As a parent, you love to hold your baby as much as you can, and there is no better feeling in this world than a special cuddle with your newborn.
But what if your baby needs to be held constantly? What if they are not happy to nap in their bassinet, or sit in their rocker while you get on and do the things you need to do?
When your arms and shoulders are aching from constantly nursing your baby, it becomes a little concerning.
A baby crying when put down is not an unfamiliar response and most parents will simply pick up their baby and soothe them until they are happy and content again. There are many reasons for this.
We are going to look at the possible reasons, and how to help both you and your baby get some alone time.
In this article
- Is It Normal That My Baby Wants To Be Held All The Time?
- Why Do babies Want To Be Constantly Held?
- How To Help Your Baby Transition
- What If They Still Want To Be Held?
- Will You Spoil Your Baby By Holding Him Too Much?
- Advantages of Holding Your Baby
- The Final Word
Is It Normal That My Baby Wants To Be Held All The Time?
You rock your baby to sleep, they are finally settled and you lay them down so that you can get on and do other things. However, as soon as you step away from them, they start crying.
It can be very frustrating and the toll this takes on new parents can be extremely hard. But is this kind of behavior ‘normal’? Of course, it is.
Newborn babies require an enormous amount of physical contact, more so during the first few days outside the womb. Newborns seek their mother’s familiar body rhythm and warmth as they have done in their womb for the past nine months.
Many experts call this the fourth-trimester effect.
Why Do babies Want To Be Constantly Held?
Here are some of the most common reasons that babies want to constantly be held:
The Fourth Trimester
For many babies, this period of transition from their mother’s womb to the outside world can be very overwhelming and unsettling.
They have spent their entire life up until this point in a world of darkness, with muffled sounds, confined space, constant temperature, and constant contact with their mother.
Then they are brought into a world of bright lights, loud noises, lots of space, fluctuating temperatures, and sudden and dramatically reduced contact with their mother.
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Now when you look at it like that, surely you can see how and why many babies find this time so difficult and why they crave that close contact so much.
As babies reach around nine months old, they have the realization that they are separate from you. This can often trigger separation anxiety. This can bring about feelings of anxiousness when they are not being constantly held.
The Feeling Of Warmth
A newborn baby has a constant need to stay warm and this is often another reason why they want to be constantly held. They may still be experiencing the ‘Moro reflex’, where his arms and legs jolt when not being held.
You may recognize this as being called the ‘startle reflex.’ It is very natural for babies to crave this warmth and security that is found in their parent’s arms.
Swaddling your baby may help provide not only the warmth but also the feeling that they are being held while not actually being held.
How To Help Your Baby Transition
Crying is your baby’s only way of communicating with you. If they are cold, hungry, need changing, or just uncomfortable, they are going to communicate this by crying.
But there are ways that you can help them to settle. Here are a few ideas to help make your life a little easier:
Swaddle Your Baby
In order for your newborn to settle, they need to feel warm and cozy. Swaddling is a technique used to help to pacify your baby by wrapping them tightly in a blanket or lighter material.
This offers them the warmth and cozy feeling of being in a secure and safe cocoon, which is what the baby often needs to settle down.
Do not be afraid to comfort your crying baby. You will not spoil them by giving them the attention they need. If they start crying when you put them down, you could try gently stroking their head or talking to them in a soothing voice.
You could also try hanging a mobile above the crib to entertain them while still awake.
Babywearing is a practice that has been used for hundreds of years in almost every society. It is currently having a huge revival thanks to many celebrities who have been photographed babywearing their own children.
Wearing your baby in a sling close to your body is one of the best ways to keep them calm and happy, while still allowing you the time and free hands to get on and do other things. This is also a great way for Dad’s to bond with their babies too.
Play Soothing Music
Music can have such a positive effect on babies, helping to soothe and relax them. You could try playing some soothing music or even sing a lullaby to help soother your baby.
Maybe there was a certain song that you played an awful lot when you were pregnant, your baby would recognize this song and its familiarity could help to soother them too.
Break The Association
You could try laying next to your baby until they fall asleep, this will help to break their need to be constantly rocked to sleep.
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This will then help them get used to sleeping on their backs and without being constantly held by mom but yet still feeling warmth and safety.
Involve Other Family Members
Try and involve other family members such as partners, grandparents, or siblings if they are old enough. By getting your baby used to other people settling them to sleep, this should lessen their dependence on one person.
Try to remain calm while teaching your baby that they do not need to be constantly held. I know it can be very frustrating especially when you are exhausted and have a million other things you need to get done.
Be persistent. Habits can take time to change.
Be realistic as to what you can expect and in what time-frame. Some days you may make great progress and other days not so much. Let your baby lead the way and they will learn to settle at their own pace.
It is just a phase that they are going through and babies usually grow out of it in due course.
Use Soft Snuggly Cushions
If you have a look online, you will find cushions that are specifically designed to mimic the warmth and comfort of the womb. The cushion is designed to cocoon your baby helping them stay safe on their back while still feeling safe and warm.
Usually one of these techniques will help you and your baby find a way to settle without the need to be constantly held. You may find that a combination of these techniques will work best for your baby.
What If They Still Want To Be Held?
If none of the techniques above work and your baby still needs to be held, that is ok too. After all, they are only this small for such a short period of time.
But be prepared for the comments and questions that you may get thrown at you such as are you spoiling your baby or making them dependant on you.
Will You Spoil Your Baby By Holding Him Too Much?
There is no such thing as spoiling your baby by holding them too much. Babies need to feel safe and secure in order to sleep and rest comfortably.
Your baby is very young and sometimes they just need you to hold them, to rock them, and to help them learn to settle. It may be that they are just going through a transitional stage. It won’t last forever.
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So my advice would be, enjoy those cuddles and snuggles. Don’t worry about the dirty dishes or pile of laundry, it will all still be there tomorrow.
Advantages of Holding Your Baby
There are some great advantages to holding your baby and these should keep you going when things get tough:
- The bond you have with your baby will grow stronger.
- Being held soothes and calms your baby.
- It regulates their heart rate and breathing.
- It also aids in his growth and development.
The Final Word
I know and understand how tiring it can feel right now when you are in the moment and that people telling you your baby will grow out of it is not of great use or comfort to you.
But it is the truth, this is merely a phase. Your baby will quickly outgrow the need for your arms to comfort and soothe him. So enjoy the time that you have together, enjoy the cuddling and snuggling while it lasts.
And if it all gets too much and you need a break, you can always ask other family members to help out.