19 answers

Husband Won't Help with Baby

Dear Moms:

I don't know if this is how all men are or just mine. My husband really hates helping with the baby. He truly does the minimum. If I ask him to watch the baby while I go the the bathroom, he will sit the baby next to him on the couch while he watches TV or plays video games. The other day, I came out of the bathroom, and the baby was rolling over and was on the edge of the couch ready to take a dive onto the floor! I caught him just in time. My husband couldn't take his eyes off the TV for just one minute while I was in the bathroom! I just started back to work and was hoping he'd be more willing to help because we are both working now.

Here's my usual day: I wake up at 6 am with the baby, get him ready for the day, get his lunch and expressed milk ready, get his extra clothes ready, beg my husband to look after the baby for 10 minutes while I shower, grab breakfast (cereal or a banana in the car), take the baby to daycare, go to work. After work, I pick up the baby, play with him and do baby exercises/activities, bathe the baby, get him ready for bed by 7 pm, breastfeed him every one to two hours until midnight, do the dishes, do the laundry, wake the husband off the couch to go to bed, fall into bed at midnight, wake up to feed the baby two other times until the baby wakes up again for the day at 6 am. It's exhausting and my husband sometimes will help if I ask, and sometimes he will say "no". It's frustrating. He rolls over and groans if he hears the baby at night. The other morning I asked him to hold the baby for 10 minutes so that I could take a shower. His response was "I can't, I have to be at work at 9:00". I was so furious, I could not even speak because, guess what? I had to be at work at 9:00 also, and it was only 7:30. I guess he sensed my silent anger because he took the baby from me and I went to take my shower. But it's like that, he has an excuse every time I ask him to look after the baby. "I have to do this." "I have to do that." Well, often he would be playing on the internet, and the minute I ask him to look after the baby, all of the sudden he has something important and pressing to take care of. He refuses to bathe the baby because he's afraid that he'll drown the baby. He enjoys playing with the baby but wants to hand back the baby if he starts fussing or crying. Are my expectations too high? Are all men like this? I am so unhappy.

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I'm not sure what happened, it's like a lightbulb turned on in my husband's head. All of the sudden he wants to help and even woke up at 4 am last night to bring the baby to me for a feeding. I almost did a dance in bed, I was so thrilled. I had confided in one of my friends, don't know if she spoke to him. I think he realized how tired I was and sensed that I was not happy. I hadn't looked at him or spoken to him for 2 days. Not sure if this will last, but I'm so happy that he has come around and I have been lavishing him with praise for any help he gives me. Thanks for all of your advice, ladies! My baby is 7 months old, by the way. P.S., We have had "talks" about it before.

More Answers

Wow....Not all men are that bad...but all men do have some sort of issue with rearing of their children because they feel leftout and forgotten.

Check out the book "Babyproofing your Marriage" It's spot on. I had issues in the beginning...hubby wanted to help, but I was too critical and particular about how things were to be done that he just stopped wanting to be involved as much and our marriage began to suffer a bit. It took me reading that book and realizing that he felt left out, ridiculed and like a red-headed stepchild. It's not on purpose, but us moms just know that they can take care of their kids better than dad...and they feel that in our actions.

Since readding that book I have changed and realized I did "watch over" everything he did and tell him how to do things. So we talked it out and figured things out. I let him do what he needs to do...and if he needs help or wants to know how to do something, he'll ask. We have an agreement that if he asks, he can't get upset about what I tell him.

If this turns out NOT to be your problem, you have bigger issues that need to be resolved and I'd recommend counceling. Some questions you need to ask yourself and think about the answers are:
1) was he 100% on board with having children?
2) what was his committment about having children before it actually happened?

Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Congratulations on your dear, precious baby! Keep being as encouraging as you can with your husband. He is the same man you met and fell in love with but he has to grow into this new role as a father. As with children, husbands grow with lots of love and support. In order to do that, you need to simplify. Take the advice of the other women (decrease baby's baths, make lists, create a safe place for baby to "hang out" while you work/shower/etc., change your standards to fit your life, etc.). Find a support network of married, female friends (if they're also moms, that would be perfect). You simply must also have down time...sit down time...with the baby playing or lounging in the "safe place" and not always in your arms. The pace you are attempting to keep will wear you down in no time. I hope you find more support.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't mean to be harsh but you are going to wear down. Your husband needs to grow up and be a dad. Your expectations are not to high. If he'd do other things then you probably wouldn't mind bathing your baby all the time. My hubby loves bathing our baby, he gets right in the tub with him. Definatley you and hubby need to have a talk. Ihope things get better cause you sound like a great mom!!! Keep up the breastfeeding!

