Need Serious Opinions. My Newborn Son Doesn't like His Father

Updated on November 16, 2010
N.G. asks from Rensselaer, IN
19 answers

Hello mothers. I've come to you for advice. My son is soon to be 11 weeks old and ever since he was about 4 weeks old I noticed a slight change in his attitude for his father. He started by getting grumpy and crying a bit whenever he would hold him. As the weeks progressed it's only gotten worse. He won't let his dad touch him, hold him, feed him, talk to him, NOTHING without completely turning red and screaming his guts out. This is no exaggeration. He would rather starve than lt his father feed him. And the second me or grandma take him away he calms right down. Even if we are holding him and he comes to talk to him h starts crying immediatly. He's tried not using cologne. Taking a shower. He even used the same soap as me. What can we do? Why doesn't he like his daddy? FYI his daddy is deaf (hard of hearing) so yes his voice is not as clear as mine but he should still know it from the pregnancy and then from birth. It's to the point where my husband can't even help out much and I can't ever get a break or a chance to sleep in a little longer bc he refuses daddy. Help!

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for all you're guy's responses! I forgot to mention that my husband has a son from a previous relationship and he is now 3 years old. so its not so much that he is nervous with the baby. hes actually very confident and im surprised he hasn't given up yet. but im going to tell him all you're guys advice and try it a few days and i'll come back and let you know how it goes. And also, i am out of the house 5 days a week because i'm back to work and even still my son just screams but i guess you're right we are not going to give up because i want him to be used to both of us! i'll come back in a few days and edit this and tell you if there are any changes!

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answers from Chicago on

He will get over it. For the longest time, my baby preferred me over anyone. It took several months, too. Maybe even close to a year. My daughter is now 5. She wants her daddy ALL the time.

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answers from Houston on

This is very very common. Many babies refuse their dads when they can sense their mother in the room. Babies often prefer the higher pitched voices of their mothers as well, since women's voices are usually more calming and soothing, and their bodies are often more soft and gentle for snuggling.

Your husband and the baby need to spend one on one time together. Show him how you hold and comfort the baby, how to swaddle the baby in a blanket, what the baby's favorite cuddle position is, favorite place to be stroked (like the legs, feeet, side of cheek...)

He needs to feed the baby, but it wont work if you and grandma are in the home, because the baby can sense that you are there and will always prefer you until the baby becomes okay with dad feeding him.

Can your husband hum at all? He can try humming softly in the baby's ear while lightly swaying him side to side. If he can't hum, he can turn on light nursery or classical music while rocking the baby (just preset the music volume before you leave so it isn't too loud or soft).

He also needs to remain calm, as babies can sense agitation and stress, which will only make matters worse.

Here is an expert article of ways to help fathers bond with newborns:

and an expert answer to this same question:

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

The same thing happened with my first son. Many times dads are pretty tense when holding a newborn baby, because they think they are going to break the baby or they feel like they don't know what to do. Baby can sense that. As he starts to get a little older, they will both change. Dad will become more comfortable and baby will absolutely LOVE daddy. Just wait, there will be a time where your precious little angel literally pushes you aside because he wants daddy.

I have to say that with both of our kids, it was around the 10 month mark where my hubby really enjoyed hanging out with them. Don't get me wrong, he loved the boys before that...but he would always say "But he doesn't do anything"! Once baby can communicate a little more, and play everything will change.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i agree that baby and daddy need some alone time. you and grandma should go shopping or get your nails done. i bet if you give it a couple hours (and don't rush home just because he says he is crying!) they will work it out. be so thankful you have a husband who cares so much - many men are shy of newborns and would rather not try.

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answers from La Crosse on

some of this is natural... and i'm afraid made a bit worse by taking baby from dad. my kids were fussier with dad too, at first, but i let dad work thru it and let him gain the confidence he needed to care for them. try giving baby over to dad after he's eaten and when he's sleepy. let dad lull him to sleep (when he's about to go to sleep anyway). let dad hold him while he sleeps so baby can get used to dad's breathing and smell. hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

This is a self-perpetuating problem now. I would bet that your husband is now all tense when he holds your son. Babies are very perceptive about tense vs. relaxed in adults who are holding them. The more you and your husband stress about this the your husband tenses up when he holds baby. Have your husband consciously try to relax himself - muscle by muscle from his head/neck down to his toes. Babies alos liek to be held closely to your body - it's a wierd feeling for men. i recal once begging my hsuband to rock our baby to sleep one night when I was completel exhausted. She kept crying louder and louder. Finally i got up to peek into her room and I see my husband holding her far from his body and swinging her like she was on a an amusement park ride. She was probably terrified when she wants calmness - and the more she cried the faster he "swung" her. I showed him how to hold her close to his tummy/chest and rock her calmly and slowly, to stroke her back or forehead, etc. And this is a man who could get the babies to fall asleep on his chest while laying on the couch any time otherwsie...!

