Life is in full swing. Your family had adjusted to the newness of the little one, work has resumed, and now caring for your baby all day is part of the norm. Now perhaps mother spends more of her day caring for the baby by feeding, cuddling, and focusing on her time with her child. When dad returns home, mom is more than happy to pass off her little one to dad. Sometimes though, the baby is reluctant and seems to always prefer mom. What do you do as a willing and capable father when it comes to a baby who wants mama and it seems, only mama?
First, dad, you are not alone. Many fathers experience this hardship because most babies prefer mom says Dr. Harvey Karp of book Happiest Baby on the Block. “Dad’s are not usually as involved in meeting the baby’s needs, so they develop a natural preference for their mother.”
To create more experiences to grow close to your baby, stay involved. Help with bath time, bed time, changing diapers, and of course lots of cuddling; skin to skin is best.
Often times mother’s speak more sweetly to their baby and makes the baby feel more comfortable. Dad, don’t be hesitant to speak in a singsong voice with a gentle touch. Research shows that fathers excel at bedtime. Fathers are able to, as Karp says, cover the 5’s–swinging, swaddling, shushing, side position and sucking.
If your baby is unhappy try to remain calm. It is in these moments that insecurities of your capability can hinder your calm approach to caring. It is important to combat thoughts of “not enough” or rejection, thinking baby prefers only mom. Don’t take it personally, and as your baby grows perhaps their preference will change.
Do you have any other tips for how Dad’s can stay connected to their little ones? Did anything in particular work for your family? Please share in the comments below!
Reference from Chicago Parent, June 2014.