Help!! My 3 Month Old Baby Wants to Be Held All the Time.
November 17, 2008
I have a 3 month old baby girl and literally cant put her down for a second because she starts crying. I can't get anything done with her. Any suggestions on what to do to break this habit? I physically cannot hold her all the time, because I also have a 20 month old I have to tend to him as well. I have tried letting her just cry it out, and she will not stop. Help!!
Thanks to everyone who responded. I received several great ideas and based on many of the recommendations I went out today and purchased the moby carrier. It has been working great so far and I'm excited that I finally got a break to do things around the house. Thanks for all the advice. My baby seems happy being right next to mommy all day! :)
My little lady is the same way. I found that if I put her in the swing and face it out the window to where she can see the moving trees she is good for a while. I also have her in her car seat and sing to her she seems to like it.(at least some one likes my singing lol) I find those 2 things work for me I hope that they do you. congrats on litle girl and I hope these help.
I would also suggest baby wearing - I had a Moby wrap and loved it. But a swing might also work for a short awhile. It's perfectly normal for a baby of that age to want to be close to mom all the time. Enjoy it because as soon as they're and 2 and 3, they'll be too busy and squirmy to snuggle for any longer than a few seconds!
I highly recommend a sling (or pouch, or wrap, or mei tai, etc.). Studies have shown that babies who are carried an extra 3 hours a day in the first several months cry 40% less. And in general babies pick up verbal skills faster and develop better core muscle strength, balance and gross motor skills. It’s also a proven way to make babies smarter
('Einstein' & 'Brainy Baby' DVDs are actually proven to retard verbal development. And there is a strong correlation between the amount of tv children under 2 watch and the likelihood of them development an attention disorder – AAP recommends no tv before 2 years! Sorry, nothing to do with your post -- it's just my personal beef and I couldn't resist adding that.)
The Original NoJo BabySling by Dr. Sears is a great starter sling. You can get one on eBay for as little as $15. Also, if you are willing to put in the money, the Ergo Baby Carrier allows you to wear the baby not only on the front and sides, but also on the back -- and it has a hood that supports her head so she can fall asleep like that! Then you could get housework done, care for your other kiddo, etc.
So it might help you have a quieter and calmer daughter in the long run if you are willing to put in the extra energy to carry her around more right now. Admittedly, it is extra weight to carry around. I'm expecting my second in a couple of months so I might be eating my words then -- I have no idea how difficult it is going to be or how tired I will be with two. Anyways, good luck and take care. :-)
Get a sling. Make sure it is one that works well for you. I had a Maya Wrap and it didn't fit all that well. If I were to do it again I would get a Moby Wrap. Looks much more versatile. The other thing that worked when I needed to put baby down for a while to take a shower was a bouncy chair that vibrated. That would buy me a few minutes to take care of myself. But don't try to "break" your baby of the "habit". It is not a habit, it is a basic need. In some cultures, babies aren't put on the ground until the are a year old. Babies who are held a lot as infants tend to be more secure as they get older and less clingy.
And I totally agree with the previous poster about those videos. They are marketed as this great thing but research has shown them to be detrimental.
The Ultimate Baby Carrier!! like the Moby wrap but much less expensive and more elastic. Most babies love the warmth against a body, they will get over this stage. You are NOT spoiling them by carrying them. So enjoy this time, wear the carrier to free your hands and it will pass in a couple months. You don't have put your baby in the wrap all day, just if the baby won't sleep while you put him down but obviously sleeps in your hand when you pick him up.
Invest in a sling or other baby carrier. At this point you can not spoil her... wait until she is 2yrs to start thinking about spoiling. When you hear her cry, it is because she needs you (not want, but NEED). Make sure you respond so that she can learn to trust the world and so that her body doesn't get flooded with stress hormones. Once you do the "cry it out" at this young age, then she will learn to ignore her needs and you will have a mess. Possibly other emotional problems will pop up over time.
I know that it is HARD during this time. It doesn't last long so hang in there!! I know how you are feeling.
