Our nearly 4 month old has recently begun to only be soothed by mommy. She will let daddy hold her while she's happy, but if she's trying to fall asleep or if she's fussy, only mommy will do. Is this just a phase? Is there anything we can do to encourage her to be more comfortable with daddy? We try to have him hold her as much as possible when he's home and she's happy, and tonight I'm going to leave the house for about 2 hours and hopefully they can have some bonding time. I'm a stay at home mom, if that makes a difference. Also, we practice attachment parenting and do not believe in cry it out, so those suggestions (and similar) will likely fall on deaf ears.

asked 19 Nov '09, 19:47

Fun2Dream's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

I found that I had to go outside my comfort zone with my first child and try a lot of things to get them to want to be with me. Each child is only slightly different in minor ways (they liked to be held differently, for example) but almost all of them appreciated and grew closer to me with the below activities.

I first have to make sure their basic needs are met - are they hungry, do they have a full diaper, or are they bored/overstimulated? Once these questions are resolved I found that I simply had to hold them and do one of many things with them:

  • Dance (hold them facing you with one hand, use the other hand to hold their hand and dance around the room and house)
  • Sing (if they are sleepy)
  • Keep moving - I can't keep them happy in a chair, so I'm always standing and weaving or bobbing in place, or walking around.
  • Hold them and engage myself in other (safe) endeavors. They really enjoy being held while I'm working on something, such as loading/unloading the dishwasher, doing yard work one handed, picking up, and even reading.
  • Mirror play
  • If they are old enough, tossing them up in the air, wrestling, and other physical activities really work well for bonding
  • Talking and redirecting attention as they grow older helps keep them happy - sometimes I'll sit them down and give them a relatively rapid slideshow of pictures of faces in our family, or make faces with them all while talking.
  • If I get tired of standing I'll sit, place them on my lap, let them hold my fingers, and gently move and wiggle my fingers so their hands and arms move, maybe touching their hand to their head or my head, or their knees, or crossing their arms, etc. This is also useful in situations where sitting quietly is expected (church, funerals, etc).

Touching goes a long way to bonding, even if it's just a little wrinkled baby hand wrapped around my finger.

When crankiness or exhaustion set in it takes more work. Again, I check to see if the three main needs are fulfilled, and then I'll set about singing and dancing them to sleep.

I found that I couldn't just be a passive party - I really had to come out of my comfort zone and be interactive. Being physically active with them goes a long way, and lead naturally into wrestling with them and being comfortable hugging and kissing them as they get older - something my father rarely did, and I know I wouldn't be able to do now if I hadn't laid this foundation.


answered 20 Nov '09, 04:03

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%

I think that this is normal for babies to feel more attached to their mums. You are a stay at home mum so you spend more time together, and she is more familiar with you. You haven't stated whether you breastfeed or not. That is also another important point, it really augments their sense of security and comfort when they are in your arms being breastfed.

This article explains some ways of Bonding with daddy

I would also suggest that while you are out, your husband should remain relaxed and concentrate on enjoying his time with her, comforting and holding her. It may take a little time for her to become used to daddy, but remaining patient and relaxed are vital in my opinion.

Additionally when you go out together you could encourage your husband to carry your daughter in a baby carrier

This is quoted from Askdrsears

A baby learns a lot in the arms of a busy caregiver. Carried babies fuss less and spend more time in the state of quiet alertness, the behavior state in which babies learn most about their environment. Babywearing improves the sensitivity of the parents. Because your baby is so close to you, you get to know baby better. Closeness promotes familiarity.


answered 19 Nov '09, 21:08

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 20 Nov '09, 03:08

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

Thank you! Great answer. To answer your question, she is breastfed.

(19 Nov '09, 22:16) Fun2Dream

When I was introducing my son to the idea of Dad being a soother in stead of just an entertainer, we went for our nightly walk with him in the snugli (baby carrier) but I would get Dad to carry him instead. That way, he was being carried, or "worn" as Emi suggested above, and I was there to soothe. It really went a long way to develop that bond, both for Dad and for Baby.


answered 20 Nov '09, 06:49

DarwinsMom's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

In our experience the comfort role alternates between myself and my husband. Just when we think shes a Daddy's girl she will suddenly switch back to me and vice versa.


answered 19 Nov '09, 21:07

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 20 Nov '09, 00:50

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦


We've found the same thing. It's funny, if one of us is holding her, she always gestures to go to the other person, but once she's there, she wants to go back. Can't make up her mind... she must be her mother's daughter... ;-)

(20 Nov '09, 00:51) Scott ♦♦

@Scott -Ha Ha, Aren't you funny?

(20 Nov '09, 03:10) Tammy ♦♦

From my experience my children will always seek comfort from me first unless I'm not around then they will happily be comforted by daddy.
On the other hand they seek dad first if it's fun and play they want. I'm pretty sure your baby will be fine with dad when you're out tonight.


answered 19 Nov '09, 20:33

Phil%20Seller's gravatar image

Phil Seller
accept rate: 9%

edited 19 Nov '09, 20:48

Dinah's gravatar image


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Asked: 19 Nov '09, 19:47

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Last updated: 26 Dec '11, 06:08