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Baby Cries When I Hold Him


My son is 3 weeks old. The problem is that when I've tried to give my wife a break and it's my turn to watch the baby and I hold him, he starts crying all the time, and it's now causing a problem with me and my wife.

She tells me it's because I'm scared and the baby feels that. So I've tried not feeling scared and yet he still cries. I want to give my wife a break. What am I doing wrong? I need help!


This is a temporary issue and will work out fine. You may be a little nervous and he may be more used to mom holding him, so I suggest that you do something different than mom does: Take him for a walk in the stroller (or better, a front pack); walk him around the house and show him all the new stuff like pictures, anything with colors, his face in a mirror (he focuses on things about a foot from his face), all of which he finds fascinating, tell him about everything you are showing him; try physical things like massage or bicycling his legs or letting him grab your fingers and pulling him up a little; if you want to just hold him, try it in a room alone where mom won't be a distraction to either of you, sing or talk to him.

With this approach, he will find you different than mom and fascinating because he doesn't know quite what to expect, and within a few months he will get excited when he sees you because dad = fun. Don't be surprised if mom frets a little that he seems to prefer you at that point.

In reality, dads and moms bring different but complementary approaches to taking care of our babies, who benefit from both approaches. If we try to be assistant moms and do it their way, it doesn't work for our babies or us. So be creative and do it your way.

Good luck and let me know how it works out. You may also learn something that we can pass on to other new dads.

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