Worried that your baby seems to immediately cry when you enter the room or cry harder when you pick them up?
Do not take it as an insult or a sign that you’re doing anything wrong. The fact is babies cry more for their mother because you are doing everything absolutely right.
Crying is a stressful noise and it can really take its toll. Most newborn babies will cry with growing intensity and frequency over their first 12 weeks. This will then gradually improve.
Why are they crying? Good question. It can be any number of things. Food, warmth, comfort.
But why do they cry even more when mummy is in the room or holding them?
Here are the reasons:
You are the nurturer
Kids just expect more from their mother. You are their number one nurturer, feeder, comforter and carer.
Dads might be doing 50 per cent or more of the parenting, it doesn’t matter. This is a biological instinct that babies crave their mother’s attention.
When they see you, they expect you to immediately pay attention to them. Even if you’re holding them and trying to comfort them, they may still cry. They feel able to continue demanding more comfort, more food because mum will continue to dish it out.
You are the safe place
It’s like a survival mechanism for babies to want to be close to their mum. They are born with the biological instinct to cling to you, their mother, because you are the one who keeps them fed and safe.
Ever heard of the “moro reflex”? It’s where newborns throw their limbs out then pull them back to their body if they feel as if they are falling. This reflex is believed to be the baby’s natural instinct to reach out and cling to their parent.
That’s not to say daddy isn’t a good alternative, it’s just a natural instinct that babies automatically want to stay close to their mother as a way to survive. Even though we have formula these days, babies still see mum as their one and only food supply.
So what does that mean? They cry when they see mummy and she isn’t holding them.
You respond to their cries quicker
Yes dads care too, but generally mums will leap to their feet and get to their baby’s side at the first grunt of discontent. Babies pick up on this and so learn that if they want mummy, all they need to do is turn on the waterworks.
You have the good stuff
If you’re breastfeeding then baby will naturally see you as a walking milk carton. Once they see it, they want it.
Babies also have a really good sense of smell despite being so tiny and they just need to get a whiff of milk and their tummies decide its time for a snack.
If you’re holding them, and not feeding them, a newborn will often want to be nursing, even if they have just fed. Suckling is a comfort to them and it helps build up your milk supply.
They don’t want you to have another baby (really!)
Scientists at Harvard University carried out a study that concluded that babies are irrationally fussy in the first 12 months in part to keep mum and dad apart.
It’s a natural contraception that ensures the growing infant gets mamas undivided attention, and no siblings are introduced to divert that away.
Sounds a bit far-fetched? Maybe. But you can be sure that your baby demands your full attention because they love being near you, and you provide for them.
The unintentional result of that is that baby-making becomes pretty tricky when you already have one around the house!
So, what can mamas do in the face of all that crying?
The crying is so hard to deal with, but it does at least reduce in its intensity and frequency as your baby gets older.
Unfortunately much of this natural instinct to be more difficult around mum continues into toddler years and beyond. Sorry mums, it’s your lot in life to be in demand.