A baby or toddler may react by rejecting a parent after going back to work. If this has happened to you, you might be sad, worried, and frustrated.
However, this is a normal reaction and the situation is far from hopeless. Let’s look at why a baby rejects mom after going back to work, and some helpful tips on what to do about it!
Can a baby NOT like their mom? I have a 9-month-old baby, who doesn’t seem to want me anymore.
Is it common that a baby rejects mom after going back to work? Because that’s what is happening!
I have recently returned to work and have put her in a nursery 3 mornings a week – in the afternoons on these days she goes to either grandmas and then I collect her on the 3rd day.
I can’t quite remember if this started at around the same time but she no longer wants to be with me – she will reach out for anyone else who is around, and this is really upsetting for me.
I rush home to see her and she cries/moans when she sees me – I hold my hands out to her and she clings to whoever she is with at the time.
My partner has always spoilt her by carrying her around on his hip what seems like constantly, so when he comes in from work she is happy and smiley and wants him to cuddle her and pick her up and she won’t even look my way!
I am so devastated by this as I am worried it will affect our relationship long term? I have no idea what to do – I play with her, I am the person that teaches her everything she knows, I am the one who gets up in the night to comfort her, I am the one preparing food and doing all the motherly things that need doing – cuddling and playing – but she still doesn’t want me most of the time.
Thanks for taking the time to read,
Helpful Tips if Baby Rejects Mom After Going Back To Work
Thanks for reaching out and talking about the fact that your baby rejects you after going back to work. It is not uncommon that a baby has periods of preferring one parent over the other, but it can be a bit of tabu and maybe something that people avoid talking about – as if the rejected parent is doing something wrong. So thanks for speaking up!
Now to your situation.
Since your baby just recently started to reject you, you don’t have to worry about the overall bonding with your baby.
Instead, I think this is the way to see the situation:
Mom going back to work is a crisis for baby
You ask – can a baby not like their mom..? Well, it of course depends on the situation; if the mom and baby live together and have had the possibility to develop a bond, and so on. But in your case, I would say that this is not a relevant worry!
Your girl is acting this way because she loves you and needs you, not the opposite! As you say, you’re the one who has been there for her all her life and still is in many ways, and now you’re suddenly gone much more. Your daughter is going through her first life crisis adapting to the new situation.
Babies react in different ways when mom (or dad) suddenly starts working. Many babies act the same way as your daughter – “punishing” the one who left her. Other babies become extremely attached to that person any time she or he is around.
Your daughter loves you pretty much more than anything in the world. She can’t even choose not to, because you are her mom.
Try to see her reaction in the light of her little crisis, don’t take it personally and don’t worry. This will not affect your long-term relationship in any way, as long as you can stay cool about it. Just continue to be there for her and show that you are still around – even if things are not exactly like before.
Separation Anxiety at 9 Months
One explanation to why your daughter’s reaction is so strong might be that 9 months is a sensitive age. Somewhere around this age, babies start realizing that they are a separate person from their mom. Very scary! This is the age when separation anxiety and stranger anxiety may come in full force.
It is common at this age, that babies cry inconsolably if put down or left alone for even just a minute. Therefore, don’t think of it as spoiling her if your husband is carrying her around. There are studies showing that babies that are being held a lot actually become independent faster. They simply need this period of increased closeness to gain new courage.
Reconnecting with Your Child
I know that it is tough to be rejected and that it is really hard to not take it personally, but try to just love her even more when it happens – both for your own sake and her! It will pass.
Some things you can try to reconnect faster are to:
1. Laugh together!
Laugh together! Play lots of games with your daughter. Peek-a-boo. for example, is perfect for a baby with separation anxiety. Play games together with both her and her if needed. If she can crawl, chasing each other might be fun.
2. Outdoor fun
Take her outside! Sometimes the distraction of being outside together will help so that she does not focus on dad being away. Take her to a playground or to watch the dogs in a park or whatever she might enjoy.
3. Safe co-sleeping
Consider co-sleeping, where your daughter sleeps between the two of you. (Do read the tips in the linked article for safe co-sleeping!) This way, your daughter will get much more time close to you.
4. Work on your own feelings
Really make sure that you put away all your worried, frustrated feelings when interacting with your daughter. Babies can feel our tension. If you are off balance, she might notice and you thereby reinforce the rejection. Take a deep breath and focus and love and joy when you interact with your daughter.
5. Avoid power struggles
If she reaches for her dad or someone else, let her go without showing your pain. Avoid power struggles around cuddling at all costs! Otherwise, you will reinforce her wishes to put distance between the two of you and her wish to go to the other person, where does not experience any bad emotions.
Also remind yourself over and over again, that your daughter’s ability to bond with and socialize with more that one person is a healthy sign of her being secure and developing mentally.
In conclusion, it is a painful when a baby rejects mom or dad. Any parent who has been there can relate to your pain. But it is common, normal and it will pass, especially if you can avoid reinforcing it by letting your frustrations shine through to your baby. Focus on love and fun!
Good luck and let us know how things develop!
Read Next On Babies Rejecting One Parent
Stay At Home Mom Rejected By Baby
Newborn Baby Rejects Dad
|Oct 14, 2012||Baby doesn’t care
|Oct 22, 2012||SAD SAD :(
|Oct 23, 2012||my 10 month old daughter hates me
|Oct 28, 2012||My daughter likes my mil more
|Oct 30, 2012||My daughter doesn’t love me
|Nov 09, 2012||Working Mom
|Nov 13, 2012||Things get better
|Nov 29, 2012||thank you
|Dec 10, 2012||My 7 months loves grandma more
|Dec 10, 2012||To mom with pushy grandma
|Dec 12, 2012||Having same problem w/ my 17month old
|Dec 13, 2012||To Laura
I can understand that your son’s behavior is making you sad. But from what you write, it sounds like this is a fairly new thing? If it is new, I don’t think you need to worry very much; it will pass. Many babies go through periods when only one of the parents will do – it can be either the mom or the dad. And it is very easy to feel rejected when it happens. But the best thing you can do is to NOT take it personal. Children are not there to build our self-esteem, they can’t and often won’t, especially if we expect them to act in a certain way, or to be thankful or loving, because we treat them well.
Most likely, your son is going through a phase when he is turning out towards the world. And since you have been at home with him, you’re not very exciting. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you. Rather the contrary; that you have helped him become so secure that he is now ready to face the world.
Instead of turning your relationship into a power struggle, (trying to make him say “mommy”, for example), be proud of how much you have helped him to grow already!
A wonderful thing to do in periods like this, is to spend time alone with the child. If someone can take care of your older child now and then; have some fun together, just you and him. Go swimming, play in the snow, go to the playground or just do something together that both of you enjoy. (And by all means, get the same kind of time alone with your three year old too!)
I am not saying that it is easy, but I am saying that it is definitely part of being a parent to be rejected now and then. It is hard. Very hard, even. But if we can handle it as adults, and give our children both love and space no matter what, I am certain that our long-term relationship AND bother their and our personal development will benefit.
Hang in there! You are great mother, try to relax and just love your little independent son.
|Dec 13, 2012||Thank you Paula!
|Dec 14, 2012||Please someone help me
|Dec 14, 2012||Laura – not silly!
I recently read a study about the massive positive effects of just spending 15 minutes with a child every day – 15 minutes with 100% focus on the child. No phone, no computer, no cleaning, cooking, working, or thinking about other things. Just 15 minutes of fun interaction. It has shown to be a very effective tool to make children both bond and co-operate instead of challenging us and our rules. Much more effective than disciplining a child.
It might be worth trying too. When I first read about it, I thought it sounded crazy – just 15 minutes! But then I realized that I don’t give that to each of my children every day at all. I’m often doing something else at the same time as interacting with them. Or I “bundle them together”, rather than giving each one of them time. A scary thought! So I’ve tried to improve, and honestly, I’ve seen positive results very quickly.
Maybe worth trying for you too? If you do, say for a month, please let me know if you notice any improvement in your relationship!
|Dec 14, 2012||To Jessy
What a painful situation you are in! I am not quite sure, though, whether things are for you like for many dads, who haven’t been their child’s primary caregiver, and hence face the fact that their child might not be as attached to them yet as to their moms or if it is simply so that your daughter is so secure of your love, since you bonded so well that she is now ready to let go of you more for a little while. I would actually bet on the second explanation, since you write that you did build a strong bond with her during her first 6 months.
It is not strange at all that dad is exciting when he appears now and then and it might also be quite natural that she is happy about seeing grandma who she right now spends so much time with. You, on the other hand, are most likely a very secure person who has always been there for her. What she calls you means nothing. Babies don’t put anything extra in a certain word compared to another.
I think there are two things you should do. First, talk to your mom about how you feel. Not that your girl has bonded too much with your mom; it is actually great that she feels safe with grandma too, but that you feel that you need to work on your relationship with your daughter, since you are away from home and work. Discuss a plan with mom. Maybe you can decide that she goes out a couple of evenings a week, so that you can keep 100% focus on having a good time with your daughter. Use this time to get down on the floor and play with her, take a bath together, read her a story, curl up in bed and tell her a bed story or sing to her or do whatever she loves doing. (And no chords these evening until your baby is asleep!)
Secondly, consider planning for some fun time together during the weekends (like you already do). Baby swim classes, where the parent is with the child in water (if the baby likes it, of course) is a wonderful way to have fun together, for example.)
Regardless of how strong the bond between your and your daughter is today, and the reasons for the situation, if you continue to love her and spend time with her alone and with other, things will improve. The bond is there, and you obviously love her very much. I don’t think putting your whole life in a more stressful state by moving should be your first choice, in case living with your mom works well in all other aspects.
Being 18 months old, your daughter is in an age where turning out towards the world is a natural development. Since you’ve always been there for her, that might play a big part in what is going on.
|Dec 15, 2012||Baby doesn’t want mommy
|Dec 15, 2012||Please need advice
|Dec 16, 2012||To Nitsa
Your baby is enjoying the world around him and right now grandma is great fun. I know it is hard and scary and painful after many months of being pregnant and then being everything for a child. Trust me, I feel it too now and then and husband even more, who has been the one NOT chosen especially by our youngest. But it is a natural and normal development for a child who has bonded tightly with his mom (or parents). Before we know it they are even out of the house.
You know, we have to accept it, applaud their development and let them go. And be there when they come back.
Your son loves you no less because he enjoys the company of his grandma. If he wasn’t a secure baby he wouldn’t be able to bond with other people. So you’ve done great job.
Try to sit back and be proud of yourself! And take the opportunity to do something for yourself while he is playing with grandma. She is not a competitor and never will be – only you are his mom!
Continue to do things alone with your boy – that is an excellent way to maintain a good relationship even when he has become an older kid, teenager and adult.
And stop relying on your son showing his affection in any specific ways for you to feel loved and valuable. There will be days and periods when all he does is yell at you. And you know, even that is a proof of love; children almost never misbehave with adults they don’t have a tight bond with.
Take care, Nitsa!
|Dec 26, 2012||my baby daughter prefers my parents
I have a 20-month daughter. Since she was born my parents have always been around helping and visiting. My mom used to take care of her during the afternoon so I could study. She was with me mornings and nights. I used to have a very tight relationship with my parents. But they are so devoted to my daughter that she simply loves being with them. She wants me over anybody except when they are around. Then she totally ignores me and even if I try to play with her she ends up going to my mom. My mom realizes and tries to reduce it a little, but to no avail. And my dad is simply crazy about her. Yesterday, Xmas day, he passed the whole day following her everywhere! Goodness! It’s just so strange… I don’t know what to do!! I used to adore my parents to death. But they have become my competitors… And I start having bad feeling towards them. I’ve read what Paula has said many times about the excitement of being with someone different and I understand. It just breaks my heart that my own parents seem to have taken my place.
|Dec 29, 2012||Heart shattered mother
I’m totally on the same boat as all of you(s)!
|Jan 07, 2013||mother to a 18month old girl
Though it seems that my daughter doesn’t even want me when I’m there, she is always clinging to her grandma it hurts a lot when i see her do that, i mean I’m the one that has stayed awake for her all night when she was sick, i am the one that does everything for her.
