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New Mom Not Letting Dad Take Care of Baby


I'm a new dad of an 18-week-old boy. My wife is extremely hard to get through to. She never wants to let me hold him, change him, and has not even given a thought to letting me feed him. She is exhausting herself and won't let me help, and she is starting to take her lack of sleep and exhaustion out on me and her family.

Is there any way that I can get her to let me help so that she can take a simple nap, or give a little alone time for me and my son?


At 4.5 months you are dealing with an extreme case of gatekeeping. Bottom line is your child is not benefiting from all the well-researched benefits of having dad around. Paternity leave is a big issue now because of the benefits of having dad around, and hopefully your wife will respond to what is best for “her” baby.

Gatekeeping is a major issue for hormone-supercharged new moms (it is an innate protective behavior). Couples that attend Boot Camp for New Dads and Boot Camp for New Moms are more prepared for this phenomenon because we encourage them to talk about gatekeeping before the baby arrives. Couples come up with a plan for when new dad feels he's being pushed away from caring for his baby. Dad, gently, points out he feels his partner is gatekeeping and mom will hand him the baby and leave the room or the house so she can't even be tempted to interfere.

You're past this point, so you have to be assertive – suggest you take your baby boy alone to the hardware store in a front pack (go buy one if you don’t have it) and explore with him. She can take a nap, a long shower, whatever she needs to relieve some stress.

This is a win-win-win scenario: Great bonding for you and baby, you get to build your confidence, mom gets some time to herself and will see she can rely on you once you come home and she sees her baby is still alive.

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