New Father Complaint: Breastfeeding Baby Gets All the Attention

Most new parents make a joint decision to breastfeed their babies. But even the most supportive dads sometimes feel jealous when the breastfeeding baby gets so much of mom's attention.

Here are some ideas for dealing with a new father's issues of envy over breastfeeding:

  • Your partner may feel insecure about his parenting skills. New dads often haven't had the advantage of babysitting during teenage years, and many aren't sure which side of the diaper is up when they first meet a newborn. Your partner may interpret your one-woman feeding show as giving you a parenting edge.
    The solution? Don't always look so confident, even if you babysat triplets all through high school. Sometimes mothers come on like gangbusters in their new parenting role, like mother bears fiercely protecting their cubs. This intensity can be overwhelming to your partner. Let your insecurities show a little, so your partner knows he's not the only one in the dark!
    Also, praise him for what he does, even if he puts the diaper on backwards or doesn't do things according to your standards.
  • Your partner may feel like the odd man out in your new family. He may feel like he has no real role to play. This can be a disadvantage to his developing a relationship with the baby.
    The solution? Give him some real, important tasks to do! He'll soon realize that, just because he can't breastfeed, he can still be a parent. He'll cultivate his own skills as he rocks, reads to, bathes, and dresses the baby. Having an involved partner could spell big relief when you're having a trying day with the baby!
  • Your partner may feel that he's competing with his baby for your time and affection. He may feel like the baby has come between the two of you. You may be saying, "Oh, that's ridiculous," but hold on. The truth and his perception may be worlds apart.
    The solution? Make time for the two of you, alone. You don't have to have romantic three-hour dinner dates. Five minutes of conversation before you collapse in bed is good when you have a new baby. The expensive dinners can come later; you need to keep talking until then so you have something to say to each other when you finally get a night out alone!

You want and need your partner's support. Start by understanding that his feelings are normal. Try to understand how he's feeling: The two of you have been on your own for some period of time, and now he's competing with new demands in a pint-size package.

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