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My Baby Hates Me

by Armin Brott
7 Comments


My Baby Hates MeDear Mr. Dad,

I'm a new dad and I can't help but feel like my 2-week old girl hates me. it seems that no matter what I do with her—or even if I come near her—she screams and cries and flails her arms like she's trying to push me away or like she's frightened of me.

My wife, who babysat when she was young, has a lot more experience with infants than I do, and she says that I just need to spend more time our daughter. But nothing seems to work. She won't even take a bottle from me. I'm becoming more and more terrified to get near her because of how much it hurts to see her reaction towards me when I just want to play with her. Her not liking is the most heartbreaking feeling I've ever had in my life. Is she going to hate me forever?

What you're describing is very common, especially when the baby is being breastfed. And it's important that you not allow yourself to back off—physically or psychologically. There is absolutely no possibility that your baby hates you. At this age, she's spending most of her time sleeping. And when she's awake she's going to be an eating machine. She's far too young to have preferences. It's all about needs. Since mom smells like milk, that's what your baby is going to be most interested in.

Your wife is absolutely right: you and the baby need to spend some one-on-one time together. The ideal time to do it is right after she's been fed, when she won't be as interested in eating. Your wife should leave the room so you can be alone with your daughter (or you can pop her into the stroller and head out for a walk). Sing, read, talk, whatever. Doesn't matter what you do. The object is to get her used to you and to get you to feel more confident and comfortable with her. Once you've established a solid routine, it's okay to try giving her a bottle (expressed breast milk is best). But be sure you do it waaaaay before she gets into the frantically hungry stage. Again, make sure mom is not in the room. If she is, the baby will want her and you'll be in the same situation again.

Finally, try as hard as you cannot to take your baby's behavior personally. Research shows that babies respond to tension in the air by getting fussy and agitated. So if you're feeling skittish just being around her, it's going to be especially hard to deal with her. The calmer you are, the calmer she'll be.

I know that this is hard, but the fact that you wrote is a sure sign that you're a committed dad. You can do it.

Armin Brott bestselling books include the recent release of "Fathering Your School Age Child have helped millions of men around the world become the fathers they want to be—and their children need them to be. His most recent is Fathering Your School-Age Child. Armin has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television shows, writes a nationally syndicated column, "Ask Mr. Dad," and hosts a weekly radio show. He and his family live in Oakland, California. For more information visit MrDad.com.

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Guest Mar 17, 2014 05:11:00 PM ET

My 1 week old cousin whom i just recently met has a serious problem with me. anyone else who touches her, she's fine. she loves even my brother who hates kids! she really despises me and cries frantically when i hold her. i tried calming myself down before holding her but i have this constant fear she's going to wail about in hate. her mother just says i need to spend more time with her but i don't think i can. if i won't be able to stop fearing the worst.

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Jay Oct 24, 2011 11:59:11 PM ET

My baby just cries and cries and cries when i am in the same room. he cries when i speak he cries when anyone other than his mother speaks or trys to touch him.......as of lately hes been crying about 95% of the day. sleeps well but once awake he just cries and continues to cry. help me! my wife is getting extremely frustrated because he will not come to me when she needs my help......

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e Aug 24, 2010 01:58:35 PM ET

Hang in there. keep it positive with her. don't try to force yourself on her or force her to you. perhaps when your wife is playing with her she should bring you into the activiry as well as a way of reinforcing the positive aspect of your connection to both your wife and your daughter.

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Derek Ducharme Aug 12, 2010 07:51:36 AM ET

My daughter is 18 months old now. she won't let me hold her nor sit with me like she used to. it's been about a week now all of a sudden. what do you do? do you force knowing that she not in danger or let or come to me? it's heart renching when she pulls away. :(

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Andy Aug 28, 2009 04:22:01 AM ET

Although i'm not yet a dad, but soon to be. i know how difficult the situation is, if i'm on your situation, i may try different approach, like dennis mentioned you can try humming nursery rhymes, or maybe try wearing colorful clothes, anything that will be different. there's really no explanation why this happens however, it's really true that baby does not yet have a preference. so, i would suggest for you to keep on trying and hang in there, sooner or later this problem will just go away. :-) andy farmfriendsapp.com

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Dennis Mar 29, 2009 08:23:17 AM ET

Paige, your frustration is pretty powerful. raised 4 myself and each one different but one gave me similar problems. the necessary part is to ensure that you and mom are communicating well. i know this is stressful on you both but you're in it together. as far as you and the baby - i found that with all of them music was effective. either humming or singing or a cd of baby songs written for that purpose. hang in there mate dennis

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Paige Hill Mar 16, 2009 12:30:41 AM ET

This is no kidding. it is destructing my soul that i cannot comfort my child with colic. mom is in control (which i hate) after many weeks of arguing over who should do what...i have had to submit. mom is the provider and i cannot compete with that. my role comes a little later...it sucks that i cannot comfort her to sleep. it sucks that i cannot have an intimate moment with my wife because of envy, fatigue and jealousy. they say it gets better...it has to because this is the worst, most inadequate feeling i have ever had in my 38 year old body.

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