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Help! My Baby Wants To Be Held Constantly!

Skylar Mamie Lenox Ibarra and her family

Recently, the mother of a newborn reached out to the LLL USA Facebook community with a question: “My baby is three weeks old and won’t let me put her down! Everyone told me that all babies do is eat and sleep, but I didn’t realize that she would be in my arms all the time. Is this normal? I’ve had friends tell me that I should let her cry and that she’s training me. Is that true?”

If you’ve parented a newborn, you’re probably nodding your head in recognition of this mother’s concerns. Holding your newborn is one of the greatest joys for a new parent, but the reality is that we need and want our arms free from time to time to do other things. How have experienced parents met this challenge? We turned to our Facebook followers to find out what they had to say. (The original post can be viewed at www.facebook.com/LaLecheLeagueUSA/posts/3043483719013487.)

Skylar Mamie Lenox Ibarra: She is training you! To be an attentive, attuned parent who will meet her needs with love and compassion. Pretty great training, eh?

Ericka J Iverson: This is normal, especially in the beginning when they don’t move around much. It’s called the 4th trimester because baby behaves as if they are still in the womb. All they have ever known is your smell, touch, and the sounds of your body. Being separated from that is very unnerving. Some babies are more sensitive than others, and I’ve had four babies who needed to be on me all the time. They all grew up happy and independent, and it did us all good to just rest. Baby’s need for you is also a signal for you to rest your body.

Kayt Rose: Pick that baby up and hold her as much as you want, mama! They’re only little for so long. There will come a time where she will be too big for you to pick up and hold and you will reminisce about the days when she was tiny. I know I do with my oldest. Plus, crying is her only way of letting you know she needs something. You’re all she really knows right now and she’s still adjusting to this big, bright, scary world.

Angelica Ladd with her baby

Angelica Ladd: If she’s training you for anything, it’s to love her unconditionally and just live in the moment. This was the toughest part for me, too, but baby needs your warmth, your heartbeat, and breathing to feel safe and secure. You got this!

Margarita Logan:  In the beginning, it seems like the days last forever and the holding is never ending. But honestly, it will pass – and quickly. So hold them while you are their whole world. Independence is a skill that comes with time, not out of the womb.

Carissa Norris: Your baby is only three weeks old. Enjoy the newness while you can. Enlist some friends to come over for baby cuddles so you can get some rest. Find a good baby carrier. Practice transferring baby to crib or safe place after they are asleep. I know you need a break. I also know, one day, maybe way down the road you will long for these days. Please, please, please call on your friends and family for help. The idea that new mothers should be able to do it all is insane.

Bethany Beckett: It’s called the 4th trimester. Think of it this way. Baby went from literally being attached to you for nine months. Suddenly baby is in this loud, cold, crazy place. You are the constant. You are the safe place. Baby isn’t training you. Baby doesn’t understand how to do that yet. Baby just wants to feel safe and warm with you. Babywearing is a lifesaver.

Gwenn Wright: All five of my babies needed to be held — some for longer than others. Research babywearing. Use the bathroom before you settle down and make sure you have some water, a snack, the remote, and your phone within reach! My oldest is 19. I held him all the day long for as long as he needed and he just left for college 13 hours away…so no, they won’t always need you if all you do is hold them. The precious snuggling days are few.

Shereen Cantu: So, so, so normal! Your baby has literally never been away from you or been in such a big, open, cold space. They’ve never felt hunger or gas pains, so you are their greatest comfort. Granted, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier, but know your baby (especially a three-week-old) isn’t “training” or “manipulating” you. They communicate by crying and even newborns need more than to just eat, sleep, and be changed. You can’t spoil your baby with love, so snuggle your little one because you blink and they’re almost two and you don’t know where the time went.

Dominique Saito and her daughter

Megan Griffith: It is totally normal. That being said, if you need to put her down because you are losing it, please place her in (a safe place), if needed. Call someone. Take a breather. While it is completely normal, it is overwhelming.

Chanell Ponce: Babywearing saved me during the first weeks. I couldn’t get anything done before I started doing that. They just want to be held close.

Dominique Saito: I have a seven month old who still cries if I put her down, in her high chair, in a pack n play and especially if she sees me leave the room. Once she’s in my arms she stops crying and has a smile. It’s hard, but I tell myself it too shall pass. When a friend or family member comes over, I hand her over for a break.


Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].


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