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Is there such a thing as holding your baby too much?

Sometimes as a mom you hear funny rumors about the latest "research" on childhood development, and sometimes those rumors can claim some things that don't quite strike you as correct. Sometimes you're right, sometimes you're wrong. The latest we've heard: that holding your baby "too much" can cause developmental delays. You weigh in, moms: is there such a thing as too much holding?

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32  Answers

54 13

Absolutely not. Looking at nations where "baby wearing" is the norm they have some of the most well adjusted children (and adults) in the world. Affection is GOOD not bad.

207 58

I'd say if you are holding your baby while having sex is holding your baby too much, but otherwise I don't think there is such a thing. The window of time for holding them is so small, and they need human contact so much I don't see any reason to hold your baby less than you want to.

42 33

I disagree that holding your child too much can cause developmental delays. However I do believe that time not being held is important too. Babies need tummy time and time to stretch out and kick. Not saying just lay your baby down and walk away, but a little interaction time while hanging out on the floor is just as needed as being cuddled and held. Just my opinion.

361 15

Never! We carry them for 9 months in our bodies, so why not in our arms?

3 55

when my little girl was first born I held her all the time, I couldn't help it to me she was the most precious thing ever as she grew I held her as often as I could just to be close to her and look at her in amazement as I couldn't and still can't believe how much I love her. she's now 3 years old and was walking at 10 months talking sentences at 12 1/2 months n for her three year development check I was told she's doing brilliantly as she's hitting above average on all areas of development and she's a happy, confident child !! I was obviously over the moon to hear she's above average ( as any mother would) and now my answer is quite clearly NO you can never hold your child to much, it's almost like asking can you love your child to much !! no we are mothers so cuddle your bundle of joy as often as you want you and the child deserve it !! :oD :oD :oD :oD :oD :oD

also got in her travel cot when she was training to stay in her bedroom and now sleeps in her room from 7-7 and gets herself dressed every morning then wakes me up for breakfast time xx

3 55

also been working with children and studied child development for 7 years so no this has no affect on your childs development

303 4

A baby is born having heard its mother's heartbeat and being securely swaddled inside mom for nine months. Suddenly it is born and has to cope with a whole new world. And then its a bad thing to be held?! Poor baby. No wonder many babies get fussy about the time mom is feeling better and takes on more work.

10 9

I have never met a mom that can hold a baby too much. Its physically impossible! :) And yes, holding them "too much" is the best thing for the baby. You have a happier, calmer baby.

20 18

Nooooo!!! Holding/ baby wearing creates a secure child! Once I started "wearing" my first child, he stopped crying, stopped tantrums, slept better and got sick less! I was less frustrated because I could clean the house, garden, and shop with ease and no worries. I truly believe I have a closer relationship with my children because they easily open up and talk with me primarily because early in their lives heard my voice all day long as I comforted and spoke to them about my chores, shopping lists, and planting seeds. Baby wearing makes smarter kids because they are able to observe you (the teacher by example) and their environment better! Some how our culture has become backwards with raising our children... Familys are so disconnected even with all the technology.

29 1

Until my daughter could sit up on her own for extended periods of time she was held almost all of the time as an infant. She had acid reflux so laying down was painful for her. Of course I would give her "tummy time" and things of that nature but she was held far more than most babies I know. She is now almost 18 months and is thriving. Her verbal skills are absolutely amazing for her age and I contribute a large part of that to being held so much. There is evidence to support that babies that are worn (she was worn some but held more) pick up on language skills much easier and quicker. She is also a very affectionate toddler and although she still likes to be held she also loves to run around and play like any healthy kid her age.

279 28

I'm studying child development, about to graduate, and am also a mom.
A young baby (like under 6 months) cannot be held too much. It is what they crave to stimulate positive attachment with thier caregiver. Without proper attachment, the child will struggle to move forward with his/her development and will end up having trust issues (at least temporarily, until the caregiver begins to react appropriately to the child's needs)

An older baby, over 6 months, has the ability to cry for attention, rather than need. At that point, the trust should be strong and developed between caregiver and baby, and it is better to give them more time to explore alone, and "crying it out" method becomes effective if you choose to use it.

hope that helps? :)

22 15

sounds like we the same child development text book. and its true.

48 16

I believe that in some "exrteme" cases such as the attachted parenting method there is such a thing as too much holding however, I held my daughter ever chance i got. I toted her from room to room with me and talked to her the whole time. Telling her what we were doing and why. She is now 2 years old. She is the most affectionate child ive ever known. She cares alot about othere children and always feels the need to comfort them. Anytime she sees me upset she does her best to comfort me as well. She talks as if she is a 4 year old and is just too smart for her own good. I think that it can be very good for children.

0 33

*Attachment* parenting is "extreme"?!?! You are welcome to your own opinion, but I'd suggest doing some hard research before knocking something--especially enough to know what the proper term is!