I feel like I’m only good for her when she needs a diaper changed. If she is with me then she walks a way the moment she hears or see’s her grandma.
What can i do to get my daughter back? Please help!!!!!
|Jan 11, 2013||Mother with a Broken Heart
I know it’s wrong but I cannot help but feel jealous, I cannot think of something wrong that I’m doing because I play with him all afternoon until late evening and care to his every need.. I always thought it was because I am a working mum but it seems that even stay home mums have this problem. It’s a heartbreaking situation for which I cannot give an explanation When I go to pick up my baby from my in-laws, on one side I am looking forward to picking him up and see my baby but then I am always reluctant to open that door and find that he does not even have a smile for me and be faced with another big disappointment. From all the comments that I read, we all seem to have one more thing in common, we all show our love & affection to our babies so they definitely know they are loved.. I really don’t know… :-( hope it will change in future.. :-( A Big Hug goes to all those mummies and daddies who are in the same boat as me!
|Jan 12, 2013||almost 3 year old rejects me. Paula help me.
I am not a horrible mother, in fact I am a stay at home mother. We may not do much and I am stern when it comes to bad behavior but she cries a lot and asks where daddy is. Her father does go out a lot with her on his days but I do not drive and all we do is stay at home. I know it’s not fun for her and I think that is why she rather remain with her father. Its all new to me and its hard to mother when you’re only 22. Especially when you have a insane father constantly making complaints and accusations your way just to get the child from you. In my opinion it’s not a healthy life for her or I.
It does feel like all I am used for is food and diaper change. Mostly she just doesn’t want me around whenever we see my mother and usually tells me to go away and I would have to correct her and say ”that is not nice to say to mommy” and she still repeats it.
The weird thing is when I pick her up she whines and clings to her dad and when I put her in the car she is fine and talking 10 mins down the road.. is this the transition between both parents? Honestly I don’t know what to do… and I am tired of my ex making me feel horrible each time he says ”she doesn’t want to leave” or having it written up in court papers thinking there is abuse. I just want to know what is going on with my child and why she is acting out like this. Its hard to deal with every time and heart-breaking.
|Jan 14, 2013||Why is this happening to us?
This has been completely devastating to me. I have come on to this site to read these postings a couple times over the past couple months and while I am relieved to see that I am not the only one, I want to know why this is happening? I can’t seem to find this answer. Not to make light of this happening to the dads out there but I think that is more common than the moms as, for the most part, we are the primary caregivers. I want to know if there are commonalities that us moms share. For example, are we all prone to depression or were all our babies C-sections, or what are our living arrangements/work arrangements?
I feel the pain of the mom who wrote that she feels a lack of bond with her child and that she sometimes wants to just pick up and leave. While I would never ever leave my child, I am very concerned about the lasting effect on our relationship. Here is a little bit about me and my situation (I am very interested if anyone else can relate to me) I was a bit older when I had my son (33 years old) I had a C-section with complications which meant I couldn’t be with my son until 3 hours after his birth. I am prone to mild depression and can be a bit of a hermit sometimes.
It took me a while to get into the groove of motherhood – not sure whether it was my age, post partum? I work very part time – 3 days a week for a total of 16 hours. My mother in law lives in my basement suite and looks after my son 2 days a week, my mom looks after him 1 day a week. I am considering changing our living situation for various reasons but namely to see if it makes a difference with my relationship with my son. Please help! I am so in love with my son but am so heartbroken by this! If we know why this is happening maybe we can change it!
|Jan 24, 2013||Usless life!Useless mom
|Jan 24, 2013||Useless life! Useless mom!
|Jan 24, 2013||To SadMomma
I wrote on this thread a year ago in despair and check in periodically when I’m emailed that a new post has been made. I am very pleased to report that, after my child turned around one year of age my relationship with him improved dramatically and he finally started bonding with me.
Anyway, I’m not writing to give a full update on my situation but instead I wish to respond to your posts. I’m very concerned about you. You sound like you are in very bad emotional shape. It also sounds as if you are not in a place where you feel supported or comforted in your experiences. Because I was in a very bad place myself over this issue, I understand your pain and encourage you in the strongest terms to get support for yourself. It’s easy to be an outsider giving advice, but take it from someone who felt similarly rejected by her own child, I really urge you to consider seeking help and support from a source not on the inside of your situation. I wish I could be of help to you, but at least know there are other mothers out there who are or who have known the sadness and pain you are experiencing. Please take care.
|Feb 04, 2013||A Very Sad Mommy
|Feb 05, 2013||Scared my child doesn’t know I’m her mother
My daughter prefers my mother, as she looks after her while I’m at college. Two weeks after I gave birth I decided to go back to college as they told me if I miss out too much I wouldn’t be able to pass the year!
I thought I was doing the best thing for myself and my daughter. But I’m not so sure now, I think my daughter doesn’t know I’m her mother. After college I’m with her all the time, I play with her, feed her, do things that I feel is bonding but she still prefers my mother when given the choice.
It hurts to see my mother be the preferred one when I try just has hard to be noticed!
A few weeks back she was ill and I stayed at home to look after her. But she preferred to be cuddled by my mom instead. It hurt me so much, I feel as if l’m not doing enough. My dad says it’s because she can feel who really loves her.
Is that true? I do everything my mother does yet “apparently” I don’t love her enough!! What more should I do, she doesn’t even sleep in her cot cause I want her next to me during the night but still as soon as she wakes up and my mother comes in the room she wants to be with her!
Please i need some bonding advice..
|Feb 07, 2013||To FirstTimeMommy
First of all, kudos to you who co-sleep with your daughter! That is an excellent way to allow the two of you to bond.
Since you live with your parents, your situation is quite similar to that of all dads (usually), who work and come home, only to find that their child prefers mom, who is around all the time.
That does NOT mean that the baby doesn’t love dad (or mom in your case), but simply that she is a developmental stage where she mainly can handle showing love to one person at the time. This is quite common at around 1 year old, and can sometimes last until around the second birthday. (It has absolutely NOTHING to do with how much you love your daughter; that was an insensitive and completely incorrect comment by your dad!)
But doesn’t mean that you should just sit and wait!
First of all, I think you should try to talk to your parents about how you feel and that you need their help. Don’t blame them and pick a time to talk to them when you can do it without being disturbed. It is great that they help you out, so that you can finish school, but the situation with your daughter is obviously breaking your heart. And a good and warm relationship between you and your daughter will benefit all of you.
And as being the “preferred caretaker” at the moment, your mom can help you a lot by firmly handing over your daughter to you at certain points. For example, dinner time could be a point in time where after your mom stays away from your daughter as much as possible. Weekends too. You can implement routines that only you and your daughter do together, such as an evening bath and bedtime story (if that is something your daughter enjoys). Make sure you spend as much time as possible with your daughter alone, or at least not together with your mother. If possible, try to be at home alone with your daughter too. Maybe the others can go out for a while during the weekends and you just stay at home and spend time together.
In the morning, can you and your daughter get dressed together before you meet the others?
Your mom can also try to stir up some excitement around you coming home from school; looking out of the window with your daughter – here comes Mommy! or something similar.
Babies have a huge radar for love. Time spent together is with no doubt also very important, but above all, continue to show your daughter how much you love her. Try to not show any hurt feelings if she goes to her grandma; she obviously isn’t doing it to hurt you and may become quite confused if she can sense your irritation when it happens.
Try to reach out to your mom and ask for her help. I am sure she wants the best for her daughter, i.e. you. She should be proud to have raised such a loving mom.
I truly wish you good luck,
|Feb 11, 2013||Never really bonded
|Mar 03, 2013||Prefers Grandparents over me
|Mar 10, 2013||Really in need of advice
Although I?m not working my mother in law takes care of him most of the time as he hates to be with me. Its got to a point where I feel like everything is against me. Especially living in India just because the Home Office is not convinced I?m married and have a son. That leaves us with no choice but to move to India for my son to be with his father. Please advice what should I do. I?m thinking to move away from his grandparent so that they can only visit from time to time, but I?m worried it will affect him.
|Mar 29, 2013||Hospital
But 3 weeks ago I got hospitalized. I miss my baby terribly. I only seen him twice and I feel like if he is getting very distant from me.last time he visited with his father he banged his head by my head little bit and he refused to be comforted by me, he only wanted to go to his dad. I can’t stop crying. So worried he is forgeting about me.
|Apr 05, 2013||15 month old prefers everyone to me
Now my problem seems to be that she doesnt like me very much, I think myabe she remembers my tears and frustration with her and cant forgive me. I seem unable to comfort her, when I hold her she pushes me away violently and will not settle for me at all. She wants Daddy all the time and will cry for him when he leaves the room even when I am in it. She gets hysterical if I take her off him. She also wont let me give her the bedtime bottle- she screams- it has to be done by Daddy.
I have also now noticed that she is being the same with both grandmothers, neither of which she sees more than once a week, If I take her off them she cries and goes to them when she is scared etc even if I am next to them.
I try to be a good mum, I stay at home and try to take her out every day to do new things, I play with her and sing her songs. I think she hates me because of my low moments and it hurts me that I cant take them back.
I am 7 months pregnant again and am terrified that I will cling to this baby in a way to have the bond I dont have with my daughter.
I dont know what to do, I feel desperate.
|Apr 05, 2013||Confused dad for a 4 year old
Anything I can do to fix this????
|Apr 06, 2013||To worried mom to the 15 month old
I am so sorry to hear about your situation and your pain. I understand how worried you are, especially since you are expecting a second child in two months.
There are a few things I would like to say to you.
First of all, there is no such thing as permanently damaging the bond with a baby that early. Bonding can start at any time, even at 15 months old, even though it can take a bit longer to establish at that point. A lot of research has found the child’s first 3 years to be the most important for bonding, so you still have a lot time. And even after that, it is still entirely possible to bond.
Secondly, your daughter does not hate you. She didn’t when she newborn and she doesn’t now. She does not have any memories of you crying and even if she did, she wouldn’t hate you for it. Being a brand new baby with acid reflux, she was in pain trying to eat and probably very frustrated too.
May I ask how your relationship is when dad is not around? Do you hug, cuddle, and laugh together? Or is she a bit distant to you also then?
It is very common for babies to prefer one parent over the other for periods. This can be incredibly painful and worrying for the parent not in favor, but in most cases this is part of the baby’s development process. Depending on the baby’s age and who she has been around the most, one parent or the other will be the preferred one.
That is not to say that you don’t have a real problem. I think you do have a problem. But I believe it can be solved.
I hear a lot of guilt in what you write. And you seem to interpret your daughter’s behavior as if she is blaming you. You know, she is way too young to be that rancorous. At 15 months, she lives in the present. And that is actually the key to your bonding. You need to try to get rid of this guilt in your heart! It is not your fault that the first few months were very tough. And the fact that your daughter is now fussy eater may have absolutely nothing to do with those difficult times. Or maybe it is related – still not your fault. But the guilt you are feeling may very well delay the bonding. When you feel rejected, she will sense your reactions and you end up in vicious circle of guilt, sadness, rejection, and more sadness and guilt.
What you need to do is to take a step back and stop taking your daughter’s preferences as evidence that you have done everything wrong. If you can accept that “OK, right now she prefers her dad, but that doesn’t mean that I am bad or that she hates me. It only means that she prefers her dad right now.” then you can start looking and working forward instead of looking back.
Continued in next comment…
|Apr 06, 2013||To mom of 15 month old continued…
There are many ways to start bonding with an older baby, like your daughter. Since you are at home, you have a lot of chances. Try to have a lot of skin contact with her. Take naps together, take a bath together, just go down on the floor (if it isn’t too uncomfortable) and play together. Make sure you give her 100% of your attention for at least 30 minutes each day and have FUN together during those 30 minutes. Join her in her happiness when dad come home and let her know that her love of dad is OK. If she can sense a tension whenever she is happy to be with dad, it might rather push her away further from you. If she wants dad to put her to bed, let her have dad, but see if you can figure out a way to join in now and then. Maybe cuddle up the three of you in her bed for a little story or lullaby?
