28 answers

3 Month Old Cries When Dad Comes Home

My husband and I just had our first child in February so he is almost 3 months old. I am still on maternity leave so I am home with our little boy all day long. He is a very happy baby and doesn't cry at all when he is with me, my mom or mother-in-law. My husband went back to work after he was 2 weeks old and ever since, each night when he comes home from work and greets our son, he just starts crying at the top of his lungs! I know this is starting to really hurt my husbands feelings as he thinks his son hates him. I am a little worried as I will be going back to work in 2 weeks and my husband is going to stay home on Monday's to care for him. Does anyone have any advice on how to get dad and son to bond? He is exclusivley breastfeed but will take expressed milk in a bottle which my husband has given him a couple times.

What can I do next?

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It's not that daddy is home, it's that mommy is 'gone'. I'd let daddy do at least one feeding a day, especially since you will be going back to work soon. Try giving them some time alone to bond also. Often when my husband comes home and I leave the room. Sometimes I get dinner ready or just have some quiet mommy time. Baby will get used to his one on one time with daddy and will look forward to daddy's going home.

I think that their Mondays together will be the perfect thing. My kids are 6,4,and4. To this day I basically have to leave the house for them to "want" daddy to be the one to help them with things. And like everything else...this will pass.

Get dad to bottle-feed him as often as possible. My husband bottle-fed my youngest (along with breast) from day one and it was a great bonding experience for them.

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You should start having your husband spend more time alone with the baby. If they do not have time together w/o you in the room your baby will not have the opportunity to form a bond with his dad. Have your husband do more feedings before you go to work.

I would like to add that I totally disagree with Marilyn's advise. A baby will be a perfectly well rounded child with a Mom who works. It is important for your own security and mental health to get out of the home and work. There is no reason we need to play into the patriarchal mind frame of western society. Woman have fought for the right to work, and proper education. I commend you for going back to work. Your baby will benefit from being raised by an independent Mom. Children who attend daycare have better social skills then children who do not. They also get exposed to education earlier then children who stay at home. Good luck with the transition.


2 moms found this helpful

My daughter did the same thing. We figured out that her daddy came home at the same time every day, which was at the same time as her colic started acting up. It lasted for hours each day. Once dad could wrap his head around that, he felt better. We gave her some medicine for gassy tummy and she improved immediately.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm a stay at home mom so I'm w/our 7 mth 24/7. He is okay w/daddy for about 10-15 min at a time but anything after 3:30 pm with ANYONE except me, he whines and cries uncontrolably. We've talked with others and have been reassured this will pass once he is about a year or two old. I can only suggest that his daddy spend morning hours when possible with him; reassure your son that your still there with him. I do this and at times it works for a few minutes. Let your husband know that it isn't personal and it will pass soon enough.

1 mom found this helpful

Is it crucial that you go back to work? Your son is already expressing his concerns, and I think you need to trust his judgment. He's not ready to lose mom to anyone, especially another male (the alpha male, at that!).

Is your income really crucial for your survival? Your son doesn't need a room of his own, tons of acquired stuff to hold him, entertain him, and to keep him occupied, he needs his mother!

A baby's need for his mother as his only caregiver lasts for at least two years, probably three, and best for five! That's what allows a child to grow up trusting and loving.

When we leave our babies, it's perceived by them as abandonment! You have only a few years with this baby, your son, and this is your time to help him to become the best he can be--to thrive--not a time for him to be developing skills simply to survive. We do, of course, want our children to thrive...and that means being there for them.

Your son is telling you, in the best way he knows how, that this is HIS time. He NEEDS his mother. It's your job to be there.

And, by the way, this part of the mothering job is short-lived, it's a window of opportunity, and, if it's missed, you've not done your job and your son's life will reflect the loss of his mother too soon.

Sorry, I know this is tough, but it's crucial information and, now, you must determine your priorities in your life and in the life of your child. You can't compromise on this one!

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

This is a very common phase and he will get past it. My daughter did the same thing and now at 7 mo is a total daddy's girl. Have them spend extra time together on the weekends. Especially during your son's natural play time (he may just be too tired at the end of the day when dad comes home.)

Also don't let anyone on this group make you feel guilty for returning to work. I saw Marilyn M’s post. It seems like there’s always one. Do what you know to be best for your family and it will work out. Oh and get dad some earplugs.

