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QUESTION:

My son and his wife recently had a baby boy. It was a difficult pregnancy which resulted in a delivery at 36 weeks but all is well now with baby and Mom. My son though is having a difficult time with attaching to his son, somewhat unsure of himself and never was interested in newborns. He started off helping out but now makes excuses not to. His wife is becoming very frustrated and saddened by the whole thing and has asked me if I can help with this. I came across your site while looking for some information on new dads and was wondering if you have any ideas or advice.




ANSWER:

There are a number of reasons this can occur, all normal, and here are a few suggestions for helping your son get it handled.

  1. Ask his father to help him out instead of you as this is a man thing. Grandpa will be more understanding and less anxious, and can talk with him about issues that may be getting in the way, such as worry over finances.

  2. Gramps will probably say to just give it time and your son will come around - and he is right. A new father's average bonding time is 2 months, and most don't really enjoy their babies until 3 months.

  3. After 4 weeks, suggest Grandpa visit and help dad out with the baby while mom gets out of the house on her own. (if not, you can) This builds dad’s confidence and gives mom a break.

  4. After six weeks, suggest to Grandpa that he and dad get out with the baby to a car show, hardware store, or even a mall. Make sure dad has a front carrier for the baby, so he can show his child the world, starting with cars and hammers. Babies are enthralled with anything new, including the stuff dad likes. (All great for baby brain development). If they go to the mall, Grandpa gets to carry the baby as he will be better able to handle all the attention from the pretty girls who think your grandchild is cuter than any puppy. Just kidding - sort of.

  5. Tell the new mom to give it time, but to expect him to step up. Suggest she let him care for the baby his way rather than telling him what to do.

  6. A guess - most new dads essentially get dumped by the new mom as she falls passionately in love with "her" baby. With problems in pregnancy, multiply times three. So, the first time dad shows progress, arrange for grandma to baby-sit over night while dad and mom get a chance to reconnect and remember why they loved each other in the first place. Good luck and let me know what works.

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