48 16

for your info i researched it throughout my entire pregnancy along with several other types of parenting. It is considered a "taboo". I dont knock it. I would much rather people keep their children with them constantly then to just leave them with whoever whenever. It isnt for me and my family but it does not bother me for anybody else to do it. I did not say it damaged children or families. Before you start to get upset and act like i dont know anything you should understand that i am a huge nerd. I spent my whole pregnancy studying about everything i possibly could to help me understand how to be a good parent because i was young and scared and wanted to be the absolute best i could be. I am sorry if my post offended you in anyway that was not my intent.

0 2

Well said Nesa!

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1,738 8

Not at all! My daughter was ALWAYS held (her need, not mine), and she not only hit all of her development milestones on time, but she was early for ALL motor development ones (sitting, crawling, walking, etc.). Everyone said I'd never be able to put her down, but trust me - I've been begging her to let me hold her since she learned to walk! :)

3 5

NO WAY!!! Their be 18 before you know it & all you have is memories...

3 4

I think that there is nothing wrong with holding your child. This lets your baby know they are safe and loved. I don't think that it will cause developmental delays. Every child develops at their own pace. In my experience, however, I asked anyone that took care of my daughter not to hold her too much. I needed her to be comfortable on her own in order for me to be able to do the dishes or straighten up the house. As a single mom, I'm wasn't able to hold her ALL the time. Of course that didn't work. :-) So I ended up just adjusting myself and I would do the things that needed to be done while she took a nap or when I put her down to sleep. :-) She just turned 2 and while she is awake, everything is still about her.

0 6

Food for thought:
The attachment bond is the unique relationship between your baby and yourself as his or her primary caretaker. This instinctual bonding relationship draws the two of you together ensuring that the needs of your helpless and vulnerable infant will be met. The attachment bond, is a key factor in your infant’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. The more responsive you are to an infant’s needs, the less “spoiled” the baby will be as they get older. Bonding creates trust, and children with secure attachments tend to be more independent, not less. Secure bonding and attachment cause the parts of your baby’s brain responsible for interaction, communication and relationships to grow and develop. The attachment bond becomes the foundation of your child’s ability to connect with others in a healthy way. Qualities that you may take for granted in adult relationships like empathy, understanding, love, and the ability to be responsive to others are first learned in infancy.

The quality of the attachment bond varies. A secure bond provides your baby with an optimal foundation for life: eagerness to learn, healthy self-awareness, trust and consideration for others. An insecure attachment relationship, one that fails to meet an infant’s need for safety and understanding, leads to confusion about oneself and difficulties in learning and relating to others in later life.

A child with attachment disorder did not successfully complete the bonding cycle in those first few years of life.

One type of attachment disorder is Reactive Attachment Disorder. RAD arises from a failure to form normal attachments to primary caregivers in early childhood. Such a failure could result from severe early experiences between the ages of six months and three years, frequent change of caregivers, or a lack of caregiver responsiveness to a child's communicative efforts. Not all, or even a majority of such experiences, result in the disorder. It is differentiated from pervasive developmental disorder or developmental delay and from possibly comorbid conditions such as mental retardation, all of which can affect attachment behavior. The criteria for a diagnosis of a reactive attachment disorder are very different from the criteria used in assessment or categorization of attachment styles such as insecure or disorganized attachment.
Children with RAD are presumed to have grossly disturbed internal working models of relationships which may lead to interpersonal and behavioral difficulties in later life. Mainstream treatment and prevention programs that target RAD and other problematic early attachment behaviors are based on attachment theory and concentrate on increasing the responsiveness and sensitivity of the caregiver, or if that is not possible, placing the child with a different caregiver. Most such strategies are in the process of being evaluated.

16 40

lol Where did you copy and paste that from? It all sounds very technical...I'm pretty sure bonding with your child isn't that complicated!

0 6

The point was that not bonding securely can be that complicated! I felt that more knowledge would be powerful as most people are not aware of the posible ramifications. I have experience with children with attachment disorder that spans over 20 years in the medical profession, therapeutic fosterparent, educator, and Rainbow Connection volunteer etc...

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0 17

you can never hold a baby too much.. I think not holding them enough can hurt them. like the theory put out there to toughen up and its ok to let them cry it out.. not good! it can actually damage there brain cells and hurt them down the road. I truly believe and that holding your baby and "baby wearing" is awesome too! and actually boosts there confidence when you hold them and respond quickly to there cries and needs. Yes I do think putting them down here and there is fine and playing on the ground is great...sometimes all they want is your attention even if your laying on the ground.

581 24

no, no way. you should hug, hold, kiss, give TLC to your baby 24 hours a day!!!

295 0

I brought my son home from the hospital and he screamed for hours when put in his bassinet so he became a co-sleeper. He is 7 years old and still sleeps with me and he is the most caring, loving and sweetest boy in the world. He worries and cares for everyone, very social and intelligent and I believe it is because I held him and always was affectionate with him.

