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My Baby Hates Me

Armin Brott |13, October 2008


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

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Jeff Oct 7, 2017 10:59:27 PM ET

My 2 month old screams when I hold him but, immediately calms down once my wife, or anyone else, takes him. I keep reading that it isn't that he hates me but, I cannot help but think he dislikes me. Nothing I do works, and it is killing me. I feel he associates me with crying. He never makes eye contact with me and if he does he screams immediately. What is wrong with me.

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At Wit's End Jun 15, 2017 02:26:59 PM ET

My daughter who is 8 months old prefers her mother and grand parents over me. She cries the moment I carry her and reaches out for my wife or in laws. She cries when I try to change her diapers or clothes or try to feed her. It makes things worse when my in laws hear her screaming with me, they react as if I'm doing something to my daughter and ask me accusing questions. It's so hurtful to see my daughter prefer others over me. I try playing with her and to make her laugh but she doesn't respond. It always kills me to see her face light up at the sight of my wife and in-laws but not when she sees me. I'm on the verge of just giving up and just not bothering anymore.

Jeff Oct 7, 2017 11:01:48 PM ET

All i know is, do not give up. i feel my son wants everyone else but me. i cannot imagine how you feel but never give up!

Bud Dec 22, 2017 09:11:12 PM ET

I'm the same as you,my daughter is 7 months and hates me and loves every other person that lives here. i tried everything there is but it's no hope. i too, feel like giving up.

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eric Apr 8, 2015 01:41:46 AM ET

I have a two month old daughter who won't let me hold her without her freaking out. I can barely help my wife, and it's making me extremely depressed to the point that I may have to go talk to someone. Please help. Thanks.

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Chris Ayers Apr 1, 2015 08:54:57 PM ET

I feel like my six-week-old baby hates me and doesn't want to be around me. She's always smiling and cooing with her mom, but when it comes to me she doesn't do any of those things. She cries most with me. Help me. I don't know what to do.

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Guest Mar 17, 2014 09:11:00 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 25, 2011 03:59:11 AM 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 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 05:58:35 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 11:51:36 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 08:22:01 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

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Dennis Mar 29, 2009 12:23:17 PM 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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