Sometimes babies have an immediately negative reaction to someone, usually noticeable by their overwhelming screams and wails. Their judgment, however, can be somewhat difficult to decipher, especially if their inexplicable hatred is directed towards someone you love or admire. Don't worry, though; more often than not there's no real rhyme or reason to your baby's logic. Sometimes the people your baby is bound to hate has nothing to do with the people in question, and everything to do with your baby being, well, a baby.
Over the course of my childcare career, I cared for over 25 babies and small children. It's safe to say that I'm proud that I could always elicit a smile, and comfort them when they cried. OK, not always. There was one child in all that time, a 9-month-old baby, who decided he just didn't like me. He would cry when I approached and push me away, preferring to whimper alone than be held by me at all. I persevered, thinking we could build a relationship with some time, but that instant dislike also happened to be permanent. I had to reluctantly tell his mother that I was not her sweet son's favorite, and that I thought it would be best if she looked for a different caregiver. A few weeks later I bumped into her in the grocery store and was pleased to hear he had settled in with his new daycare provider and, as a result, was much happier.
So believe me when I say that sometimes your baby just isn't going to like someone, for reasons unknown and without it really being anyone's fault. Now, as a mother, I can attest to the following people who may or may not become the subject of your baby's hate. Hey, babies gotta baby.
If your baby is going through a tough sleep transition, or some other developmental milestone, it can sometimes feel that they really, really hate you. Of course your baby loves and needs you, it's just all their frustration and aggression can be (and usually is) targeted towards their main caregiver. In other words, because you love them the most, you get the sh*t end of the stick. Yay motherhood.
My son pulled fistfuls of my hair out on a particularly terrible transatlantic flight. He was overly tired, clearly miserable, and had enough of this whole traveling business. In his little baby brain, his current predicament was all my fault, and in that moment I really thought he didn't like me. That, as you can imagine, isn't the best feeling in the world.
Some babies take an aversion to a particular parent (usually the one that has less direct contact with them on a daily basis). Although this is totally normal and just the flip side of separation anxiety it can be very hurtful and isolating for the parent that seems to be, well, not necessarily the favorite.
A friend of mine had to contend with her baby screaming bloody murder every time she walked out of the room, while simultaneously pushing her father away. It was slow going, to be sure, but by constantly operating as a trio — rather than allowing her baby to dictate the company they kept — her baby started to grow more dependent on both parents.
Before you have a baby, your fur baby might be everything to you and you might not be able to imagine how anything could compete for your love. Then your baby arrives and sucks up all your attention and time and your poor pooch or kitty can end up being ignored.
It sucks. Like, a lot. That horrible feeling can be compounded if your baby decides to take a disliking towards your pet, and either bawls every time they enter the room or bothers and teases them.
Whether your parents or your partner's parents are your best friends or more like the relatives from hell, life is certainly easier if your baby enjoys spending time with them. For one, they become automatic babysitters (which is really all any parents wants). Sure, I guess your child developing a loving relationship with their family members is important, too.
Your Child-Free Best Friend
Everyone has at least one child-free friend who has no interest in hearing about your baby's diaper dilemmas or growth milestones (and, honestly, it's not like anyone can really blame them). In my experience, that's the friend your baby can't stand.
Perhaps, like cats, babies can sense when someone doesn't like them and it forces a reaction.
Their Daycare Teacher
If your child can't settle into a new daycare, despite allowing a suitable transition period, it might be due to a personality clash with their daycare provider.
Before switching classes or centers, however, I think it's important to remember children can be fickle and change their mind swiftly. For example, my toddler proclaimed to anyone who would listen that he hated his teacher. Now, just a few months later, he can't stop singing her praises.
The Baby You Want Them To Be Friends With
My friend had a baby just a few months before I did, so we spent a significant amount of time fantasizing (usually when we were pregnant) about our children growing up to be the best of friends. We even arranged baby playdates, expecting to cultivate some sort of friendship. The only problem? They hated each other.
It just wasn't meant to be. When we tried (again) when they were toddlers, they remained sworn enemies, despite our best intentions.
Random People For Random Reasons
Babies can be random AF, so random reactions to totally random people is par for the baby course. For instance, a little girl I cared for had a prejudice against men with facial hair. She wailed with reckless abandon whenever my mustache-faced husband entered the room (and apparently had a similar reaction to her grandfather, who had a beard).
Unfortunately there is no way to control the way babies react to other people, what with them being independent mini-people and all. However, you can change your reaction to their response, and encourage anyone they have a negative reaction towards to remember it's not personal.