Maybe laying on your bed have your husband bring the baby in and all kind of "chillax" on the bed together. Have baby lay up against his dad, in the crook or his armpit, while you coo at him. Leave the two of them to hang out together. and let him cry when he's with daddy. Remind him to try to relax as he cries. Crying is tough to hear when it's your child - but it doesn't harm babies.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son is twenty wouldn't nurse and still hates me, don't worry. Just kidding. He likes me once in awhile, not the nursing part, though. He really wouldn't. This is pretty normal. One day he will be begging for dad. and then you'll feel left out.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

There's a phrase in my house: Dads do things a little differently. And it's so true. Remember different doesn't mean worse, or wrong, it means different.
Your baby is so little. I really doubt he has a "[preference" for you. But you ARE mom...and right now that's everything.
Dad is most likely tense and scared now which your son will pick up on. He needs to relax, be confident (even if he doesn't know what he's doing! LOL).
Before you know it he's going to be Dad's shadow and he won't pay you the time of enjoy that little bean now.


answers from Santa Fe on

Our daughter doesn't want her daddy very much if she is spending too much time with me and not enough time with him. It sounds like they need a lot more one on one time together with you gone! Go out and get some errands done or go for a run or something on a regular basis and leave them together without you!! Your son will soon bond with his daddy again!


answers from St. Louis on

Give your son and husband time alone - meaning you leave the room. Your baby is preferring you and will for a long time. As long as you are there (he can see or smell you) he'll probably fuss. Go take a long bath and let hubby take care of your son.



answers from Minneapolis on

Give them more time alone. And I mean leave the house and go run errands. Start small and work your way up in time away. Let dad figure out what will work for the 2 of them. He can try walking, rocking, stroller, massage, etc. Yes, there will be some crying but it will work out. When our DS was mostly around me, then he only wanted me. If he was mostly around DH for a day or so, then he only wanted DH. Such is the nature of the little ones (and even now at age 7 LOL).


answers from Norfolk on

Even if you wash with the same soap, you have a smell that is irresistible for your baby that no one else has - you make the breast milk. You can try this. Wear a big shirt (that will also fit your husband) for a few days. Then have him wear the shirt when he's holding the baby. Pump some breast milk and have Dad do some of the feedings (and leave the room for awhile (Grandma, too), take a nap). Let them fend for themselves for awhile. Dads have their own style, and babies grow to like this, too. Don't worry about it too much. It's perfectly normal. As they grow, they switch back and forth over which parent they favor. When my son was one he preferred Dad holding him if I wasn't available. But as soon as I came within 3 feet of them my son would launch himself at me out of Daddys arms (it was hard not to drop him). When my son was 3 yrs old he pushed Daddy away from me and told him "My Mama! Get your own Mama!". Eventually he out grew it and he and Daddy are best buddies now. Give them time alone together and go take that nap.


answers from Oklahoma City on

honey he's only 11 weeks old, if husband is nervous or not relaxed when holding son, your son will feel that, and become uneasy himself; from info provided, i doubt it's he doesn't "like" him, but that maybe daddy is not as "calm" as mom and grandma...he's really too young to determine who he likes and doesn't like. i remember being nervous ANY time my daughter cried when she was first born, and well....that made the baby cry more



answers from Boston on

This is very common. Keep trying. I wish I had. Both my kids prefer me and it is exhausting!



answers from Chicago on

I remember a technique we learned in a new parenting class before we had our first baby, was having the father take his shirt off while holding the baby. So father & baby are touching skin to skin. My husband did this for about 2 months & it helped. Both of you should also pray about it...this too shall pass. Enjoy your new bundle!!



answers from Raleigh on

My 11 week old daughter is the same way. Just last night, her dad was trying to get her to sleep by rocking. She was kicking, crying, squealing...I took her and she immediately stopped and went to sleep. My husband thinks it has to do with the fact that my mom and I have breasts and he doesn't. He thinks this naturally calms her down because they are like pillows and are soft and squishy-lol . Actually, I think he could be right...Men are more muscular, and that could be something- who knows. Babies can be such peculiar little things.
Has he tried different holds? Men are just better at some holds than others- like the football hold. My daughter does love to be carried around by him like this...and that's just about it! Anyway, just a thought.. Hope this helps!


answers from Richmond on

Awww, I PROMISE this is a phase! If it makes your hubby feel better, my son hated ME for the first few months (which was super hard because I was nursing)... Seriously, I would simply walk in the room and the baby would start hollering. If I picked him up to move him or kiss him, he would scream. It killed me! I made my daily mantra 'it's just a phase!'... and the tables will turn (but that's good for you, that's when you get a BREAK!)... sometime in the near future, he'll prefer dad over mom. Don't take it personally, he's just figuring out the world ;) Take advantage of it! Take naps! Take SHOWERS! Run to the store solo. Now, my son is ALLLLL about mommy, and my window of opportunity has ended. If I hadn't already had 2 other children, I would have been very upset at the way my son acted towards me when he was first born... but like I said, it's a phase, the tables will turn, and your husband will get plenty of baby time. That little one is just figuring stuff out right now :)



answers from Tulsa on

he is probably sensing daddys nervousness. if he cries when daddy holds him that is going to make daddy apprehensive. its a phase I call it mamaidis.
mine will switch between daddy idids phases and mamaidis phases and brotheridis phases. mamas are more nurturing and daddies just arent by nature. when a kid gets sick they always want mama over daddy. its just nature. he may not be feeling good or having a growth spurt or teething. it shall pass. tell daddy not to take it to heart it is normal both of my kids did it and they had different dads but occaasionally with ;my youngest mama isnt good enough and it has to be daddy.



answers from Lynchburg on

For us, I was so exhausted that my daughter kind of had to learn to deal with daddy. He worked at night, and then got home around 7:20 am. He'd take her for 2 hours while I slept, after being up with her all night plus the day before, and on his days off, he'd let me rest for 3-4 hours at a time, whether she was awake or not, because then I'd be up with her again at night. She didn't start sleeping until around 11 months. He had to practice patience, as it was hard for him emotionally that his daughter didn't want him. Not exactly what he dreamed of for "daddy's little girl." But over time, they got used to each other, and then started enjoying each other (probably took about 2 months for him to be the clear favorite). Because I stay home now and he works a normal shift, she's getting used to me being with her all the time, and I can give her special one-on-one time while my son is at school-something we can't do in the evenings, she's turning more to a mama's girl now, but it's not nearly as bad as it was. She absolutely adores her daddy.

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