Effective Tips to Deal With When Baby Only Wants Mom
The arrival of a new baby is undoubtedly an exciting yet anxiety-inducing time for both parents and their support network. These tiny, mysterious beings can be incredibly demanding, and their moods can be perplexing, which can add to parental stress. However, it can be even more challenging for fathers when the baby seems to prefer only mom. This preference is not uncommon, primarily because the mother typically serves as the primary source of nourishment and comfort. While this tendency is often associated with breastfed babies, it can also extend to bottle-fed infants, further complicating matters for fathers. So, what is the reason behind this phenomenon, and how can parents effectively address it? Keep reading to explore more about this intriguing aspect of early parenthood.
Video: Effective Tips to Deal With When Baby Only Wants Mom
Why Do Babies Only Want Mom?
Regardless of how good either of the parents is in parenting, biologically, a baby is attached to mom. The main reason is that nourishment-only mothers can feed the babies, and it is critical for the babies to stick around their mothers when they feel like feeding. Babies are also more familiar with their mothers as they are used to hearing their voices from the stage of being a fetus. Babies are also quite good at recognizing their mothers from other women through smell. It is thought that a preference for mothers in infancy is essential as a matter of survival.
At What Age Do Babies Want Their Moms Only?
It is commonly seen that a breastfed baby only wants a mom during the early months of infancy. This is when babies need all the nourishment they can get and hence spend most if not all the time with their moms. Even bottle-fed babies have a higher preference for moms over dads. So, if your 3-month-old only wants mom, you know what’s happening.
Valuable Tips to Deal With the Situation When Baby Only Wants Mom
It can be difficult for many dads to not get their baby time, especially during early infancy. Here are some valuable tips for dealing with such a situation:
1. Understand That It Is Completely Normal
Most parents experience this phase during infancy. Because of the familiarity, the baby will need time to let go of their clinginess to their mother. As they grow, they begin to explore the world around them and get accustomed to the scent of the father and the rest of the family members. The baby’s reluctance has nothing to do with ‘not taking a liking towards the father’; it is only a survival instinct to stick to the mother, and it is entirely normal. Some babies are also more comfortable being in the arms of their fathers at an early age.
2. Be Patient
The baby is not going to stay clingy to the mother forever. As their world starts to expand, the first person they will be interested in is the only other person they are most familiar with- dad. Until that happens, it is essential that both parents stay patient and take it at a slow pace. The dads will have to resist the urge to scoop the baby out of the mom’s arms and take it one step at a time. They can start holding the baby when they are fast asleep to get them used to the ‘feel’ of dad over the first few months.
3. Start the Transition
It’s normal if the baby only wants a mom for three months as they still spend most of their time sleeping and feeding; this is when they need their moms the most. As they grow older and start interacting with other people, it’s time to get them accustomed to being held by dad. This also means that the mother should resist running to the baby every time they are uncomfortable being held by the dad. Allow them to cry, and self-soothe or give the dad a chance to soothe the baby and bond.
4. Get the Timing Right
Babies are naturally happy during certain times of the day- for some babies, it may be the morning after a good night’s sleep and some right after a meal. Dads need to take advantage of these good times to pick up their babies and bond with them. Cranky hours such as evenings or late nights when tired and exhausted should be avoided as they are more likely to get upset. Have a ‘daddy hour’ during weekends where the dad gets to hold and play or take the baby to the park accompanied by the mom.
5. Involve Dads In Activities the Baby Likes
As babies get older, they would love to go outside to see all the curious things around them. Even the fussiest babies will have an activity that calms them down or distracts them from crying. Allow the dad to take the baby for a stroll and continue even if they are annoyed the first time. Another routine activity, such as feeding, can also become a good time for the dad to bond. Express some breastmilk into a bottle to allow him to bottle-feed the baby. This can be an important message that feeding is not exclusive to the mom to the baby.
6. Hold Baby With Mom’s Shirt
Babies are comforted by the scent of their mothers, along with the sound of their voice and their touch. During one of the bonding exercises, let the dad hold the baby swaddled in one of the mom’s shirts. Since clothes absorb the scent of our bodies and the sweat, mom’s scent can keep the baby calm as dad gets his bonding time.
7. Make the Baby Laugh
Bonding requires spending a lot of time together and generating positive emotions. Therefore the more the dad is around when the baby is happy, the better they can bond. One of the best ways to generate positive emotions is to make the baby laugh at every opportunity. Luckily it is easy to make babies laugh as they respond positively to a number of visual stimuli such as toys and games such as peek-a-boo.
8. Utilize Sleep Time
It’s understandable that the baby only wants to sleep with the mom; however, dads can sneak in once the baby is in a deep sleep and have them by their side. Babies will eventually get used to the dad’s scent and do not fuss when held at other times. Dads can also participate in the sleep time routine to build familiarity with the baby. The dad must be present at these times, along with the mom.
9. Stay Persistent
Parents often get discouraged when the baby cries too much or shrieks every time the dad holds them. The secret to winning the infant over his persistence. Dads will have to find their opportunity to bond, and moms will have to give up the baby and fight the instinct to run to them every time they cry. Babies are naturally inclined to stay with their mom the longest, and they need to learn how to bond with others. By staying patient and persistent, dads can build trust with the baby.
10. Have Mom Run Errands With Dad at the Helm
As the baby gets accustomed to dad, practice alone time by having mom away for some time. This exercise is great for the dads, but moms also get alone away from home. Start by staying away from the baby in the next room and slowly expand the radius every day. The mission is accomplished once the baby can spend a few hours with dad!
1. Why Do Babies Like Their Mom So Much?
Babies often have a strong attachment to their mothers because they spend a significant amount of time with them from the moment of birth. This attachment is driven by a combination of factors, including the mother’s nurturing and comforting presence, her scent, her ability to provide food (breastfeeding), and the emotional bond formed during pregnancy.
2. Why Is My Baby Doesn’t Want His Dad?
It’s not uncommon for babies to show a preference for one parent over the other at certain stages of development. This preference is usually temporary and can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as the baby’s daily interactions, routines, and individual temperament. Over time, as the baby grows and forms more bonds, they often become attached to both parents.
It is usual for a newborn to only want mom. Dads will have to be patient and work their way into the baby’s comfort zone to build a bond. By being patient and persistent in their efforts over the months’ dads can successfully bond with the baby.
1. Suzuki, D, Ohashi, Y, Shinohara, E, Usui, Y, et al.; The Current Concept of Paternal Bonding: A Systematic Scoping Review; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9690989/; November 2022
2. Bigelow. A; To have and to hold: Effects of physical contact on infants and their caregivers; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7502223/; November 2020
3. Barry. E; Infant Behavior & Development: Co-sleeping as a proximal context for infant development: The importance of physical touch; National Library of Medicine; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31655427/; November 2019
4. Williams. L; Turner. P; Infant Behavior & Development: Infant carrying as a tool to promote secure attachments in young mothers: Comparing intervention and control infants during the still-face paradigm; National Library of Medicine; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31877392/; February 2020
5. Kinsey. C, Hupcey. J; Midwifery: State of the science of maternal-infant bonding: a principle-based concept analysis; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3838467/; February 2013
6. Winston. R, Chicot. R; London Journal of Primary Care: The importance of early bonding on the long-term mental health and resilience of children; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5330336/; February 2016
7. Scism. A, Cobb. R; Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing: Integrative Review of Factors and Interventions That Influence Early Father-Infant Bonding; National Library of Medicine; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28061325/; January 2017
8. Toney. L; The effects of holding the newborn at delivery on paternal bonding; National Library of Medicine; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6549837/