Solutions For Parents

Infants » Newborn Development

Four Month Old Won't Go to Other People

Share This Article: On Twitter On Facebook Print


Dear Susan:

Thank you for all your help thus far, but I have another question for you.  I guess being a single mother there are a lot of things that concern me about what affects my little boy. (He is 4-1/2 months old). Recently he has started to show his personality. Part of that, however, is this unwillingness to go to other people at certain times. For instance, when he wakes up and I’m not the face he wakes to, he is disturbed and will cry and cry until he is put into my arms. Also, his Godparents live right upstairs from us and so he knows them and should be used to them by now. However, there is a tendency to hand my son back to me as soon as he starts to cry or fuss. As it stands now, sometimes if one of them is holding him I have to remain in the room so that he can see me or he will cry. Other times he only wants to be held by me. So I wonder if perhaps he only feels secure with me because I am the one who comforts him all the time, or maybe I’m not giving him enough love, attention, and security. Or do all babies go through this? I am very worried that may son is not feeling secure and/or content. Please help.

Thank you


Dear Samantha

You ar a perfect candidate for an infant toddler mother’s exchange group. Most County Mental Health organizations and Department of Human Services have community health programs that offer such a group. “A Parent Guide: The games Babies Play” is the name of one of my child development tapes which you might like.

The baby is reacting to strangers, but he is a bit young to really get upset by this. Keep passing him off to others, and ignore the crying unless it is excessive or interferes with his eating or sleeping. Reassure him that you’ll be back. By seven to nine month’s babies pitch a fit when separated from their main caregiver, and some babies even do this when there are two parents who share baby care duties. Remember that your baby is showing you his disposition, as well as his temperament, and some babies cry more than others between 4 and 7 months, just because it is a way to communicate.

As you know, crying gets results and a lot of response from adults – and some babies figure this out early and then settle down, while others don’t figure out they benefits of crying as a communication system until later at 7-8 months, and then cry incessantly when they are “left.” Attachment is important, normal and essential to your baby’s peace of mind, but brief separations are also good ways for babies to trust that you will come back. As promised. Thanks for writing.

Susan H. Turben. Ph.D.

Ask Dr. Susan