Have you ever heard someone say that a new Dad is jealous of his own baby? It’s not jealousy. Characterizing it that way is counterproductive, and doesn't do justice to what’s really going on.
The reality is that all of the attention, affection and time you used to spend with your partner gets transferred to the little one, and this can leave Dad feeling dumped. There’s not enough time and energy to go around and that baby can be pretty demanding, so he or she wins.
New fathers feel this emotional distance or affection shift most, as all of mom’s oxytocin surge and cave-mom tendencies go into high gear, and touch and intimacy gets shifted to the baby.
Dads love us and they miss us. That’s a good thing!
Yes, he understands that the baby is dependent on you both for care and feeding, and that your focus has been changed. And he can understand that for the first few months, your relationship looks very, very different. But imagine if you were suddenly dumped by your best friend, soul mate, partner in crime and all around companion.
One Veteran Mom shared this in Boot Camp for New Moms, "[My husband] had to break down and say, 'Look, when it was us, you were my best friend and I don’t have you anymore.' I didn’t know how to respond to that. I thought what do I do, how do I fix this? We started to watch TV or a movie together and it helped but it is hard to work out that time."
Don’t underestimate the power of a hug, a kiss, or just holding hands. Those small gestures speak volumes in terms of keeping you connected, and increase the oxytocin that you get from each other. The more you get, the more you want. Addiction at it’s finest!
And if you stop doing these all together, when you’re ready to get back to having sex again, it becomes awkward because of the lack of physical connection.
- Giving each other emotional intimacy can be even more important than the physical stuff.
- You will both need to make couple’s time happen. Parenting is a full-time job with overtime and weekends, so you have to make time alone happen. It doesn't have to be a weekend, or a whole evening, just an hour is a start.
- From dad’s perspective he feels like he’s lost you, and he knows where you've gone: being an amazing mom to your precious baby, but he still misses. See above to help you both reconnect.
Making intimacy (touch, not just sex!) and your relationship a priority from day one and involving your partner in the crazy mix will do wonders for the family. Because a healthy relationship is the best thing in the world you can do for your baby.