Sunday, October 10, 2010

How often should we hold our babies?

How often do you hold your child? Can you hold a baby too much or too little?

I hold my baby when I nurse and when I write. Sometimes we cuddle before and after feedings. I’m not going to tell you how long that is for fear of your judgement, but let’s just say I hold him more hours than I sleep at night, OK?

What’s the optimal time for holding? And how do you factor in the time other people hold him?

I ask because sometimes I stick baby in his rocking baby chair and am immediately flooded with guilt. I like when company visits and holds him. That way I can use the toilet and not feel bad about it.

Baby websites and experts agree: you can’t spoil a baby. But is the opposite true? Can a mother not hold her child enough and deprive him of social development? interaction? human connection? does he think I don’t love him?

According to, babies need some alone time to explore and play with toys.

My child hasn’t discovered his fingers yet. I think rattles and a jack-in-the-box are a little advanced for him.

I don’t know who James Prescott, Ph.D., is, but according to a couple websites, he said this: The single most important child rearing practice to be adopted for the development of emotional and social healthy infants and children is to carry the newborn/infant on the body of the mother/caretaker all day long…”

Like the advice of so many medical professionals, this too is conflicted.

So mothers and fathers, grandparents and caretakers of cyber world, what’s the answer? If baby hangs out in his rocking chair for a few hours, am I a bad mother? Will my child resent me? Will he never learn to bond with another human being? Or am I just  a new mom, paranoid and over thinking things. Please say “B.”


  1. Anyone who can honestly say that you should carry your baby around all day long has obviously never tried to accomplish some everyday tasks while carrying a child. It's just not possible. We had one of those automated swings. Our first loved it. The second much preferred just being on the floor. Also, those little vibrating chair thingys seem to work pretty well also.

    In the end, the right amount of time to hold a baby is kind of dependent on the baby. They'll let you know if they want to be held. Just don't ignore them and you should be fine...

    Of course, sometimes you have to ignore them.

    Well, that was somewhat confusing and not at all helpful, was it? hmmm...

  2. I agree with thatedeguy, it mostly depends on the baby. Looking back, I wish I had never set my baby down, my 3 yr old rarely wants to snuggle and its threats of early bedtime or rocking with mom that usually give me my special treat. On the other hand, my 20 mo old wants me and only me to snuggle him. Others are fine if I refuse, which I hatefully do in order to help him "cut the cord" a bit.

    Ultimatly though, I believe there is no reason to set down your baby unless you want to before age 1. After that it gets to be quite tiresome to be the only one that can calm him down. Sounds nice but after the 800th night of no sleep, you'll understand. I never used the sling with my kids. My youngest we called "counter mouse" because he was happiest when swaddled tightly and set on the counter while I cooked or paid bills. He often laid in the middle of our supper table, I guess he loved watching & feeling close to the rest of us.

    If you feel guilty about putting your baby in a chair then don't. He'll be uncomfortable because he knows you are. But I imagine by the time your maternity leave is over, you will begin to realize why they make such fascinating toys - if for no reason other than you'll need a shower!