My Son Wouldn't Let Me Hold Him, So I Did These 6 Things To Get Close To Him

April 12, 2021

The biggest challenge that I had with my second son was that he wouldn't let me hold him for a long time so I did these 6 things to bond with him.

As a dad, I always take pride in saying that I’ve been greatly involved in raising our two sons. It isn’t without its challenges though because I didn’t know anything about handling a baby when our eldest son was born because I’m an only child.

6 top things that dads can do to become close to their children

My Son Wouldn't Let Me Hold Him, So I Did These 6 Things To Get Close To Him

    Thankfully, I overcame those challenges because I asked the nurses at St. Luke’s BGC to teach me how to carry a baby and how to bathe an infant.

    Aside from that, I learned to trust my gut feel. You’d be surprised with how accurate your gut feel as a parent is. Beyond any logic or reason, you just know that you’re right without any doubt.

    A new challenge arrives: my baby is snubbing me

    When our second son was born, I knew taking care of him would be a breeze for me because I’d just be repeating an old routine such as feeding, changing diapers, lulling him to sleep, and so on. However, something I didn’t expect and not quite right suddenly happened; my son was snubbing me.

    In fact, it was worse because it felt like he was rejecting me, he would cry incessantly whenever I took him from his Mommy. He’d also let his yaya (nanny) and grandma hold him, but with me, it was like I was a stranger ready to take him away anytime.

    Sure, there were moments when I can put him to sleep or carry him for an extended period of time but those were very rare. Oftentimes, he would just cry until I gave up and handed him over to his Mommy.

    I know I had to solve this dilemma soon not just because I didn’t want to break my track record of being an involved dad (haha!) but I wanted to give his Mommy time to rest. One thing about our second baby is that he was so demanding, he was feeding almost every two hours.

    How I slowly created a bond with my baby

    I was thinking of ways to earn my baby’s trust and create a bond with him. With our eldest son still a demanding toddler, I had to trust my instincts again because I didn’t have the luxury of time to read up and research about our situation.

    Thankfully though, after a month or two of doing some simple adjustments, I was able to finally earn my second baby’s trust and allowed me to hold him. It wasn’t instant in the sense that he was suddenly happy that it was me who was carrying him but at least I could carry him much longer as compared before. That was the moment that I was waiting for and I slowly built his trust over the next few months.

    Here’s how I did it:

    1. I held our baby as much as I can

    Until now, I haven’t figured out why my son acted that way to me. One theory I had, though I had no basis for it, was that I wasn’t holding him as much as I held his older brother, so he couldn’t recognize me or my scent.

    When we were at the hospital, I wasn’t able to take him out for a morning sunlight session because it was raining. When we got home, they had to be in a separate room because my older son is sick.

    Anyway, what I did was to try to hold him as much as I can. At night, I would take him from his Mommy after feeding and then burp him and let him sleep on my tummy. I did that religiously even if that meant having three hours of sleep. What’s more, it was also advantageous for Mommy because she had more sleep since our infant boy also slept longer as compared to when we put him in the crib.

    2. I always gave our baby a bath

    I think bathing your baby is another good bonding opportunity with him. For us though, bath time was just another instance of great crying fits. Nonetheless, I carried on and gave him a bath because I think bath time is a great opportunity to earn your baby’s trust. The water feels foreign to a child but if you are there to hold him, he will feel at ease. Eventually, my son eased up and began to enjoy bath time with me.

    3. I bottle-fed our baby

    Breastfeeding creates a strong bond between mother and baby. However, that does not mean that you, as a dad, can’t participate in this amazing moment. 

    For our case, Mommy would pump milk so that we can stock up a continuous supply. That also meant that I would have the chance to bottle feed my son when I’m around. I think it helped because he wouldn’t be crying when I was bottle feeding him and I could hold him longer.

    4. I played with our baby all the time

    It’s never too early to play with your little child. Playtime is a great way to bond with your baby as well as to put him at ease with you. You can kiss him, hold him, and tickle his tummy. Whatever it is that would make him smile or laugh, do it because that means that he’s enjoying it.