If its not Colic at the same time of every evening, than maybe your husband is putting off a "vibe",is he nervous around baby still,(babies can sense things like that) if its not that or colic, than they just need more bonding time, we make sure that bottle time is for daddy and baby since breastfeeding is with mommy, I think our baby even misses bottle time with Daddy when Im home on that day.Baby will get used to Daddy eventually.

Hi E.,

First of all, take a deep breath and relax. Your baby is only three months old and has a lifetime to bond with his daddy. Second of all, even the most docile baby typically has a fussy period in the late afternoon or early evening. The same thing would happen to me - my baby was a dream all day and then he'd fuss and cry when daddy came home. It had NOTHING to do with daddy, it simply was the baby's fussy time of day. He'll outgrow it, no worries.

Baby wearing can be very comforting to your baby, help the bond between infant and parent and give you a greater sense of freedom and autonomy. This same scenario happened to my husband and I, our Bjorn baby carrier was a saving grace since we had one of those babies that wanted to be held (by me)constantly. It is said that being in the carrier mimics the environment in the womb and is therefore comforting to the baby. I hope this helps, good luck to you.

There's just something about that age. My babies cried every evening about dinner time (give or take an hour). I'd do everything to calm them and it drove me crazy, because the cause is so mysterious! It's not colic, gas, hunger, tired...maybe overstimulation at the end of the day (even tho some our days were boring, it still happened!) but I've talked to other moms, our nurse who said this is just a stage. My last son was out of it by 4 months. Hang in there.
As for bonding, I don't think feeding is the only way. Dad can have time in the morning and there's plenty of time for them! Good luck

Babies hate change and they will cry. After 4-6 days, your baby will get use to the new situation and be fine.

Babies will always bond with their mom first and they also prefer to hear the mom's voice as apposed to dad's. Mom's speaks to baby in high pitched voice that babies like called motherese. Dad will have to spend more time cooing and talking to baby in softer tones until baby gets used to hearing his voice. Surprisingly most babies are very atuned to pitch and sound and will get upset when they hear sounds or noises that don't please them.

Bath time, playtime,and just plain rocking chair time, that is a great time to bond, ask your husband to hold him more often and to give him a bath , to rock him to sleep, i went thru something silimar with my son who is now three it worked now my son can't wait for his dad to get home, they have a great bond.
Hope this helps

Maybe once your husband starts staying with him, they will bond more. I know my son went through a phase when he was about a year old where he didn't want anything to do with my husband. I started leaving them alone in the evenings several times a week with instructions for my husband to spend quality time with him doing something my son enjoys. They played trains, went for walks, played on the "tickle bed", etc. Soon my son was watching for Daddy's car again.

Hi E.. It's really hard when you have to go back to work. My husband and I worked opposite shifts so we didn't have to put our son in daycare. I would leave the house at 3am so I could be home by 130 so my husband could go to his job. Our son was only breastfed, no formula. My husband went through the same thing. My husband would call me at work all the time to try to figure out how to stop our son from crying...it was hard. My husband found that when it came to feeding our son that was their bonding time and things got better. BUT.. he wanted me until he was 2, when we had our second baby then he really wanted his dad more. Babies just know who their mom is and that's who they want.. it's natural. It takes time and patients. Tell your husband this is normal.. tell him not to feel bad. Good luck.

I think that their Mondays together will be the perfect thing. My kids are 6,4,and4. To this day I basically have to leave the house for them to "want" daddy to be the one to help them with things. And like everything else...this will pass.

It is not dad that causes the baby to cry, it is the time of day. Look at your baby books, show your husband,too, that babies cry around early evening to express what they cannot say with words: I'm tired, I'm hungry, I want to wriggle, etc. It will pass, just keep the baby close to either mom or dad, and sing sweet silly songs that soothe.

