So, my wife and I went out of our way to really try to balance out our daughter’s attachment to both of us. We split the first six months of work – I worked mornings and she worked afternoons. I pumped bottles for my wife to feed. We share bathing, diapers, etc. There are some things I do more of (walking dogs with baby in carrier everyday, clipping fingernails, etc.) and some things my wife does more of (riding in the backseat to comfort a cranky baby in her car seat, taking baby to music class and swim lessons, etc.) But, we really tried to both play active roles.
At about 6 months, our daughter started showing her preference toward me. At 7.5 months, it’s undeniable. In fact, she really doesn’t want ANYONE else holding her most of the time. She’ll tolerate short visits in other people’s arms, but for the most part, if I am present, she wants to be on or with me.
A big factor in this equation is that baby and I sleep pretty much attached. She nurses through the night, and I don’t really mind, so it is what it is (bad habits and all). She also has a strong preference for breast over bottle (from birth). So, if she thinks there is ANY chance she can have breast, she’ll stubbornly deny the bottle, even if it’s fresh, warm milk. Between 6:30 am and 3:00 pm, she will drink 5-6 ounces from the bottle from our nanny, and wait until I get home. At that point, she’ll chug milk through the afternoon and evening to make up for the lost calories. (Hellooooo reverse cycling).
My question is this: how long is the stage in which she insists that I be the one to tend to all of her needs going to last? It’s obviously frustrating for both my wife and I, and it clearly hurts my wife’s feelings. I try to remind her that it’s a healthy developmental stage, that it means our daughter is developing the essential skill of attachment, and that there will be PLENTY of times in the future when I am NOT the preferred parent and she is. Every baby goes through this, right? Do you have any suggestions? Any hope for when this will pass? Thank you!