Does he have to be held all the time?

Tania - posted on 05/23/2010 ( 46 moms have responded )

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My son's a month old. Can I just let him cry it out that young? He loves being held! By the time he's finally napping it runs into his next feeding. I hate for him to miss a feeding espically the fact im sick, taking cold&sinus meds, and im not making much milk :/ I might sound cruel but cant be held all the time and i want him to get out of the habit of being there. I understand they're so young and thrive off warm bodies, but in the next few months my scheldules going to get busy and it won't premit him to constant attention. Suggestions?

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Alison - posted on 05/25/2010

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ok, I totally disagree with all of the replies so far. I was taught to nurture them as needed for the first 3 months and that is absolutely what I did. These first few months, you are laying a foundation of security, so your child can be confident and independent later on. Eat, sleep and nappy is forgetting one very essential need: touch. Babies need touch to thrive!



Give him all the loving you can. Try using a baby carrier so you can get things done. Even using a carrier over a stroller when you are out and about, will get in extra close time. Take naps with baby on your belly...



When it is time to sleep, you MUST swaddle your infant (by "must" I don't mean "or else you are a bad mom" but as in "so many people underestimate the power of a good swaddle"). This makes him feel warm and cozy like in the womb and it will be SOOOOO much easier to put him down to sleep.

Caeri - posted on 06/03/2010

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I have to go with the nurture/AP parents too, especially with a 1 month old but will add that a vibrating bouncy seat can be a lifesaver if you need a few minutes to rest your arms, cook or get something done. I held all of my babies for most of their first 3 months and I loved the baby sling and the snugli carriers when I was up and busy but, with my youngest, I was working from home when she was 6 weeks old and when she'd sleep I'd keep her next to my chair in a vibrating bouncy seat. It was the only way she'd sleep without being held but I could reach out and touch her if she needed comfort and still have both hands free to get some work done. Those first few months are so important for both Mom and baby and I never wanted to miss a minute of that time.

Melissa - posted on 06/03/2010

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I don't believe in letting a one month old baby cry it out. Hold him. This is a great big world compared to his tiny little uterine apartment and it can be stressful for babies.

I am a massage therapist and I can not stress enough the power of touch on children. Consider giving him baby massages to help him deal with whatever stressors he is feeling. Baby massage is so easy...just rub lotion or baby oil into his skin using a slow, rhythmic motion. Don't go too fast or use too much pressure. You will know he is enjoying it when he starts to settle down or stops crying all together. For babies that young, I recommend laying him in your lap and doing it.

At one month, being touched is so important. He isn't old enough to manipulate you into doing what he wants. All he knows is that he wants his mommy. He doesn't understand that you have other things to do.

Amanda - posted on 06/02/2010

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I think for the first 3 months you should be there for him and his needs. I would hold him as much as he wants to be held. I would also cherish this time of being able to cuddle him against you. They grow up way too fast and before you know it he will be turning 1 year old and only wanting to cuddle when something is wrong. Its relaxing to cuddle and hold your baby. If for some reason you can't hold him at a particular time, then yes let him cry it out; but every other time I would try to make sure he was being held when he wanted to be.

Carla - posted on 06/01/2010

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Leaving a one-month old to cry for long periods ("crying it out" is a misnomer--from the babies' perspective, especially that young, being left to cry makes them think they've been abandoned, which is terrifying for them and causes damaging levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) to flood their brains. Babies are designed to have a great deal of physical contact--they actually need it in order to thrive. I would suggest buying a sling or wrap so that you can keep the baby close (and feeling safe) while still being able to get things done. Also, the more you hold him in the earlier months, the more independent (and trusting) he'll be later, so you'll be able to get things done more easily later. A great summary of the research--and what babies *really* need--is here:
http://www.phdinparenting.com/2008/07/05...

46 Comments

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Gail - posted on 06/19/2010

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At that early age in the big wide world they are still looking for the comfart of the womb they were used to for the first 10 months of living! Having had 3 children myself I soon worked out that if they were fed winded and changed then just wrap them up tight the old fahioned way in a sheet or shawl arms tucked in they will settle very quickly without you having to hold them all the time!

EVONNE - posted on 06/19/2010

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I played music constantly from when my children were born, even at a young age they too an have a favourite song! (when my eldest was only two months old his favourite song was hero of the day by metallica - he feel asleep when ever he heard it) It helps them relax and also believe that there is someone in the room with them at all times. If they dont feel alone they won't cry as much. You can not pick them up all the time, life goes on around them and there is nothing worse when one feed runs into another. The earlier they realise you can not be there every minute of every day just for them the better as it helps them later on in life, especially if you have more than one child. Music is great even when they are sleeping as it adjusts them to be able to sleep through noise (hoovers, washing machine etc).