To be able to detach from your natural reactions to being rejected is not easy. I know that very well! But it is so important! But unless one is emotionally stable, it can be almost impossible.
Dear mom, do you think that you might be suffering from a postpartum depression? Have you ever considered that? You sound so sad and worried and writing the first few months were black makes me suspect that you were (and maybe still are) suffering from a postpartum depression.
So here comes my last advice. Ask your midwife or doctor for help immediately if any part of you answers ‘yes’ to my above question. You are not alone, you have not done anything wrong and you should not be feeling this sad. Please, ask for help.
|Apr 06, 2013||To Confused Dad to 4 year old (part 1)
First of all, I totally understand that your daughter mainly wanting you is very painful for her mom and it is considerate of you to try to help “fix” the situation.
However, based on that you say your wife is concerned that your daughter doesn’t like her anymore, it makes me believe that this situation has not been going on since she was an infant. If it is fairly new – maximum 1 year or so – what is going on is actually a completely natural development stage in your daughter’s life. At around 3 to 5 years of age, children tend to become very attached to the parent of opposite gender. They can also act very competitive towards the parent of the same gender. This means (in your daughter’s case) that only dad will do, that she might express that she wants to marry dad and that she might protest violently if you and your wife kiss, for example. She is in love, so to say, and wants to be with you all the time.
This can of course be very tough on the other parent, especially for someone who is used to be the preferred one. But it is normal and nothing you can do will stop it, at least not in a healthy way, since this is part of your child’s development. Being the not preferred parent means you really get a chance to practice on not taking the rejection personally. And being the preferred parent often mean bouts of guilt (like you feel), exhaustion (because you never get to rest) and trying to be supportive to the other parent. Parenthood is a great opportunity for personal development!
Now, what to do in your situation?
First of all – STOP acting bad towards your daughter. If anything, it will harm the situation more. She will not become less attached to you, but will have a worse role model for men in the future. And I suspect it isn’t helping your wife either. I am sure you mean really well, but in a way you are saying that you need behave badly for her to appear as a good mom, i.e. saying that she isn’t good the way she is today.
(Continued in next comment…)
|Apr 06, 2013||To Confused Dad with 4 year old (part 2)
Instead allow yourself to really enjoy your time with your daughter. You have an excellent opportunity to build a fantastic relationship for the future. And as much as possible, have your wife join in. Take a bath the three of you, cuddle up together for a nighttime story and go out having fun together. (if your daughter will allow; a lot of children do, at least some times.)
And hug your wife. She is having a tough time, but please let her know that this really is a normal development stage. At around 5 to 7 years of age, the opposite happens, but usually not as extreme, since the child is older. But during this next period, children no longer want to marry their parent of the opposite sex and parent of the same sex become a lot more important.
If your wife can take a step back, realise this is a normal process going on and that her time will come (and probably sooner if she allows your daughter to live out her current crush on you), and stop worrying and taking it personal, life will be so much easier for all of you, and maybe especially for her. Praise your wife when she manages to be cool about it – it isn’t easy! And console her when she is sad. Just ask her to really try not to show her emotions to your daughter, but rather focus on having a good time with her when you are not around – that will certainly build on their relationship for the coming years.
I hope this helps,
|Apr 06, 2013||My Baby 8 1/ 2 mths ……… Relation getting bad
My gal is nw 8 1/2 mths . I started wrk after 4 mths of her birth . she is taken care by my husband’s mother . nw i think my gal dun wants me . she cries alot wen i pick her back from wrk ….
she cries for grand mother . after wrk wen she sees me she clings on her granny .
it kills me
its my first child n i love her lots cos it took long for me to have her .
yes its also my in-laws first grand child but at times i feel there are selffish. they dun even let me held my gal after my day of wrk…. i dun get to spent time with her during weekdays..my husband dun understand me wat i am going through . weekends wen i wanna spend time with my gal they comes in between n tells my husband to bring her over . tis always lead me n my husband to quarrel …..i cant slp goes i am really very very deep down crying n dying….
will my daughter never love me or be close to me…. wont she not even a day look out for me….
my in-laws dun understand wen i tells them…. in return they are telling me dun seperate them from my child…… wat can i do ….
everyday i am in tears…..cant work ..cant sleep..no peace…
|Apr 18, 2013||help me
|Apr 19, 2013||confused dad to a 4 year old
Thank you very much for the clarifications. We now understand that this is just a phase and will follow through on your suggestions
|Apr 22, 2013||didnt’ come to me when i come back from work
|May 12, 2013||My baby Doesn’t Seem To Want Me?
|May 13, 2013||It’s not your fault.
|May 31, 2013||This thread has really lifted my spirits… Thank you so much.
I have been struggling with the same thing for the last two weeks. All of a sudden our 9 month old son seems to prefer his daddy over me. We have great fun when it’s just the two of us, playing and laughing. But as soon as Daddy is home, I really become part of the furniture.
He squirms out of my arms and nearly vaults himself into my husband’s arms when my husband walks past us. He gets really upset when Daddy leaves the room. He won’t come to me when I hold out my arms, won’t play with me on the mat (where we were having a ball only a few hours earlier) and pushes me away when I hold him or cuddle him. At first I thought I was imagining it, but after doing a few experiments I had to admit that he really didn’t want to be around me. The worst thing is that when my husband holds him, he snuggles and cuddles into his daddy and smiles and babbles, and my heart just breaks. I am so happy that my two main men have such a great relationship, but I want to share in it too!
I’ve been really upset about in the last few days, crying about it and even getting cross about it. Not that I know who to be cross with anyway.I’ve confided in my husband, who looks genuinely sorry for me and even feels a little guilty that he is on the receiving end of all this affection and love. Which makes me feel guilty that he feels guilty. Such a silly situation.
So I came online, and read this entire thread. And with every shared experience and every bit of advice I felt more and more comfort.Thank you so much for making me feel better, restoring my faith in myself as a mom. I found the update posts from those parents who were in this situation and came out the other side especially helpful. Thank you for letting us know that things got better, it has made all the difference to me.
|Jun 29, 2013||Concerned Father
|Jul 25, 2013||Since birth
Please someone help me with this I don’t want to hate my mom but more than anything I don’t want my son to bond better to her.
|Jul 26, 2013||It really does get better
I just wanted to post an update and some encouragement that things really do get better with time.
Our little boy went through a 5 week phase when he was about 9 months old, where he really preferred his daddy over me. It broke my heart. But I really found some comfort when I found this thread and read about other parents’ similar experiences. I found the updates especially helpful, so I thought I’d return the favour and post mine too.
I’m happy and relieved to report that our little one is no longer preferring one parent over another. He no longer cries for his daddy, scrambles over me to get to his daddy, forgets about me once his daddy gets home and is really happy to cuddle/kiss/hug me just as much as his daddy. Those five weeks where he preferred his daddy over me where the hardest things I’ve had to face since becoming a mum.
After reading these posts I made sure to remain absolutely calm and neutral and not get teary or upset when he preferred his daddy over me. I made a point to kiss him and cheerfully say things like “Oh, you want to play with Dadda? Here you go honey!”. And then I would try to get busy with something else and just basically not make a bigger deal than it already was for me. And I really felt that it started to work almost immediately. Within a week I was less upset and things were turning around. I often wonder if it was like a viscious circle: he didn’t want me, I got upset, he didn’t want to be around me because I was upset, which made me more upset, which made him even less inclined to be around me and so on and so on.
Anyway, he will be one in a week or so and I’m happy to say that things are back to normal and this seems like a distant memory.
Hope this gives someome some encouragement… Things really do get better with time.
|Jul 29, 2013||Same Story Here!
Thank you and keep your heads up!! You can do it. The sun will rise tomorrow, and tomorrow is a fresh start. :) :) :)
|Aug 10, 2013||Help Me!
|Aug 11, 2013||Same here, but it got better
I also got jealous sometimes, and wanted my baby to love me as much as I love him. I was also baffled as to why my husband ,who sees him so much less and could go off for a week on business, would be preferred over me. And you know what? I kind of gave up trying to figure it out, and just really tried to just remain bright and happy and easy going. That was quite hard, when I was feeling like I was being rejected and that I was doing something wrong.
But in about a week things changed, and he was starting to want me again. I don’t know if maybe he was picking up on my dark mood, my insecurities? But when I worked at being breezy, he seemed to want to be around me again.
Just recently he has started clinging to Daddy again, and I noticed that it was coinciding with feeling quite homesick (I live abroad, far away from my parents and siblings). And sure enough, the moment I made an effort to lift my own spirits he naturally was back to being in my arms again.
So chin up, even when it’s hard. Lots of quiet, cuddly games with your little one on your lap. Lots of hugs and squeezes, even when she is wriggling and squirming. Try to stay bright and relaxed, it really WILL get better. Best of luck. You sound like a fabulous mom.
|Aug 11, 2013||Thanks, Mai!
|Aug 27, 2013||my 5 month old daughter
|Aug 30, 2013||does she think grandma is mom?
|Aug 30, 2013||Grandma as mom
Congratulations on your little daughter! Being just 1 month old (you can read about the milestones of a 1 month old baby here), your daughter doesn’t “think” anyone is her mom – she is just reacting to what feels the most secure. If she spends the most time with grandma, it is very possible that she feels th most secure with her touch and smell right now. And even being so young, she can sense your tension, which might make her slightly stressed, if that is how you feel.
But all this can be easily changed! Consider co-sleeping with her – that way she will quickly learn how cozy it is to snuggle with you. Also get yourself a baby sling and carry her around as much as you can while running around.
Babies and moms don’t automatically bond; just like anyone else they need to spend time together. But it is by no means too late.
When you feed her, take your top off or at least pull it up even if you bottle-feed. Skin contact is great for bonding.
And then a last piece of advice – ask your mom to help you do the running around fixing things so that you can spend as much time as possible with your little girl. This time is so precious and so short. Within less than a year, she will be crawling all over the place and you will have to look for her when she is out discovering the world. Right now, all she really needs is love, skin contact and food.
|Sep 03, 2013||help me please
She scratches me especially on the face near my eyes which really hurts she sometimes bites me or cries when i go near her and refuses any toys i might give her also she longer longer enjoys any of the songs i used to sing to her.
Sometimes she does it to my partner but seems only to attack me more. i feeed her ok but after a feed she now just turns over away from me.
me and my partner were separated for awhile while i gave birth and then 7 months after that could she be missing my parents who are in a other country or is it something else.
i want to know if this is normal or just a phrae shes going through.
|Sep 03, 2013||Normal or not?
Is this normal?
|Sep 12, 2013||Advice
|Sep 19, 2013||After Her First Birthday
I’ve actually read about spending the 15 minutes with your baby as Paula posted to Laura previously. I do that almost everyday, and she’s fine and enjoys playing with me when we’re home together; again, it’s when her Dad comes home or when Grampy and/or Aunt Mel come over that she wants nothing to do with me. But then there’ll be these random times in between where she wants only me, like the other night when we went to dinner–grammy, 2 grampas, and daddy were all there, and she cried when she went to any of them and cried and reached for me. Then she goes back to not wanting me at all the next day…. I don’t get it.
Paula, do you think it’s because of the association with “bad” things?? Should I try to get my husband to do more of those things when possible, or will that just lessen the bond between my daughter and me even more??
|Sep 20, 2013||LOVE PEACE AND JOY
Reading all the comments I don’t need to help but what I did come to the conclusion is to learn to LOVE unconditionally. Not an easy task as my parents DID love me conditionally. My mum never praised me or said how pretty I looked even now, after a long holiday she said not even giving me a proper hug or kiss “your hot.” At least I say to my baby boy that I love him that am proud of him. I give him 100000 kisses daily and hugs to kind of make up for it. So am just going to take every day as it comes I like the advice about spending quality time 5/10/15 min with my boy. I have to also remind myself daily that this was for the love of God that I had this child. Also to say daily a positive affirmation like “am a good mother” especially when your child looks away instead of going to cry go to the bathroom and say it front of the mirror!!! Love, Peace and Joy to you all with lots of Blessings!!!!
|Sep 21, 2013||To Jessica
You asked me specifically about whether it would be a good idea if your daughter’s dad would do mroe of the “boring” stuff with your daugther and not just you. And yes, I think that would be great for many reasons.
