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Don’t mess with the snuggle

Your arms are aching and your mother-in-law says you’re spoiling your baby by picking her up when she cries. Don’t sweat it. Snuggling may be exactly what she needs.
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You’re not alone if you have a young baby who cries the minute you try to put her down. Since babies are completely dependant on the care of grown-ups for their survival, they’re born with a strong drive to be held all the time.

The good news is it’s not possible for a baby to be spoiled by too much attention. In fact, the opposite is true. Studies have shown that the more babies are held, the less they cry.

Babies kept in physical contact with their caregivers were found to cry an average of an hour less per day than babies who weren’t. Those that were held and responded to quickly were also found to be less clingy and more adaptable to new situations when they turned into toddlers.

But this hold-me-all-the-time phase is definitely challenging for parents. One solution is to buy and wear a strap-on front carrier that will allow your baby to keep in close physical contact with you while freeing your hands to do other things.

And when you have to put her down, your baby will probably be comforted by having you nearby. A reclining high chair in the kitchen will let her gaze at you and hear your voice as you get a drink or make a sandwich. During the first month, a firm bundle wrapping can help to comfort an unhappy newborn — though pediatricians don’t recommend bundling a baby past that age. After that, a cozy sleep sack or pajamas will help her feel secure.

Once baby reaches six months and older, she’ll be able to sit up and support her own head and have more control over her hands. By that point, she’ll also be more content to entertain herself with hands-on activities like activity seats, highchair tray toys or banging spoons on pots.

Sandy and Marcie Jones are the authors of Great Expectations: Baby’s First Year. Order your copy from Barnes & Noble.

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  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 4reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I tried letting my little one cry herself to sleep, it was a horrible day for us both. Giving her the snuggles she needs makes us both calmer, plus I have the time and enjoy it too! May 6, 2013
    Rated 0 out of 5 by Snuggles are definitely what babies need, i am a mother of 4 with new twins and i have found that as long as I am able to get snuggles in with the twins then they are way happier and they sleep better at night, if we are doing stuff and not able to get the snuggles in they are crankier and dont sleep very good! Wish I had extra hands tho, they are getting big and alot harder to snuggle at the same time LOL!!! I have also found that Snuggling with the older kids is a must too, they need to closeness and to know that they are important too! :] great article!!! January 17, 2013
    Rated 0 out of 5 by i tried the same thing with my daughter. she was the same way! but like some others i chose to co sleep eventually. dont worry about rolling over or anything. just make sure there's no pillows near by (the curved nursing pillow is what i used for myself because its skinny) and to be totally honest its the best bonding moment for me! November 14, 2011
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My son is 10 days old now and I notice that during the day he will sleep in his crib perfectly by himself, but during the night he seem to wine and complain till he gets picked up, and he wont sleep unless cuddled in my arm and laying in my bed. Is this normal or is there anything I can do to change this habit or should I keep doing what I'm already doing since he already into that routine? May 3, 2011
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