Why Babies Prefer Mommy Over Daddy


From our friends at Parents Ask

So, here’s the scenario:  You and your husband are enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon sitting in the living room together catching up on the week’s DVR recordings. Your 11 month old has been blissfully napping for the past hour and now she wakes up cooing and calling out for “Mommy!”  Your husband jumps up and turns to you bright eyed and says, “I’ll go get her!”  Before you have a chance to say “OK,” he’s off to her room and as you secretly cross your fingers, you think, “please let her be happy to see him.”  But before you have a chance to blink, you hear the baby screaming and as you enter the baby’s room, your husband turns to you looking devastated and says, “She only wants you.”

If this is your predicament, my guess is that you may be feeling a lot of empathy that your husband doesn’t feel “wanted” by the baby lately.  That said, here are some important factors to think about which may not only help the baby to feel more “warm and fuzzy” toward daddy, but may also help your husband to feel less insecure about your child’s parental preference at times:

First off, kids flip-flop by nature and the last thing a father should feel is lousy about himself as a result of the baby’s preference toward mommy.  It would greatly help to buy a book which highlights the appropriate developmental stages when babies and children may only want mommy.  Being able to refer to a book explaining this kind of behavior will not only normalize the situation for your husband, but it will help him to not take your child’s reactions so personally.  A great suggestion here are the easy to read series by Louise Bates Ames which starts with, “Your One-Year-Old: The Fun-Loving, Fussy 12-To 24-Month-Old.” Bates series has a book for each age (Your 2 Year Old, Your 3 Year Old, etc.) up to age 14 and each book will pin point the times when children may prefer one parent over the other.  Additionally, the less pressure your husband feels to “win” your child over, the less the child will feel to meet his or her father’s needs, which allow for more positive bonding between them.

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