Two to Kiss, Two to Love: Involving Dad
When my first daughter was born, she had to go to the NICU for a week. The hospital let me stay in an extra room that whole time. It was a really great experience. But because she was being cared for by the NICU, my husband went back to work instead of taking more days off. What was he gonna do at the hospital anyway?
The day we brought that perfect girl home, his friends wanted to go ATVing. I didn’t have a problem with it at all. But my friends who had husbands going on this little outing couldn’t believe that I wasn’t mad about it. My thoughts: what was he gonna do? Take his breast out and feed the baby? Stay around and watch her sleep? “Go have fun!” I told him.
And I took that logic with me for the first part of her life. I'm a go-getter, an "I can do it all!" type of lady. I have always made sure that my husband has never felt trapped at home, or felt like he can't go out and do things just because we have kids. Sometimes I may feel it's a bit unfair (he gets to go out and do all these things and I never get a break), but that still doesn't trump my willingness to do it ALL.
However, now, I may have learned that involving Dad more (especially from the beginning) might actually have some GREAT advantages that never really crossed my mind. Obviously, there is no scientific evidence behind what I’m about to say, so take it with a grain of salt. ;) BUT, like I said, I did EVERYTHING for my little girl. My husband made her laugh occasionally, but I never really asked him to do much for her needs—I breastfed her, I changed her diapers, I played with her, I read her books, I put her to bed for naps and bedtime, etc. And I liked things a certain way, so why not just do them myself?
Unfortunately, when my daughter was around 2 months old, my husband would hold her and she would immediately get the biggest poutiest lip you have EVER seen, and start bawling. Two seconds before her breakdown, she could have been the happiest kid on Earth, and the SECOND he touched her, there came the big pouty lip, and crying ensued. I tried to convince him she didn’t hate him, but her actions were proving me wrong over and over again. She did this for about 2 months, then finally got over it.
Then came along the twins. Now, when you have TWO babies, having help is SO nice. Even though I was still was very much the "I can do it all myself" lady, who doesn't believe that two hands is better than one?! And, since we had an older child already, I was more than willing to accept any help anyone offered me, even though, let's be real--I could definitely handle it all on my own. ;)
Having twins kind of forced my husband into helping more. If he was around, he could burp a baby while I burped the other, he could change one diaper while I did the other, he could get one dressed while I did the other, etc. It's nice to have that extra help. And come on, two babies for two people please! So, scientific it or not, believe me when I say, my twins NEVER went through the “I hate Dad” stage. So take it or leave it, involving dad as much as possible from the beginning is not only good for their relationship, but can help Dad feel more involved. So how can Dad stayed involved when he may feel as if there is nothing he should do?
Here are a few ideas!
Let Dad Feed the Baby OccasionallyIf breastfeeding, feed one baby by one breast, and pump the other breast while your husband feeds one baby a bottle of milk from a prior pumping session. It’s definitely not ideal for you, but this occasional gesture may help Dad feel more helpful. I, for one, never did this because of my "just get it done" attitude, but I can see where a Dad would definitely feel more useful.
Diaper changes--YES PLEASE!Let Dad change ALL the diapers. I kid, I kid. Don't give him ALL the diaper changes. But come on, it HAS to be done, it's helping out baby, and if Dad really wants something to do, this is a great one. ;) But for real, this is something you both can tackle and laugh at one another when you end up getting baby poop all over yourselves.
Bedtime RoutineReading a book. Swaddling the babies. Singing a song. Saying prayers. Cuddling the babies before bed. All of these things can be done by Dad. So throw bedtime, or naptime, at Dad more often than you usually would. I was awful at swaddling my first, and my husband was amazing at it. He had to teach me how to do it well! Your husband may be the same way! This time is a great time for Dad and babies to bond.
Playtime with just DadSet aside time where Dad plays with the babies, and you GO AWAY. I mean it. Take a nap, read a book, get that to-do list done. Do something where you don't supervise the situation, and let Dad have alone time with his children. It doesn't have to be long, but just give Dad a little bit of time with them. Let the babies pay full attention to him, instead of worrying about you over in the corner of the room. Let Dad bond with them and create an everlasting relationship with them.
Dad can be involved in so many ways. Just make sure you're providing the opportunities for him to do so. And really, the more opportunity you give him, the more time you have for you. Just saying. ;)PC: @rad_young_things
*The “Two to Kiss, Two to Love” series is a helpful series for all you twin mamas out there! If you have a twin related question, comment below, and I’ll answer it for you!*