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Baby only wants to be held by mom. Normal?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 

Is it normal for a baby to not like anyone else holding her? My baby is only 2-1/2 months old, so I can understand that she'd want to be held by mommy most of the time. I carried her in the womb, I birthed her, I feed her, I'm basically her lifeline. I get the attachment. But it just doesn't seem right that she won't let other people hold her without breaking out crying. I have very very little social support (I mean pretty much zero help) when it comes to taking care of the baby, so when a rare opportunity presents itself where I can hand her over to someone else to hold her and give me a break - I NEED to be able to take it! For some reason she just won't have any of it, though! crap.gif Friends and family have acted like it's abnormal and commented in ways like, "You should have other people holding her more to get used to it," or, "Is she always like this?!" Stuff like that... It makes me feel worse. Even my husband, who used to be even better at soothing her than I was, now can hardly calm her down himself and ends up having to hand her over to me. Have I done something wrong to make her overly attached or something (like outsiders seem to act is the culprit)? Are any of your babies like this? I should add that the matter is further complicated because she is extremely picky about how she likes to be held, and trying to explain exact positioning to friends and family is annoying and is borderline embarrassing now since she's bawling her eyes out by the time I try to tell them how to hold her.

 

Help! I want to be able to have a social life and for my baby to be socialized with other people too!

post #2 of 42

All of mine have been like that and grow out of it.  Éowyn doesn't always cry when someone else is holding her, but she watches me move around the room and leans as far as she can in my direction.  I just keep her in a wrap to minimize others asking to hold her.

 

ETA: she will cry unless she is being held precisely upright, which DH and my mom both know, 'cause they are really the only people I have hold her.  Everyone else stopped bugging me about "sharing" after my second.

post #3 of 42
I'm sorry you are struggling with this. Dd1 and dd2 would never let anyone but me hold them. Not even their dad. I just assumed that was how babies are. It wasn't until Jasper that I realized that babies could have attachments to other people and be happy being cared for by them. With my girls, I was unable to be separated from them for any amount of time. I don't have any advice, just wanted to share my experience. Maybe it depends on the baby. I'm sure you can't do anything to make a baby that way! Jasper is much more relaxed than my girls. I hope you get some good advice!

Oh, one thing I've always heard people say is to leave the baby with dad for a while and let them figure it out. If you are there, he can just hand Sora off easily. If you are out, he has to work it out. Does that make sense? Give him alone time to find what works, then encourage that even when your are there. My ex would never go for that, so I don't know if it works. Sounds good, though! Good luck!

Finally, I know this is the worst advice ever, but this will pass. It all passes. I promise.
post #4 of 42

I really think this is pretty normal.  Babies get into routines and have their own likes and dislikes just like everyone else.  Moms just tend to be the person that spends the most time with their babies, so they get to know what they like the best. 

 

My DH will often comment that I have "the magic touch" when it comes to Coralie.  I tell him, "no, if you just did things the same way as me, she'd be happy".  She's used to some things in a very specific way.

 

My opinion is that it's perfectly fine to do what it takes to make your baby comfortable.  She won't be dependent on you for ever.  Really, it's a very short time and then she'll be off running.  ;)

post #5 of 42

Same here.  It's borderline annoying.  I try to cook dinner but D just fusses.  I try to tell DH what to do to make him happy and then I'm "being bossy".  I know how you feel!  Owen was the same way, and Amanda is right- it passes.  I agree with Abra too- if they'd just do what you tell them to do, the baby would be happy :-)  Mothers know all the quirks and we kind of have a radar or sixth sense about things.  We know what the cries are (hungry, tired, etc.) and we know exactly what to do to fix it.  Dads and other people don't have that sense, since they don't spend as much time with baby!  She'll get used to other people.  She's still a wee little babe and is getting used to her world.  I now just make sure to take full advantage of any spare second I can get without D on me. :-)

post #6 of 42

Um, yes.  I recall a moment etched into my memory of dd screaming- like all out purple in the face, about to vomit screaming- when I asked dh to take over for just a few minutes.  He went into the closet to try and shield me from the crying while he tried to figure out how to soothe her, but she was having nothing of it.  Ugh.  It was like that for a loooooong time.  Sometimes she would let others hold her for a few minutes when she was in a happy, rested, alert state, but pretty much it was me 24-7.  Ds1 was different.  He was more laid back, but still wouldn't let others hold him for long.  There is commonly a stranger fear at 9 months and again round 18 months, too, so if things improve, they may devolve again around those times.  I remember my MIL complaining that ds1 was SO attached that he would cry every time I left the room.  I don't really remember it being exactly like that, but I think there is something to be said for being "used" to other care providers.  Ds1 didn't know my MIL at all b/c they don't live near us.  Of course he would act differently than my nephew who lives 10 minutes away from her!  At any rate, both my children grew into extremely social toddlers and preschoolers that adore being with other people...sometimes I would say more than they like being with me! 