Hi N.. Great suggestions on the sling and other ways to get a few minutes to yourself or to get something done. I would also suggest that you let alot of things stay undone. Of course you have to tend to your 20 month old and you need to eat and get rest yourself. But sometimes, household matters that seem so urgent at the time can be set aside so you can focus on your babies.
It may seem like your baby girl will cry like this forever. My 4th screamed for months, even when held. But it doesn't last forever and soon you will be able to "catch up" and you will have time, at least a little more time to do other things.
I just want to say that while carriers, slings and wraps are great (I use mine a lot with my 7 week old to keep up with my 2 yr old and 3.5 yr old), it will not hurt your baby to let her cry sometimes! Of course you want to meet her needs for food, clean diapers, closeness, and as much comfort and holding time as you can manage, but there are times when I know it is just HARD to carry a baby, even in a wrap or carrier, and make dinner (sharp knives/heat - not good for baby) or play with/hold my other 2 kids.
So my two cents is this - don't feel guilty if you can't hold her or comfort her everytime she cries, it's ok to put her down to get things done, even if she cries the whole time you are doing it. Crying will not hurt her, but carrying her all the time might hurt you, and the guilt about not doing it is just something we as moms don't need.
And here is something that I have found to be true with my kids. Sometimes they cry in one spot, but not another, so try a few things - the swing, the bouncy seat, a blanket on the floor or in a pack n play on tummy or back. It often surprises me when my fussing baby will stop crying and be perfectly happy for 15-20 minutes when I put him down on the floor. Just the change of pace is sometimes enough for a short while. And often the 15-20 minutes will be even longer if I sit nearby and rub his tummy and occasionally replace the pacifier while playing blocks or reading with my older ones. We moms are tough, but our back and arms need a break sometimes too. Good luck, as you know, this phase won't last forever!
She may be having physical problems that relax when you are holding her (warmth, pressure, movement). Colic. Anyway, the Native baby carrier is complicated to put on, but it holds the baby snugly to you and leaves both your hands free, and you can nurse in it. It's not a habit, babies at this age only know how to respond to real physical issues and fear. She'll grow out of it sooner if she's soothed through it and is assured that you will help. Also if it's colic you could try Earth mama Angel Baby tea (a few drops), some of the gripe water (I've heard different brands work better than others, but don't know which), or changing your diet (there is lots of advice online, try askdrsears.com)
Do you have a baby swing? My son would let me put him in that for a good twenty minutes to up to an hour sometimes! Also he had a little chair I would strap him in that vibrated. He also loved the baby einstein videos even that young that would distract him for a good half hour. I used a baby sling alot also and he still uses it and he is 11 months old. Wrap her up nice and snug in a blanket before putting her in the swing or chair and this might also help.
Great responses about the slings and the TV. My daughter was the same way and I carried her all the time. I didn't pay
attention that she did not get enough creeping and crawling time on the floor (belly crawling first and then creeping on hands and knees) before walking. It is critical to brain
development. We are now working with our 8 year old to redo this phase that she missed and it is Really hard when they are older. When she does the 20 min a day of belly crawling on uncarpeted floor with no socks and on hand and knees on carpet (I wear knee pads) we notice that she able to focus better, hear individual sounds in words better and the sensory processing challenges improve. Just wanted to give you and others a heads up. Yes to the carring all the time and maybe 30 min a day (does anyone know how much time? on the floor. You will be glad that you did.
My son is the same way (and also happens to be three months old). Have you tried babywearing? I don't know what I would do without my sling! I have a HipBaby ring sling (which I love because it's very adjustable and can be used in so many different positions). My son sleeps, looks around and I can even nurse while I go about taking care of my other two kids. My sling was handmade by a lady here in the area. She's got a blog if you want to take a look at her products:
This sounds like a temperment problem. Your daughter just needs that closeness and love at this age. I don't think I would try to break her of it. I would buy a good sling or a front/backpack so that you can physically hold her all the time and still attend to your 20 month old.
