When Baby Cries With Dad: 11 Loving Ways to Help Dad Bond with Baby!

If you’re reading this, the situation probably sounds pretty familiar – the baby needs help, so dad goes to pick her up, and she instantly starts crying!

Alot of times, that can be pretty disheartening for dad… I know my husband sometimes got bummed that it seemed our babies only wanted me!

However, you’ll be relieve to now that it’s actually pretty common, and even more relieve to know that this is just a phase!

I can’t count how many times hubby jumped up to help one of our babies, and I was hoping that she would accept his help – only to have her cry and he’d say “she only wants you”…

However, there are a couple of ways to really help dad bond with your baby which is super important for him AND you (it’s hard to get a break when the baby will cry in anyone else’s presence)

When dad is available, let him help with things like diaper changes and swaddlng!

I know that whenever my babies needed help, I just sort of “auto responded” and get up right got up right away without ever letting my hubby help, even though he was right there!

It’s easy to get in the habit of doing everything for your baby, either because you’re used to it or you think it will be easier.

However, by letting dad help, your baby is learning that your partner is also a trusted care giver who can help with their needs!

It might be rough at first (your baby will likely freak out!) but it’s something that takes time to learn, even if it doesn’t seem like it will work at first!

dad bond with baby through baths
It’s alot easier to build a bond with your baby if dad helps take care of him, which in turn teaches the baby to trust dad!

Do not immediately shoot down his opinions on the care of the baby!

I know, if you’re a stay at home mom, you do have alot of experience with taking care of the baby, and you might have even tried whatever it is he is saying!

This is sore spot STILL with my husband and I (I really need to get better!)

If your partner works out of the home, he might feel like he is missing out on alot of the decision making when it comes to how your guys’ baby is being taken care of. This can be a pretty big bummer!

It’s important to include your partner in all decision making so that he feels connected to the baby – even small things like types of food they should eat, bathing routines, activities etc..

So the next time your partner has a suggestion, instead of immediately sighing to yourself (which surprise, he can hear and see!) or rolling your eyes,, take him seriously because he also wants to be involved, and is trying the best way possible to to involved and help!

Related: Check out these five things mom and dad should talk about BEFORE becoming a stay at home parent – hash out the childcare opinions before fights happen!

let dad help without judging him
Holding out our little baby like this where he could tip over? Not what I thought would work for his fussiness – turns out, the universal “dad airplane” helps with upset tummies!

Involve dad in the feedings for baby!

I always suggest using a bottle if at all possible so that dad can show your baby that he also provides nourishment and comfort!

If you’re breastfeeding, try to pump the side baby is not using (manual breast pumps are perfect for this) so that you can collect a little extra breastmilk for bottle feeding!

It was seriously amazing seeing my son take a bottle from my husband, especially the way my son looked right in his eyes and was able to fully relax with him!

If bottles aren’t an option though, just having dad in the area where baby can see him can be helpful!

help feed the baby to teach baby that dad is good
The first bottle my son took, and it was from his dad!

Have dad babywear

Baby wearing is not only convenient for you, but really seems to help babies relax and calm down!

As soon as possible after baby is born, have your partner carry your baby in a carrier of some sort so that she can get used to the smell and feeling of being around dad!

dad should baby wear to bond with the baby
Baby wearing allows for awesome closness, comfort through movement, and exposure to lots of dad’s voice! My husband wore all 3 of our kids ALOT (and had fun with it – notice the identical expression :P)

Accompany your partner with things like nap time and play time to help your baby get used to dad being great too!

I really think that babies look to us moms for ques about the situation, and I’ve found alot of success in just doing things together in front of our baby to show that dad is trustworthy and helpful too1

At nap time, ask dad to come with you so that you can both read a book (even if your baby has to sit in your lap while dad reads because she refuses to sit in his) or sing songs!

Get on the floor and play with your baby together too!

It might take some time, but if your baby sees that dad is someone who can also play and help, while still having you around for comfort, they will eventually warm up to dad doing it by himself!

Here’s a handy list of more ways for dad to bond in the everyday things with your baby!

how to bond with baby when you're dad
Our girls were on oxygen for awhile after they were born, so we bonded with them as much as posisble since wearing them was incredibly difficult with all the associated monitors, tanks and wires.