One is of course that it will bring baby and dad closer, which is probably not something you see as important right now, but in the long run, being close to both parent is optimal.
Secondly, it will help you and your hubby becoming “partners in parenting” more. Making daily life work with a little toddler/baby is not always easy, so being able to help each other, discuss situations and both taking responsibility makes a difference.
Third, it gives you a possibility to do something else than taking care of your daughter. With more time spent doing other things (or doing nothing), you are more likely to be able to stay calm, be patient and so one when she is putting up a fight.
So, yes, absolutely discuss how you can help each other more.
But I think something else is equally important if not more. Your daghter is still so young, just one year old. At this, understanding and accepting a “no” simply is beyond her. Trying to “raise” a 1 year old is impossible.
So, doing all these these “boring” things, like putting her to bed, diapering, eating and so on, really should be made as enjoyable as possible.
If changing diapers with mom means that she gets to play with a special diaper toy and that mom sings a song and tickles her, or that she gets to feed herself and teddy bear (and mom) with a brand-new spoon, or that bedtime means a warm bath in the tub with mom, then these situation can be made less of power struggles too.
Being parent to a toddler gives us fantastic opportunities to develop our creativity! Of course we can go the road of power struggles, but it won’t help. A 1 year old will not do anything very differently the next time anyway.
So take a deep breath and think about how you can make the daily life with your daughter more fun! Then, regardless of if she wants to go to dad, grandma or the neighbour later on, you can hopefully rest in the fact that the two of you have had a fun, loving day together. Maybe it is time for both you and her to have a break.
By the way, take a look at these two articles regarding avoiding power struggles at meal time and childrens’ eating habits to see if they may offer any help regarding making your daughter eat.
Hope this helps,
|Sep 29, 2013||25 month old doesn’t want her mother
I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over a year but knew him and his daughter since she was 8 months.
He is the best dad I’ve ever seen (aside from my father) and always had his daughter for a few days a week straight since she was born. I have to admit that I was very impressed by his childcare skills. So once him and I began dating his daughter’s mother began using the daughter as leverage to get things in return for him to spend time with his daughter. Heartbreaking!
So the legal battles began, the mother finally got a job after 2 years (she’s 37) and he was finally able to reduce the child support from $1600 a month to $800 since the mother should have been able to pay for her personal expenses.
After her leather boots and Gucci throw shopping spree she was obviously not able to pay her rent. Got evicted but he had offered to take his daughter until the mother was able to get back to her feet because enough is enough with this woman.
Well, disobeing the court orders she left with the child to another state without any communication or notice of where she was going.
Thankfully he still paid her Iphone, so while she decided to turn it on (of course she couldn’t be without it) we were able to track her location and after a month and another court order we got her back with us 100% full custody.
I say with us because me and her father are engaged and living together. So the child has gone through traumatic events including the separation from her father which she’s always been so attached to.
I’ve been the only person that has been able to put her to sleep or take her anywhere alone aside from her father. I think she knows that her father always comes back when I’m around.
Anyways here is the question: The child’s mother wants to see her but obviously we are afraid she’ll take off again. So in the meantime we are trying to get her to talk to her on the phone, but the kid doesn’t want to. She cries hysterically when she hears her mothers voice on the phone and starts saying No No No. The child speaks to everyone on the phone but once she hears its her mother she goes hysterical. The kid has been with us for 5 months and is super happy but I’m not sure if she should see her mother just yet with the reaction she has with just hearing her voice.
We don’t know what happened while she was in the other state but I think she needs to have that bond with her mother.
Or has anyone here experienced their toddler crying when they hear the parents voice on the phone and they are fine once they see them? Or is my situation just too unique? I feel bad for the child
|Oct 04, 2013||Wrong mommy
But when she shows me something I tell her to show her mommy, and guess what, she shows me it again. I don’t know what to do.
Do you think it’ll pass? The last thing I want is for her to get older and call me mom when she see’s me (even in public area’s were if I’m with her and she calls me mom everyone will look at me funny!)
|Oct 05, 2013||ADVICE
|Oct 05, 2013||ADVICE
And if your having trouble bonding with your child, and he/she is old enough to understand then sit them down and explain you are their mom and you love them, hug them, play with them and be involved with them on how you feel. Just show you love them and never give up on them.
|Oct 05, 2013||this is to the mother who wrote (since birth)
|Oct 11, 2013||To future step-mom
What a tricky situation you are all in! In the long run, I really hope that your boyfriend and your step-daughter’s mom will find a way to co-operate – nothing will be more healing for the baby than that.
You ask about the girl not wanting to talk to mom on the phone. I’d say that is completely normal! I have a step-son myself, and even though his mom is great, he absolutely did not want to talk to her on the phone when he was little. He didn’t want to talk to his dad when he was with his mom either. I think for young babies, being reminded of the other parent can be too painful to endure. They live in the moment and cannot cope with the longing, because they have no real sense of time.
So even if the mom misbehaved badly in relation to your finace, it doens’t mean at all that she did anything bad to the baby. It is so important that you separate this! When being mad at someone, it is so easy to interpret every sign negatively, but the fact that the girl is crying is probably because she does have a strong bond with her mother. Try to let her keep it any way you can (but not on the phone for such a little girl). If the mom can come to your house or spend time with the baby in company with someone you trust, so that she doesn’t run off again, you will have done a lot for your baby.
People do crazy things in separations. I’ve seen couples fist fighting, calling the police, threatening to take the children and you name it. After some time, if all adults involved really try to focus on what is best for the baby and put their personal feelings aside, things will eventually turn out well.
I am not defending what the baby’s mom did. Running away like that is completely unacceptable. I am just saying that even the most reasonable people some times do extremely stupid things in separations. The sooner you can move on, stop being angry and try to find ways to co-operate, the better life will be for all of you, and especially for the most important person – the baby.
(My step-son’s mom also “went crazy” during their separation. I was scared of her! She is now my daughter’s god mother and I consider her a dear friend. It took effort from all of us to get to where we are now, but forgiving each other and moving on as responsible adults to give our boy a good life, is one of the best things I’ve done in my life.)
I hope you find a way make this all work out without hate and anger,
|Oct 21, 2013||It may be because…
Hope I Helped!
|Oct 26, 2013||baby help
|Dec 24, 2013||I NEED MY YEAR OLDS LOVE
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Hi I’m a step father an I have a little boy who is 2 now an I been in his life since he was three months old. I’ve taken better care of him then his real dad. I work 6 days a week an I’m home at nights but when he sees me he won’t come to me and when I pick him up he throws his head back an starts to kick an screaming an he either runs to his mom or anyone else an its really killing me inside an it makes me feel he doesn’t want me but like everybody else I’m the only one that can put him to sleep an calm him down but its just hurts me that he doesn’t want to be around me my heart is broken I been told it was a phase but I don’t know bout that What can I do to want him to want me?
I am an “older” mom (41 years old). I loved my baby boy the minute I saw the ultrasound. When they put him on my chest right after delivery it was the most beautiful moment of my life. I’ve loved him madly ever since and do everything for him. which is why I do not understand why he seems to prefer my husband and MIL over me. My husband sees him an hour per day if that and goes out of town a lot. My MIL sees him once a week. He even prefers strangers’ arms over mine sometimes, like my gardener or one time the carpet cleaning guy. Everyone has told me that boys love their mommy and I’m sure he does but I wish he didn’t do that because like the other moms on this site, it really hurts my feelings. Someone said to no rely on your child to feel loved and valuable, that’s easier said than done. Though it is “nice” to know I’m not the only one to suffer from a similar situation, it doesn’t solve it.
I have 7 month old baby girl and she is not at all attached to me. She goes to everyone and she does not seem to miss me if i am not around. Even if i hold my hand out for her, she clings to my MIL and my husband. I feel very bad. She even goes to our maid servent and she is so happy if she sees her. I have not seen the same reaction for me. I am depressed. I cry all the time. I feel left out. I do everything for her but she does not know that I am her mother.
Recently my sis in law has come back after her long leave.. my son of 3 years has totally changed seeing his aunt.. since she is at home now, i leave my son with her when i am at work..
when i return,, i dont get to see that eagerness in my son to see me.. instead almost ignors me and spents his time with is aunt.. i dont even get a chance to be with him , play with him.. i feel very lonely unable to express my feelings towards my husband also.. nowadays he even sleeps with his aunt at night..i am not able to tolerate this anymore.. feeling light when i write this out openly.. hope that i would get adjusted to this situation.. afterall i cannot expect my son to change…
I’m a 26 yr old dad. My 20 month old is very particular to the fact that he doesn’t need me!
His mother lets him do what he wants when he wants while I’m at work, so I have no say so in the fact. He will be picked up and carried around for the smallest incident. Yes, I believe he should be happy, but I stop him from doing things that will lead to undesired future habits and behaviors. So he can’t do whatever he wants when I’m home. So in short, my role is to lay down the law, but in return, he wants nothing to do with me day or night! Been that way for the past year now. I couldn’t see it coming and this is my first child, I love him very much, but this reaction I get from him is very unpleasant and hurtful to me. What can I do? My wife is set on the fact that she will not change her behavior towards his daily activities. help please!!!
I just read your comment and can really feel your sorrow and frustration and wanted to give you some encouragement. It sounds to me as if you really want the best for your son, but that you are to some extent in a vicious circle. You and your wife disagree on how to deal with several issues regarding your son and you take on the role of being the one disciplining him. At the same time, he prefers his mom’s presence and shows it. The situation must be painful for you.
I think there are several aspects to this. One is of course that you and your wife need to start talking to each other on how to raise your child. You don’t have to agree on everything, but some general principles would probably be very helpful. Personally, I think reading books about child development and how to help your child in life can be very rewarding both to help one as a parent with becoming more confident and also to find ways to be able to discuss how to raise a child without it becoming angry or sensitive. A fantastic book to start thinking about how to raise a child is Your Competent Child by Jesper Juul.
Another aspect is that neither you nor your son seems to be comfortable with the role you have right now. You are unhappy and your son and you don’t have much fun together. Did you know that recent research suggests that a child that seems to need frequent reprimands, actually often needs the exact opposite? What he really needs might be to have more fun and more time with his dad. Chances are that he will start to listen and co-operate much better if you have more fun together. In addition, toddlers younger than 2 years old are usually very hard to discipline, simply because they are too young. They don’t remember, they don’t understand why and it all becomes a hopeless power struggle. I would really urge you to sit back and think hard on what limits are absolutely necessary for you to set and what you can let go of right now. Usually at this age, making sure that your child isn’t doing anything dangerous (swallowing things, climbing too high, running out in the street, biting himself or other children et cetera) is more or less enough as an ambition. If you try to make a young toddler behave properly (i.e. well-behaved) in any way, you’ll just get very frustrated. It doesn’t work!
Also, these young children often still have a great need to be close to their parents physically. Again research has shown that children who are picked up often, carried around if they ask for it, and so on, become secure enough to leave their parents’ arms faster than the children who are not allowed to be close to their parents.
Can I give you a challenge? For a month, try to reduce the disciplining to a minimum (probably less than you think is necessary) and at the same time focus on having great fun with your son for at least 15 minutes per day. During these 15 minutes, focus only on your son and on showing him interest and love. No phone, no talking to your wife, no planning of the next day at work. Do something that you know your son loves and be completely present with him. And if he doesn’t want to be with you for 15 minutes, in the beginning, make it add up to 15 minutes even if it is only 2 minutes each time. Awaken his interest by laying down on the floor and playing with his toys, start kicking a ball, or whatever will catch his interest.
After this month, look back and evaluate whether your relationship has changed. Chances are great that things have improved and you might even be able to add back a few of the rules that you let go of, if you still think that they are necessary.
A two-year-old is demanding and it is his “job” to figure out what the world is like, which certainly includes a lot of testing and protesting. It is an intensive period. Choosing which wars to fight as a parent makes a big difference.