1 mom found this helpful

A., I feel your pain and it will get better. I have a 10 month old and just celebrated my fourth anniversary with my husband. He would also avoid any responsibility with the baby, frankly because he was intimidated. It doesn't come as naturally to them as it does to us, and they seriously need coaching. I remember being overwhelmed like you are, and I finally just had to give him no choice. If I wanted to take a bath, I didn't ask I would just hand him the baby and say "going to take a shower." Then I'd walk out the room, scared to death that he might drop her, forget he's watching her, or God only knows what. But I had to trust him and tell myself that it was his child too and he had no choice but to get comfortable. I was always very carefull not to criticize what he did, unless it was absolutely necessary. I would pump my breastmilk just so that he could feed it to her in a bottle. I started this just like the "watch for a few minutes" routine. Drop her and the bottle in his lap, find something I had to do and leave the room. I tried to get him to split the middle of the night feedings with me, but that was no good because my nerves would let me sleep through it. So he would do the last of the evening feeding so that I could get ready or go ahead to bed. This only lasted for a few nights, but that was a few nights that I needed. It's important that he spend time with the child, even if he doesn't realize it, so that he can build that bond. We already had nine months to do that.

I remember getting to the end of my rope and telling him I might as well be a single parent, because at least then I wouldn't have to take care of him too. I feel your pain!

I don't know how old your baby is but I am guessing still pretty young. Once my daughter hit 5 months and started crawling a little, smiling, and getting a personality she has been a daddy's girl since. I guess when she lost that "fragile newborn" look and moved more into a growing toddler then my husband got more interested. Then he had this little one he could teach to do funny things and make laugh. That day will come for you, just hang in there.

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Honestly, you need to slow down and pace yourself before you burn out!! I'm not saying your hubby is in the clear right now but......your son sounds like he is still very young right? He doesn't need 24/7 held suppervision. If you need to take a shower and your hubby is home, lay your son on the floor with some toys or in the swing or bouncy chair in the same room as hubby and take a shower. And don't ask your hubby to watch him either. Tell him you are taking a shower and you are leaving the baby in the room with him! Same goes for when you are cleaning up after dinner or what not. Heck don't say anything at all, leave the baby playing on the floor and do your thing. And relax your schedlue with the baby as well. He doesn't need to be bathed ever night, or baby exercises every day or held all of his waking moments as much as we would like to.

As far as your hubby goes......you need to set him straight on what your needs are with help around the house and the baby. Yes, most men are either great and do everything for the baby (I thought my hubby would have fallen into that catagory) or they are scared of the baby and how to met their needs (that is where my hubby was) and it would make them feel less of a man to admit that! My hubby wouldn't change a poopy diaper, or bathe him till he was sitting up on his own and got frustrated when he couldn't make him stop crying unless it was for a bottle! This is something you are going to have to ease him into. Tell him how it makes you feel when he doesn't help with the baby and that you would really appreciate a hand from him. Also, you say you are nursing, does the baby co sleep with you? I did that with both of my kids and it was so much easier on me to wake up in the middle of the night, offer the breast and fall back to sleep, wake up 2hrs later and change sides. I did that till they were sleeping though the night by about 2 months old. Also, if you are pakcing his diaper bag every day, how much of that can you leave at the day care?? A few changes of clothes and a package of diapers, and possibly some wipes so all you have to do is make sure his milk is there every day.

Just remember to slow down!! you are not super woman and no one expects you to get it all done in one day!


1 mom found this helpful

Your husband is being self-centered. Give him an ultimatim, either he helps or you're going to separate, you're going home and let him fend for himself. What order was your husband born? Even if he was the baby, he shouldn't be so self-centered. I have 3 younger brothers (1 of them now dead), none of them were like that. Tell him it is his child too, and if the child winds up at the hospital because of him not watching the baby, you're not covering for him. He could be arrested - how would he feel about that?

My husband did the same thing when my daughter was a baby, so no you are not alone. I tried being nice about it at first and then, screaming and yelling and demanding he pitch in and neither worked. Upon a friend's recommendation, I started leaving him alone with the baby--first for an hour or two, then several hours, eventually overnight. Provided he's not a totally irresponsible jerk, he'll step up to the plate and do what he has to do because HE HAS TO. Looking back on it, I think my husband did not form a bond with my daughter right away. Most moms are happy to give up their whole life once their first child is born because they love them so much. Some men do not feel the same way. Think about it--if you didn't love your little one so much, or possibly not at all, would it be as easy for you to do all that you do? Unfortunatly, you'll have to force that parent-child bond on your husband. Once he falls head over heels in love with that baby, you'll see a difference. As the baby gets older and responds to you more and can actually "Do" things (my husband was forever asking me when my daughter would "do something"), he'll enjoy the baby more and pitch in more as well. I let my husband get away with this stuff way too long--nip it in the bud now or you'll start to resent your husband because you WILL wear yourself out. Best of luck!

