When only mommy will do

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    My husband and I are going through a dilemna that we didn’t have with our other children. I had to go on-campus last week to work for a few hours and so I decided on the day that he had his afternoon off so that he could be at home with our kids. Our now almost 3 month old (where DOES the time go) cried the entire time that I was gone. After 1.5 hours, my husband called me and begged for me to come back and I did. He won’t take a pacifier or a bottle even though it is pumped milk.

    When I got home, my husband was sitting in another room and my 7 1/2 year old was sitting in a chair holding the baby. Apparently, each of my children had taken their turn…my 9 year old, 7 1/2 year old, 5 year old…and my biggest child…my husband. My daughter (7 1/2) had had the best luck calming him and so she had to hold him until I got home. 😮

    My husband was a nervous wreck.

    Can anyone offer me some suggestion on how to help him with the separation anxiety? Is he just too little? I don’t remember going through this with my others, but maybe I’m just not remembering things well :p



    It sounds like your husband and your 3 month old need more practice being together. We had (and still have) a consistent weekly “daddy night” which started the first time when my son was 4 months old, and the second time restarted when my youngest was 2 months old. He picks them up and takes care of them through bedtime — I work that night and get home about 9:30pm. I think the consistency is really important because eventually the baby is going to learn that Daddy will be there and he might as well have some fun. Plus your husband gets to learn that he CAN manage and starts to feel more competent. I would vote for not coming home no matter how much the baby yells until you were originally scheduled to come home. He won’t starve in 3 or 4 hours, and he might learn to start taking the bottle if he’s hungry enough. You may have to turn off your cell phone, though.

    Another option might be to have the other kids out of the house so your husband only has to manage the baby until he gets more used to it. This would also protect your 7 1/2 year old from having to babysit instead of Dad.

    Great post, tough problem. How is it going???

    EM momEM mom

    Oh Kris-this is a tough one, because I know that it breaks your heart to think that your baby could be upset for even a minute! And although, nice to be needed, not so great to be completely indispensable! I agree with psych though, probably good to get him used to daddy. (and maybe more importantly daddy used to him… :scratchchin: ). He will be fine if he doesn’t eat for 4 hours, and he will be fine even if he cries for most of that (may be a different story with your husband though 😀 !)

    We used to go through this “checklist” when our daughter started screaming…hungry? wet diaper? gas? too cold? needed pacifier? if all those were “no” answers then we moved on to Baby Einstein videos (no idea why those worked, but they usually did), the swing and then the rocking chair. Last resort…and we only had to do it two times…putting her in her car seat and driving around. I think it helped my husband to have the mental “list’ since he always felt like there was something else he could try. With 4 kids though, your husband probably already knows all of this though!

    I know its tough, but you deserve time alone too! And the sooner daddy gets used to it, the better :rolleyes: ! Good luck, and may they get used to each other quickly!


    Hey Kris,

    This just goes to show that every baby is different – who would’ve thought you’de have new issues with baby #4 huh?? :rolleyes: My youngest was also my most “attached” baby, and not by anything that I did (I mean the environment was pretty much the same for each of the children as infants). To get over the rough spot, and maybe start the baby getting used to Dad, try giving him a sweatshirt or nightshirt that you’ve worn. Your smell (and the smell of your breastmilk if you are nursing) may be enough to settle baby down. Or… and this may sound weird… but… get him to rub a little bit of your breastmilk onto his shoulder/chest, then try skin-skin contact with baby.

    In terms of the baby not taking a bottle (even of breastmilk)… that is really tough – but something you have to address NOW b/c it will be a much bigger issue in another few months. We had trouble with each of ours taking a bottle, adn I don’t have any other advice other than start early and be consistent. Breastfeeding is so convenient when you are home full-time with your baby, that it just becomes a hassle to keep up with at least one bottle/day (breastmilk of course 😉 ).

    Good luck, Mimi 😮


    My infants took bottled breastmilk, but a friend of mine had a daughter that would never take it. As I understand it, she worked a 12hr shift and her (older) infant would take baby food but not a bottle!


    We had BIG problems with my daughter not being willing to take a bottle. Of course your husband hasn’t had a chance to REALLY get to know #4 so the initial crying was probably not hunger (and I agree with all of the other posters about the importance of Dad being able to care for the children)but we struggled forever about the bottle thing.

    Right about 2 1/2 months my daughter stopped taking the bottle at all. 😮 Naturally my husband had a screaming child eventually if I was gone. We tried MANY things.

    Then I went back to work when she was 4 months and my daughter started childcare. I would be gone from her for at least 8 hours many days. Despite this, she pretty much continued to refuse the bottle. She would take, maybe, 4 oz the whole time I was gone. (Then nurse all night of course.) :tired:

    After 6 weeks of this relative nightmare (with extremely experienced caregivers I may add), she went through a growth spurt and finally started taking the bottle from 2 of the caregivers at her childcare. :p She essentially never took it at home, ever. When they switched people in the baby room at childcare, she would not take the bottle from the new (very experienced) person for months.

    As soon as she stopped getting the bottle in the babyroom at school (she moved up to toddler) she essentially never took a bottle, or even a sippy cup, of breastmilk again, despite multiple offerings.

    The bottom line: she was incredibly determined to nurse straight from me as much as possible. She was pretty calm about it, but determined. She would play with others but not drink milk much with them. My husband found this very tough. :banghead: We had not had this with my first child, and my husband is normally an equal partner in all child rearing, and he was really upset about it for a long time. He picked her up every day, and most days would end up with a crying child before I got home.
    The good news: Now she is all weaned (over age 2) and she is finally going to my husband more equally. She is still very attached to me though.

    Anyway, I hope your little guy is not so determined about this, but just a little story that it isn’t always easy to “fix” a bottle problem, and it does make it really tough for anyone else to care for your child while they aren’t eating food yet. Good luck! I know you really NEED some flexibility with your complex life.

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