    5. I talked to our baby often

    Your voice can be soothing to your baby so talk to him every chance that you can get. You’d be surprised how intently your little baby will listen to you when you talk to him. Aside from that, talking to your baby is a great way to introduce words to him early on. He might not learn those words immediately but surely he’d be able to absorb them quickly later on.

    6. I read a book to our baby whenever I can

    Again, it’s never too early to read a book to your baby. As such, I would put our youngest baby beside me on the bed when I read to his brother. I think it had a similar effect as talking to him because he would listen intently even if he didn’t understand what I was saying. Anyway, those moments provided us with a good bonding opportunity.


    Fatherhood holds many surprises. You might think that you know it all but there will always unforeseen circumstances along the way. In my case, when our second baby was born, I thought I would go through the same routine but I was wrong. My baby doesn’t want me to hold him. However, that did not stop me from forming a bond with him until we became close.

    His Mommy may still be his most favorite person in the whole world but, just the same, we also have our moments together.

    Have you experienced a similar situation with your baby? How did you overcome it?

    Tips for dads to become close to their children

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    1. This is such a good post. This is not an uncommon thing, but no one ever talks about it. You bringing it to the attention of other dads who are experiencing this is probably a huge relief.

    2. My boys were like this as babies. They would cry when I left them with anyone.

    3. These are some good ideas. Sometimes my kids didn't want to go to their dad when they were small. My daughter mostly always did though since she was a daddy's girl.

    4. It's really so nice that dads are more involved these days. I'm happy you and your baby bonded successfully!

    5. I wonder if some kids go through a phase of depending more on one parent.

    6. You have given very good tips. Babies would normally cry for their mothers and I know how frustrating it can be for dads who want to take part in caring for the baby. Sharing this post with my son's best friend who recently became a daddy.

    7. Richelle Escat20 May 2021 at 21:01

      Babies are so adorable and who wouldn't want not to be close to be them, right? I love your tips.

    8. Rose Ann Sales20 May 2021 at 22:24

      I love your determination. Most dads tend to give up easily or won't even try hehe, thanks for the tips.

    9. It's nice to read such. Definitely a great post coming from a Father. Indeed parenthood gives so much surprises.

    10. Portia Olaughlin8 May 2022 at 03:28

      That had to be pretty hard but those are great ways to get through it and build a stronger bond with your baby.

    11. You are doing such a great job as a dad. I love how you said you learned to trust your gut early on, that is something that I've found to be a great guide too.

    12. Danielle Ridgway8 May 2022 at 03:28

      These are such great ways to connect! Every parent should know them.

    13. Thank you for sharing these tips!

    14. Definitely, the way to make our baby to get the feeling of us, I love every idea you've showed us here and I believe it will work with any Dad out there.

    15. Rowena Callo Villareno8 May 2022 at 03:28

      Thank you for sharing po. Sobrang worth it basahin perfect lalo na sa may first baby pa lang para alam nila kung oano din magiging close sa kanila baby nilà madalas kasi sa mommy lang talaga sila sanay.

    16. Brittany Knopf8 May 2022 at 03:28

      It would be so difficult to feel "snubbed" by your baby but these are great suggestions.

    17. Sonia Seivwright8 May 2022 at 03:28

      Thank you for sharing. It reminds me of my dad trying to bond with my little brother because he was always out of the country to work.

    18. I can imagine how hard it would be having to go through something like this, I think your approch to letting him adjust to you was wonderful.

    19. Thank you for sharing these tips. My son has been the center of the attention until his sister arrived. I feel that he's angry all the time and wouldn't listen to us anymore. I'm pretty sure it was due to jealosy that we are focuing on the new baby and not him. I'll try your tips and see if our relationship improves!

    20. Sarah Church Carroll8 May 2022 at 03:30

      This is great it definitely can take some work sometimes to bond with baby.