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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 65reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by The first few months, babies are still adjusting to the "outside" world. They got so used to being warm and snuggled inside and it takes a bit of time to adjust to having so much space all around. People tell me that I am spoiling my daughter when I held her a lot when she was newborn to about 2 months.Little by little her senses are developing and is learning to be not too "clingy." She has learned that she can trust that someone is always around for her. August 10, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by my daughter is 8 months old she is very used to her mommy putting her to sleep and has a harder time falling asleep for other people especially babysitters she never sleeps unless its in a car ride but responding to her quickly does work yes but also when you can tell she is on the verge of sleep if she wakes up and cries when I put her down I can tell by her cries if I do need to pick her up again or if its better to just leave her June 16, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I hold my newborn all the time. My husband says I am spoiling her, but I think it is important to respond to her needs quickly. It was reassuring to read this and know I am helping her. May 17, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I held my first baby all the time and I have to say that she is a very independent 4 year old. She is very social and is not afraid to make friends which is very surprising to me because I have always been very shy. I never really listened to my mother when she would tell me I was going to spoil my girl. March 5, 2014
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