My Son Cries When His Dad Holds Him: What Should We Do?

baby cries when dad holds him
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I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with Mamas Uncut. This article is part of a series of answers to common parenting challenges from their community members. This post was originally shared on Mamas Uncut.

My son cries when his dad holds him: What should we do?

A Mamas Uncut Community Member asks, “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?”

Dear Mamas Uncut Community Member,

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.

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.

More questions from this series:

My Friend’s Four-Year-Old Refuses to Potty Train: Advice?

How Can I Help Calm My Son Who Has ADHD?

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