I truly wish you good luck!
I just adopted a 22-month-old girl, I have had her a week and a half. My mom watches her while I work, and she seems to be more attached to my mom. I don’t know what to do, I have to work to support her, and I want that bond…
Congratulations on your little daughter. Since attachment can be an issue for adopted children, your question and worries really show what an engaged new mother you are. That is wonderful for your little daughter!
However, since you have only been her mother for 1 week and a half, it is too early to start worrying about the bonding going wrong. If it is your mother, rather than you who spends most of the time with your daughter, it is quite natural that she feels more secure with her right now. And I would say it is actually a good sign. If she is secure enough to bond with your mother this quickly, chances are that the bond between you and your daughter will also happen very naturally and grow strong.
Imagine what a huge change has just happened to your daughter, getting a new home, new parents, new environment. In addition, she might have trauma and losses in her background to deal with. Adjustment takes time.
Even for biological parents, bonding is something that happens over time. It is quite common to hear new moms worrying about that the love at first sight that they expected when meeting their child for the first time didn’t happen. Well, they don’t know each other yet!
For you who have to work, find as much time as possible to spend with your daughter. If you can work part-time, do so. Take days of vacation or maternal leave, ask your mom to bring your daughter to your work for lunch, work from home, let go of as many of your chords as you can or do them together with your daughter, co-sleep with her, talk to her, bathe with her, sing to her…
Try to see the bonding as a process and give it time. Give your girl as much time, love, attention, and body contact as you can.
In addition, I really think you should start reading books about adoption if you haven’t already. For many adopted children, it certainly IS different t be adopted. The more you as her mom can help her both with attachment as a young toddler, but as a child growing more aware of her history, the emotions and questions it raises, the more you can help your daughter grow up as a happy, confident child.
A really good book to start with is: The Connected Parent: Real-Life Strategies for Building Trust and Attachment. I strongly recommend you to get it!
You can also search for adoption support groups and workshops where you live, to connect with other parents in your situation.
Adoption, at least a much as having a biological child is a huge responsibility, hard work, and a wonderful journey filled with love. But it can take some time to start enjoying the ride ;-)
Thank you so much for your reply. It is good to know you are not the only one – it is a hard thing to talk to anyone about so great to have a place to come and be honest with your feelings ..thank you.
I NEED HELP!
I have been with my 4 month old since birth and she recently started to stop laughing at me or anything I do and I try so hard. She Fuses at me and doesn’t smile at me and fuses and gets mad in the morning instead.
She seems to want her father more and will only laugh at me. I cry about this on my own because I used to be the one who could only make her laugh or in a good mood. I breastfeed and she doesn’t like when I look at her or she will fuss again. I’m a stay at home mom so I’m with her everyday. What happened? Why do I feel like she doesn’t love me anymore. Her father works and I’m always with her and Its just me.
Since my son, per judge, lives only with his dad. My relationship with my son isn’t the same anymore. He pushes me away tells me not to tell him I love him. Say he only listens to his dad and not me, not sure what to do , he is 7.
I have 18mo old twins. A boy and a girl. I work full time and travel quite a bit during the summer, up to a week at a time. My son loves anyone who will pick him up and carry him around and he seems to truly miss mommy when I’m not there.
However, my daughter seems to want nothing to do with me. When I get home she doesn’t get excited to see me. When my husband comes home she runs to greet him. Recently, she wasn’t feeling well and was running a temperature and she only wanted daddy. She wouldn’t even look at me when I tried to comfort her.
It breaks my heart that my daughter doesn’t want anything to do with me.
I thought ever child wanted their mommies especially when they aren’t feeling well. I still want my mommy on bad days.
This just isn’t what I envisioned my relationship with my daughter to be, I want her to want me, but don’t understand why she doesn’t. Help!
I just left my 4-month-old son for the first time overnight with my parents. My husband’s dad invited us to go to Branson and get away before my Husband starts the engineering program at K-State. I was already reluctant to leave my son and I cried 30 minutes down the road and every night before I fell asleep missing him. I just got back to my parents and was so relieved to see my son but he acted and is acting uninterested in me but my husband got a huge happy reaction from our baby. Everyone ‘eeps telling me that he loves me and he did miss me but it doesn’t feel like it. Now I’m really regretting leaving him and my husband keeps telling me to quit acting “silly” and acts unsympathetic toward how I’m feeling. I don’t know what to do. I’m so happy he still wants to breastfeed though and didn’t completely write me off but he just doesn’t seem happy to see me like he did his daddy and that hurts so much especially since I cried cause I missed him so much. I don’t know what to do.
I am really glad to see that I am not the only one with this problem. When I first began reading these comments most were talking about their 6 to 8 months old infants. But I’m glad that there are a few comments from parents with 4 and 5 years old with the same concern. I have a 3 year old with whom I am going through a very same problem and I am having a really tough time with it. For quite some time now (actually since my daughter was about 3 months old) I’ve had this very same concern that my daughter does not love me. I’ve made the comment to my husband on several occasions, but now that my daughter is 3 and expresses herself verbally it is really affecting me. Since about 3 months old she prefers daddy over mommy but now it is to the point where she tells me “I don’t love you I love my daddy.” She pushes me away and wants nothing to do with me. But when she is sick, she comes running to mommy to give her medicine and take here to the doctor’s. I’ve reached the point where I want to leave my house and just leave her and my husband alone so see how they would make it without me. I’ve experienced this rejection since she is about 3 months old, but it is now that she expresses herself that it is really affecting me and I just don’t know how to cope with it anymore. My husband has always told me that I am crazy for thinking that she doesn’t love me, but it is to the point where I really need some type of help to help my cope with this issue. Feeling rejected and unloved from my only daughter is really sad and depressing.
When my daughter was 7 months old I left for bootcamp, kind of my last resort I was a teen mom and couldn’t get a job and had no money and the military provided us a secure future, but now I regret it. By the time all my training was done may daughter was 14 months old and had been with my mother the entire time. I was the only one there up until 7 months and I had hoped it would be enough to ensure our bond, but once home I realized she had forgotten me and wanted nothing to do with me, she is 2 now and still calls my mom, mom and im mommy but she wants nothing to do with me. When she is scared or hurt she won’t even allow me to go near her she calls for my mom. It breaks my heart and I consider just leaving her. I hate the feeling of being rejected by my only child to the point where I don’t even want her. Please help me!! I want her to love me again!
My daughter is nearly six months old and she gets really grumpy with me. Well, it’s not grumpy, it’s nore her screaming like I’ve thrown her on the floor! It really upsets me because her dad or greatgrandmother can get her when she starts doing this to me and she is fine. I am a stay at home mom, I give her stimulation when she wants it by giving her tummy time or playtime with me or her bouncy.
I don’t know why she it is getting upset at me and no one else. Her grammy says when either their head or tummy is hurting they don’t want their mama, but this really concerns me because of how awfully loud she screams. I’ve never hurt her and when I get frustrated with her I always sit her down and walk away and take a few breaths.
Can you please help? Or give me some advice so she won’t freak out on me like she does?
my 13 month old is having the worth temper tandrums ever. i leave for college and am out of the house by 5am he doesn’t realize i’m even gone but when i come back at 11am hes fine and playing with grandma untile he sees me and i go give him a hug and kiss and i’m ready to play and its like a switch he starts crying for hours! not just for school its changing his diper or feeding him foods he will not eat from me at all i don’t know why? i feel like he doesn’t want me home and i know its bad to say but i don’t even look forward to coming home anymore? why is he acting like i’m the worst person in the world?
My 5 year old son rejects me. I had him when I was 38 yrs old and have been a hands on mum all his life. I adore and love my som immensely. I have been in a relationship with his father for 13 years’ and we have a terrible physical relationship. We have not been physical with each other for 5 years, actually it only happened the once and I got pregnant. I feel rejected by my man, I have asked many times why? Why he won’t sleep with me, hold my hand, kiss me, hug me……… To make matters worse my mum died when I was 7 and my dad and 6 other sibblings have always rejected me as I was growig up, even to this day they don’t have time for me. I am a house mum now and have been all my son’s life. Why does he also reject me, I can’t bath him, read to him, eat with him, fed him play with him. He says I can go away and wants to stay with daddy. I am feeling so rejected and lonely. Do I leave my son and my partner so they can be together, or do I stay and let them make me feel worse. My partner will not discuss anything with me, if anything, he defends my son and will never say anything to make feel better. Is my life set for me, and I meant to be rejected by everyone.
Hello everyone i am a stay home mom from the day my baby boy was born i do EVERYTHING for him!!! i feel that i been such a great mommy for him soo loving and careing his my everything but he started acting weird like a week ago it seems that he prefers his daddy more than me he works full time. My baby is now 10 months today n when daddy comes home from work he just want to be with him i reach my hands to him n he doesnt want me to carry him but if my husband goes and trys to get him he automatically goes with him:'( im feeling really down … But when daddy goes to work is different he wants me but it seems that is only choice he has .. But if grandma or grandpa or daddy was her he would def go with one of them instead of me! Is soo upseting bcuz this just sterted like a week ago befor it seemed that i was his everyhing he lovedd to be with me! Please help what could it be if i’ve been such a great mommy to him super lovable!!!<3 n Yes no matter how they are with you, you love them soooooo much without something in return! his my world!!
Hi I have a grandson 22 months old which I adore and see him most days. He is great with me on my own we play cuddle and take him to the park a lot. His Aunty drops down most weekends and he does not want to know me when she is around. I’m very hurt and try not let it get to me but its hard. His Aunt told me its just a novelty for him.
Reading the entries and knowing that others are going through the same thing somehow makes me feel a little better. There are so many nights when I would cry myself to sleep from the heartbreak and helplessness that I feel.
My daughter is my first child and I have waited a long time to have her. She is also my miracle child since I have a problem to conceive. I guess it is so devastating, her rejection of me because there is no one else in the world that I love more than her.
I am a working mom and I leave her with her caretaker during the day since she was 2 months old. Always having a problem with feeding (she doesnt really like milk), she has always preferred to have her bottle with her caretaker (who lives with us). Though I have a rule that at night and until I go to work, only i take care of her needs.
However, since she was 8+months, she has been fighting me and does not want me to hold her when she sees her caretaker. In fact she would scream and cry… I will always take her out of her room and try to pacify her. My mom says this is wrong and that i should just let her go. But I only see her a few hours a day when I work (weekdays). If i let her have her way, i’ll never get to be with her because she never wants me. She doesn’t come when i call out to her. In fact she would crawl away if i come near her.
there was even one night where she pushed me away and tried to crawl away when i got near. this time we were alone in the room. the only way she would stop crying is if i gave her to her caretaker.
this week she turned 9 months and she has somehow attached herself to my mom. so it’s my mom or her caretaker.
in the morning when she wakes up, she doesnt even smile at me anymore. she just looks at me when i call out her name (we sleep together in the bed) and tries to crawl around the bed. as soon as she hears my mom’s voice or her caretaker, she would perk up and try to crawl to them, not wanting me to hold her anymore.
i feel sad and discouraged… i know that i shouldn’t show it to her.. but i often wonder where i went wrong. there were times that she slept with my caretaker before i got home to take her to our room… could it be this? i try to spend the most of my time with her… but maybe it’s not enough…
i wish i knew where i went wrong. because everytime she turns away from me… or will not smile at me… i feel like my heart just breaks tears often threaten to spill…
it is even worse when people keep saying that she only starts screaming and crying whenever i am home and that she is a superbly happy baby when i am at work.
i so wanted to be a mom and was so happy to have her that i never thought i would be such a failure.
what can i do to make it better? should i just let her be with whoever she wants to be with…? so that she won’t see me as a monster trying to take her away? should i stop my caregiver from sleeping next to her to maybe stop them from being too close?
