All My Baby Wants Is To Be Held All The Time
Being in mommy’s arms, or daddy’s, or just about any familiar adult’s arms is a preferred pastime for just about any little baby. In this article, we want to help you understand why babies may always like to be held, as well as provide you with some advice you may find helpful.
Where does the habit of always wanting to be held come from?
The habit of always wanting to be held comes from a baby’s very own human nature. We are beings that need affection in order to grow. Therefore, physical contact is like a fertilizer. From the moment we are born, we search for human touch in order to develop and be happy.
It’s also important to know that, naturally, babies possess a certain preference for their mother. After all, they spent about 40 weeks inside their mother’s womb. It is the mother that provides the milk that babies so long for. It is usually mom that sings to her baby, puts him to sleep, changes his diapers, bathes him, etc.
So it should be of no surprise that babies want to spend more time in mommy’s arms than anyone else’s.
Furthermore, babies don’t like being alone. Loneliness gives them the feeling of being unprotected. On the other hand, having constant company and being held in someone’s arms calms them and makes them feel safe.
Babies need to rely on this affectionate support in order to have a healthy emotional development. It’s also an important part of the formation of a baby’s self-esteem.
Many people believe that babies who seek to be held often do so because they have been spoiled. They accuse these babies of being “manipulative” if they cry when they are put down. That is anything but true.
It’s important to know how necessary affection and skin to skin contact really are in the lives of small babies.
At what point should I start to worry?
We have just affirmed that holding a baby is a vital part of their healthy development. However, there are cases in which this can become unhealthy both for mother and for baby.
There are babies who only want to be held by their mothers, 24 hours a day. They cry desperately any time they are put down or held by someone else.
This type of attachment, rather than being beneficial, is harmful, because the baby is totally dependent on his mother’s arms.
The baby becomes incapable of doing things on his own, or even making an attempt.
As for the mother, who most definitely needs to rest and have time to herself, this is very straining. It can bring on stress, depression and lots of tears.
What to do if the situation becomes too much
Though the baby should never be left without affection, attachment parenting shouldn’t be taken to the extreme. The practice of having your baby in your arms 24 hours a day turns attachment parenting from something beneficial into something detrimental.
Children who are raised under these conditions have a hard time developing personal autonomy over time. They come to believe that mom is the one that has to do everything for them.
Keep an eye out for the signs that your child is becoming too dependent. For example, if your child is old enough to hold her own bottle, but refuses to do so. She will only eat if you hold the bottle for her.
Another sign might be that when your baby drops his pacifier, he refuses to pick it up and insists that you do it for him. He may even go so far as to expect you to put it in his mouth for him. If this sounds like your child, then it’s time you help your little one break free of the umbilical cord that is binding him.
What can I do?
We want to insist once again that your child should never be deprived of the affection she so needs. She needs to be held, cuddled, cradled, kissed, played with and tended to in every way.
But, if your child is too attached to mom, this attachment can become “chronic.” As the mother, you need to take action, and the rest of your family will need to support you as well.
Below, we want to offer you some helpful advice for you and your little one:
Enjoying time with other people besides yourself
Mom needs to stop being the center of your baby’s universe. Your child needs to understand this in order to enjoy time with others, whether they be family members or friends.
Perhaps grandpa can start playing with your baby in the morning, or your baby’s godmother can take him out for walks in the afternoon. Maybe you can ask your daughter’s older cousin to help her eat at meal time.
If others get involved in your child’s daily routine, then the weight on mommy’s shoulders will start to lighten. At the same time, your child’s anxiety level will go down, his autonomy will go up, and he will build beautiful bonds with your loved ones.
Stimulate your child’s development
Babies are always keen to learn something new. Placing your child on the floor gives him the opportunity to strengthen his little body. Giving him new toys or objects will allow him to experiment. Learning to crawl will allow him to explore.
All of these steps will help your child gain independence and forget for awhile about those arms that he’s so dependent on.
As always, mom shouldn’t be the only one to carry out these activities with the baby. Everyone in the family should participate in order for them to be effective.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Dawson, G., Ashman, S. B., & Carver, L. J. (2000). The role of early experience in shaping behavioral and brain development and its implications for social policy. Development and psychopathology, 12(4), 695-712. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12129242_The_Role_of_Early_Experience_in_Shaping_Behavioral_and_Brain_Development_and_Its_Implications_for_Social_Policy
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