So it occurs to me that my wife is not particularly versed in how to set me up for success with the baby handoff. Sad but true. She is a wonderful mother and a great wife but I guess finds it hard to see things the way a father would. I would like to set three rules for successful baby handoffs.
Give her to me the way I need her. This one is hard for mommas because I think their world is a bit more flexible. As a father doing one-on-one parenting, I find step one is forget about momma. Mommas don't need to worry about this one - but for daddies, a momma-obsessed baby is going to cry pretty much non-stop without momma around. So as fathers we establish first that life without mommas is not so bad. A seamless transition helps with this. If I need to take her for a walk, give her to me already in the stroller. That will lessen the trauma of the handoff.
Set me up for success. It's an imperfect world, but please try. I want to know where the changing stuff is, where the water is, snacks, wipes, toys. All of it.
Don't help me unless I ask. This is the hardest one, I think. Just because you hear your baby crying, does not mean I need you to break my flow. I find that talking my daughter down from a booboo, or hunger pangs, or separation anxiety, follows a different trajectory than the way she is comforted by my wife. Sometimes she cries for longer (by comparison) but it is still important that she learns to be comforted by her father independently. Please respect this and give me space.
I adore my wife and my daughter, and this is not meant to be critical. We are all doing the best we can and my wife does an amazing job with her. That being said, I do think it is important for mommas to hear about this stuff from a father's point of view.