What Do I Do? If My Baby Wants to Be Held All The Time
My baby wants to be held. All The Time.
You’re at your wits end. It seems like you’re holding your baby 24/7.
A baby crying when not held is certainly not an unfamiliar phenomenon for most parents. Neither is it an unusual occurrence. You have tried rocking your baby endlessly, carrying him in a stroller all day long but with no respite. For most newborn babies, the desire to be held in arms is quite normal. Babies usually require a considerable amount of physical connection, particularly during the initial days after birth. They seek the soothing contact of their mother’s body because that’s what they have experienced in the mother’s womb. Some experts refer to this singularity as the fourth-trimester effect.
When you imagine the baby in your womb during the last weeks of pregnancy, you can understand why a baby want to be held. All those weeks, they grew accustomed to the snug space of your womb. Your heartbeat and movement soothed them throughout the day. Because babies’ neurological systems can’t control their arms, legs and other movement, being held offers a baby the organization he or she craves but can’t provide.
But, there are tricks you can try to settle your baby. Here’s what you can do.
Swaddle Your Baby
It is essential that newborn babies feel adequately warm and cosy after birth. Therefore, wrapping a baby in optimal layers of loose clothing can prove useful in providing him with the required warmth and giving him the feeling of being nestled in a secure cocoon.
Try and make your baby’s surrounding environment comfortable to help him adjust to the outside world. In case he starts crying when you put him down, stroke him gently and speak in a soothing voice to calm him down. You can also try hanging interesting objects from his crib to engage his attention while he is awake.
Play Soothing Music
Music can have a calming effect on babies. Put on some soothing music or sing soft lullabies to help relax your baby.
Break Off the Habit
You can try setting your baby down either on a bouncy chair or an activity mat to break his habit of showing displeasure when he is not held. Set the baby in the chair a few minutes every day till he gets used to it. Stay close and do pick him up when he seems uncomfortable and starts crying. You can do this exercise a few times every day particularly when your baby is happy and well-rested. You may increase the duration gradually.
Involve Family Members
Try and involve other members of the family also to practice setting the baby down and not holding him more than required. Your baby may eventually get used to being set down by everyone around him.
Be Persistent and Patient
You must remain calm and patient while trying to teach your baby to stay relaxed when not held. You may find it frustrating, but be persistent. Habits take time to break, and eventually, your baby will learn to be comfortable by himself.
It is desirable to keep your expectations as realistic as possible. Some days you may make good progress while other days may seem bad. Go with your baby’s pace and refrain from hurrying him unnecessarily. You need to understand that it is simply a phase and babies usually grow out of it in due course of time.
Use Soft Snuggly Cushions
You can browse online for snuggly cushions for babies especially designed to mimic the warmth and comfort that they were used to while in the womb. The cushion is designed to act as a sling around a baby’s body which keeps him safely positioned on his back.
What If Your Infant Still Wants to Be Held?
Usually, one or all of these tricks work when it comes to babies who want to be held all the time. But, some babies cannot do without being held at all. Let’s take a look at what can be done in that case.
If your baby still wants to be held despite your best efforts to put him down. One of the things you can try is cuddling with your baby on the bed until he falls asleep. This way, your baby may not get the chance to protest on not being held. Also, you can opt for a partial sort of physical contact instead of a complete one which could make it easier for your baby to adapt.
If your baby wants to be held in spite of making several attempts at the ideas provided above, you may continue holding him for some more time.
There is no such thing as spoiling your baby by holding him too much. Instead, you need to establish and address the underlying issue. Is your baby undergoing separation nervousness, or is he just seeking some comfort? You may want to remember that your baby is very young, and this is simply a transitional phase which won’t last forever. In case your baby doesn’t seem to calm down when not held, the best thing would be to pick him up to make him feel emotionally secure.