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My Baby Prefers His Grandparents

by Sonali
(Pune, Maharashtra, India)

My baby is one year old. I went back to work since he was four month old. My son stays at home with my in laws and he doesn't have any type of attraction towards me when I come home. He only wants them.

Weekly I buy him new types of toys, and daily chocolate but still he isn't interested in me.

I'm so much frustrated and hurt with this, even when I am at home he is only calling to his grand mother. He only come to me for feeding.

Please help me out, I cannot leave my job.

I also want to be a good mother for my precious child. I am unable to have any more children, so I will not experience these golden moments again in my life.

What can I do?

Comments for My Baby Prefers His Grandparents

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Having To Go Back To Work - Part One
by: Annie Desantis

Women Torn Between
Work And Their Babies

Hi Sonali,
My heart goes out to you, there are thousands of women all around the world in a similar situation as yourself, whose hearts want to be with their babies, but for various reasons they have had to return to work.

I do encourage Moms to spend as much time at home with their baby as they possibly can, as it is those early years that builds the bond and developmentally it is very important for a baby. They need very close relationships with their carer. You son is very lucky that he has that with his grandparents - sadly many babies have to go to daycare, and they cannot possibly get the level of one to one attention that a baby can when they are not competing for attention with other children.

So although you find it distressing, be assured your son is doing really well, and the fact that he is so close with his grandparents shows he is getting what he needs.

But it is heart breaking for you to realize you are not the primary carer for your baby. Naturally your son has bonded closer to your In Laws, since they are with him the bulk of the time and he will look to them for safety, reassurance and for his needs while he is young. Whilst painful for you, it is the best thing for him if you have to work.

Why Do We Have Children?

We tend to have children for our own selfish needs - to reproduce ourselves, to have someone to love etc. But once a child has come into the world, we then have to make all our decisions with their well being in mind. So women in particular are often torn in two, with needing to protect their career and not stay out of the workforce too long and needing the income to contribute to the family.

Our children are not in this world to make us happy. Of course there is a lot of joy in raising a child, but it is not their responsibility to make us feel good. So your need for closeness with him, is not up to him to provide.

Given that you had to return to work, and can't change that, you have done the next best thing, of having other family members that love him and are in the position to care for him during the day. Hard though it is, the fact that he is closer to them than you at present, is actually a really good thing for him.

While he is young, you are going to have to accept that his primary care givers are his grandparents - when you think about it - would you want him so attached to you that every day when you went to work, he cried and was distressed, and spent the day unhappy because his Mommy has left him? No, you want to be able to go to work, knowing your precious little bundle is happy and secure, well looked after and loved.

Part Two Follows . . .

Having To Go Back To Work - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

Bond Through Play

You desperately need some time alone with your little boy to help build more of a bond with you. But don't get into trying to compete for his attention - buying him toys and sweets is not the way to bond with him, they are bribes for his attention. The way to bond with a child is to play with them and spend time with them.

Of course your time when he is awake will be very limited during the week. If you can come home early some days would be good - more workplaces are letting people work from home part of the time, so you may be able to negotiate some flexibility in when you actually do your work, and spend more time at home, perhaps working at night when your little boy is asleep.

But failing that, you just have to make every moment with him count - if you are home early enough, take him to the park for a picnic tea, just you and him and your husband if he is home. If you live with your In-laws then it is hard to get time with your son alone at home, as he will naturally go to them when he wants something. So you may have to be inventive to get time alone with him. It would actually give your In-laws a break too - it is exhausting caring for a little child!

Your little boy does not want a needy Mommy who is expecting him to fill her needs. He needs interaction, playing games, conversation and showing him things - just everyday things, like birds, flowers, what is in the cupboard. Sit with him on the floor and bang pots, take him for a walk outside, have a bath with him. It is the interaction with you that is important, not the toys or chocolate.

Work As A Team With Your In-laws

You may need to ask your In-laws for time alone with him when you get home, as they will be used to doing everything for him, so he expects that. Make it clear that in the weekends you are the carer and ask that they support you by backing off and letting you take care of him - even if it means he cries longer or can't understand why Grandma is not comforting him.

Again, you may actually need to have activities away from home to be able to have some one on one time with him, but it is important that you do maintain as much closeness and interaction with him as you can.

Part Three Follows . . .

Having To Go Back To Work - Part Three
by: Annie Desantis

Acceptance And Making The Most Of Every Moment

At present he does need the security of knowing his Grandparents are there for him and that is who he goes to for reassurance and attention.

When you think about it, his survival depends on it - he cannot possibly understand that you work to provide for him, he just knows this is who feeds me most of the time and makes me feel better when I am uncomfortable or unhappy. And since that is his primary needs, he is naturally going to expect it from them ahead of you, since they are the once with him most of the time.

Just try not to get into competing against them, they are raising your baby, and you need to be working as a team, but you do need time with your baby, and want to make the most of each moment you have with him.

There is another question I answered from another Mom in a similar situation as you, you may find some other ideas in that answer:
My Child Does Not Seem To Want Me

There is no magic answer for you Sonali, having to go back to work when you just want to be enjoying and caring for your baby is a very hard thing to accept and adjust to.

Just try to be thankful that you have the next best solution for his care, and have fun and enjoy every moment you can get with your little boy. As he gets more independent he will get more flexible about who does things for him or comforts him.

Take care,
Annie D :)

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