I like my front/back pack the best, because it's versatile enough to put my baby on my front or back, depending on the situation. My little one is now 16 months old and she still likes to be worn when I exercise. I look at it as a 20 pound medicine ball... and I get more or a workout when I hold her. Let me know if you need advice on carriers... there are a ton of them to choose from these days.
Good luck with two. The first year is REALLY hard... it gets easier once the little one turns one.
It is very normal for her to want to be held all the time. As far as I know, you cannot break the habit. I would highly suggest a carrier. My favorite is the Moby as both your hands are free and the weight is well distributed. In the next couple months she should give you a little more time without being held. Good luck and hang in there.
I always used a bouncy seat and would sit it on the table, on the bathroom floor, on the bed, everywhere I was so they could see me. You have 2 kids very close together that both need your attention so you can't always be holding one. What about your son? Was he this way as well? Also, I wonder do you keep your house cool or not enough clothing/blankets to keep your daughter warm enough out of your arms, it is very warm next to Mom. I always spent time on the floor to see how warm it was down there and turned the thermostat to accomodate. Good luck.
This is perfectly normal for many babies. To save your own sanity, get a Moby Wrap. It will allow you to wear her while taking care of yourself and your son. When I started wearing my daughter, I suddenly was free to vacuum, do the dishes (keeps her up high, so I could actually lean against a counter), package orders, read, write, use the restroom, etc, etc. It's amazing what two free hands and no crying baby can do!
I would be happy to show you how to use the Moby as well as my favorite position for nursing newborns to sleep. She will be able to nurse and sleep and nurse and sleep all she wants without having to change positions!
Lots of great info & suggestions -
I was a La Leche 'League Mom' in the 70s when my kids (were little, & one of my favorite League 'Motos' is "An infant's wants & needs are the same!' if she 'wants' to be held, she 'needs' to be held!
A sling & co-sleeping (see the Sears books mentioned for attachement parenting ideas) are both great ideas, & experiementing with different positions & places when you put her down. Try to put her down when she's already happy, & sing to her!
The suggestions on enlisting other women & getting involved with other moms of young kids is also excellent! 'It takes a village to raise a child' . . . we often need to create our own! & shop around for friends who are supportive, agree to disagree, & are uplifting to be around.
I'd also second the suggestions on checking in with a Chiropractor or a Massage therapist, esp one trained in Cranial-Sacral work. My neice (now an LMT herself, & doing C-S work) has a son ~ 18 yrs old, who would only nurse on one breast for the first week. I'm a msg. therapist, so tried some gentle massage on his face - viola! He was crying less & nursing on BOTH sides within the day. C-sections, or a lot of head molding (he was posterior) can be one issue with a baby who is 'fussy'
Best of luck, & hope this helps
I have two children, boy & girl in their 30s, now each have two, all but one were born at home, & all breastfed! YEA :) My dau in law is home with her 2 1/2 & 4 1/2 yr old. My daugher returned to work at 3 mo with each of hers (8 & 2 1/2); I went along to work with her for 6 months, then babysat & she came & nursed on breaks. I was the snuggle lap for the 8 year old, & spent lots of hours with her on my chest :) blessings
I'd try a sling or a pack of some sort. Made the world of difference for us. Also, when my daughter was like this, I would put her down for about 10 mins where she could see me. If she fussed, I let her, but then after 10 mins, I went and picked her up. Then eventually I kept lenghting the times between the put down and pick up. It helped and she eventually outgrew that need to be held constantly. But the sling was the best thing ever and I highly reccommend investing in one. I had a hotsling and a bjorn and loved them both.
My daughter was the same way at that age. Like what has been said in many of the other suggestions you have received, I used a front carrier so I could have my hands free and get some things done. I'm sure every baby is different, however my daughter is now 10 months old and VERY independent. Maybe your daughter will grow out of it as well. Good luck!
