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A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!
Building queer family since 2008!
(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)
|From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Harlow. In a well-known series of experiments conducted between 1963 and 1968, Harlow removed baby rhesus monkeys from their mothers, and offered them a choice between two surrogate "mothers," one made of terrycloth, the other of wire.
In the first group, the terrycloth mother provided no food, while the wire mother did, in the form of an attached baby bottle containing milk. In the second group, the terrycloth mother provided food; the wire mother did not. It was found that the young monkeys clung to the terrycloth mother whether it provided them with food or not, and that the young monkeys chose the wire surrogate only when it provided food. Whenever a frightening stimulus was brought into the cage, the monkeys ran to the cloth mother for protection and comfort, no matter which mother provided them with food. . .
When the monkeys were placed in an unfamiliar room with their cloth surrogates, they clung to it until they felt secure enough to explore. Once they began to explore, they would occasionally return to the cloth mother for comfort. Monkeys placed in an unfamiliar room without their cloth mothers acted very differently. They would freeze in fear and cry, crouch down, or suck their thumbs. Some of the monkeys would even run from object to object, apparently searching for the cloth mother as they cried and screamed. Monkeys placed in this situation with their wire mothers exhibited the same behavior as the monkeys with no mother.
I just thought I'd chime in on my (ongoing) experience. I think it's totally valid for nonbio moms to worry about time spent with a newborn. And, in our case, despite all the happiness and excitement of having a new baby, I definitely felt left out a bit at first. When Noah was brand new, it took about 1 to 1.5 hours to breastfeed him, and this took place every 2-3 hours. He often fell asleep at the breast, and was generally a sleepy baby. There was not much for me to do aside from burp him, change him, and carry him to and from my wife. She got all the awake time with him because he pretty much spent all his awake time bfing. She was pumping (started in order to get her milk to come in quicker), but Noah had such a hard time getting used to bfing, that we didn't introduce bottles until about 2 months or so. I thought ahead of time that she would pump and I would bottle feed, but it just didn't work out that easily. And bottle feeding continues to be difficult for Noah, so he still mostly bfs. Part of the situation also is that I had a week off, and M has been off for 3 months. Since she is the one feeding him all day every day, I'm fine with her doing whatever is easier for her. She continues to pump and I give him bottles occasionally, but for the most part, the pumped milk is all storage at this point.
To sum it all up, it's hard to be a new nonbio mom who really wants lots and lots of time with the newborn. There were days in the beginning when I felt useless, like I could never come back home and it wouldn't matter because I didn't even do anything for M or Noah. I didn't feel that way often, but I mention it because it's something your partner may feel but not express. Having a newborn turns your life upside down. You want to do everything you can for that baby, no matter which parent you are, so it's tough when one parent can fulfill the baby's needs more easily than the other. Honestly, what helped me was just letting go and recognizing that I have a lifetime with Noah and there's no need to freak out about exactly how much time I have with him now. It's hard sometimes because I don't do much for him, physically, but I know he is happy. The good thing is that newborns get more interactive and awake every day. I think back (only 3 months ago) and can't believe the little boy that now giggles, coos, smiles, and kicks was once so sleepy that we had to undress him and blow on him to wake him up while he was bfing!
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