Help! My baby wants to be held all the time...
Does your newborn cry whenever you put him down? Read on to find out what you can do to soothe him...
It's contact time - all the time!
You just gave birth to a beautiful baby, and he's perfect! He wants to be hugged and held and never leave your side. This is the epitome of sweetness... until you realise that he really NEVER wants to leave your side!
He sobs like his little world has come to an end whenever you put him down.
He only stops crying when you hold him, and your arms and shoulders feel like they're about to snap. You think that enough is enough; there has to be some other way.
Well, chin up, Mummy. Here are some insights as to why he's doing what he's doing.
For newborn babies, the need to be held tightly is extremely normal. After all, he spent 9 entire months nestled inside his mother’s womb, receiving all the warmth of a cozy cocoon.
If your baby cries and wants to be held, it is not that he is spoiled; he's just missing the good old days and needs the comfort to feel secure.
Coming out of the womb is like entering an alien world for him. The change in environment may sometimes be overwhelming (where is was dark and wet, it's now bright and chaotic), and who else but you -- the umbilical connection -- can keep him warm and at ease.
Of course, not all babies are the same. Some babies don't kick up a fuss when put down (yes, mostly other people's!).
But if your baby wants to be held all the time, it also doesn’t mean that he cannot ever lie down contentedly by himself, though it may seem like it now. He's just the sort to take more time to soothe.
Go on to the next page to learn more about how to soothe your baby.
Baby whisperer Tizzie Hall mentioned on her Save Our Sleep website that the one main reason why your baby wants to be held all the time is to keep warm.
And without having a mother’s arms clutching him against her warm body, babies do not tend to receive enough warmth.
It is very important for newborns to be cozy and warm, and adequately so. Wrapping your baby in enough layers before you lay him down to sleep is crucial.
According to Tizzie Hall, 6 layers are the optimal amount of layers -- but this of course, is for colder climates.
Since we live in tropical Singapore and some of us prefer not to use air-conditioning, less is certainly more. The key is to use thin layers and loose clothing.
For newborn babies, swaddles need to be snug to give the effect of being encased in a cocoon.
Ask your nurse to show you how to do this well, and also get your doctor's advice on how many layers of clothes/blankets etc will be necessary for your baby (if you use air-conditioning, mention this too).
As a precaution, do not surround your baby with unnecessary blankets, clothing or stuffed toys, as these pose a suffocation hazard.
To learn more about what Tizzie Hall has to say, watch this video.
Another good reason why your baby wants to be held all the time is simply because he doesn’t know how else to communicate his unease.
This is a very normal phenomenon among newborn infants, but the solution doesn't need to be to lift your baby up every time he cries.
To ease his comfort, encourage quiet wakefulness. What this means is to make his surrounding environment comfortable. When you lay him down and he starts expressing his displeasure, start stroking him and speaking quietly to him, gently calming him down.
Place interesting objects to hang above his crib to catch his attention. But change the objects often enough so that he doesn't get tired of them.
Play tranquil music or sing lullabies that relax your baby. All these changes in your environment could help your baby become used to being put down without you constantly having to hold him.
Having said that, it is important to remember that your baby is still oh-so young and if all your efforts to calm him without holding him don't work, it's best to carry him to he calms down.
Parents, how do you calm your crying newborn? Share your experiences with us by leaving a comment.