How often should you hold your child?

Rochelle - posted on 06/21/2009 ( 27 moms have responded )

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Should you let your child cry, or pick them up and soothe them whenever they need you?

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[deleted account]

I've never understood the idea of NOT holding them all the time. The thought would have never crossed my mind not to pick them up and hold them every time they cried or asked. Maybe I have strange children, but none of them got "addicted' to being held. I found that the more I held them the LESS they demanded it. It is a need just like food or sleep, as Tamara said. When the need is met all the time, they are LESS needy, not more. That was my experience anyway.

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I would hold your child as much as you can for the first 6 months - yes it can be tiring short-term but has huge benefits long-term. Contrary to popular belief, this does not spoil them or make them clingy, quite the reverse in fact. There is a baby-rearing method called the Continuum Concept that I would recommend to anyone interested in 'baby-wearing' ie having them in a sling for the early months. Children raised this way are very happy, confident, independent people.
You dont spoil a baby by giving it what it wants - you spoil it by giving it what it doesnt need.

Amanda - posted on 06/22/2009

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Babies first learn trust, they learn it by adults responding to their needs. Holding a baby and responding to their every need does not make dependant children, it makes independant toddlers, and emontionally well adjusted children. The best thing you can do for your infant, is hold them, kiss them, and remind them all the time that at least one person in this world will always been there for them no matter what!

Tamara - posted on 06/21/2009

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Your LO cries, you hold them, comfort them, and let them know that you're there. Babies NEED that. It's just as important as food, diaper changes, sleep, play, etc.

Jessica - posted on 06/22/2009

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For the first 6mths at least I was at their beck and call, I really never thought not to be. I believe babies cry for a reason and somtimes that reason is to be held. I have four very well adjusted, affectionate, and pretty independant children and have coddled every one of them. The older they get I don't run every time they fuss but they are also able to communicate with me their problem unlike an infant. My 21 mth old is going through a test phase right now where she wants to held all the time but when I tell her no and tell her to go play she understands what I'm saying and ges to play. I agree that the less a baby is held the more clingy they become in the long run.

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Amy - posted on 06/28/2009

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i held them alot, i was always told you can never love and hold your child too much. I have however made sure they are ok all the time and told them they can come to me anytime but not just to make the other feel unloved.

Kate - posted on 06/26/2009

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Hold the baby if they need it. Hold ANY child who is upset if they need it. Little ones should be held as much as possible. I plan to wear my newborn when he is born almost all the time, which is as much for practical reasons as emotional ones (I'll be chasing DD, 17 mo., so he will be safest in my arms). Now, DD...if she is unhappy or something is wrong I will hold her! If she just falls down or something, I wait, and if she cries I tell her to come and see me. If she doesn't cry or doesn't come to me then I assume she does not need a hug. But I hold her whenever she wants. If she is tired/hungry/sick it's a lot, nearly all the time. But usually she's so busy playing she doesn't want to be held!! This is what happens when kids know that they can always come and get held if they need it -- they spend most of their time being independent.

[deleted account]

This is a hard question, sort of. I would say that an infant up to 10 months old should always be held when they are crying. They don't have the cognition to realize there is a cause and effect. They cry because they need something, and sometimes that something is you. How awesome is that!! Can you imagine if you husband/boyfriend cried everytime the needed or missed you!!! lol . . . anyhow, I agree with a lot of the Mom's here.. human touch is as important to an infant as the air she breaths and the food you so lovingly give her. A child needs your touch to learn comfort and love and trust. Don't deny a baby that. . . . but somewhere around 10mts (for me) my little one began to grasp the concept of Pavlov's Dogs and that's when I started to be more discerning when it came to how I responded. That was really hard on her and on me as well. I wanted to run to her every time she cried but as her mother I am also her teacher. I have worked to learn her cries (as much as a mother can) She has a definite whine and a definite 'I'm frustrated and need help' cry. And she has also learned what I will respond to. She will whine for less than 15 seconds before she gives up and moves on to something else. I do believe this is, in part, because I didn't run to her at every moment possible. I learn more about her each day and always try to respond in the best way I know how. When she's hurt I will always go to her. I am likely to disregard a whine. And all the stuff in between? Take it one cry at a time. It all depends on the situation. Trust your instinct but always know that you are laying the foundation of how they will behave tomorrow......

Kate CP - posted on 06/26/2009

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Well, it's not really a simple question. I always have and I always will hold my daughter when she asks me to or needs me to. But when she was learning to walk and she fell down I wouldn't immediately jump up and coddle her. I'd wait to see if she would shake it off. If she got right back up then I knew she was fine. But if she ever wants to be hugged, kissed, held, rocked...I don't care if she's 15 I'll rock her. She'll always be my baby girl. :}

Minnie - posted on 06/22/2009

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Mothers in traditional cultures carry their infants and young children all the time. Infants do not cry often in those cultures because their needs are met promptly. Close bodily contact for comfort, stability and security is just as important a need as any other.

Ruth - posted on 06/22/2009

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Aren't we referring to babies though? My son's 4 and I don't jump everytime he says something NOW, but as a baby? Most definitely yes. He's very independant. Can easily play by himself and regularly does. It's a myth that BABIES have to learn to be independant. Children, yes, but a baby? No. Babies are inherently dependant.