Hi all i am the farther to my 15 month old son & he is a loving child at home but as soon has we go to his Nana & granddad’s house he doesn’t want to no me. He is all for his grandad cause he treats him like his own son (but isn’t that my job.) But I don’t get a look in. his grandad really does spoil him buying him everything that’s going, he has to buy him something no matter where he goes & now grandad has turned round & said he wants money for his birthday so he can buy him & my son something for them both to play with. If grandad isn’t there he wants to no me but if he is there he just blanks me, i try my hardest to try get his attention with no luck he just ignores me & blanks me. His granddad plays with him every minute he gets with him. What i am trying to say is don’t u think that his granddad is trying his god damn hardest to take my farther figure away & take my bond away. it has been like this for over a year now & i now just resent them. If we don’t see them for a couple of weeks, I feel the bond coming back but we cant stay away for ever & my girlfriend doesn’t understand what I’m going through please help cause it really hurts & gets me down. I’m ready to walk but want to be there for my children & my girlfriend is due again in December with another little boy. A few family members told me to tell my girlfriends mum & dad (nana, granddad) to back off & give us some space when he was born because they were always round us & wouldn’t let us breath. They all saw it for themselves as we were all on holiday together, but its my girlfriends mum & dad not mine but she doesn’t see a problem but only a farther will tell. She just says well what can i do/say. Its putting a lot of strain on our relationship. My son is fine with me round anyone else. I think its about time she stood up to her dad & told him but she as always been scared of him just like her older brother scared to say boo.
Sorry bout the long script but I’m just trying to explain how it is & how i feel
Sorry & also o forgot to put in that script is that everything we buy our son they have to go & buy the better 1. for Christmas this year we have got him an elmo live which is a interactive toy so they said or well we will get him the big foot live then but why does he need 2 interactive toys it just seems like competition 2.
thanks all for listening to me & i will take every reply seriously. thanks for listening to my views.
I have a 14.5 month old baby girl. She really doesn’t like me and it’s getting worse. It started off with biting and scratching and now she is hitting me. There is a worker at her nursery who she is not keen on and she scratched her yesterday which puts me in the same category as her I guess. I have to try to remember that she is completely egocentric and has no awareness that I have feelings nevertheless I am finding myself in tears more often than not. Especially when I have been up all night with her or cooked for her or played with her all day……..etc.
I am a social worker and therefore I know all about attachment patterns and I just can’t work this one out. She has always been a daddy’s girl and he is her main attachment figure despite not being her main carer. When she comes home from nursery it’s a whole lot worse, I think it’s because she has been with other women who are completely fun all of the time. Also, it’s kind of like when you go on holiday and leave your cat, when you come home the cat can be pretty miffed with you for leaving them, it can take a while for them to come round. Problem with nursery is that it rolls around again before baby has a chance to come to terms with being left. It must be very confusing for her.
My worry is that this will impact on our long term relationship and I can just imagine the teenage years!
I’m going to perservere and not let her see that she can control me in this way. Ignore the unwanted behaviour and praise the good an all that but God it’s hard when my feelings are in shreds. Who would have thought that a tiny little mite like her could devestate me. Unrequited love hey……….
I know that nobody is going to want to hear this but your relationship with your child might never be the same if you just ignore it. This is NOT just a phase. My son has done this to me ever since he was about 4 months old. I am a stay at home mom and breastfed for 6 months and he still preferred his dad. He is now almost 4 and cries every time his dad leaves and tells me he doesn’t want me. He tells me he wants me to leave and daddy to stay. I do everything for him and it makes me very sad. I also have a 5 year old daughter and she is the opposite. She adores me but her daddy not so much. I did not breastfeed her as a baby. So much for breastfeeding and bonding…
hi.. i am a mother of 6 month old twin boys. lately, i feel so depressed and down, because my boys seem to prefer they nannies over me. i am a working mom. i work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. my husband always gets out and travel, but when he gets home, my boys are so excited to see him. i feel so alone and depressed. do my twins love me less? seems like they don’t need me anymore.
im a first time mum and my 10 month old son does the same i only work 3 days a week part time i come home from work he goes to grandad and his dad he dont want to know me it hurts me so much i try so hard but it never works even weekends he still goes to his dad and crys when he leaves the room is upsetting i dont know what to do xxx
My youngest daughter is almost 2 years old. Up till this point she has always been a happy child, always smiling and loved everyone. At about 12 months she became very much a mammas girl and now when i leave her to go to work she is loving to my boyfriend when i am gone but when she can see me she seems to hate him. I have watched them interact from a distance and she smiles, dances, and plays with him. As soon as she sees me she crys my mamma and whines and doesnt want him to come near her or even talk to her. He loves her and often she is so mean that he gets his feelings hurt. Is there anything i can do to help them bond?
My 3 year old seems to resent her dad. we got seperated when she was 17 months. she is three now. she sees her dad may be once or twice a months. she enjoys talking to him on a phone. you can see that she love him , but when she sees him its another story . she doesnt want him to hold her or talk to him. especially when im there , but when im not around they seem to get along very well. she fetches her from pre school to be with her , she does mind going with him but when im there , she even cries, she can take anything that he bring her , bt wont allow him to hold her or talk to him. please help im worried that she might endup hating him…
I am also one of the sad moms whose 17 month old daughter doesn’t seem to like her mother. If she is upset, she will never come to me and screem when I hold her. All she needs is her grandparents or father. I do everything to make her happy and when she is alone with me she is happy but the moment she sees her grandparents or father she forgets me and rejects me. she would prefer me if she is with me and strangers but at home I am no where in her priority list. It really hurts me. Please help!
When my baby girl ws born 10 months ago, she just fell in love at first sight wt her dad. She doesnt want me at all, except whn she needed 2have milk. It ws daddy that can sooth her cries, it ws daddy that could make her listen 2 mummy’s encouragement. bottomline she just wanted my husband.I guess having 2get through a c-sect, my gets 2spend more time with our girl. It did break my heart. But i continued being there for her. and at around 6 months plus, she suddenly change and became so fond of me. no more crying out 2 daddy when she has a tummy ache.and she hasbecome so excited whn i come home frm work.My husband and I lives in a different continent due to the nature of my work, and he wd come to stay wt us 2-3 times a year at around 5 weeks to 2 months a time.So whn he left for Asia when our baby is 2 months old, we established a routine using the internet via webcam and video calls every single day. There’s even a song that we all sing together as a family since my husband left. Both my husband and I made it a consistent schedule just for her.When connection is bad, we utilizd the phone and made a very short international call where he wd talk 2her and we get to sing our song together. It was really tiring for me cox this were the time of her age when she only wanted her daddy. So the technology really helps when I have to wake up daddy in the middle of the night when she has a tummy ache and wantd 2 only hear her daddy’s voice 2 soothe her cries.
When she was 5 months old, daddy came back.the moment she saw my husband at the door was a funny one. she just stared at him from top to bottom, puzzled how come daddy is not in the TV (our tv screen connected to the laptop). for a couple of hours, she just hugged me while eyeing him and after accepting the fact that daddy was really there in person, she just went 2 daddy like he never left. it was really a funny yet a touching experience for us. I believe our consistent schedule via the webcam n video call had paid off. Now at 10 months old, she treated me with the same fondness and love that she had showed my husband during her early months. In fact its more mummy than daddy, and my husband is a little bit jealous of this. However, he understands that it’s also for the best as now i can console her when she is sick or having a tummy ache etc without having 2 call daddy via the internet. Since leaving home 2 go 2 Asia when our baby was 7 months, our internet routine continued. Our song hs never stoppd being sung even my hsband ws around. Now we could see how confident our baby girl has turned out 2 be. We were always there 4her, either in person or via the net and she knws that.
Take heart, dear parents. this is just a phase.
Paula is right. our babies love us. They might have some preference at 1 point or the other, bt just continue loving them and they wd return it back eventually. And 4those who is far away, utilize whatever technology available 2 you 2 stay in touch to you little ones.
I had the same with my daughter, which happened at maybe 7 or 8 months. But the bond has never come (she is 5 now) I find it hard to love her, probs have more to do with me because I got pregnant again and sort of gave up on her im sorry to say, when my son was born he loved me the best and always wanted me, and she rejected me over and over. I thoguht maybe I didnt give her enough love because I was so busy trying to get her into a routine. but Ive become hardened to it. I couldnt find any info about it happening to any other mothers at the time, I bf and did everything for her, perfect housewife and mother but she still was so hurtful to me. Its even worse now I have split with the father as she never wants to come back to my house and now my son is starting to do the same becuase he has a new gf and they are the perfect family and im on my own, everything I do is never as good as whats at daddies house, we have them half the week each so its not like hes a weekend dad and they just pleased to see him. I feel to so down at the min that Ive been thinking of running away and letting him have the kids while I start again somewhere else, they never want me anyways so doubt they would miss me (my son is now 4)
Fellow mommy I’m very concerned about you. You sound beyond sad, really despairing. I’m the mother who wrote nearly a year ago that my baby boy didn’t seem to love me, I posted later that things seemed to be improving and now, at 18 months, I feel absolutely loved by my son. So everything stabilized for me. I understand what you are saying about your little girl. I really think this scenario is the “worst case scenario” many of us feared for ourselves. Just being honest with you. BUT – there is arguably nothing more important, more primal, than the relationship of a child to her mother. There is simply no replacement for a mother, period. It is a relationship that binds every human for their whole life. So, maybe this isn’t something that’s recognized by a small child, but it’s eventually recognized, in my opinion. Please don’t give up. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have lived with this with your daughter for years. Honestly I couldn’t really handle it for the 8 or 9 months or however long it lasted for me. But you say that you “gave up” on her. So the estrangement between the two of you became mutual. I know a significant factor in my issues with my son was my inability to bond because of my terrible adjustment to being a mother/post partum depression. It was more about me I think than him. Perhaps though your sense of defeat is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. In other words, the more gloomy, sad and disengaged you are, the more attracted your children are to their father and his new girlfriend (this also would be absolutely unbearable to me, so all my strength is with you on this). I think children, at least those without attachment disorders (could this be a possibility with your daughter, I can’t recall if you wrote that your little girl IS attached to her dad and just not to you?), are hard-wired so to speak to love their mothers, absent significant abuse and/or neglect. Sadly even then I think this hard-wiring can persist until well into school years, maybe beyond. I’m assuming this is not the case with you, obviously. Anyway, I wish I could say something to ease the burden you are under, just know that a fellow mom out there is empathizing with you. Please don’t give up on your babies. You are and always will be their only mother. Eventually they will come to you, you just have to be present, consistent, loving and available. Best of luck.
Thank you thank you thank you!! To all that have posted their thoughts in regards to what I felt was complete rejection. My 9-month-old daughter has started recently. Seems to be a bit of a pattern in the posts that I have read from you all. Seems it starts around this age. We are all in the same boat, and seems what I thought was my bad parenting somehow. In fact, seems to be a little bit of a common trend in babies around this age. Thanks for everyone’s honesty as a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I’m going to try really hard not to take it personally from today on!
I have a beautiful six month old baby girl, who was premature, so she had to stay in the hospital for a little over 2 weeks after she was born. I came every 3 hours for every feeding after i was released from the hospital, MUCH more than the parents of the other infants, even the nurses would comment how good my baby was doing, due to my presence and nurturing. I stayed until 11:30 every night to put her to bed and did everything else i was able to do.
I was worried then that since she dealt with so many different nurses who were women, she wouldn’t have a clue who I was. I started wearing lavender lotion every time i saw her, trying in some way to create a bond. I have been her sole provider since then, her father and I are no longer together, though she sees him often, but she seems to recognize him and holds her hands out to him and is so happy when he comes. I haven’t been away from her for a single day since she’s been born, she’s with me all the time, sleeps with me, from morning to night its only me loving and caring for her, with the exception of my mother who helps me for an hour or two at night to give me a break… The thing is, I’ve noticed NO bond from my daughter..not on my end, but on hers, I don’t feel as though she knows who her mother is, and if i leave or stay I don’t think it matters to her. I know she’s only 6 months but she’s not loving at all towards me..If i try to hug her and cuddle she pushes and screams and kicks, she would rather go to anyone but me….i treat her like an angel and I don’t understand why she doesn’t seem to love me.. She’s a really happy smiley baby. don’t get me wrong, she just doesn’t seem to have any kind of attachment to me at all….it makes me feel worthless…someone replaceable…is this something that will pass, or should I talk to her doctor? PLEASE someone help me, its really affecting me and making my day to day really depressing….
