Why Does My Son Cry Whenever My Husband Holds Him?

For the last 3 to 4 weeks our 4 month old son has taken to crying within moments when picked up by my husband and won’t allow him to feed him.

He perseveres trying to console him but he can still be crying after 15-20 mins. We believe this to have started since my husband held him whilst getting his first immunisations!? Our son (around the same time) has also been waking from sleep crying/wailing – which he never did previously.

Both my Husband and son prior to this were more than happy to keep each other company while I went out. We have tried my leaving the room to keep out of eye and earshot but this seems to make no difference.

My Husband is very upset that he has done/doing something wrong, do you have any advice?

SR March 2009

Firstly, I am quite sure that your husband has done nothing wrong and has nothing to worry about.

However, being rejected by your child like this can be very upsetting and it is often very difficult to work out exactly what may have happened to create a situation like this.

If you are at home with your son while your husband works you may find that as your baby starts to get bigger, it is likely that he will become more attached and more used to you holding him and feeding him.

I can understand that you are both concerned about this and it is natural to draw the conclusion that the change in your son’s behaviour towards your husband could be linked in some way to the immunisation incident.

However, babies forget about things like this quite quickly so I would imagine any long lasting link is unlikely.

Babies go through different stages and phases all the time as they continue to grow and develop, and it could simply be that your baby is doing that now.

This is perfectly normal and within a few weeks it could be that the tables have turned and it’s your turn to have a hard time! Babies do however pick up on stress and anxiety and can sense if people are worried, stressed or anxious about something.

If your husband does have pressure from work or other worries, or is simply anticipating your baby crying when he holds him, it could well trigger the behaviour.

A good idea might be for you to both sit with your baby and take it in turns to hold him and feed him.

With you close by your son may feel more secure and less likely to start crying. Gradually start moving further away, leaving your husband alone with your son and you may find that things return to normal.

The sleepless nights are likely to be unrelated and could well be because of teething, growth spurts or a need for an extra feed.

Make sure that you carry out all the normal checks related to room temperature, bed linen, light/dark and so on and also ensure that your baby is in the right size and absorbency of nappy.

This may sound very obvious but it could be that he is waking in the night because he is filling his nappy more and could need a bigger one.

If the situation does not improve, talk to your health visitor as they will be able to advise you on other options. Good luck! I am sure that things will soon start to improve.

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