Bridgette - posted on 06/11/2010

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No he doesn't have to be held all the time. Wrap him up in a blanket and prop him up on his side to make him think he is being held. My grandson was a premie and they like being held because they have stomach issues.. Get him out of it now cause if you don't, you will be holding him for a while..

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2010

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It is okay to let a child cry, no matter how much it makes you want to pick him up. As long as his basic needs are met (food, diaper). When a child is able to cry they will learn how to calm themselves down, plus it helps their lungs expand and contrast.

Angie - posted on 06/10/2010

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He will be okay. It is hard to let them cry, but they don't have to get held all the time.

Sabrina - posted on 06/08/2010

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I'm a little late, but I thought I'd give my two cents. My daughter is six months now. I had to go back to work when she was almost three months and I held her all the time before that. I remember making comments to her dad about how she would never let me put her down. I've had to make dinner with her screaming because she wanted me to pick her up and I couldn't.
I used a moby wrap when she would nap. I was able to get a lot done with her attached to me and she was sleeping and happy. The comment about laying her next to you is a good idea. I would lay my daughter next to me because I had to pump and she would cry. Sometimes she would cry next to me but she would get over it eventually.
Now she still tries to cry and have me pick her up, but I know better. At six months I know when something is wrong or if she's hungry. Other than that I let her figure it out and the majority of the time she does. I'll check on her and she'll have found something on her floor mat to play with. I am working and it also makes it easier for other people who watch her if she can entertain herself. However, that did not come until later, so holding her now is probably best.

Dorothy - posted on 06/08/2010

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My youngest during the day would only nap if she were being held. It took a long time to get her past this

Caron - posted on 06/07/2010

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I think right now is just really critical for you to continue meeting his every need.... even if that means being held more often than we'd like.... Also, he may have colic.... my guy had it and it surfaced right around week three..... But the other moms suggestions could be helpful too.... a sound machine helped a lot... the white noise, ocean waves, or the soft music... i'd recommend that. and definitely just having him beside you may help too. Hang in there. It will get more managable!

Jodie - posted on 06/06/2010

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I would say get in all the cuddle time you can now, within reason, because the time will soon come that he's just too busy to spend much time on your lap ( my daughter hit that at about 8 months of age). I was the same way as you - I knew my baby needed the attention, but I had other things that needed to get done as well, so when I was the only one with her, I would spend some time cuddling her, then put her down for a bit while I got something done, and switch off and on that way. If she cried, I would not let it continue for longer than 5-10 minutes (until she was about 6 months) before I would pick her up again. Plus, like all newborns, she spent a lot of time sleeping. So use some of his nap time to rest and do something you love and some of his nap time to get stuff done. Also, I used all the other people that were at my disposal and were desperate to hold her: her daddy, her grandparents, and close friends - to me there was no need to feel like I had to raise my baby all by myself with no help. That way, she got all the cuddles she needed (because it's true, touch is a necessity for small babies), I got to do the other stuff I needed to do as well as get in some necessary breaks, and others who love her got some time with her, too. Surround yourself with people who love you and your son so you get the support you need. This will also help you to feel less isolated, which I know can make you feel stir-crazy.

Victoria - posted on 06/06/2010

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my doctors told me at first three months are like that and you should respond to them being upset immediately. and dont worry about timing feedings. feed on demand. and pump if u think it has been too long. and with not having much milk pump after feedings to trick your body into making more milk!! good luck!! this is the hardest part! as least that i have had so far.

Cathrine - posted on 06/06/2010

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I think our experiences effect our opinions on this subject.

I have 2 children and had two very different but very difficult births.

My first child was a screamer, she wouldnt breastfeed (we tried for a week and I had plenty of milk but eventually on the advice of the doctor we gave her a bottle cause she wasnt getting enough nutrition) I had a very hard time because she cried alot and very often wouldnt be comforted she screamed even if you held her. So we did leave her to scream we didnt feel we had a choice. My first child walked at 9 months, talked quickly, is very sociable and can read we have a fantastic realationship.

With my second child she ended up in intensive care and so did I so we were seperated for 2 weeks she was left to cry in intensive care and they didnt have a problem with leaving her. She self comforted from the start which I dont believe is ideal but there was no choice, but she is very well adjusted walked at 10 months talks well and is a very cuddly and loving child always happy.

