Q – My husband and I were so excited to have children together, and he seemed to be really looking forward to being a father.  Now that our little boy is here, however, he has all but disappeared.  He spends long hours at work, sleeps all night while I feed the baby every 3 hours, and even when at home would rather be checking emails or mowing the lawn than spending time with him.  

A – It can be difficult for fathers to find their unique role with a baby, in particular after the return to work.  Sometimes new fathers need the opportunity to develop their connection with the baby on their own.  Consider going out each day for a 10, then 15, then 20 – 30 minute walk while they are alone together.  You may need to take a quiet, encouraging role making space for him to build his own confidence as a father.  Take care not to criticize his parenting skills, you’ve likely made more than your share of mistakes when nobody else was watching!  Some fathers thrive when given a specific role that is theirs, such as bath time or the early morning shift.  His relationship with baby will come with time, and you can help by quietly creating opportunities for connection.

Sarah Juliusson offers expert support to growing families from pregnancy through motherhood, with special interest in identity, self-care and life balance for mothers.