Hi A.,
I am sorry you are going through the tough time. Please forgive me in advance, but I have to be honest. I have to ask you who you married? Was he like this before baby...inattentive to anyone but himself? Have you always served his needs and now he is getting ill because you have someone to care for. Have you read a book called "How could he do that?". Perhaps you should pick it up and decide if you can cut this thing short before it is too late.
I know from experience close to me that this is a very hard situation. My hope for you that you either work to correct it quickly or end it quickly. Neither you or your child has alot to look forward to unless he is ready to be a husband and a father.
Sincerely, J.

This may sound really harsh, but you need to jerk a knot in your husband's a**! NO, not all men are like him, and the ones who are need a really sharp, stinging reality check. I would let him know in a hurry that he wasn't going to be a husband any longer if he didn't shape up and get with the program. You're basically having to be a single mom right now. He helped to create the child and he needs to be a PARENT and a supportive spouse. My husband is great, but he has to be reminded about parenting duties on occasion. Sometimes it just becomes really easy to let us do all the work with the kids.

I would suggest seeing a counselor who also has a strong background in family counseling and who can help to steer him in the right direction. One of the saddest things about all of this is that you have a beautiful new baby, and you're unhappy and not getting to enjoy it because you're so exhausted! Babies and children pick up on our feelings, and it greatly affects them!

Normally I would suggest leaving the baby with him and walking out for a day -a loooooong day -to have some "you" time, but it sounds like he's such a bozo, it might be endangering the child. You should print all of these responses out and show him that he's obviously on the very low end of the "husband/father" scale at this point. Refuses to bathe the baby? He thinks baby will drown in a sink or baby tub with a few inches of water if he's standing right there the whole time bathing the child? As far as YOU getting ready, I use a bouncer or a small, pack-n-go baby swing in the bathroom that I can strap the baby into while I'm bathing and getting ready. Sometimes we have to do those things when no one else is around, so you have to have a safe place for your baby. A pack-n-play set up near or in your bathroom would work too.

I'm really sorry for you, but I wouldn't put up with this another second. Since you both work, your husband needs to either get up every other night, or you should switch off getting up every other time the baby wakes. A lot of people will flip over this as well, but pump your breast milk into some bottles so HE can feed the baby. If you wind up having to switch to formula or using formula sometime to supplement, the world will not end, your baby will still be VERY healthy, and you'll be better rested and less frustrated. It's my firm belief that a happy (and if possible, well-rested) mother is MUCH better and more important to her child than anything else -including breast milk. If you're still getting up every 2 hours, I would start changing that immediately. The entire situation will at least be a little better if you can get 4 or 5 hours of sleep at once stretch. Other than that -tell hubby to shape up or ship out.

my fiance was in iraq when i had her alone c-section... no family ... nothing.. she was 3 1/2 months old when he came back.. i just came back bec., he was violent when he came back... i stayed away for 1 1/2 months. i sometimes let her cry until he gets her milk at night... i watch her all day, take her to all her appt's, bathe, dress her. he just learned what she eats... but he loves to push the carriage, and wrap the diaper bag around his neck.. like a proud ding dong... but if the baby got sick.. he has no clue who her dr is, or what medicine she takes.

All men are different. Maybe he's scared and really don't know what to do. Check into a parenting class where you both can go and participate so he doesn't feel like he's being put on the spot. Check with your pediatrician or through the women's center at any hospital.

Trying to give positive feedback...hope it helps.

You expectations are not too high. You and your husband are a team and should have each other's back at all times.

Most men aren't as bad as yours, but I do think that men in general are just more selfish than women. Also, I think Men believe that because we are women, we are "built" or "programmed" to handle this baby thing. Meanwhile, they are shell shocked at the changes happening around them. As women, during our pregnancy, we read and do research endlessly about the changes in store for us. But most men just figure they'll wing it. Turns out, it's not so easy to just wing it. They are stunned at the amount of care, time, and energy it takes to take care of this little person. I distincly remember my husband saying..."Why didn't I know about this no sleep thing."

You need to have a serious talk with your husband (and I mean talk, not argument). Explain that you can't do this alone. Make him see it from your perspective. From my experience, men aren't that bright, so you can't just say help out more. You will have to spell it out. You want him to do X, Y, and Z. My husband was not the best in this area, but definately not the worst either. But when we talked about my needs and the division of labor, he was receptive and did step up his game. Now my daughter is 4 and he is the best husband/father I could ask for. She is totally a daddy's girl. But those baby stages were rough.