 

This can be a very exhausting period when you are the only one that can hold baby, feed baby, soothe baby, get baby to sleep... but like Amanda said, this will pass.  It will.  When you're in the trenches it's hard to see out, but you WILL look back at this time and think of it as a blip in the grand scheme of things.  It's crazy how we adapt.

post #7 of 42

I would however, encourage you to try and let others care for your babe if they can for short periods of time. I know a 10 month old who is so clingy and always has been because if he cries it's always mama not daddy or anyone else who tends to him. He is extremely hard to babysit for and while a sweet child with mama around is not happy if she is not. She can't even leave the room at times. It's hard for her to get things done.  And at such a young age as our babies are it would be easier to get them used to being soothed/cared for by someone else now before any natural separation anxiety becomes solidified.

post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaliShanti View Post

I would however, encourage you to try and let others care for your babe if they can for short periods of time. I know a 10 month old who is so clingy and always has been because if he cries it's always mama not daddy or anyone else who tends to him. He is extremely hard to babysit for and while a sweet child with mama around is not happy if she is not. She can't even leave the room at times. It's hard for her to get things done.  And at such a young age as our babies are it would be easier to get them used to being soothed/cared for by someone else now before any natural separation anxiety becomes solidified.

Sometimes if you leave completely- are not in the house at all- baby will settle and be just fine.  Have you tried this recently?  Like on a weekend, hand her over to dh and go on a quick walk.  You could check in via text to see how things are going after about 10-15 minutes.  It's possible that while you're around, you will be the sole care giver, but that if you're not around that she will allow someone else to give her comfort.

 

I have to say, though, that this is simply the temperament of some children and it's not always something that you can "train" out of them.  Some babies simply will not have anything to do with that... my first was like this.  It's hard not to think that something is wrong with your baby or wrong with how you're parenting, but in some cases there is really nothing to be done until baby gets older.  Kali, with your friend and her 10 month old, this is prime time for stranger anxiety, so I'm not surprised that it has not yet resolved.   Joanie, sometimes it can help to read books like The Fussy Baby book or Raising Your Spirited Child so you can see that some babies are just like this and it's not something you're doing or encouraging.  I know first hand how frustrating the situation can be, but I firmly believe that continuing to respond to her needs is the right thing to do as this will build trust and solidify attachment.  Strong attachment will result in a more independent and confident toddler/preschooler in the end. 

 

 

post #9 of 42

I agree with this.  I think that a lot of this is just the personality of the child.  My DS was the exact opposite, he didn't care who was holding him ever (unless he was hungry).  He'd happily let a waitress hold him a restaurant at 9mo.  I never did anything to 'foster' that behavior.  I was his sole care provider (single mom) and took care of him 100% of the time.  He just was and still is VERY outgoing and social, it's almost like he doesn't have any awareness that people might be judging him. 

 

I do think it's very important to tend to your baby's needs.  I also think that it's important that your DH can meet some of these needs too.  At the very least, he should be able to hold your baby too.  It just takes practice to learn who your baby is, what she likes and also to get comfortable holding a baby.  Going for a quick walk while your dh watches the baby is a good idea.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post

I have to say, though, that this is simply the temperament of some children and it's not always something that you can "train" out of them.  Some babies simply will not have anything to do with that... my first was like this.  It's hard not to think that something is wrong with your baby or wrong with how you're parenting, but in some cases there is really nothing to be done until baby gets older.  Kali, with your friend and her 10 month old, this is prime time for stranger anxiety, so I'm not surprised that it has not yet resolved.   Joanie, sometimes it can help to read books like The Fussy Baby book or Raising Your Spirited Child so you can see that some babies are just like this and it's not something you're doing or encouraging.  I know first hand how frustrating the situation can be, but I firmly believe that continuing to respond to her needs is the right thing to do as this will build trust and solidify attachment.  Strong attachment will result in a more independent and confident toddler/preschooler in the end. 

 

 



 

post #10 of 42

YES to what Abra said :-)  (Too lazy to use quote function this morning, it seems :-))  Actually, yes to everyone's advice!  My older DS was just like Abra's ds.  Very outgoing.  Held by anyone.  I hope Dylan is the same way but we'll see.  I think at this age it's very normal for babies to want to be near the food source :-)    Just keep reminding yourself that this is not a sign of bad attachment, and you're not doing anything wrong- despite what "everyone else" wants to tell you!  If you keep meeting her needs you will foster good, healthy attachment.  

post #11 of 42

I agree that it's fairly normal.  I also think that the other parent needs to suck it up and take time to learn what she wants.  But for all my kids that is much more easily accomplished by the other parent taking the baby for a walk, rather than mom going on the walk.  Mom leaving is not fun.  Getting to go on a walk, hell yeah! Same way you get a kid comfortable with a new carry or carrier, positive association. 

