My Daughter Won't Let Mom Put Her Down

Updated on April 09, 2016
Z.H. asks from Akron, OH
13 answers

My daughter will not let her mother put her down. She's almost a year old, I try to help but she wont let me hold her for long at all. And if we try to let her cry it out she just cries until one of us give up.. I really want to help but nothing I do helps

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answers from San Francisco on

If you have a stay at home parent who can do it, I think you should give her what she wants. It's exhausting, but she will grow out of it. My oldest wouldn't let me put him down for the first 6 months of his life. A year is a lot longer, but some kids just need the attention.

It's so great that you want to help. What a great dad you are. How about when you have her, take her outside for a walk in the stroller? Even if she's crying, it will be good for her. You don't need to give her back to mom just because she's crying. She will learn that she can be with dad too. And most kids calm down on a walk.

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answers from Boston on

The best thing that ever happened for my husband and son was for me to get the heck out of the house for long periods of time. Children will connect with the parent who is there when the one they seem to "prefer" isn't around!

A lot of kids go through phases, so if this is a short-term and recent thing, you can kind of give in for a week or so (maybe - unless no one is sleeping and your wife is exhausted). But it sounds like you two are super frustrated so maybe it's been going on for longer. It would help to know for how long this has been going on (you can edit your question and put in additional info). If you have been doing this since birth, that's kind of on you. If she child is no longer nursing, what happens if you feed her? if she's not sleeping with you but is going to bed in her own crib, if she can be with a sitter, if she can play on the floor by herself, those are all good things. If she cannot do any of those things, then you have to retrain her (and yourselves).

Usually at this age, you can distract a child with a toy. It would help to know what you've already done.

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answers from Portland on

Z., it's hard, but it's time to send your wife out without you and baby as often as reasonably possible.

Once you are sure your little girl is fed, dry diaper-- creature comforts met, not a hungry, tired kiddo-- have mom hand baby off to you. Mom should do what we ask preschool parents to do: smile, say "Mommy's coming back! Have fun with Daddy!" and *cheerfully* leave the house. Watch her walk out the front door. Wave bye-bye.

And let the tears come. You are breaking her in to not having mom 24/7. She's developed mom as an essential 'habit'... now your daughter has to learn that mom can come and go and that she will always come back. That's the goal. Make sure your wife leaves for at least 10-15 minutes, but not too, too long. Your daughter is old enough to understand object permanence (that things can go in and out of one's view-- "disappear"-- without being gone forever.

The goal is to teach your girl that mom is going to come back. Honestly, I have done this hundreds of times with children I have cared for as a toddler caregiver, preschool teacher and nanny. Kids whose parents leave confidently tend to recover a bit faster. Kids whose parents linger and don't leave, keep coming back to comfort, etc-- those kids have a much harder time. Our children need us to guide them during these new transitions and learning experiences. So, when your wife goes out, make it a quick exit. And then you, you work on helping baby soothe herself. Take her to look out another window (where mom isn't), hold her in your lap and look at one of her board books, some babies like to be packed around and get a 'tour' of different things in the house from the adult-sized view. "Ah, here's the freezer. What's in here? Shall we see? Oh, look, some frozen cherries. Can you feel the cold?" Distraction, distraction, distraction.

She may still cry, but the more you practice this, the better you will both be at this. Crying for mom for 20 minutes will not harm your little one. Mom comes back! We can be sad and then be happy again. It can be a hard thing for a baby to learn, but sooner is better.

(and please, don't feel bad for not starting this earlier. We all do what we think is best until it stops working for someone, and it sounds like "Mom Only" has stopped working for your family. Good luck. And get some earplugs. You'll still hear her, don't worry, it will just take the edge off. :) )

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

There's a couple at church who NEVER put their daughter down...I mean, ever. And she is now 4 and has awful social issues, clings to them, cries...etc. So I think you should have a talk to your wife and figure it out. Letting her cry is not the end of the world. She needs to learn to sooth herself. JMO. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Her mom has to break the habit and you can help.

Mom kisses baby goodbye and leaves the house. Agree to not call each other to check in.