I would try a baby carrier. The one I liked the best when my daughter was that little was the Moby. However, I recently purchased an Ergo Carrier and I like it a lot. The only down side is that you would not be able to put the baby in the Ergo facing out. We also used a Baby Bjorn when she was small, but I found that it dug into my shoulders. So I would recommend a Moby if you haven't tried one already. Sounds like she really loves her mama! Good luck! She might chill out if you wear her for a while - you might be able to put her down without a fuss.
This may soudn crazy but my sister in law's baby was the same way (her 3rd). She was going to an appt at our local Chiropractor and she was telling him about the baby crying all the time, even when he was held, he was crying, but we knew it was not colic. He asked if he could adjust him and he did and the crying stopped instantly!! His little spine was totally out of alignment and causing him pain while lying down, which is very common with c-section babies, not sure if your was. When he would start getting really fussy again she would take him and a small adjustment and fine. I take my little ones 2 1/2 years, and almost 3 months, at elast once a month and it does wonders, even keeps ear infections and common illnesses away! It is worth a try! Good Luck!!
yes please hold her. i know it can be hard, especially with another toddler to care for, but she clearly needs to be held and is really good at letting you know! my son needed to be held all the time as a baby, my daughter didn't (they both grew up fine and hold their babies as much as they need). don't worry, she'll grow out of it. i do think the moby wrap or ergo or similar carrier are best (rather than a sling) - so that the baby's weight is distributed across both of your shoulders and waist and (with the ergo) across the chest or upper back as well. and do take good care of yourself as well, stretching out your back, making sure you have good support pillows while nursing etc., & getting massages if you can!
Try a sling, maya wrap, ergo, baby bjorn or some sort of carrier. Maybe that way your 3 month old will feel closer to you, and with time will relax a little bit. With the carriers, you will be able to move around and have free hands to take care of your 20 month old.
I hope this help
Your daughter sounds exactly like my son at that age. It sounds like you need a good sling or mei tai so you can stay sane and keep up with your son. It really helped me during the period when he was like that (he's 10.5 months now and hardly wants to cuddle :(-heh).
Anyway, if you're interested, there's a great gal named Katie who runs a store out of her home and also has a website-www.regardingpeanut.com she is a guru when it comes to carriers and won't try to sell you something you don't need. With my son in the mei tai, I could actually vacuum and do some dishes-it was a small victory in my eyes. ;)
I hope that helps! GL!
ETA: I meant to say that Katie's place is in Kirkland, if you are near there. ;)
Have you thought about carry her in a baby carrier? I have 13 month old twins and it saved me often. They were very fussy for several months (one more so then the other) and the only way I could do dishes or clean house was to strap one of them into the carrier. Immediately she would stop fussing and just hang out. One of my girls still loves it. I bought one of the carriers that you can wear on the front or back.
Nothing like being trapped by a ten pound invalid!! My son, who is 6 months, will do this from time to time. I think maybe he isn't feeling well that day, or he's tired, but the game is always the same- lay him down for a SECOND so I can go pee or change and he starts screaming! I discovered the Hotsling about a month ago and wished I had found it sooner!! I was always searching for the perfect sling- the bjorn hurt by back terribly, I had a MotherNature sling that hurt my shoulder, the moby was too much prep work, etc. Besides, by son didn't like most of them and would cry when I tried these. However, he loves the Hotsling! I think because he can sit up more in it? It keeps him close to my body and it doesn't hurt my shoulders or back (he weighs 18 pounds now). It keeps my hands free to do other things. Just an idea........good luck!!
Wow - lots and lots of great advice so far! My daughter was the same way - she is three now and more independent than I ever would have suspected from our first months together. The only thing that I can add is not to be afraid to ask for help. Have a couple of mom's with similar ages to your older one over for playtime so you can attend to baby. Have relatives come and help. I know that often times female relatives are only to happy to hold the baby or take your son on a special outing. Many community centers have 'indoor playgrounds' where your son can toddle around in a safe environment with tons to do and often there are other kids for him to interact with as well. Hand puppets might also be something to try. You can hold your little one while you interact with your son and also your son can have a puppet to interact with baby and with you. Involving him in the care of your daughter will help to increase their bond as the two age. I remember with my daughter that some days I would be so exhausted from holding her all day that I would be literally waiting at the door for her dad to come home so that I could pass her off and have a shower or a quiet minute. This is such a special bonding time for the three of you and the backbone for the rest of your relationship is being made. Hang in there and know that you are as strong as the situation demands! Your a momma!!!!