Have dad take the baby on walks to exciting new places

I feel like if there’s something distracting going on, like being somewhere really cool and new (even little babies notice this, even if it’s just outside in your neighborhood!) they aren’t as focused on the fact that it’s dad taking them and not mom.

You could even make a routine of it – after your partner comes home from work, have him baby wear (BEST option) or at least ptu the baby in a stroller and take a walk around the neighborhood!

Your baby will get a kick out of going somewhere and see that dad can be fun!

BONUS: You get a break, and your baby learns that even if you’re not there sometimes, you will always come back!

Related: If there’s more than one kiddo for dad to take out and bond with, check out this guide to how I have made it out with my three under three!

go on walks with dad to bond with the baby
While you don’t have to go this extreme (though our kids loved it!) a simple walk around the neighborhood for some one on one time with dad is good!

Have dad sleep with some beloved toys (or even the cribsheet) to help your baby get used to his smell

I used this trick when I was trying to get my baby to sleep in his own bed, and again with my twins!

While I only did the cribsheet trick myself (just sleep with the crib sheet, then put it on their bed the next day), I did let my twins play on hubbys sweater and such while I watched!

While I can’t say for sure that it helped, they did seem to not be as alarmed if he held them when they were super young!

Alternatively, if that doesn’t work, have dad use the same soap as you!

It would be best for your baby to get used to dad’s natural smell, but if you’re desperate, I’ve seen a couple women try this trick and it worked!

Just have dad use your body wash, shampoo and conditioner so that his smell is way more familiar to your baby!

This might make it easier to try and bond with your baby since she won’t immediately freak out when dad picks her up!

Leave for a couple of hours so that dad can be dad without interference!

Even if you’re trying your best to let dad handle it, you might instinctivley jump in and unintentionally rob dad of this precious bonding and learning time.

Not only that, but it can feel almost intimidating to try and do things when someone else is watching (and possibly judging!)

My husband is great in that I get “me time” a couple times a week in my office, however I can hear everything that goes on outside of it.

When I hear crying, I instinctively want to help him!

As he has pointed out though, that sort of shows that I doubt that he can handle the situation, and it doesn’t really leave time for him to figure out what works for HIM when soothing the babies!

When you’re gone, not only does he now have this chance, but your baby won’t smell you (and I swear, they can smell you even from the other side of the house) and so might be more likely to accept help from dad since they know you’re not there!

Related: Use that time away for some much needed self care to beat mom burn out!

how to find mom friends through hobbies
One of the very first times I decided to attend an out of the home event at night, and therefor miss bedtime! I was crazy nervous, but I should not have been because I know my husband can handle it (without me nitpicking how he’s doing it or being a backseat parent!)

Encourage patience when it comes to baby warming up to him

In fact, check out this thread on baby center to show him that this is a REALLY common thing, and that it’s not just him “messing up” or not being there enough!

Alot of approaches will take time, and it can be pretty rough to keep trying after a week of the same crying response.

But just know this – all 3 of my kids only wanted me at first, and they are all getting there!

My son, 3 1/2 now, is totally a daddy’s guy, and doesn’t think twice about me when he goes somewhere!

My 18 month olds will be fine with my hubby for most things, and have been this way for quite a while! The only time they really need me is if they get hurt now!

BOTH of you should keep calm – babies pick up on it!

Ever had a rough day, then your baby has one too and you wonder why in the world does it all have to snowball?

Babies DEFINITELY can sense frustration, nervousness etc – so if you’re leaving for work or just to the other room it’s important to be confident and calm!

Don’t spend forever telling dad everything, acting nervous etc – trust that your partner is a competent person, and show that confidence when it’s time for dad to take over!

This is especially true for dads – if he repeatedly says in frustration “She only wants you anyways” or “why bother” then your baby will pick up on that frustration and feel nervous!

Talk positively about dad during the day to day routine

This might not be as applicable for super young babies, but by talking about your partner through out the day, I feel like this creates a positive association!

It’s very important to talk POSITIVELY about him (even if you’re in some small spat).

AKA no “I see dad just does nothing when he comes home and leaves it all for me!”

“Maybe if dad helped once in a while at night I wouldn’t be too exhausted to do anything with you” etc… don’t do it1

If your baby senses that you get anxious and frustrated when dad comes up, it’s only natural they will carry those feelings over to when they see him!

What have you done to help your partner bond with the baby?

Help some mamas out with other tips you found that worked to help your baby bond with and get used to your partner!

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