You have comfort items on hand - bottles, soothers, blankie, stuffy, go for a drive in car if you have to to relax her, walk in a stroller ... whatever works. She will cry .. just be prepared for it. You just comfort her and get through it. And you will. We've all been there - at some point or another. Leaving our kids at daycare the first time. Sticking them on bus first time ... the key is to know they will not only be fine, but be happier and well adjusted if you do it. So it's the healthy decision.

Just keep reminding her mom of this. And yourself. Baby will be fine. Even if you offer her her comfort item and she's so upset she bats it back at you, just shhh her and jiggle or walk or whatever ... so long as she is safe, she will be fine.

I don't really do crying it out. But if I had a hysterical baby and I couldn't hold her any more (sometimes they arch their backs they're so upset) I'd put her somewhere safe, a pack and play (playpen) say - where she's still with you (you probably don't want her to associate mommy leaving/upset and a crib at this point) - and she'll know you're there.

Good luck :)

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answers from Miami on

If I had let either of my kids do that, I would have ended up a mess. My back could not take carrying around a growing child.

Really and truly, you and your wife have to be on the same page on trying to wean her from being held all the time. Your wife needs to be able to walk out the door and have a life. You need to help her do it. Several of the posters are giving you good suggestions.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My cousin went through the same thing with her second child. She was happy when the daughter no longer did that and it just happened naturally over time. I think part is personality, and some is what they are accustomed to. As my mom used to say, crying helps the lungs get stronger. As long as they are not hurt or need anything, putting a few toys out in front of them and giving mom some free time to be hands free, will be good. It might also let the child know they survived a good cry and without mom coming to the rescue. Put in those earphones and listen to low volume music to help drown out the noise while doing bills/cleaning/reading etc Good Luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Yes, her mother needs to have time on her own away from the dear girl. Kudos to you for being willing to make that happen--and getting special time with her YOURSELF,

Since your daughter does let you hold her, I bet that the issue is that she is conditioned to be held by her mother whenever she is available. I suspect that once her mother is not available, she will adjust to the reality of the situation and interact with you. How about you take her out in a stroller, in a backpack carrier, or to play in one of her favorite places for a half hour? Have snacks, food, favorite snuggly, board books, a toy to keep her entertained (along with the inevitable diapers, etc). She probably will react to her mother's absence a bit, however with other things to look at and do as well as you around, she will get through it. She is moving around on her own, right? Take her places where you can play with her. Nora P's and Nervy Girl's suggestions sound like a good, non-traumatic way to get her used to you as caretaker. Good luck with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If you keep trying CIO and then giving up you are teaching her that if she just screams long and hard enough you will give in, that is counter productive. Once you decide on what you are going to do you need to stay consistent with it.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

You are the adult. You put her down and walk away. You go about your business and leave her alone, not literally alone like leave her in a room but you walk away and go do dishes while she's in the living room and you can see her. You go fold clothes on the couch and she's in the playpen.

As a matter of fact if she won't stop crying and it's a temper tantrum I'd probably tell her that crying babies means tired babies and that means GOOD NIGHT. Then I'd put her in the playpen/pack and play and I'd walk off to go do housework or something where I could see and hear her.

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answers from Chicago on

this is very common, and it doesn't mean anything long term, it's a phase and in a few years it may reverse completely and she'll reject Mommy over you, lol

The best way to deal with it is having you be as involved as possible. When your wife is holding her and you are home, sit right next to them and touch the baby's leg or arm. When a bath is being given you be in there too and help out. Try to be included and right there any time you are around.

Another thing you may want to do is have Mommy go out once a week without the baby. This works best if she puts the baby down for a nap first, then you are the one there when baby wakes up, it will be easier for everyone cause it's a natural transition and the baby wakes up with no other option. This also gives Mom some relief from the constant touching the baby is doing, cause no matter how much you love the child if you are going all day every day attached to them it makes you not want any touch at all.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

if this is a new behavior i would find out why so clingy all the sudden, sickness or other ailment bothering her. if this has been going on a long time then re read what the others have said and patiently work on it. don't give up. just keep trying.


answers from Norfolk on

For the first 3 1/2 years, our son was on my lap when ever I was with him.
Then, he was over it and was fine playing with friends.
Separation anxiety - it's a common phase and can be nerve wracking - but they do out grow it someday.
How he's 17, 6 ft 2 inches tall - and a smart confident young man - and I sometimes miss my little snuggler.
Kids grow - fast - savor it!

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