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My wife and baby spend too much time with her parents!

Rebekah in Portland
Give her time, be patient and don't make suggestions—just listen. Call often when you're at work. She will get used to being home alone, but in the mean time, if she needs her parents for support, let her go. Don't worry about the baby not getting used to your house—he already is! Things do and will get easier when your baby's a month old and your wife is able to get into a routine.

Falon in Wayburg
She could be going through postpartum depression, and she probably finds that going to her parents is a relief, especially when she's alone and you're at work. She could also feel like she's not getting any help or support. Try touching base with her and listening to what she has to say.

Neha in Accra
I was at my parents for three months and it did not affect my baby girl. But it sure did help me mentally and physically. Your wife may resent you for not wanting her to go to her mom's. And she's right to be annoyed. She's the one at home, handling a newborn all day. So be OK with the fact she's going there and take care of your son in the evening.

Roxy in Tucson
She might be going to her parents' house because she feels she can't handle the baby on her own. I understand you want her to limit her visits because it would be a lot better for a baby to be at home with both parents to care for him instead of taking him out so much. When you both agree on it, her parents should visit.

K. in Quelph, Ontario
Babies will accept pretty much anything. We moved three times before our daughter was 2 1/2, twice living with different grandparents. Now we're living on our own, and our 3-year-old is comfortable with all her grandparents and not overly attached to anyone.

Valerie in Groton, CT
Sounds like she's having a difficult time adjusting to new parenthood or even has postpartum blues. She feels she needs the extra support of family. I would show my support and keep offering to be there any way she needs. Maybe even have a heart-to-heart about what she is going through and whether she might be experiencing something more serious than the typical baby blues (postpartum depression). If that's the case, get her the necessary help from a physician.

Em in Ireland
No one can help as well as your wife's own mother! She offers the best advice, and your wife can relate to her and talk to her without feeling she's boring her with baby talk.



Pallavi in Hyderabad
Most of the times a mom is frustrated at the end of the day and expects her husband to take care of the baby as soon as he's home. So try to do that. Just help her in all ways you can. Then one day, ask your wife not to send the baby to her mom's house as you can both can take proper care of him.

Ann in Florida
You could suggest to your wife that her mom come over to your home. Basically, just try talk with her or just listen to her. Also, praise her for the things she does.

Angie in Parkersburg
As someone who's been through it myself, it sounds as though you wife could be suffering from postpartum depression. If you suspect this, please get your wife to the doctor ASAP. Also, get some help to come to the house and give her a break. Book her an afternoon at a spa. This too shall pass as she becomes more confident in her new role.

Trisha in Dodge
When I had my daughter, I was the same way. I couldn't go to sleep because I thought that I wouldn't hear her and something would go wrong. It just takes time. And your wife needs to get fresh air, too. My husband would send me to the store so I could get out of the house. It is a new experience for both of you. You may even think about having one of her parents come out to the house and watch the baby so you and your wife can go out for a couple of hours.

Kenneth N. Condrell, Ph.D.
A new mother is proud of her baby and often thinks of that child as a gift—not just to her and her husband, but to her parents as well. That's why parents love showing off their baby to their own parents.

At the same time, becoming a parent is an overwhelming experience, so mothers who have good relationships with their parents often turn to them for help. Taking care of a baby for the first time can be a scary experience, especially in the first few months.

Your wife could be exhausted with all the demands a new baby makes, and the round-the-clock attention he requires. Chances are she's getting time to rest at her parents' home.

It's also possible your wife is experiencing postpartum depression. If you sense she may be depressed, you should encourage her to speak to her doctor about it. This is not uncommon among women after giving birth, just as it's not uncommon for a woman to seek out the emotional support of her parents during this trying time.

These are the most common reasons a new mom wants to spend time with her parents. I strongly suggest that you and your wife sit down to arrange a plan for your participation in caring for your son. It's important for men to bond with their children. To do this you need to feed your son, change his diapers, bathe him and soothe him. This also means getting up in the middle of the night. You also might discuss how you could cook some meals or bring home dinner to ease your wife's workload.

Most new mothers don't want to leave their baby during the first few weeks, but since you can trust her parents to baby-sit, it would be a good idea for you and your wife to get out of the house. Parents need adult time so they can recharge their batteries and have the energy to care for baby. Consider going out to dinner, watching a movie, taking a relaxing drive or another activity that you and your wife find fun and pleasant.

The most crucial concern at this time is for the two of you to avoid growing apart. So stop criticizing her reliance on her parents. Talk with her about parenting as a team. Focus on the importance of the two of you as husband and wife as well as mom and dad. In other words, don't let your new baby distract you from being a couple and nurturing your marriage.

I wish you the best—and congratulations on your baby.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education