You feel great knowing that your baby is attached to you and you thrive on each other’s company. Your cutie loves you so much that she wants only you to carry her, feed her and play with her.
It’s hardly surprising that Daddy feels left out. After all, he wants to be part of her life, too. That’s why he feels dejected when he comes home at the end of the day. He looks forward to playing with his little darling, only to find that she turns tearfully to you the moment he reaches for her. It’s almost as if he is a total stranger.
Don’t worry, the explanation for this behaviour is simple – your baby is so used to you because you care for her the most during the day so, naturally, she feels a little disorientated when Daddy walks through the door in the evening. This is unsettling, but perfectly normal.
What your husband mustn’t do, of course, is to be upset and stay away from the little one. While that may avoid those difficult early evening scenes with your baby, it pushes them both further apart.
Fortunately, you and Hubby can make things more positive. Here are seven suggestions for a father who gets the cold shoulder from his cherub.
1. Don’t take it personally
Remind him that it has nothing to do with how good or loving he is as a father and everything to do with how familiar your baby is with him. There’s no rejection involved; she is simply accustomed to the person who has been looking after her all day.
2. Ignore her tears and shyness
Hubby should spend time playing with Baby anyway. He may be tempted to back off at the sight of her tears and screams when he approaches, but that would only perpetuate the situation. Instead, he should get involved with the little one, despite her moody and distressed behaviour.
3. Be a part of her routine
He can take part in getting her ready for bedtime, such as undressing, washing and changing her. These shared experiences bring them closer together, making her more responsive to him.
4. Soothe her when she’s upset
Frequent loving touch is very important, especially when Baby is fractious and unsettled. Hubby is more likely to forge a bond with her if he strokes and hugs her when she is upset.
5. Help with feeding
Okay, so he is tired when he comes home, and he probably cannot be bothered feeding a screaming infant. But holding her during feeding or sitting with her as she snacks can help break tension between them. Eventually, she will start to enjoy his participation.
6. Make eye contact
She likes him to look at her – that’s a sign to her that she is special and that Daddy is giving her attention. So remind him to make eye contact when he talks to her, feeds her and plays with her. Ignore distractions such as his ringing mobile phone or that interesting TV programme.
7. Have self-confidence
The more assured he is with his own skills as a father, the more likely it is that Baby will soon feel comfortable with him. If he has a low opinion of his parenting ability because he is worried she is rejecting him, then the little one will sense his anxiety.