This kind of thing just comes with the territory. My son did the same thing. When ever my husband picked him up or anything he would cry the entire time. It was a phase. Now he can not get enough of dad. My husband has an easier time getting him to eat or sleep or play with a new toy, anything. remind him about all the things that he well get to do with your son as he grows up. Play ball, teach about cars and to drive you know guy stuff. tell him it well pass.
Hope this helps

It's not that daddy is home, it's that mommy is 'gone'. I'd let daddy do at least one feeding a day, especially since you will be going back to work soon. Try giving them some time alone to bond also. Often when my husband comes home and I leave the room. Sometimes I get dinner ready or just have some quiet mommy time. Baby will get used to his one on one time with daddy and will look forward to daddy's going home.

On your husband's day off, have him do the diaper changes, bathing, clothes swapping so that maybe being around dad more will let him get the scent of him familiar again and maybe this won't be a problem. I know he's going to cry for a little for a while during the process, but the hard work should pay off in the end.

My sons went through this phase as well. They wanted mom, but screamed if Dad came near. Its probably a very good thing that Dad's going to be taking care of him on Mondays, will probably help baby get out of this phase.

Everyone is right, this is just a phase...they will bond in their own time. Having you there your child is reliant on you. Once Daddt takes over, your child will prefer him. Around and around it goes...Don't take it personally, hang in there, and spend time playing as a family. Best wishes, you can do it!

This is totally normal. my son when he came home from the hospital after 5 months wanted nothing to do with dad. And daddy's feelings did get very hurt, this does pass. It will take time and there will be times when he only wants daddy. my son is now 3 and there are still times that he does not want daddy but my husband still comes home and gives him a hug and a kiss weather my son wants it or not. but then there are the days when he runs up to daddy and gives him a hug.
Tell your husband to hang in there and not take it personally, pretty soon your husband will be the only one he wants to be with, so much he might get flustered and not know what to do.(which is the case with my husband some times)
good luck and tell daddy to hang in there.

Just a guess . . . your son could have hyper sensitive hearing and the male voice may be actually hurting his ears! Make sure that dad speaks softly and sings lullabies to him to soothe him. You may want to have a grandmother check in the first few times dad takes care of baby so if baby is highly stressed he will have a bit of relief, and so will dad.By the way my son was very attached to me for months then became very attached to his dad. It was interesting phases he went through.
Good luck.

My son absolutely loved his daddy from day 1 but he spent a lot of time with him. He would come home at least 2x's a week to feed him lunch or meet us at the park for a quick kiss etc. He also used to put him down on the weekends and spent daddy time with him every Saturday morning while I went off to Starbucks to read a book for about an hour. I would try to see if it is just the time or if daddy needs to spend a little more time. I was sad to go back to work too! It will get easier as you go on, but for the first few weeks you will think about him every second-smile!

Is he like that on weekend nights as well (just wondering if it could be colic?) If not, you're right, it might just be that he has to bond more with your hubby. That sort of happened (not every single night) with my husband and our first little boy. We were more conscious of it the second time around to have my husband spend a great deal of those first couple weeks around my daughter (holding, cuddling, soothing when she cried). She is now almost 3 months old as well and does better with him than my son did at that age. However, she still prefers me over my husband. My true opinion is that most babies do....I think they love the scent of mommy (especially when nursing), the touch of mommy, and they're most familiar with us (after those grueling 9 months! :)
I've heard from many people and would totally agree, that for the most part the "cranky-with-daddy" babies do tend to do a lot better with them when mommy is not in the house (they can still sense you from anywhere inside those walls!) My sister has a son who is just 2 wks younger than my daughter and she just went back to work. While she was at home Isaac always wanted her, so she was nervous because her hubby is the stay-at-home one. She's been at work for a week now and Isaac is doing GREAT with daddy, even starting to get on a schedule a bit!
My long, drawn-out point is :) that you shouldn't stress or worry too much, because he will probably do just fine with your hubby even though right now he's seemingly much more attached to you.
Best of luck to you!!!

Get dad to bottle-feed him as often as possible. My husband bottle-fed my youngest (along with breast) from day one and it was a great bonding experience for them.

Does your husband sing? Have him pick up the baby and start singing in a soft voice, something he knows the words to like twinkle twinkle little star. We used to sing Silent Night year round to my daughter because we knew all the words and it was a soft melody.

This happens a lot. The baby has been awake and happy all day. By the time daddy gets home, baby is worn out. Try getting him down for an afternoon nap just before your husband comes home. My son did the same thing. The bonding will happen on it's own time. Let your husband know not to take it personally and hang in there.

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