Eva - posted on 06/22/2009

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There are times to hold them and not. Sure let them know you will be there for them but don't jump at their every beck and call because you will get worn out and it will take them longer to learn independence or most importantly sleeping through the night. If you know it's been awhile since they have eaten or been changes especially at night, then get them but if you just did it then they can wait a little. All human beings need to learn independence and how to play alone it's life. As for being lonely they learn how to play alone because in life they may need to. My daughter who I love with all me being I practiced this with her and she is 6yrs old and very independent. She didn't cry when she went to the sitter for the first time, can play by herself and didn't cry when she went to school. She learned that even though Mommy wasn't there at the moment, she would be back. She knew when she really needed me I was there and would love her. I love her independence and it will do her good in life as she gets older.

[deleted account]

Hold them and enjoy it. But trust your instincts too. If your baby is obviously over stimulated then this could be the reason for the crying and holding them could make it worse when they are tired. It might be ok to let them fuss for a very short time because they are just communicating you that they want a rest. Don't leave the baby to do proper crying though. If you leave them to cry all the time or pick them up all the time you might never learn to recognise the differnt cries.

Ruth - posted on 06/22/2009

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It's impossible to 'spoil' a child with love, affection, attention and cuddles. I'm a firm believer in attending to a baby whenever he needs it. My son is 4 now. He was always cuddled and carried around wherever I went. We always tell him that we love him. He's only just going into his own bed now as he felt safer and more secure in bed with us.



He's growing into a super-confident, loving, contented, tactile child. He still loves his cuddles (all the time!) but he's equally happy about going to nursery and staying over with other members of the famliy. I firmly believe this is because he knows we are always there for him and he feels very loved.



When he was first born, I took him to see my gran. She was 93 at the time. He started crying and I got up immediately to tend to him and she said, "you'll spoil him! You'll spoil him!!!". I just thought, "how on Earth can you leave a 4 week old baby to cry?".



People forget that sometimes babies can feel lonely, that they want a cuddle. As they can't speak, the only way they can let you know of this is by crying.



I don't think a cuddle is a lot to ask and I'll gladly cuddle my children whenever they want. Lets face it, in a few years time, he'll probably want nothing to do with me and cringe if I tell him I love him! Make the most of this special time because it doesn't last forever.

Guggie - posted on 06/21/2009

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btw as a topic of interest you might want to look into the study where they tried to find out what would happen if babies weren't touched and held. they all died.



this study is actually the reason babies and pregnant women cannot be used for research.

Guggie - posted on 06/21/2009

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I would try not to let her cry. I suppose if I was about to pee my pants, she could wait a minute.



Obviously they won't die if you wait a minute due to a pressing matter. But I think human babies are people too and deserve respect just like us. If my husband was crying and reaching for me, I would soothe him...same for my mum and friends and anyone, really.



Heck if my dog was whining I'd probably try to soothe him.

Vicki - posted on 06/21/2009

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Yes, hold the baby, love the baby, feed the baby. This is the advice given to me by local public health nurses. Babies need comforting.

Jennifer - posted on 06/21/2009

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That’s easy! As much as you can. Give them what they need when they are little and it will come back to you when they are older.

Jessica - posted on 06/21/2009

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i hold my daughter all the time if she crys i dont pick her up streight away tho but i only let her cry for a few minutes

Marabeth - posted on 06/21/2009

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thats been the question that parents argue with each other since 'civilization.' in hunter-gatherer societies (human origins) they are very indulgent of childrens' needs. newborns and infants are held 99% of the time whether in his/her mother's arms or worn on her body. infants biologically expect to be held/nurtured.

Mel - posted on 06/21/2009

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no let them cry because otherwise you are going to be exhausted in the long run. you wont even be able to go to the bathroom and they wont ever learn to play by themself

Anna - posted on 06/21/2009

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this is a hard question! my best friend, who is a new mother, is asking this question all the time! I always say if they are fed, changed, safe, and not sick, they don't need to be held all the time. Especially at nap time! Resist holding them at that time because they might think they need you to hold them just to sleep and you can't get anything done then! But of course, soothing them won't hurt them either!

Kylie - posted on 06/21/2009

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Pick them up, hold them as much as they want/need it. You cannot spoil your newborn by picking him up and cuddling him. The more physical contact he gets from you the more content and settled he will be. Plus they grow so quickly..cuddle and enjoy your baby while he is so small and dependent.

Tashia Ann - posted on 06/21/2009

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lets face it we cant always pick them up but gosh i want to lol i have a 4 month old an a 3 year old. if they are hurt of cource we pick them up but some times it just dont help an they just need to cry well with my kids its that way but i love holdiing my kids my 3 yr old dont like it much anymore lol but i my 4monthold still does an i eat it up lol i let her play in the floor an roll around an we dont hold her when shes asleep other then that i do! lol

Amanda - posted on 06/21/2009

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you dont need to run to them as soon has they cry but you do need to soothe them. some people say not to but its your baby so do what you think is best! I always held my baby it just makes them feel that you love them and that you are here for them. but babys will always want to be up so if you know that they are crying just to get up you dont have to take them up unless you want to spend time with them! If you was crying wouldnt you want to know that someone was there for you!!

Jackie - posted on 06/21/2009

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If my kids are really scared, now that they're older, I always hold them. if they get hurt (as long as it's not serious), I make sure they're ok and tell them they're fine. I guess it really just depends on the situation.

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