toddler too attached to mom? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 07-31-2009, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there - I'm wondering if any of you have had experience with a toddler that seems intensely attached to mom, maybe too much so (or maybe I have unreasonable expectations)....

My daughter just turned 3. She's generally good spirited. She goes to preschool (long days, admittedly) 3 days a week, and is with me one full day and with my husband one full day. Dad and I have both worked part time since her birth to be able to each have our special day with her. She's fine when she's at school (dad usually drops her off, and I pick her up), and she isn't particularly concerned if we ever have to leave her with a sitter (rarely).

It's when we're around the house together, on "mamma day" or weekends or in the evening - it's all mama all the time. Daughter rejects dad regularly, vehamently, consistently, whenever mom is an option. Only mommy will do, despite the fact that Dad is great and I need a little break sometimes. Is she just needing more of me? Funny thing is, the more we spend time together, the more intense the attachment gets - it seems there's no satisfying it. I nursed for 2 years, have tried to keep attachment parenting principals in mind, but feel like maybe it has backfired. I don't have the option to stop working, nor do I want to, but I do want to make sure I'm not damaging my child. And I wish dad and I could be treated as relatively more equal parents. Any suggestions?


-tired mom in Boston
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#2 of 15 Old 07-31-2009, 02:00 AM
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Hi there,
I have no help to offer as I am in the same boat, although my child is only 1.5 years old. Perhaps he just has seperation anxiety that is normal, this is why I am here trying to figure it out. It's hard. I totally understand the needing just a little mommy time. Cooking meals is the hardest around here as he pulls and pulls on my lets and cries when I won't be led away to go play with toys. I'm still breastfeeding and am aiming to until he is 2. I often wonder if the co-sleeping / extended breastfeeding thing /attachment parenting thing is the best. Should I have taught him some more independance or does that just come naturally with age?? Who knows.

I sure hope you find some help here, I look forward to reading any posts you receive.
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#3 of 15 Old 07-31-2009, 10:29 AM
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My DD rejects her daddy in favor of mama, too. She's been a mama's girl her entire life but much of it I feel is personality. She was a high needs babe, so AP was the only way we could have survived infancy and early toddlerhood with our sanity intact. AP didn't make her a clingy child who only wanted mama. It just ensured that her needs were met in a loving way.

Over time, she's become less dependent on me for everything and is starting to let DH do more. I've worried about it just like you, but I've come to realize that it's something she'll grow out of eventually. And someday I'll miss it... even though it drives me crazy sometimes right now.

You're not doing anything wrong. Just keep working to meet her needs. Keep on having your DH do the same. Eventually she'll grow out of it.

SAHM to DD (6/07) and DS (10/09); happily married to DH since 2/04 .
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#4 of 15 Old 07-31-2009, 10:34 AM
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that sounds like perfectly reasonable behavior at that age. In the first few eyars it's very normal for children to prefer mama, especially when they feel (for whatever reason) like they cannot have constant contact with her. It will pass, don't worry.
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#5 of 15 Old 07-31-2009, 10:54 AM
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My son - 2y 4m - is like this too and always has been. Daddy, being merely a charming, interested, involved, fun and loving guy, is of no interest. Only Mama will do. The only way for me to get a break is to leave.

I don't think we make our children this way by attachment parenting. I think some children *are* this way as a matter of age and personality. I keep hoping things will even out - soon, please. We've given my husband certain jobs (like bedtime) even though DS would clearly prefer me, because I do need the break. DS is starting to get kind of into his dad for these things, so we're making *some* progress.
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#6 of 15 Old 07-31-2009, 08:16 PM
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Same boat here too. Daddy is fun to play with, but only if Mama is in sight. I just try to give DS (24 months) all the snuggling, nursing, playtime and holding he needs, and remember that one day, he will want me to drop him off a block away from school to avoid being seen with me. Going to enjoy the closeness while it lasts, even if it kills me!
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#7 of 15 Old 07-31-2009, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone - thanks for the replies - it gives me encouragement to know others are in the same boat. And at the moment, my daughter is with daddy - watching TV, but at least it's letting me write this post!

thanks for the feedback!
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#8 of 15 Old 08-01-2009, 10:42 AM
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My mom always tells me that it will pass and then we will miss it terribly when our children begin their own lives. That's when she proceeds to try to convince me to move into her house with her and my dad. LOL!
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#9 of 15 Old 08-01-2009, 11:45 AM
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I could have written your post, and the ones that followed. When I'm not around, DD is just fine, but if I am around, I MUST be the one to do everything for her -- make her food, change her diaper, play with her, etc. It is exhausting for me and I feel bad for DH, who really is an excellent, involved father.

Like everything else, I assume that this too will pass. Hearing that other LOs do the same thing is nice.