I have seen other kids where their parents work all the time and never spend time with their kids. The type of parents who have kids just to say they have kids....The children are distant, unfocused and very anti-social. The poor things look like little zombies :(

0 22

Never, I think the most loving and caring children are the ones that had a lot of attention while they were babies. Never too much. I held my babies a lot, even did house work with them in a back pack, and they are well adjusted and loving.

0 5

I held my daughter all the time. And yes, she is a little clingy, but she is also extremely intelligent for her age. She is not even 2 and she talks better than most 3 year olds. I don't think its possible to hold a child too much.

22 18

How much exactly is "too much?" The "experts" never specify do they? I think it's important to give baby tummy time to strengthen the neck and to practice crawling and such, obviously, baby will never learn if not given the opportunity.

1 12

I don't think there is a problem with holding your baby, I have had two and my first boy needed to be held ALOT more then his brother, but I now have a sister in law that take holding her baby too much to a new extreme, No one but her is to hold him and I never see her put toys infront of him to stimulate him, she I guess would be it. He is 7 months old and seems more like 5, the poor little guy hardly responds when anyone talks to him, so I guess there can be a too much.

16 40

I don't think holding a baby too much exists, but I do think people who are constantly holding their toddlers is not necessarily a good thing. I think at that age they need to get out and explore their world not cling to their parents looking all terrified of everything going on out there. I didn't hold my son overly (meaning all the time) but we had loads of cuddles when he was a baby and lucky we did because now days it's a rare occasion when he wants a cuddle unless he's hurt himself of course lol

0 0

Of course affection is very important. Generally, holding your child is never an issue. However, when the child has reached the age of 10 mnths and is still immobile, there is a problem. Some Mothers simply hold their child constantly. Therefore, the child cant develop motor skills effectively. This may delay development. Put the child down so that he/she may experience separation, in order to be able to explore the world (even if it is only the loungeroom floor) The Mother will be available immediately if there is a problem. How is a child going to learn about movement, if it is constantly being held? I know a Mother that displayed this behaviour with the first child, which delayed developmental skills, she also did the same for her second, with the same result. Please consider allowing the child to explore and learn. The Mother shouldnt be the only source of affection, and or education.

9 0

No way

1 0

depends on the situation. as a teen mom you have school and possibly work. if you are the kind of mom that never puts your baby down the child will become super attached to you and only you. holding is important but should not be excessive. I think holding too much, leads to spoiling and fussy kids. this will be a problem when you need to leave the child with a babysitter or relative. they will cry for hours, which will leave you with less people willing to watch your child. Not good trust me. love and affection is amazing and important, but so is space and allowing a child time to self sooth. That just my thoughts. my daughter is now 8 and very independent. I went to school full time and worked 2 jobs. Now a college grad (RN) and thankful that my daughter wasn't the clingy, fussy type of child.

33 0

i dont think thats true i hold my four month old every day almost all day, if you give them time on the floor there is not anything wrong with holding a baby.

123 3

I"m guessing not! Too much love isn't a bad thing for us, so can't be for the baby! In a way, the infant was held in our wombs for 9 months, so.. :))

0 0

11 41

No, you cannot hold them too much. You need to do what you feel is best for you and your baby. Don't let others tell you that you are spoiling them. Our babies feel protected and safe in our arms. It is what the plan was for them.
......These studies revealed that infants are born "hardwired" with strong needs to be nurtured and to remain physically close to the primary caregiver, usually the mother, during the first few years of life. The child's emotional, physical, and neurological development is greatly enhanced when these basic needs are met consistently and appropriately. These needs can be summarized as proximity, protection, and predictability.. (API)
Regardless of the latest research, listen to what they say and as long as your child is safe and unharmed, do what you think is best.

0 25

I don't think you can hold your baby "too much"
My boy is 22 months & is held A LOT! & he is so advanced with his development its incrediable. I guess every child is different tho. But nothing wrong with holding & loving your child :-)

47 12

Of course. Everything is a balance. It's our role as parents to provide our child with a safe, trust-filled environment so that they can exercise their independence with minimal fear. And besides, you're going to have to put the child down SOME time!

218 1

I think the issue is more balancing the baby's needs with your needs. Yes, infants do need to be held a lot. But if parents don't take care of themselves, the can't take good care of their children. It will not hurt you baby to be put down for 5 or 10 minutes so you can eat or take a shower. It will not hurt the baby to sleep in a crib at night or nap time so that you can have better quality sleep. It will not hurt the baby for them to be watched by another responsible person while you do something to emotionally recharge yourself. As much as our society glorifies complete self-sacrifice of mothers, it's not healthy for you or, in the long term, your child. In short: hold the baby, but put the baby down when you need to.

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