I know this is a long answer but I just wanted to say that sometimes you cant do the ideal, you know your child and your situation so trust your instincts and do the best you can. Children are all different and the answers from all the mums above show we all parent differently yet most kids do great so dont worry your doing a great job and if you need to leave your child to cry sometimes and feel that is okay then go with what you believe is right.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Natalie - posted on 06/06/2010

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I'm not going to rehash what was said here, but I will say this: at one month, babies can't comfort themselves. Holding or swaddling or carriers are great -- so are PACIFIERS.

Laura - posted on 06/05/2010

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As a psychiatrist, I completely agree with all of the women who have supported holding and nurturing the child as much as possible. This is such a critical time in his development. He needs to know that as a parent you are there for him. If you don't, there can be severe psychological consequences.

Sara - posted on 06/04/2010

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Think of it this way: for 10 months, your infant was cuddled and rocked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even if you hold him 50% of the time, that's a dramatic change for him! It's not a "habit" - it's a stark introduction to comparitive sensory deprivation. Although clearly plenty of parents do it, there is plenty of research out there that indicates this would be too early to let him cry it out (toddlerhood is another thing altogether!). What he needs to be learning is that you are there to take care of him, and that you will attend to his needs. If you need your hands free... buy a good sling and wear him! As he gets older, his neurological system will continue to develop and will need to be held less as he is able to develop some more independence.

Not to mention... this period of time is SOOOO brief! Cuddle that sweet baby!

Angela - posted on 06/04/2010

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My suggestion would be to talk to your pediatrician. He or she would be able to give you information on what your child needs at this age and developmental information for what is to come. I agree with the moms that say not to let him cry. He does have to learn to self-soothe at some point, but he is SO little! At his age babies cry because they need one of 3 things: food, diaper change, or need to be held. Babies need to know you are there to take care of their needs and holding them is how you show them that. I would strongly encourage you to talk to his doctor, though.

Sharon - posted on 06/04/2010

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My Mum and I constantly disagreed about this when my son was first born, she was old school and said all babies cry and as long as he was fed, clean and safe to leave him crying, I however believe a baby that young cries for a reason even if it is just because they want a cuddle. My son is 2 now and still says to me most days mummy can we cuddle I never say no even if it''s a quick 10 second hug I love it just as much as him. In the end you can only do what is right for you and your family everyone is different.

Jannell - posted on 06/03/2010

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its a personal opion i think but he si only a month old, i would tend to whatever you think he needs, you should look up........attachment parenting.........i did it, not knowing, everyone told me i was sppoiling him! him and I are SOOOOOOOOOOO CLOSE, and I KNOW when he really needs something or if he is faking me out,oiut bond and trust is unexplainable! I di not let me son cry, when they cry it means something, he might be a sensitive child,my son is, but he is ONE TERRIFIC well beheaved child.........google it! its got some powerful meaning behind it!

Leslie - posted on 06/03/2010

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I am a mother of two little girls. My youngest had to be hospitalized for the first 7 months of her life and I wanted to hold her very badly, but couldn't due to her being on a ventilator. I would have done anything to hold her all the time. As far as my older daughter I went with nature and if she needed to be held I held her. I also used a sling so she could always feel the warmness of my body. Thank G-D they are both very well adjusted and are very independent. I feel that it is because I went with nurture vs nature. My little one is fine since even though I couldn't hold her, I stroked her and massaged her often. Children need as much love as possible, especially in this cold world.

Bethanie - posted on 06/03/2010

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I have to agree with Alison, at a month old, he shouldn't be left to cry it out for more than 15 minutes. This is a major developemental stage that, he needs to know that you're there for him when he needs you, otherwise, he could end up with seperation anxiety. It's different if there's someone else there who can take a turn holding him when he's upset, but he should not be left to cry, he needs to feel safe, secure and loved at this point in his life!

Tina - posted on 06/03/2010

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alittle crying doesn't hurt.don't let the baby scream. but a little cry we help the babies lungs .you'll see a difference if you really listen .or should i say hear the difference inthe cry.they know that any wimper will get your attention . baby is talking to you to see if your listening mommy. i used to talk to the baby when they would cry . some times just stoppping and saying a few words helped .ex. what what are you talking about my little darling ? anything just a soft voice near by does it hope it helps but all babies are a little different . play around and see what works .

Tiffini - posted on 06/03/2010

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LEtting him "cry it out" at this age is WRONG WRONG WRONG! Infants need to form a secure attachment to their primary caregivers. They need to know that someone will be there if they need it. That solid foundation is where they will begin to branch off from as toddlers and older. LEtting him cry will only increase his insecurity and make him more clingy not toughen him up. Once he is secure in the fact that you will come to his aid when he cries the crying will subside.