Sarah, mama to Miriam 9/26/2006 and Isaac 2/12/2010
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#10 of 15 Old 08-01-2009, 12:57 PM
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I think it's normal. It's work to get DD to play with daddy, but as long as he suggests things she likes to do (like play outside) she is fine with me not being around. But it is frustrating because DD is 2 and she still nurses a lot, and sometimes I can't take all the carrying, and pulling, and constant attention that she needs sometimes

Mommy to 2 beautiful girls dust.gif4/07 and babyf.gif1/11
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#11 of 15 Old 04-03-2011, 08:20 PM
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My daughter is almost 2 and like so many of you said, she's always been a Mommies girl. in the last few weeks it's gotten worse and I just keep telling myself it's just a phase. I am still breast feeding her and I am wanting to stop. I have tried everything from distraction, to saying no, to lemon juice, and none of it works. I still cosleep with her as well and have tried putting her in her own bed, but that doesn't last long! It's now at the point where I can`t go to the bathroom without her freaking out screaming, throwing herself on the ground. When my husband tries to pick her up she screams twice as hard and tries everything she can to get away from him. She won`t sit in her chair at meal times, even if I sit right beside her, she HAS to be on my knee. I am a stay at home mom and I don`t leave without her very often so I keep thinking in the back of my mind that AP has made her this way. I`ve told myself from day one that non AP forces babies to be independant and waiting for her to be independant on her own when she`s ready is going to be true independence. I just expected things would be getting BETTER right now, not WORSE

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#12 of 15 Old 04-04-2011, 04:32 AM
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My DD is *just* like this! One thing I've found is that she is happiest when it's mommy AND daddy.  It isn't that she doesn't like him, she's just tired of replacements for mommy.  The days we all three find something to do together, she is just as happy as sunshine.  


My DD is in daycare full-time (8+h / day, 5 days a week) so I totally understand where she's coming from - I miss her too.  I don't think it's unusual that a child this age should need her (or his) mother a lot, still. Even if daycare is fun, it isn't the same....

Charlotte, mommy to Maggie (July 15th 2008) and Una (July 19th 2011)!
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#13 of 15 Old 04-04-2011, 06:21 AM
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Well, to paraphrase another poster in another thread...when you raise a child to be attached, you can't complain when they are, well, attached. 


Having said that...I think that sort of phase is 100% normal, attachement parenting or not.  And, it's also 100% normal for the child to switch the parent that the child latches on to.  My 2 yr old is 100% daddy's girl.  All the way, if daddy is in the room, mommy means nothing.  When she wakes up in the morning the first person she looks for, first THING she looks for, is Daddy. 


Except today.  This morning, I was really hoping for a smidgen of uninterrupted sleep because baby was up last night and I was having trouble sleeping anyway, I was realy hoping DH would take the 2 yr old downstairs and I could sleep a bit longer.  No such luck, she wanted Mommy.  *sigh*  great time to switch allegience kid lol

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#14 of 15 Old 04-04-2011, 12:56 PM
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That's my dd in a lot of ways too (2 yrs 4 months), but the good news is she's slowly getting more and more attached to Dad, although not much less to me. Examples: if she wakes in the night and calls for me and I don't come to her fast enough, she starts calling for daddy. I'm very happy about this! :) And since she's 2 and of course she acts up at times and the behavior is addressed, if I do the "addressing" she starts calling for daddy (and if he does it, she calls for mommy). She's already figured out I guess that if you don't like what one parent is giving you, you yell for the other parent. We are a united front as much as possible and just reiterate whatever the other parent is saying.


One thing that DEFINITELY has helped her to attach a little better to daddy and not freak out as much if he's leaving with her and I'm staying, is being honest and open with her about what the plan is. "Mommy, you coming?" "No honey, mommy is staying here to clean/cook etc, but you'll see me later tonight." She thinks, may ask again if I'm coming, or whose car she's going in "I going in your car mommy?" "No you're going in daddy's car." "You going in your car?" "Yes honey, I'm going in my car." If we're very patient with her questions and we tell her the truth, she seems to be ok with going with daddy and not having a fit because she's leaving me behind or I'm leaving her with daddy and I'm going out.


I'm glad we're learning early to be honest and explain everything, it seems to really help her adjust, although she still has many "moments" of course!

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#15 of 15 Old 04-04-2011, 06:45 PM
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We have the opposite situation right DD (younger, 14 mo) is all about her daddy these days, and we co-sleep etc.  If we're all hanging out together she'll come over to me for milk, then practically runs back over to dad to play.  (I can admit that he IS a lot more fun than me, that's part of why I married him. smile.gif)  Anyway, hang in there, they all seem to go through these crazy phases, and I think it's probably not an AP phenomenon.

grateful mama to DD1, born before the robins came, 2010.  excited to welcome a little man into the world in early February 2012! kid.gif

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