How I’m Right and My Wife Isn’t

Arthur Molloy, Isle of Man, UK

Originally published June 2013

A father’s story

While we generally agree on the way we parent our children, it must be said that the initiative comes mainly from my wife; she looks to the long term.

And so this story is particularly exceptional in that it is the story of how I’m right and my wife isn’t.

I’m often accused of passing the baby back too quickly.

Let me explain. We have a baby, our third, who is two months old now and, after enjoying two spirited boys, we are now relishing the challenge of having a little pink in our lives.

In the course of the day she is passed to me, but as soon as she so much as wriggles I hand her back to her mother for breastfeeding.

“She mightn’t want feeding,” says my wife, “maybe she’s wet, tired, bored, over-stimulated. You don’t have to always assume she needs feeding.”

So maybe now you’re thinking, “What a selfish man! Does he ever give his wife a break?”

Yes I cuddle our daughter, I lie with her at night, I cradle her in a sling and I pull silly faces while her mother tries to gulp down a cup of tea, and yes, as soon as she squirms in my arms, I hand her back suggesting she might need feeding. And sometimes that’s five minutes after she last fed, sometimes it’s thirty minutes.

But wait for it—here comes the bit where I’m right: maybe it’s not hunger causing her to wriggle about, but breastfeeding is pretty much always always the answer. Tired baby? Breastfeed her. Bored or over-stimulated baby? Breastfeed her. Baby too hot or too cold? Snuggle her close and breastfeed her.

So much more than a feeding system, breastfeeding is nature’s perfect answer to all a baby’s ailments.

Handing the baby over to mum is definitely an act of love for me. For our family, the very best place for our baby is in her mother’s arms.

My arms will always be there, waiting for her. I will hold her hand as she takes her first steps, as we chase the waves on the beach, as I walk her down the aisle and as she nurses children of her own. My arms will forever form a protective barrier for her.

And so for now my arms will pass her to her mother. And, okay, maybe breastfeeding won’t cure a dirty diaper, but I’m happy to pass that one over as well—I can’t be right all the time!