July 02, 2015

Q: My baby seems to want his father instead of me lately. What's going on?

A: We know it's hard if your baby suddenly starts treating you like a second-class citizen, but try, try, try not to take this personally. It's actually quite common and can be due to a number of reasons. First, most babies naturally prefer the parent who's their primary caregiver, the person they count on to meet their most basic and essential needs. This is especially true after 6 months, when separation anxiety starts to set in. If one parent starts to assume more of this everyday caregiving, he or she may become the new favorite.

Some children also tend to develop a penchant for Dad when Mom is pregnant. Although your first child still knows you love him, he may sense that you're temporarily less available and naturally attaches himself to the parent who seems less preoccupied. And once the new baby is born, the older child often bonds strongly to Dad, who is more available than Mom. These issues can also resurface during the toddler years, when boys tend to prefer Dad and girls may cling to Mom.

And sometimes these preferences just come and go for no particular reason. But be assured they have no bearing on your future relationships -- and your baby may switch back to being all about Mama soon. Regardless of the reason, you can still enjoy bonding time with your baby even when he's pining away for Dad. Here are some suggestions: • When he pushes you away in favor of Dad, avoid acting hurt or rejected.  This can confuse your baby. Just let him know you're ready to play when he is. • Have your husband invite you to join in their activities. • Share baby-care chores with your husband so you can enjoy playtime as well. Sometimes Dad becomes associated with fun because you're the one responsible for mundane tasks like diapering and feeding.• Make sure you have alone time with your baby when your husband is not around.  • When you have one-on-one time with your baby, stray from the usual routine. Always drive straight home directly from childcare? Try taking a pit stop to play at the park for a few minutes instead. • Don't eyeball the clock. If you and baby are having fun, don't cut it short just to keep everyone on schedule. It's okay if dinner is six minutes late one night, or laundry gets put off until tomorrow.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

Answered by Parents.com-Team

Comments (3)

October 30, 2020
Hi:! I give birth 5 weeks ago, everything was good until my postpartum depression hits around week 4th, my daughter cries and feel more uncomfortable with me, every time I want to hang out with her she seems like she wants to cry and not feeling it. Every time her dad hold her, she seems she enjoying it too much and makes me feels miserable. I am the only one on this ?
September 19, 2020
I have a baby girl 17 months old and she prefers to hang with dad than mom even after I spend all day with her and moms at work she still goes to me when mom comes home , I know I spend more time with her when I am at home and take her outside and play , but I still feel sad to see my wife’s reaction when she wants me to hold her when she’s upset , and doesn’t want to go to mom
December 1, 2018
My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website www.SleepBaby.org - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out!