I haven't read the other responses and I'm sure that you have already received great advice, but here's mine to add:
My children are almost the same spacing and although #2 wasn't quite as needy as yours sounds, I still can relate to the frustration of having to constantly tend to the baby even though the older child also has needs. Basically, I just approached the first 6 months as if I were a triage nurse. You have to decide WHO needs you the MOST at any given moment and just accept that the other one will be unhappy and crying for a time. Definitely the baby is more needy most of the time but don't feel guilty about not giving the older one as much attention as he wants. Remember that although he doesn't know it right now, having your children so close together will be a tremendous gift to both of them soon, when they are old enough to play together.
I think the hardest thing for a mom to adjust to is going from being able to give one child all of your attention to having to withold attention sometimes, when the other child needs you. But don't feel guilty about it -- it is perfectly fine. And also try to keep in mind that although your younger one seems completely needy now, this will pass naturally. Right now she needs you and that is all she knows.
Consider getting a sitter or nanny for a bit of time every week to help you out. And also don't feel guilty if you give your older child some tv time now and then! That's ok, too!
when my daughter went through that phase i carried her around in a sling or my ergo baby carrier (it's like a soft backpack that you can use in the front, too).
she would usually fall asleep in it pretty quickly and then i could put her down in the crib or on our bed.
i don't know if "wearing" her is practical with your other kiddo, but this worked for us.
Have you tried a Baby Bjorn or sling? They allow her to be close to you, but frees up your hands to do other things. My daughter loved hers and spent much of the day in them for the first 6 months of her life.
I highly recommend that you find a baby sling or wrap. I've heard very good things about the Ergo as well if you'd rather have something with buckles. My sling and wrap were lifesavers when my two girls were younger! They're 20 months apart and, by wearing the younger, I was able to play with/chase my older with my hands free while my younger was happily content or asleep.
http://thebabywearer.com has great info about different ways of wearing babies and there's a forum where you can ask questions of more experienced babywearers as well.
I have a three month old baby girl that DOES NOT like to be put down either. The only thing that has worked for me is a rocker type chair with hanging toys. One of my students' families bought it for me from Fred Meyer when I was pregnant and my daughter is only just now starting to be interested in checking it out. She can reach out and grab the toys now and it occupies her for about 15 minutes at a time when she's just eaten.
Something else that works for me is what everyone else has mentioned, a sling or front pack. I cook and do laundry with her attached to me. If I do put her down I stack two boppies and put her in the ring so she's sitting up. She's much happier with that usually than she is with laying down.
Like everyone else said, a sling would be good so you have free hands. You could try one of the ones used by African women, where the baby is on the back and you tie in the front. They are very comfortable for the baby and let you have your hands free in the front! Then you don't have to worry about hot things splashing on your baby if you are cooking!
I've been there. I want you to know, it will get better... but it will take time... a lot of time.. Get a back pack or a front pack.. use it for everything, cooking, cleaning--opps cleaning should be on the last of your list--playing with your older son--he deserves your playtime too. To tell you how bad it was for me, once when my husband was out of town I had to take a shower with her. This part won't last too long, but get a front pack or back pack and use it day and night if you have to.
I used to tell my son and step-daughter that I did not understand "whinese" and that if they wanted to talk to me they needed to stop. I would not answer them if they kept whining. I don't know if it will help, but it worked for me.
I see lots of good suggestions here and I totally hear you - I did the same thing but I have a developmentally delayed son when my daughter was born. There was no physical way to hold her all the time when she wanted it - my son had no comprehension of danger so I had to constantly attend to him despite her crying. A few things I tried:
1. Baby carrier: this works for a little while but it does take a toll on your back eventually but this can help with the transition. Find a good one that feels comfortable for long periods of time.
