A mom writes in asking for advice about her baby who cries every time her husband, the baby’s father, tries to hold him. She says that her husband is very busy with work and therefore not at home as much as she is, which she thinks may be the cause of the problem. But what are the potential solutions?
Certified school psychologist Kathryn Schwab weighs in with some expert advice below.
A Mamas Uncut fan asks:
“My son cries when his dad holds him: What should we do?
I am a mom to a baby boy, and I am curious if any other couples where one partner is a stay-at-home parent have experienced this… My husband is a teacher as well as a football, basketball, and baseball coach. He is currently in football and basketball season, so that, coupled with teaching, means he is super busy.
Anyways, our son is used to being with me all day to the point where he gets so worked up when my husband holds him and won’t calm down until I have him. I know the reality is he’s more comfortable with me because dad isn’t around as much as I am, but I still feel awful because I know it really hurts dad’s feelings. Has anyone else experienced this? Did you just let a baby cry it out while being held so they could get used to it? I include dad when he is home, letting him do feeding, diapers changes, etc. Is this just a phase, maybe?”
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Advice from Kathryn Schwab
It is normal and natural for babies to want to be close to their mothers. Over time, your child will go through developmental stages during which his attachment may fluctuate from you to your husband depending on his needs.
With this said, I know that you need a break and your husband needs time with his son. You are on the right track with including your husband by having him do the feeding, diaper changes, etc. when he is home. If your baby enjoys bath time, that is also a great time for your husband and baby to reconnect.
It would also be beneficial for your husband to have time with your son without you around. This will help your baby to understand that his dad is there to comfort and care for him too. For example, your husband could take your son for a walk snuggled in a front pack. Usually, the fresh air and movement will help the baby to relax and enjoy time with dad. If needed, when he is with dad it can be comforting for your child to have something with your scent, such as a small blanket or t-shirt.
You could start with short periods of time, such as a half-hour, and then extend this into an hour or two. Spending more time with your baby will help to strengthen their relationship.
Most of all, reassure your husband that this is a phase, he is an important part of the family, and that your baby loves his dad.
[Images via Shutterstock.]
Kathryn Schwab, M.S., Ed.S., is a certified school psychologist who has worked with children and their families for over 10 years. She received a Master of Science and Educational Specialist Degree from the University of Dayton. She is also the founder of Tons of Goodness, a resource that helps women and their families build a happier and healthier life. Kathryn lives in Ohio with her husband and her daughter. When she’s not working, Kathryn enjoys cooking, hiking, photography, and spending time with family.