Are women 'naturally' better at looking after babies?

Mother sparks debate by claiming it’s ‘not natural’ for men to be the main carer for young babies

  • A mum sparked a debate after asking if it’s ‘natural for men to look after babies’
  • Taking to Mumsnet she asked if woman have ‘natural inclinations’ to soothe kids
  • Some said children are more naturally inclined towards their mother for comfort
  • Read more: Woman sparks debate saying women are more toxic than men 

A mother has sparked a debate after asking if it’s ‘natural for men to look after babies’, or whether women are better caregivers because they have ‘natural inclinations’. 

The woman took to the British parenting forum Mumsnet to explain that her husband is their eight-month-old daughter’s primary carer while she works, but he is  ‘finding it difficult’.

She added that their baby ‘settles better’ with her and is experiencing ‘separation anxiety’ when she goes to work. 

Some claimed children are more naturally inclined towards their mother for comfort, but others insisted it doesn’t matter which parent is the primary carer. 

A mum sparked a debate on Mumsnet after asking if it’s ‘natural for men to look after babies’ or do woman have ‘natural inclinations’ (stock image)

The woman began by saying she did not want ‘people pile in and either start bashing men or suggesting solutions’, explaining that her husband has been looking after their baby daughter, now nine months, since she was eight-weeks-old. 

‘I’m back at work,’ she said. ‘So he is really the main care giver and with [her] most of the time. Despite of that, she in general settles better with me and now we hit the separation anxiety, it’s me that she clings to.

‘Really ideally there would be men on here and I would be interested to hear their take on it. But as there aren’t many men perhaps the army of women can share their observations and experiences how their husbands find being around babies.

The unnamed woman, believed to be British, took to parenting forum and explained her husband is this eight month old babies primary carer while she works but she finds he is ‘finding it difficult’

‘Really the point of this thread is to get a window into how men feel when they look after young children.

She said that although her husband loves their daughter, he ‘finds it difficult to look after her’. 

‘As an extension of that whenever I’m not working he prefers me taking care of her as I think he finds it draining more than I do,’ she explained. 

‘So again, point of this thread is to get some more insights into how easy or difficult men find it to look after babies.

‘I know, I know – we are a modern society and generally quite forward thinking, but…. are there some natural biological inclinations that just will never fully change? All we can do is try to understand better and facilitate better.’

Some said their babies tend to use their mother for comfort rather than the father. 

Some said their babies tend to use their mother for comfort rather than the father as it is a ‘maternal bond’

One person said: ‘My baby is more inclined towards me for comfort. That includes sleeping, eating, crying. He likes his dad for playing, laughing, fun times. I would be the default person if he’s upset in any way.’

Another wrote: ‘I think it does matter when they are very young. Young babies are more comforted by their mother and mothers generally want to be around them (barring PND/trauma etc.). The baby knows and reacts to the sound of its mothers voice before being born.

‘On a statistical level mothers are less likely to injure/kill/abuse their babies (this isn’t the same as saying all fathers will before someone jumps on me).

‘Adopted and surrogate babies suffer lifelong trauma after being separated from the birth mother.

‘But I think after a certain age, as long as the caregiver is a good one ultimately it doesn’t matter what sex they are.

‘Men should be encouraged to be involved. This doesn’t mean you have to ignore the biologically reality of a very young baby needing it’s mother.’

Someone else said: ‘I agree mums are better with babies/ toddlers. I don’t know whether socialisation/hormones or maternal bond is the reason or combination of all three.

‘Men can be fantastic fathers and their role takes off from three years plus. They can also be very good in the teens years too.’

Many suggested that the primary care giver will always find minding the children more draining

However, others argued that the primary care giver will always be more exhausted by looking after children, and that it has nothing to do with biological sex. 

One person wrote: ‘It is draining looking after young babies and children and can be quite difficult. I don’t feel like the inherent biological connection of carrying the child makes that less so!’

Another wrote: In my experience my husband is much more able with our daughter than I am (as she’s getting older it’s evening up a bit). Neither of us are patient people but he seems to have a lot more patience for her than he does for anyone else. 

‘He was generally better at settling her so he does bedtime etc. I’m the one who finds it more difficult truth be told.

Other parents said they don’t think it makes a difference what parent looks after the baby as there are no ‘biological inclinations’ for either parent 

‘I think being primary carer is bloody hard, the demands are pretty much non-stop. I definitely handed daughter over to husband as soon as he got in from work. He was more able because he hadn’t spent a day being cried at and puked on so had reserves that I didn’t by the evening.’

While someone else agreed saying: ‘He finds it more draining than you do because he is doing most of the chilcare. The first thing I’d do on maternity leave was hand my son over to my husband when he’d get back from work. You’re able to be better with children because you haven’t been with her all day.

‘Also, have you not seen the many threads on here where mums are saddened that, despite being thr main caregiver, their children hit a stage of only wanting dad?

‘I do agree to a degree about biology and natural instinct in women as caregivers. I think in the  nine months of carrying your baby, you’re naturally becoming equipped to then care for them. 

‘But some of the points/examples you give seem to just be a case of you having a worn out husband, which can be expected as he is doing the bulk of childcare. It’s not a walk in the park you know, even for many women.’

Other parents said they don’t think it makes a difference which parent looks after the baby.

One person said: ‘If the mother breastfeeds then obviously the baby will be more attached to her. We bottlefed and my husband was just an effective caregiver as me. I don’t think sex has to come into it.’

Another wrote: ‘I think it totally depends on the individual (parents and children). No one is naturally a parent – we learn as and when it happens.’

While someone else agreed saying: ‘There are no different biological inclinations when it comes to men looking after children. Looking after babies is completely life changing and often completely exhausting. If you had been the parent staying at home you might observe your self to behave and feel exactly the same way your partner does.

‘I know that the moment my husband would come home from work, I would hand him the baby as I was exhausted.

‘I think often, still, there is this assumed supposed difference between how men and women look after their children, e.g assuming the woman is always the nurturing one – often she’s not, which in turn gives the man the excuse to be less involved. Which in turn is a complete cop out. And so these negative gender roles get perpetuated.’

Source: Read Full Article