2. Involve your toddler! Do a set tummy time everyday (it is imperative to your daughter's development that she have this). I got some floor baby activity centers and my son loved to turn on the lights and pull the toys for her. She would coo and smile. Sometimes we could sit there for an entire half hour before she would fuss!
3. A swing with a toy center - the best ones are the Fisher Price ones that can swing back and forth or side to side - I LOVE them! Then she could sit and watch while I did development time with my son.
4. Swaddle in a carseat. My daughter loved this. I could get her all cozied up, and she could even have a bottle in there. The position helps with colic - and she would sleep so soundly for her naps in there. I got an activity bar to strap across the carseat handle, and my son, again, would go and sit next to her and push the buttons for her.
5. Sometimes crying IS your only option - but she will get over it (my pediatrician told me screaming helps open the lungs and that I couldn't be a very good mommy with my back out). My son was a stubborn cryer - all day all night whether I held him or not. I learned that crying was just a part of life. Just try to find something that occupies her - I know that the crying is hard, but you just can't physically do the holding all time - I couldn't either. Studies I read said babies can cry up to two hours straight without stopping! But they do stop eventually.
Have you tried gas medication yet? If you are breast feeding it could be something you are eating that is upsetting her tummy. Usually when a baby is fussy and doesn't respond to anything else the problem may be gas related. Try that.
"The Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg would have some good advice.
If you can't stand to let her cry, set a timer for a minute, then pick her up. Slowly increase the time. Find a toy that will entertain her/keep her happy for short amounts of time and use that.
Everyone needs to learn how to self soothe and while it may be hard now do you want it to be worse in a month?
Can you have your 20 month old play with her together? An older sibling often makes tummy time smoother.
Have you tried a sling? This would free up your hands. Some communities have sling lending programs. You can even make your own sling with directions online. Keep in mind you might need to try several styles before you find one that works for you and your daughter. I feel for you- I remember when my children were at this stage- sometimes just to go to the bathroom I had to sing to them to reassure them I was still there. I also would put them down for short periods of time and return to their side to pat them or rock their bouncy chair. I was able to gradually increase the amount of time they could handle being put down.
Take Care of yourself!
I was going to suggest a front pack of some sort, but you have that advice already. Have you tried a swing? My daughter slept in one the first 3 months of her life..she just enjoyed being in it. Good luck, it does seem to get better after 3-4 months. and just think, you are building those arm muscles! ha,ha! =-)
Yeah, that's totally normal and I completely understand your pain. It's so hard! I would suggest using some kind of baby carrier like a moby wrap. That really worked for us. And believe me, I really felt like there was such a fine line between mother and martyr sometimes (it drove me crazy not being able to put my son down! My first wasn't like that.)....
Good luck to you!
I had the same problem with my baby girl. I couldn't stand to put her down but had to sometimes just to take a shower. I did buy multiple packs: Bjorn, Kelty, sling and carried her a lot! Much to the chagrin of my back. I tried everything: swing, bouncy, floor time on a mat with toys, without toys, her crib with a mobile and music, a swinging bassinet, johnny jumper, rocker/walker thing (can't remember what they're called) and high chair, etc. Nothing worked but what I did was make her go into each thing for a period of time every day and slowly increased the amount of time. So for example, 2 minutes in the bouncy then picked her up. Then the next time 4 minutes, then 6 minutes, etc. Finally she got used to it (I wouldn't say she ever liked them) and seemed to be able to handle being set down in them for up to 20-30 minutes at a time. I cannot sugar coat it. Mine never relented until she succeeded at certain milestones which seemed to make her happy. For example, when she learned to rollover then being on the floor on a mat was tolerable for 20 minutes. Or when she learned to sit up, crawl, bounce, then she was more content all of which took time. As much as it wore me out completely at the time, i look back and think about how close we were and what a special time it was.