Evelyn - posted on 06/03/2010

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Yes you can let him cry. What has happened now is that you already got him use to carrying him all the time and now he just wants mommy to carry him. It hard just to let them cry I know because that happened to me 2 times already with 2 of my children but believe me if you dont start now it will only get worse once the baby is older! SO little by little it eventually work out!

Joyce - posted on 06/03/2010

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Since I"m a firm believer in Attachment Parenting w/Dr Sears, I am against letting a child crying it out. his book explains why. Crying is a baby's way of communicating All I know is, my daughter is 5 and the bond between us is amazing. .. I get compliments on my daughter all the time, so I know I did something right!

Stephanie - posted on 06/02/2010

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No matter what the other ladies say, do NOT let him cry it out. He's much too young for that! At this age the little ones are learning how to trust people and form bonds. If you don't give him the affection he needs, he might have problems later. Our second daughter is much more social than our first and wants to be held a lot as well. That is fine with me, if she wants to be held, I'm happy to oblige.

Leslie - posted on 06/02/2010

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I don't think you need to hold him all the time. I did with my daughter and now she is 2 1/2 and still wants to be held all the time. It's good to let them self sooth.

Kathryn - posted on 06/02/2010

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It's more than ok to put him down and let him cry it out. I personally never had the heart to let my boy cry it out but sometimes I had too let him cry while I had to clean or cook or was just frustrated. If it's extremely difficult for you, one of the books we had said to vacuum while they cry it out because its considered "white noise" to somewhat calm him down and it drains out the crying if you are very frustrated and do not know what else to do.

You just can't let the crying get too out of hand where he is having trouble breathing.

One of the things we did at the hospital with a baby like him was to get him almost asleep and put him in the crib just before sleeping. Then if we would sit in the chair next to the crib while they either fell asleep or started to cry again.

Natalie - posted on 06/01/2010

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i agree w allison as well. It is more important for your baby to feel secure, loved and can trust that you will be there when he/she needs you. This is a very important time for your baby. and to think that you will be thinking of having less time for the baby in the near future, I can only pray that the baby gets all they need from you or your spouse when you don't have time for the most important thing God has given you,,,, poor baby

Sylvia - posted on 05/29/2010

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You need a sling or soft carrier. Yes, he probably does need to be held most of the time, but you need your hands free sometimes, too :)

If by "cry it out" you mean "leave him somewhere safe for a few minutes while you do something really important, even if he's fussing to be held", that's one thing; I'm pretty AP, but even I don't think a few minutes of fussing now and again is going to do serious psychological damage. But if you mean "put him in his crib at nap time and leave him there for 2 hours even if he screams for 45 minutes", then no, that's absolutely not a good idea. New babies don't just "thrive off warm bodies", they NEED holding and contact. I mean, not very long ago he was essentially part of you, right? What a lot of people seem to forget is that babies have emotional and psychological needs as well as the physical needs (fed, dry and warm) -- and that crying is literally almost the only way they can communicate at this stage. I always figured, well, if she's crying, there must be something wrong -- even if I can't figure out what it is.

If swaddling works, go for it. It never did with my kiddo -- just made her flail more :P -- but a lot of people swear by it.

Anndriska - posted on 05/28/2010

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I feel guilty even now my son is almost 7 months old. When I leave him at the daycare to go work, he sometimes cry for me, but I have to leave him or else I can support him financially, so sometimes I have to convince myself it is for his own good, he will understand when he is older. But it still hurts to leave him at the daycare, even when he is with his father or my family, it is still the same, so I know it has nothing to do with the daycare or his teacher, it is just that he has wants me around and I can't be around all the time for him even when I wish I could. I wish I could be a stay-at-home mom to take care of my son myself all day long.

Mogire - posted on 05/27/2010

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you must be feeling guilty to let him cry, i used to but my older sister always told me to let him cry a bit as long as he is well fed, dry and warm

Anndriska - posted on 05/27/2010

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I agree with the replies from Allison come down, I think those before misunderstood the age of your son. At one month, he is now getting used to being in the outside world, he needs you to make him feel safe and secure. Different sounds, different smells, everything is different from what he knows and from what he is accustom to. Hold and swaddle him and help him along the way.