I think if after your talk he is not receptive and still refuses to participate, then you need to seek counseling asap. You will soon resent him and problems will start in the marriage

Hey A.,
First of all, take a deep breath...the first year with a new baby is BY FAR more difficult than the first year of marriage, and is much harder than we ever imagine...I think that part of it is that even though we know we'll be waking up to feed a baby, we have no clue what sleep deprivation will do to us after that novelty wears off...One thing I learned (maybe a little later than I should have) is that you and your husband should have a discussion on what each of you are willing to do, and need from the other. If you both work, then the excuse that he has to go to work doesn't fly...if you are working out of necessity, than he cannot consider his job more important than yours...and you both need to be fresh, and ready for your day. Does your baby take a bottle at all? If so, he should be at least taking some of that burden off of you so that you can both get some rest. I used to have my husband do that late night before he went to bed feeding, so I could go to bed earlier, and be ready to wake up during the night...then when the baby woke up at 5ish, he'd feed him before he got into the shower to get ready for work...and i'd get to sleep until the baby woke again...remind him that it isn't just your baby...you are a team, and the sooner you figure out some ground rules, the less you will resent him later...I have three kids now, and sometimes I know that my husband thinks he does "so much"...but he's really not here that much...when he is, he's exhausted. He coaches their teams, etc...but the monotony of the day is always on me...I am home with them, so I try to remember that some of the things are just my job...but when we are both home, it's hard to not get annoyed when they don't pitch in...do yourself a favor, and write down all of the things that you need help with, and maybe make a list for him like you did on here...what your day is like...and then make him a list, and ask him which things he can take off of your list...good luck!! it does get easier as they get older...so hang in there.

No not all men are like that...mine sure isn't. He takes care of every aspect with all of our children (and at the same time) except for bathing the newborns. It makes him nervous...other that he does everything that I do.

I would certainly sit down with your husband while he is not playing games,etc. and let him know that this is a two parent job and he isn't holding up to the commitment. It took two of you to make the baby and it will take two of you to raise the baby. Good luck!

My husband would hold the baby if I had something to do, but that's all he would do. When our children became toddlers he would help bathe them on a regular basis.
P. S

How old is your baby? Sounds like you need to get baby on a better schedule than breatfeeding every 1 to 2 hours. Even if hubby did help, you cannot go on like this. He can't breastfeed. Baby should not be waking up more than once in the night to eat. If you feed at 10 pm, 2 am and then at 6 am (go to bed after 10pm feeding. Hubby may or may not ever help a lot but you have to survive. List all the tasks that must bedone at night or in am before work. Let hubby choose which ones he will do and hopefully that can ease some of your stress. You must get more rest. Why does the baby have to be "held" for you to get a shower???Baby should be able to lay in crib with the crib toys for this amount of time. Baby does not have to have attention every moment he is awake. The world doesn't revolve around him. V.,mother of 4

My husband was exactly the same way. He wanted to play with our son, but he wanted me to raise him and make him stop crying. He wanted to be his friend instead of his father. He basically went back to be being single but was still living in my house eating my food (that I had to buy because he couldn't keep a job).

My husband is now my ex-husband.

Y'all need counseling because he's not going to change unless you do something drastic.

No not all men are like that. My husband helps out a lot. It's like having two sets of hands. It sounds like your husband was thrilled about having a baby but lacks the patients and sacrifice it takes to raise one. If you don't nip this in the bud now you are going to raise your child alone emotionally. First thing you should do is email him this link so he can see how this is effecting you. Tell him you need him, you feel alone and to demonstrate his love for his child by lending his attention to you and the baby. You did not create your baby alone why should you raise him or her alone. If he doesn't get it by reading your post and mine you may have a bigger problem it's call respect and plain ol' being a great dad.Good luck girl!

No all husbands are not like this and there is no reason you should expect so little from him, particularly if you are working as well. Schedule some time, maybe dinner, make other arrangements for the baby and sit down and talk. Plan for a time when both of you are calm and not pressed for time. Try not to be accusatory but explain clearly that you need help. Be specific about what he might do. If he is not comfortable with some of the "baby chores" suggest doing them together or trading dinner dishes and laundry for bathing the baby. Try to think ahead of time about what is reasonable to expect of him (can he cook anything? or will he fend for himself two nights a week at dinner)and what is most important to you, for example more sleep. It doesn't get easier so you need to address this ASAP. He is probably just oblivious and so focused on what he perceives as the big changes in his life, he can't see the affect it has on you. It may be old fashioned fear about handling the baby on his own. If he is completely unreceptive - think marriage counseling, a cleaning lady and/or a paid sitter one evening a week or during the weekend so you can at least take a full shower or a nap once in a while :) Good Luck

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