to scream in his face, and he would put them down and walk away. "It didn't bother me," he said. "Well, it bothers me," came the reply.

My husband is a sweet, darling man and loves his little girl dearly. It does bother him that their relationship is not how he hoped it would be. However, it sounds pretty typical. I am just thankful that he does not blame breastfeeding-at least not out loud. All I can say is it will improve with time.


  1. Does he have skin time with her? When my babies are little, I will put them in just a diaper and lay them on his bare chest. They napped like that quite often and it really helped in their bonding with him. Also if you let him be the "comfort source".When Dustin's home I let him be the one who goes and gets them when they wake up, puts them to bed, feeds solids, etc. Just some suggestions from someone whos been there a couple of times.

  2. Hey MamaEmma ;o)-I'm following your blog now!

    No, we never got him to try the skin to skin thing with her. You don't think it's too late for that do you? We'll just have to try to get him to do more. He's gotten pretty discouraged that I am not sure he feels up to doing those things with her when she cries in his face.

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. my husband travels extensively for work and sometimes only sees our boys on the weekends for weeks at a time. this made it particularly hard when z was a baby b/c he thought jeff was a stranger. they had such limited time to bond and jeff always felt very guilty about it. my best advice is to find time to play together as a family and then give the two of them some happy play time alone--when she's in a good mood hopefully. above all else it just takes time. and as you have more kids it will become an even more "fun" balancing act. good luck. you'll figure out what works best for your family!