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.
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