HELP! Overly dependent baby or is this normal?

Tiffany - posted on 08/28/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )




Hello everyone... I have a beautiful 9 week old little girl named Pandora who is healthy as can be and a total joy when shes in my arms... this is the key phrase: in MY arms... She screams her head off and throws herself into a fit that is sometimes so bad that she actually stops breathing and does that silent cry like shes in pain if she is any anyone else's arms. Now this could be seen as understandable and even maybe normal with people she doesn't know... however the kicker is she does this the worst with her daddy! It is putting a real strain on our marriage because I can't leave her with him even to go to the bathroom. She scream and cries even if she can see me and i'm touching her while shes in his arms. This only just started about 2 weeks ago and has gotten worse. She will start up her fit if she even thinks I'm about to hand her over to him. He feels like absolute crap because he doesn't know what he is doing to upset her. He speaks to her sweetly, cradles her, holds her, bounces her...all the same things I do to comfort her but it just makes her cry harder. She won't even take the bottle for him but the second she is handed back to me, she stops crying and eats. What on earth can we do? I feel so horrible for my husband but also for myself because I can't shower without hearing her screaming at the top of her little lungs! It hurts to see tears in my husband's eyes because his daughter just can't be around him. Its to the point that he can hardly lay next to her without screaming.... he hasn't done anything to her to make her be this way. Like I said, she does this with everyone but me but it just doesn't seem right that she would be doing this with her daddy. What do we do? I've tried just leaving her with him for an hour a day while I go upstairs to take care of myself and she crys and screams until I come back. I've tried getting her to feed on the bottle then handing her to daddy thinking that maybe she would just keep eating and see that her daddy can do the same things that mommy can but she quickly stops eating and starts screaming. Is this a phase that will pass? Any help or advice is greatly appreciated... Its so strange that she would do this since both her father and I are with her 24/ except at night when she sleeps right next to me and I primarily feed her (she's fed breast milk in the bottle and on the breast). HELP!


Emily - posted on 08/28/2010




It's really normal. Just give it some time. Tell your husband not to take it personally. She's just more attached to you because she spent 9 months hearing your heartbeat and your voice. It will get better in time.

Jennifer - posted on 08/28/2010




Renae has wonderful advice, as usual :)

i also suggest you wear your baby in a wrap. i know it seems like it would make the problem worse, but for very clingy young babies, it reassures them that they can trust you and it helps give them confidence. being held is a NEED for babies, just like eating is a need. giving in to this need while they are so little really will teach her that she can trust the world. and if anything, it will let you hold her and comfort her while still having your hands free to get things done around the house at least until this phase passes :)

Renae - posted on 08/28/2010




Hi Tiffany, I am about to tell you what is always the last thing we want to hear, but is so often the best advice. Wait it out. As with almost everything with babies, this will pass. Your husband needs to understand that IT IS NOT HIM! It is not anything he is doing, or not doing. There will come a time, probably in about 2-3 years, when she will scream if you try to do something for her because she wants her daddy to do it, he has that to look forward to.

Newborns basically run on instinct. I wonder whether dad was giving her bottles from the start, or were you strictly breastfeeding at the start? The reason I ask is that babies attach themselves to one or more people who they associate as being their "need this person to survive". It is part of natural human survival instincts. Some babies attach to one or two people (with my baby it was only me) but researchers have found that in tribal communities were everyone looks after and breastfeeds each others babies from birth that newborns can attach to up to 11 people. Babies are just little balls of instincts. All of their reactions and behaviours are simply instinctual and are all for a reason that can be put down to basic survival.

The only thing you should is you hold baby and daddy holds baby around your arms (I hope you understand what I mean) so that you are still holding her. She can also sleep in between you (if you think its safe - it wasn't with my husband he would forget the baby was there) so she is still sleeping with you as normal but also sleeping next to dad. These things will help her to transfer her associations of you being her caregiver over to dad. He should also be around as much as possible when you are doing things like nappy changes, feeding, all of the necessary caregiving things so she learns that he can do these things for her too.

Remember that if you have to leave her with him to go and do something for yourself and she cries the whole time, it isn't really hurting her, sometimes we just have to let them cry in order to get necessary things done like showering. But I wouldn't recommend leaving her with him to cry for the purpose of teaching her to be with him - it wont teach her anything. Babies who are left to cry often usually cry more as they get older; whereas babies who are promptly tended to usually cry less - because they learn that they dont need to scream for ages to get what they need.

In short, hang in there. Try to explain all of this to your husband and ask him to be patient. I would estimate this phase will pass when she is 3-4 months old (but dont quote me on that, I usually try not to estimate on the off chance I'm wrong!).

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Kami - posted on 08/28/2010




This will eventually get better. My son is 10 months old and he is truely a mommas boy which is very hard. Now it seems to be getting better. He will go to strangers on his own now and wont look at me and start cryin. Now getting him to sleep has to still be done by me most of the time. If it comes down to it u may have to just leave her with her daddy for an hour a day. I know the crying gets tough to hear but she will eventually warm up the idea that u are not the only person there. I hope it helps because its hard having a baby to where u cant leave their sight.

Jenni - posted on 08/28/2010




My daughter was similar around that age. But only with my husband, poor guy. Everyone else she was happy being held by including other men. I dont know what it was but she's come around now (she's 3 1/2 months).
It also sounds like you just have a very sensitive/touchy baby. All babies have unique personality types. As she grows older she will probably be the shy type and take awhile to warm up to new people. She probably gets overstimulated easy when there is too much noise, too much light, too much running around. Just take new situations slow with her. Give her plenty of reassurance, comfort and patience when introducing her to new things such as people, toys, food. Like the advice you get about getting your baby use to tummy time, try it if she cries pick her up and try again a few minutes later, you can apply that to other situations. Such as being with her daddy. Just keep repeating it and eventually she'll become comfortable with him. Be prepared to have a mommy's girl that doesn't want to leave your side. With gentle guidance and understanding you will beable to help her to be more confident and independent over time.

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