This is something that many families face. Even the most involved dad can experience this rejection. It is nothing that dad did or did not do.
The first thing to understand is that THIS IS COMPLETELY NORMAL. It is called stranger anxiety and separation anxiety, and is developmentally appropriate for infants during the second half of their first year. Many babies simple become “glued to mom” for a few months. It will pass with time.Now that you know this, what can you do to shorten this phase and get baby to be more comfortable with dad too?
- Spend more intimate family time together – let your baby see dad and mom being close and affectionate. Moms, give your babies that message that “I love this man, he is safe and fun!”
- Let baby hear your voice – moms, as you step out of the room for a minute, talk to your baby in a reassuring voice until you come back. Baby will learn that you are still near, and baby is safe, while you are in the next room.
- Family walks – go for frequent family outings. Have dad carry baby around most of the time. Baby may be too distracted by the surroundings to realize he is in the “wrong” parents arms.
Above all, realize that this phase will pass. This is NOT rejection. It is development.