When he is about 2-3 months, after he is adjusted to life outside the womb, you will need to train him to realize when you are not there, he will have to find comfort in other things, you can get him a dummy to help him comfort himself. Maybe this might help, a dummy didn't help with my son at all, when he started daycare, he spit out the dummy and push in his finger, but he doesn't suck it hard or long, just when he cries a little and wants attention but he usually quiets down and starts to play with himself, he found interest and attention in something else other than me.

Now I am realizing it, I am very proud of him for the way he adjusted to me not being there for him. I hope this helped you and all of the other helped too. Good Luck!

Lisette - posted on 05/27/2010

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I be a mother of 4 daughters and have learned a lot how to do it and how not to do it. Never let your young baby cry to long. special after one month..I can just say: follow the nature. when your baby want to be with you, let it, take it with you everywhere, you have special tools for it, you shall now this..
Baby,s don,t know what time it is. let them on your brest till they don,t want anymore. Till they are tired.. Held him as much as possible. You shall get a strong band with your child and this is what childeren need so much in these days.... put him number 1!

Amy - posted on 05/26/2010

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make sure your child has everything they need, then try giving them some time on the floor to work on there skills. Many babies cry if they aren't held, but if you just can't hold ALL the time there's nothing wrong with starting to make sure they have time on the floor.

My son had a colic and we had him in a swing and his crib a lot when he was first born because the two of us just couldn't take the crying. Once he calmed down and we figured out the issue things were better. It's good to hold babies, but remember that they also need some time on the floor themselves to learn how to roll over and crawl.

Moana - posted on 05/26/2010

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I completly agree with Allison! I was always taught as well that the first 3 months are about security for ur baby. I didn't want to put my two down when they were that young, but of course duty calls, dinners have to be made ur other child has to be tended to as well as attention given. But it is not spoiling ur baby, they need the reassurance of knowing they can count on u for the things they need and that also means the touch, snuggle holding in arms factor. Enjoy it now because in a few years ur little one won't want to be held as often!

Keli - posted on 05/26/2010

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i agree with allison. it is impossible to "spoil" an newborn baby. remember, all he knows and did know for 9 months is you. just give him what he needs now, its only 3 months, i know its hard my son is the same way, but he is getting better (hes 2 months now) he will learn to become more and more independent you just have to be patient

Joanna - posted on 05/25/2010

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get a blanket which you hold with you for a few days to get your smell on then before you feed him wrap him up in it and when he falls asleep you should be able to put him down and he will think he is still in your arms because of the smell and warmth of the blanket. Don't wrap him to tight and don't let him get to hot so dont put any other blankets on top. When he starts crying don't rush to him but don't let him get into a state before picking him up. Worked on my two and the hundreds of babies i have cared for in my job...hope it helps you, good luck

Michelle - posted on 05/24/2010

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no you can put him down it is healthy for them just remember to stay near and talk to him that sort of thing so he knows you are still there

Kristin - posted on 05/24/2010

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My little guy had colic, so we had to let him cry it out often. I know it's a different situation, but he will be fine! My doctor said that sometimes babies get stressed out with so much stimuli around them (new noises, new smells, new sights, new textures, etc) that crying is the only way they have to release the tension. Try swaddling him in a soft, warm blanket (sleep with the blanket the night before so it smells like you) and putting him in a dark, quiet place... maybe try a very soft, soothing lullaby cd or something, and let him cry. If he's not wet, hungry, or in pain, then let him cry for about ten minutes... after that... go in and check on him.. say shhhh, touch his head and comfort him a minute (and reassure yourself that he is, indeed, fine) and try it again. Give yourself a break. It's the hardest thing to do, trust me, I've been there... but it's important. You are allowed to put babies down. I had to put Grissom down a lot and he cried... A LOT... and now he is an amazingly happy and content 1 year old. Don't stress over it too much (haha, I know... yeah right!) and good luck!

Tania - posted on 05/23/2010

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I believe, at one month, they are pretty simple creatures. Eat, sleep and nappies. If you take care of those three things and he is not sick, then let him cry. He may be looking for your attention, but if you are unable to give it when he demands, then he will adapt. Go with your gut - is it eat, sleep or nappy? If not, leave him be. If there is something wrong with him, you will know.

Heather - posted on 05/23/2010

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being held all the time, can actually make it harder on him when your not there. Try haveing him just lie next to you sometimes so he feels your body, but your not actually holding him. And yes he can cry it out sometimes, I still beleive that some crying is good for babyies to develop their lungs.

Dana - posted on 05/23/2010

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well letting him cry it out i think would be fine! my daugter wants held all the time too! soo i know how you feel but it shouldnt hurt him ask the doctor next time u go in for shots!

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