I feel your pain. you are a good mother. and you’re doing the right thing. this is not your fault. I encourage you, because I’ve been there, to seek help if you’re struggling with depression. I mean, how could we not be depressed when our babies seem to reject us? I want to tell you: this will pass. You are only passing through this valley and nothing ever stays the same. I KNOW your baby loves you. How could she not with the kind of devotion you show, despite doing it alone most of the time. Since I read your post I have been praying for you every day.
I have only returned this week to work after 11 months off with my 11 month old baby girl. I have never been away from her for more than 2 hours before this and now she doesn’t even care to see me. When I go to pick her up from day care, she won’t even respond when she sees me. And when I get her home she ignores me.
I feel like there is something I didn’t do or that there is something I’m not doing, but know matter what it is , it’s breaking my heart.
She is my first child and she is the most pleasant little thing ever so I don’t understand why she doesn’t all of the sudden not want nothing to do with me.
Paula, please give me some advice! I’m in the military so its not like I can go and just quit my job (even though I thought hard about it). I don’t want this to have any lasting affects on our long term relationship.
A heart broken mom
I have just put my 8 mth old to bed and was going to come into my room and cry – I went back to work 3 wks ago and he has been ill on and off this week. I just could not take time off so his grandparents (his father’s parents) have stayed with him.
Tonight, he did not want to come to me – she had to push him on me! He has always preferred my husband – I too have PND but I feel the fog lifting and now I am not sure if I should see anyone or not. I spent a lot of time crying and have found it hard, but I have loved my son and spent 7 months with him looking after him playing with him feeding him etc.
However, I am so worried that my initial sadness has somehow rubbed off on him and he would rather be with anyone else but me. He will go to Nursery without a second glance and to any family or friend without so much as a look of concern over to me. It is heart-breaking, what can I do?
Hello- I’m the mother who wrote when my son was 9 mos and again at 12 mos. I understand so much the pain you are going through. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are not the only mother this has happened to.
I also had postpartum for the first 3 or 4 mos and I actually do think that had a role in the bonding problems I had with my baby. My son is now 14 mos old and he is bonded to me. So it did happen, but it took awhile and, like I wrote before, he still prefers my partner maybe 60-70% of the time (again only when the stark choice is between us only). This always triggers a post traumatic stress response in me and takes me back that awful dark place it sounds like you are in.
My point is this – this WILL pass. My best advice is to simply continue to love and care for your child with no expectation for immediate payback in terms of returned affection so to speak. It will happen, if your baby is bonding with others s/he will bond with you. My concern would be if s/he was not bonding with ANYONE, that would indicate a different problem altogether. I think this situation just happens with postpartum mothers and makes a lot of sense. You haven’t “ruined” your baby with your sadness.
I have tried to brush the way my son behaves off, and put it down to just being a phase, but it has gone on for so long now. If he is upset, he wants his daddy to comfort him, not me. If I hold him, he wriggles and cries to get away.
I try so hard – singing songs, playing games etc, but it seems to make no difference. It’s so disheartening and hurtful, but I’m glad (how bad is that?!) that I’m not the only one who’s going through something like this. It makes me feel that it’s just a natural thing for some children to have a preference, but I hope it is just a phase cause I can’t cope with it. I’m starting to become resentful of my husband (who is not taking me seriously at all) and – even worse – my son xx
I don’t usually do online chatting, but I needed to get this off my chest.
It’s been in the past few weeks that I have noticed that my almost year old son basically forgets that I’m here when my husband or my mother walks in the door. If I’m holding his hand, he lets go to stand at their legs and fuss until he is picked up. Sometime when I am feeding him on the weekends (breakfast typically), my son wants to get out of the high chair and go to dad. It goes without saying that I want them to be thrilled to be together, but it really hurts my feelings.
Just today, my mom was over and when she left, my son just wailed. I am a stay at home mom, so I don’t leave very often, but when I do leave my son with either my mom or my husband, he doesn’t make a noise.
I wanted to say thank you to those who shared their stories and especially to those whose answers said “what is more motherly than to UNCONDITIONALLY love their child, no matter what response they may be giving me.” It’s hard for me to deal with this feeling, but being sad about this hasn’t helped at this point. I might as well try to change my perception of what is happening. Hopefully I’ll be able to post later and say that things are different…
I wrote on this post several months ago, when my son was 9 months old. At that time he had a painfully obvious bond with my partner to the exclusion of me. From the day he was born (and I’m his birth mother for heaven’s sake!) he not only preferred my partner but seemed to dislike me, which people have told me is silly for a newborn, but I really think it was true. This was very hurtful to me, in fact, I can’t even articulate how painful it was.
I am happy to report that he is now 12 months old and has really come to be much more bonded to me, though again he prefers my partner if he’s offered a choice between the two of us. My partner thinks I’m being ridiculous, but that’s easy for the “preferred” parent to think, I’m sure. However, before it got better I came to a sort of terms with it more or less, though I had bouts of severe depression about it from time to time. This still happens when, for example, he seems disinterested in me when I pick him up from daycare.
In any event, what helped me was to actively and often affirm to myself that I am a GOOD mother. I really am. I take care of my son and love him and do the very best I can. I get up with him in the middle of the night when I’m so tired I could die. I play with him when all I want to do watch TV or take some time to myself. I clean up UNBELIEVABLY poopy diapers. I try to comfort him even when he’s inconsolable and even when he doesn’t seem to want me. I sing endless versions of “Wheels on the Bus”, and a million other things. I would lay down my life for my son without hesitation.
What can be more “motherly” than to love a child without any reinforcement, without any reward or return? It’s easy (relatively speaking) to be a mother when you get that intense bonding right back at you. But to love a child DESPITE feeling downright unloved back is extraordinary, seriously. We should all hold our heads up with pride at what AWESOME mothers and fathers we are, how dearly we love our children. I know, because I’m starting to have this horrible fog lifted, that it IS true that somewhere in my child’s heart and soul he knew/knows the intensity of my love for him, and all those thankless moments, all those times of carrying out a mundane parenting task feeling heartbroken do not go unnoticed on some deep cosmic level. Even if it’s only by God and me I suppose.
Love and comfort to us all.
thank you for writing tips on coping. it really was beautiful. i completely agree with you and also want to add that our love and care is imprinting our children on a sub-concious level. they will be happy, more emotionally-healthy adults because of the love we give…even if they seem to ignore it now, they need us.
i also wrote here several months ago. my daughter is now one year old and our bond has strengthened. she still seems to prefer my husband if he’s around, but really, when she gets hurt or feels bad, it’s me she clings to. even though i felt rejected i didn’t stop trying to hold her or trying to play with her. my love for her isn’t based on her feelings for me…even though reciprocation would be nice.
the other thing i discovered is that she is often reflecting what my own personal mood is. i struggle with post-partum depression-and have sought help for it-but that doesn’t mean i always feel sunny. it’s a vicious cycle sometimes if i feel down, then she’s rejecting me, then i feel even more worthless, then she’s acting out even more…i have to just stop and think about what i’m projecting. we spend so much time with our babies, i think it’s natural for them to pick up on our vibe.
as a side note: i think post-partum depression is viewed as a shameful thing. well, it’s not. you can’t help it. staying there in the dark place is what’s a shame. you’re missing out, and so is your baby.
Thank you SO much for writing about this!! Very hopeful!
My 9-mth old baby boy is doing the same to me too. I’m teaching and comes back home in the early evening. It’s the school holidays now and it’s like even though i’m spending more time with him, there are times he prefers his grandma. It really hurts. And like all husbands out there, mine too, asks me not to take it personally.
I know he is only 9 months but shouldn’t 9 month old babies already recognise their mothers? He does, I know. But he just doesn’t seem to need me. I feel so down. I’m pretty much the disciplinarian.. could that be the reason? Sigh.
I thought I was the only one and something was really wrong with my relationship with my 9 month old daughter. I’m a stay at home mom and spend pretty much all my time with her. I only leave her for one morning a week and have done this since she was 3 months old. It seems like just in the last two months that all of sudden, she doesn’t want me anymore. If I’m the only one home she wants me, but if dad’s home, it’s “mommy who?” This really hurts my feelings since I do everything for her, I want to hold her and play with her so bad but so often she rejects me. My mother says she must feel secure with me and to be happy she has such a good relationship with her father…and I am. I just want it with me too.
Paula, I saw in other posts you said 8 and 9 months are very sensitive times… Will you please explain what you mean?
Is what she’s doing normal? Please help.
Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if your mother is right. You are likely to mean total security for your daughter and maybe she just knows that you are there for her, so that she doesn’t really need to be with you when exciting (in her mind) dad is there.
This could change any day. At around 7-10 months many babies go through stages of separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, meaning that they are terrified to be left alone and/or meet strangers. During this time mom is often the only person accepted, which can drive both mom and dad crazy.
These little fellows are learning that they are separate persons from mom, which they didn’t know before and they find it very scary. So they want to carried around the clock, won’t play by themselves, can’t be handed over to anyone else but mom or possibly dad without screaming like there was no tomorrow.
Not all babies become this sensitive, and it does seem as if your daughter is feeling quite secure. So you are probably doing a fabulous job with making her feel safe with you and also maybe she hasn’t yet started to suffer from separation anxiety. So who knows, within a month, you might be carrying a whining little daughter all day long.
You can read more about baby development at different months here.
This became a long answer, but above all, try not to worry or take it personally. Be proud of the fact that you are doing such a good job of making your daughter take you for granted – that is exactly what a baby needs; to always know in her heart that mom is there for her no matter what.
Frankly, I’m glad I’m not the only one in the world who is going through this.
Honestly, I feel like there must be something inherently wrong with me for my own (9 month) baby not to love me as much as my partner. My partner is the light of his life.
While he seems to love me insofar as he smiles at me and reaches for me, he doesn’t really notice if I leave to go in to another room or whatever. Whereas, with her, he SCREAMS. He can’t be without her for even a minute. And when we’re playing all together on the floor he always goes to her over me.
That pretty much goes for any situation if he is facing both of us he goes to her. Also if I am holding him and she walks by, he struggles to get away from me. If he feels scared or sick she is the only person who can comfort him. It’s been like this since he was a newborn.
It’s absolutely heartbreaking to me. What am I doing wrong? We share all parenting tasks equally, so it isnt as if he spends more time with her, though he was with her for a few months before he went to daycare (3-6 months). Doesn’t really explain the fact he’s always preferred her since he was born.
I’m so depressed over this. 🙁 Does anyone have any success stories in terms of their baby eventually being more bonded to them? What can I do?
I am a dad in the same boat. I have always been very close to my 18 month old girl. She was a real daddy’s girl up to about 3 months ago. I’m a teacher so am home most days quite early so do see a lot of her.
After a mid year holiday I started a new term and now she seems to pretty much loathe me when I get home and quite frankly it is breaking my heart.
What can I do?
Thankyou to you all!!!!
To all those beautiful mummies and daddies who have shared their heart with us, you are so not alone, I have had pnd – anxiety since my little man was about 2 months old and I used to feel this way so much that it broke my spirit and heart. Now he is 22 months and everything has reversed – I can see the love I so much needed to see reflected in his eyes and I know he needs and appreciates me. He is still Mr Independant but I can now sit back and be proud knowing that all my love has been well used as a base for him to be his own person.
So much love to all of you xoxoxo
Within one week of my twin girls being born , I was posted overseas on a 2 yr project, and get home only one week every three months… Because of the location it is just not realistic to take my wife and babies, and when I get home, both my babies just start to cry when I go near them, this tends to last most of the week.. Apart from leaving my job, is there any advice you can give me.
A very sad dad..
Hi sad dad,
I feel so much for you! If must be terribly hard to be away so much from your family and then come home and not feel welcome.
I totally understand that you are thinking about another job, and maybe that isn’t such a bad idea over time… But until then or if you choose not to, there are a few things you can do.
Your girls are now 8 months old. That is actually a very sensitive age when separation and stranger anxiety set is. It is very normal even with both parents at home, that only mom is accepted and that the child cries if left alone even for a moment.
