Why is the baby not excited to see me after daycare?

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Why is the baby not excited to see me after daycare?

Let’s comfort you right at the beginning. This is something that is very common and happens to a lot of parents. 

So, if you are wondering, why is my baby not excited to see me after daycare? It’s because they developed something that’s called Defensive Detachment.

Let’s picture the situation.

The warm embrace of your little one’s hands and your cozy home are all you need after a hard day of work. Even if you were preoccupied with other things besides being in the office, you just cannot wait to pick up your toddler from the daycare and see their smiley faces. 

But, sometimes it’s not the situation we’ve had in mind. Instead of their cute babyface, you are greeted with anger and rejection. There’s no happy hello’s, not such a friendly hug, and not even a kiss. 

You wonder how?

Why is my baby not liking me after the daycare?

Did I do something wrong?

Is my baby not loving me anymore?

A lot of questions can pop up, but the answer is clear. It’s all due to a developed mechanism named  Defensive Detachment.

Let’s find out a little more. 

Why is the baby not excited to see me after daycare?

Why is the baby not excited to see me after daycare?

No, it’s not because they don’t love you anymore, it’s the total opposite. The baby has developed a Defensive Detachment due to “protecting” themselves.

It’s not such a pleasant situation when this happens, and a lot of parents are wondering, where did they go wrong? Why my baby doesn’t smile when I pick him up from the daycare or why my baby won’t look at me after the daycare?

Stop overthinking and relax. At this stage, it’s totally natural for a baby to act this way. 

Let’s explain.

What is a Defensive Detachment baby?

Defensive detachment babies do not allow re-attachment to happen again to protect themselves from further harm. 

So, instead of showing full detachment, the baby develops a defensive mechanism or a defensive detachment to protect themselves. 

We assume that giving your toddler to the daycare is not easy. It can be difficult for any parent to leave their baby for a longer time to a “stranger” to take care of them. The feelings are mixed and you are an adult. Imagine how a baby would feel when they are separated from their favorite person. 

This is because parents and toddlers have a very strong and special bond. 

Because of that special attachment, adjusting to daycare can be difficult.

In that situation, the baby is trying to adapt to a new environment and has a feeling of abandonment from the parents. Its little subconscious tends to take a step back due to protecting itself from getting hurt again.  That is the answer to why is my baby not excited to see me after daycare.

The child had missed parents so much that now, instead of showing love, shows feelings of neglect for protection from missing the parents. 

It actually hurts them and they are struggling emotionally to process that feeling of being away. That’s a totally normal and healthy reaction when a toddler is starting to go to daycare. 

In order to prevent their feelings of being rejected again, babies’ defensive detachment is the best way to protect their wellbeing. So, next time you ask yourself, why is my baby not excited to see me after daycare, know that this is actually proof of how much your toddler loves you.

Due to research, stats have shown that babies have higher stress levels when they are separated from their parents and from their household. This also answers everything about their emotional reaction to separation. 

All this raises another question!

Can a daycare cause a baby’s permanent attachment issues?

Don’t worry the answer is no, it cannot. If the bond is developed in the first months within a healthy relationship there is almost no chance that it can cause any long-term detachment.

So, if you are wondering why is my baby not excited to see me after daycare, and you think that is because the baby has developed permanent attachment issues, it is not true.

Throughout habituation to daycare, the toddler is slowly getting used to it and realizing that it is not abandoned by its parents. This parental attachment is unbreakable, so you don’t have to worry about the baby’s permanent detachment.

Why does the toddler cry when I pick him up from daycare?

Why is the baby not excited to see me after daycare?

Crying is the easiest way to demonstrate their emotion and express their feelings.

Toddlers’ perceptions and emotions are different from adults. What may seem easy for us, for babies are way more difficult. 

At this stage of age, babies didn’t develop the logical ability to navigate through a transition. This means that any transition can make toddlers feel excruciating which usually results in crying.

Why is my baby not attached to me?

In the earliest stage, babies are developing a strong bond with their parents. That bond is very important due to the emotional attachment between the parents and the toddler. 

Sometimes, this doesn’t happen. 

When parents are emotionally unavailable and the baby doesn’t receive special care, a healthy bond cannot be developed. 

This may cause some problems which can result in developing a special condition known as an attachment disorder and can trigger an avalanche of questions, like why is my baby not excited to see me after daycare.

To keep this attachment strong you can try to do the next things:

  1. Don’t rush. This is a very big step for a toddler, so take it easy. Maybe the best way to facilitate this process is to literally take baby steps. Therefore, you should limit the first few days for your child when you enroll him or her in the daycare. It’s recommended that the first days should last only an hour or so, of course, that’s all individual and it depends on the child.
    After some period, that time should increase, and everything should be done in agreement with the caregiver.
  1. The baby should have a special object. A special object can be some doll, teddy bear, or any stuffed animal that is reminding a child of their parents. Usually, this transitional object is keeping the child safe and secure while you are apart. 
  1. Build a healthy relationship with a caregiver. Children see, children do. This means that if a parent develops a trustworthy and respectful relationship with the caregiver, the child will also develop those feelings. 

    So, take some time to connect and get to know the caregiver. Try to build a friendly and positive relationship thus passing on such a pattern of behavior to the child.


Why is the baby not excited to see me after daycare?

Let’s give a final look. When you are wondering why is my baby not excited to see me after daycare, know that’s probably a sign of defensive detachment.

A defensive detachment is nothing less than a defensive mechanism of a baby for not getting hurt again by separation from the parents. 

Why is the baby not so excited to see me after the daycare?

They are “mad” because, in their heads, they have been abandoned by their favorite person which they love so much. 

This doesn’t mean that they don’t love you, on the contrary, they are too attached to their parents. 

Know that the defensive detached baby may feel withdrawn after daycare, and that’s a normal reaction. In this stage, parents need to be patient and know that this is a sign of a strong parental bond. 

To rest assured that the whole adapting process goes with ease, try to apply any of the given advice like have patience, build a healthy relationship with a caregiver, and provide a child a special object.

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My name is Catherine. I'm a Mom and one of the avid writers working on HerScoop!