 

Regarding spoiling, read this.
 


 

post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

...for all my kids that is much more easily accomplished by the other parent taking the baby for a walk, rather than mom going on the walk.  Mom leaving is not fun.  Getting to go on a walk, hell yeah! Same way you get a kid comfortable with a new carry or carrier, positive association. 


A good point and possibly a better way to start out.  But, I find the real trick is for the alternate care giver to be able to comfort baby in the house.  Out of the house is generally much easier- as you point out- and in the house is the true challenge.  So, Joanie, maybe have your dh go on those first few walks with Sora by himself and then you go on a few walks while he stays home with Sora and see how it goes?

 

 

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post #13 of 42

That's just what I was thinking.  Coralie is always happy when she's in a carrier and we're walking, well she's always sleeping, so I don't think that counts.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post


A good point and possibly a better way to start out.  But, I find the real trick is for the alternate care giver to be able to comfort baby in the house.  Out of the house is generally much easier- as you point out- and in the house is the true challenge.  So, Joanie, maybe have your dh go on those first few walks with Sora by himself and then you go on a few walks while he stays home with Sora and see how it goes?

 

 

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post #14 of 42

Oh, yeah, just to get started. Like I'm not saying all parenting should happen outdoors, but a couple of walks to build confidence and give mom a break. 

post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post

Sometimes if you leave completely- are not in the house at all- baby will settle and be just fine.  Have you tried this recently?  Like on a weekend, hand her over to dh and go on a quick walk.  You could check in via text to see how things are going after about 10-15 minutes.  It's possible that while you're around, you will be the sole care giver, but that if you're not around that she will allow someone else to give her comfort.

 

I have to say, though, that this is simply the temperament of some children and it's not always something that you can "train" out of them.  Some babies simply will not have anything to do with that... my first was like this.  It's hard not to think that something is wrong with your baby or wrong with how you're parenting, but in some cases there is really nothing to be done until baby gets older.  Kali, with your friend and her 10 month old, this is prime time for stranger anxiety, so I'm not surprised that it has not yet resolved.   Joanie, sometimes it can help to read books like The Fussy Baby book or Raising Your Spirited Child so you can see that some babies are just like this and it's not something you're doing or encouraging.  I know first hand how frustrating the situation can be, but I firmly believe that continuing to respond to her needs is the right thing to do as this will build trust and solidify attachment.  Strong attachment will result in a more independent and confident toddler/preschooler in the end. 

 

 


Sure it could be temperament, that is true. But I know this baby pretty well and I bet if at least the dad would care for him more without the mom around he would get more used to it. :) Of course meet the baby's need! I'd never say not to. I just think it's worth it to try- a lot of moms I know say "He only soothes for me" but have never really tried to form other habits of soothing for the baby. And I really feel it's healthy for mom to be able to get a break now and then...

 




 

 

post #16 of 42

I think we forget that we had to learn, too. We didn't have anyone to hand the baby to in the beginning and we figured it out. 

post #17 of 42

True, Sara.  My question, though, is should we just let DH/DP start from scratch essentially in figuring it out, or is it okay to tell them what baby prefers?  I know it comes across as strange to people if I tell them how to hold baby, but it saves a lot of screaming.  Right?  

post #18 of 42

I suppose this depends on how often the other person will be caring for the baby.  If it's just someone holding your baby for 10 minutes here and there, then I think it's fine to tell them how to hold your baby.  If it's a full or part time care provider, then they should be able to figure out what works best for both of them..
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbk21 View Post

True, Sara.  My question, though, is should we just let DH/DP start from scratch essentially in figuring it out, or is it okay to tell them what baby prefers?  I know it comes across as strange to people if I tell them how to hold baby, but it saves a lot of screaming.  Right?  



 

post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbk21 View Post

True, Sara.  My question, though, is should we just let DH/DP start from scratch essentially in figuring it out, or is it okay to tell them what baby prefers?  I know it comes across as strange to people if I tell them how to hold baby, but it saves a lot of screaming.  Right?  


I think it depends on how our partners act. If they want to give up immediately, then I think some advice is warranted. But if they are trying and struggling, but not asking for help, I say let them work it out. I think that's usually better than seeming like you want to micromanage every interaction. Sometimes dh will try to tell me how he thinks Jasper wants to be held. This makes me want to kick him. Hard. In the crotch. Of course, in my situation, I am doing 95% of all holding, so I really don't think I need any advice! But dh does have a way with the baby...
post #20 of 42

I have nothing to ad but I wanted to let everyone know that I found this thread super helpful today.  Me and DH were just talking last night about how Bettie cries immediately when I leave most of the time.  He feels like she does not like him, and he gets tense immediately when he knows Im leaving- just waiting for her to start screaming.  So far he has had no luck consoling her and he is really down about it. 

 

3rd kid too, who would have thought he will feel so nervous.

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