To make them as comfortable as possible with you, have you tried recording lullabies or small stories that they can listen to when you are not around? If your wife would show photos with you holding your girls and let the songs play at bedtime, for example, it could be a warm way for them to keep you in mind while you are not around. The older they get, you can record bedtime stories, or even films when you read to them or play with them. Skype is also, of course, an option, but your babies may not respond to that with any great interest there and then. But again, to keep you in their minds even when you’re not there, both recordings and video conversations might be good.
In addition, you could leave a used t-shirt them, to be used for naptime, for example, so your smell is as familiar as possible.
Also, when you come home, try to be together with them together with your wife as much as possible, so that their separation anxiety regarding mom doesn’t come between the three of you.
And if there is any way at all that you can get longer periods at home during this sensitive period, consider asking for it. It is a short time when our children really need us as badly as when they are babies and young toddlers.
I really hope this was at least a little bit of help.
Good luck to you all,
I’m a Dad, I work full time and I’m home by 6pm most evenings. except some weekends I have to work away from home (Overnight). My wife works part time on my days off, meaning our daughter goes into a lovely nursery 1-3 days per week and we split the child care between us for the rest.
My daughter is fine when she is with me, we have fun and adventures together. but when my wife is around, I’m nobody, she wont come to me, no kisses or hugs, she will scream and cry for mum to hold her, especially if I pick her up.
Somtimes she seems to get very distressed, but at bedtime I read to her and hold her, my wife say’s I’m the best person to get her to sleep? Sometimes in 1-2 minutes.
I get upset and I feel so rejected, It hurts to feel unloved. My wife dismisses my concerns so I’m looking for the reassurance online.
I can see other parents are having similar problems, so maybe it is something she will grow out of in time. in the meantime I feel like a monster that frightens her ??!
Hi me too but my baby is only 4 months old. I have returned to work since and he always cry when I carry him? Why is that so? I am so confused and sad. Sigh.
My son is 9 months old and , I’ve always taken care of him feed, everything he needs I’ve been by his side since we left the hospital, now that I moved to another state he doesn’t call me momma anymore he calls it to his grandma he just doesn’t seem to need me anymore . Can someone give me a lil advice to help me. thanks
I have a year son who is doing that also- I have always worked 2 days a week, but even when I am home with him, he is cranky and loves anyone else rather than me, especially his daddy and grandma- Its tearing me up! I hope its just a phase
Hi, mummys! I am in the same position yet I do not work. My partner goes away and when I am on my own we have a perfect routine and daddy comes home, she hits me and pushes me away. I do the same, care, dress, cook, feed, bottle. Daddy is a play toy and thinks he comes and goes and is fun, but deep down I know she loves me and cant live without me.
My partner thinks I m silly and tells me not to say things like ” she does not want me” but its true, he never worries cause she wants him all the time.
So i get upset and go cry on my own.
Please help … if you have passed this phase
I have an 8-month-old little girl and she does the same thing to me! I feel terrible when I get home from work and reach out for her and she doesn’t want to come with me, we have so much fun together! But sometimes it seems like I don’t even compare to Grandma!!
it felt so good reading all the posts and knowing that out there, there were so many mums who felt the same as I did. I have a wonderful 5 month old baby boy. I work five days a week and he is looked after by my mother in law during the day. I have been feeling so down recently to see that he doesn’t seem to recognise me and prefer my mother in law more than me. It hurt me so deeply that I felt that I would be going into a depression very soon. But reading your posts about a mother’s unconditional love made me realise that this is all what a mother’s love is about and I feel comforted by the fact that I do my very best for him. I am sure that one day, he will know who his mother is and what she did for him. May God help us all.
Hi my daughter is 4months old.She only goes to her paternal grandmother.Whenever i try to take her on my lap she starts crying badly.
Now a days she refuses my breast feeding.
I feel very sad when this happens as I am already sitting in my home for her resigned from my job.She never wants to come to me.
I feel like why I didn’t die when she was born.
Please help me out of this.
I have read all of the posts and it is kind of a double edge sword to say that I am glad that other people are or have gone through the same things that I am going through. I work full time and my one-year-old goes to daycare 3 days per week and stays at home with her dad 2 days per week. When I drop her off at daycare she doesn’t look twice. She LOVES daycare and when I pick her up, she cries because she doesn’t want to leave. When I think about it, it really is a good thing that she loves her daycare. I would hate for it to be the opposite.
I guess what really hurts my feelings is that when she is home is her dad and then I come home, she could care less. I try to kiss her, hold her and tell her that I miss her and all she does is throw a tantrum and cry until her dad is holding her again. It makes me very sad because she tried so hard for her and I feel like I waited my whole life to have a child and she is our only one and now I wonder what I am doing that is so wrong. What scares me the most is that I don’t want her to start having tantrums when she can’t get what she wants. I guess I just don’t want this type of behavior to flow into other areas of her life. And I really hope that this is just a phase that she is going through…
I love my child more than anything in the world and I hope that she knows it. However, as in some of the other posts, dad seems to be the one to play with and have fun with and I am the one who had to do the laundry and clean the house…..could this have anything to do with the favoritism?
I’m a married mom with a 14 month old son who is obsessed with his dad and treats me like garbage a lot of the time. I am also the sole breadwinner in my family. I had to go back to work part time at 6weeks, but have been 100% available and loving and devoted every second I have free. I wake him up with a bottle in the morning and put him to bed with a massage and kisses and rocking at night. Kiss him and love him non stop. But my 14month old is obsessed with his dad and it totally kills me. He sometimes SCREAMS when I try to take him, just clings to his dad and screams. And I swear to g-d it feels like he’s being a jerk on purpose sometimes. Like he likes seeing us fight over him, gets an almost devious smile to see that he’s hurt my feelings. But I feel like I’m not supposed to think that. Or that babies don’t do that. I can’t help having my heart broken. I am just grateful to know this happens in other cases. I am super worried about our long term relationship and bonding. Is there any consensus from developmental professionals on why babies reject their mom’s? I wonder why this isn’t written about or talked about more widely. If this board is any indication it happens quite a bit.
Yeah, as you can see, it is common! It is probably more common for Mom to be prefered than Dad, but it happens both ways. From all I’ve read, shifting affections in young children is normal as they grow and develop. Our job is then to not take it personally, not reinforce it by showing strong emotions, but simply allow our children to for some reason need one parent more than the other from time to time, It is painful, but it is normal development. Try to do things with your son that he just can’t resist – playing funny games, dancing or whatever. And do things together all of you. Don’t worry. You are obviously there for your son. RIght now he is identifying with dad. That’s good too; try to see that. XOXO, Paula
Let me know how things develop!
I just googled and found this website.. and saw I was not alone. Just feel depressed that my 11-month-old does not want me and prefers my mom all the time… it’s my fault.. due to certain unavoidable circumstances I had to leave her with my parents in my home country for 5 months, and now I am reunited with her (at 10 months)..it’s been a month with her now.. I’ve been trying to bring her around to like me.. she does like me, I spend quite some time with her. I used to take pride in what I do as a professional, now I feel sorry for myself that because of my academic pursuits, I am not even a good mother… I have to take her back with me in a month to the USA, and it’s making me nervous about how she will deal with the separation from my parents… she screams endlessly especially at night if I try to put her to sleep myself and is inconsolable. what am I to do !! I think I made a huge mistake leaving her for 4 months …
please give me some advice.
I am glad I am not the only mother that felt that way when my baby is with his grandmother it feels likes that he doesn’t need me and sometimes I feel like crying can someone tell me how to end this nightmare
hi, i’m a mom and i have a problem with my son ’17 months old’that when he gets hurt or fall down and starts to cry he doesnt come to me ,he wants anyone but me .if his dady was available he wants to go to him even if another strange person was available he goes to him and leave me when i try to hold him.
i dont know why he is acting like this .Does he hate me or doesnt feel secure with me ?
Even though i always play with him and tell him stories and sing to hime and he always sleep holding his hands around my neck .
But some times when he dropes food on the ground i yell but not straight at him i just yell for a second and then try to controle my self ,is that the reason or there is somthing else .
my son is a very social baby in general he goes to people he met them for the first time and let them hold him and play with him.
please help me ,because i feel that my son hates me and that destroy me .
I am in the same boat. I had to return to work recently (4 days a week) and daddy is at home more and takes my son to nursery and picks him up. Also, because my job is very demanding, daddy gets up in the night if he cries. Now, my son doesn’t seem to even want me in the room with him any more. He cries when I try to do anything for him and won’t look at me. He always trying to get daddy’s attention instead.
The rational part of me says that this makes sense because he is with daddy more than me at the moment. But the emotional part of me feels devastated. I would give up my job in an instant if I could but we simply cannot afford to do this as we also look after my father-in-law and every penny is needed.
I just want to cry and cry.
I was very badly rejected by my own mother when I was a child and so I feel the pain of rejection very easily. Help …
I have a 10 month old and he laughs and gets excited to see his grandma more than he ever does for me. I even think sometimes grandma secretly enjoys doing this to me.
His dad loves him but truly has done 15% of all that I do for the baby (feed, clean, entertain,
up at night, etc) but when our baby sees his dad he smiles and knows that for the next 20-30 minutes dear daddy is going to throw him up in the air and play. When daddy is the bored or tired of this the he conveniently disappears and I take over.
We started day care 2-3x a week and yesterday I picked him up expecting him to smile and be happy to see me but he just looked away. It hurts.
I feel like a bad mom.
I feel like a failure when it comes to being a mom. I play with, love and nurture my 17 month old boy but he doesn’t seem to care about me. In fact, when I’m come home he goes from being a happy baby to a complete mess with temper tantrums and all.
I was always there for him. I nursed him up until a month ago. I work 4 full days a week and am with him without fail 24/7 the other 3. He doesn’t kiss, hug or cuddle with me. When I do leave him he doesn’t even notice. He fights me on everything. This has been for pretty much his whole life. I am so sad.
I thought my daughter was the only one to behave this way. She is almost 10 months old. And one afternoon she suddenly started rejecting me. She wants to be with anyone else in the house except me. Even the same morning, she wanted to be with me and when she woke up from her nap, she did not want me around. I felt so upset…
My 18 month baby boy really likes his dad than me. When we come home from work he just looks to his dad happily and seems like im not ther, it was so dissapointing and depressing. And when he wakes up at night he always looks for his dad and when I want to hold him he pushes my hands away. What should I do… Please help…
Maybe she thinks you don’t want her and feels rejected going to work when she is still so young?
This is my second son who is 8months and I feel me and him bonded great till a month ago and my husbands work schedule changed he is home all day I can’t even get a second without him around and when he leaves the room our son fusses and tries to getaway from me I took him in another room to get some time with him he jus screamed and finally ate and went to bed I am very scheduled till few weeks ago, my husband is very not. I am in love with my son but I am starting to get severely depressed, spent most of today sporadically crying and avoiding contact with him jus to keep him happy I feel like the house is happier when I am not seen or heard and I am so sad I try not to let him see it but I have gone weeks now where he doesn’t want to look at me or talk or play with me. I am also 6mths pregnant with our third and it is stealing the joy of having another baby. I am drained to the point where I
have lost joy in the time with my other son I feel like I just resent him and my husband for being able to make him happy.
What the hell do you expect when you abandon your baby? Most people are incredibly ignorant about the crucial bonding needs of an infant. They need physical closeness, frequent eye contact, reassurance, tenderness and love–and it must be consistent and from the same person–preferably from the mother, who also feeds the baby. Any idiot can get pregnant but being a loving mother is something entirely different. I was born to an ignorant mother who failed to nurture me. I was nothing more than a pain in the ass to her. I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidality, anger and low self-esteem my entire life. I’ve spent a fortune on psychotherapy and self- help groups, and I still suffer. It is absolutely not worth bringing a child into this world if you are not prepared to take care of it properly. Please think long and hard before you do so, and before you delude yourself into thinking that leaving the baby with someone other than you for extended periods is no big deal. It’s the biggest deal imaginable to that baby.