How Much Do You Hold Your "Young" Babies?

Updated on January 25, 2011
3.B. asks from Tampa, FL
30 answers

Ok moms, this question might sound dumb, but I'm exhausted! My baby is 4.5 months old, and I feel like I can never put him down for more then 5 minutes at a time. I hold him while he drinks his bottles of course and thats every 2-3 hours. And eating takes about a half hour. I try to get him to do tummy time, it never lasts more then 5 minutes and I get down on the floor with him. I've been putting him in an exersaucer and again 5 minutes tops. I hold him and talk to him, on my lap, or laying down. I lay him on the floor and put rattles in front of him etc to stimulate his mind etc. But he barely naps more then 10-15 minutes unless IM HOLDING HIM, then he'll nap 45 minutes to an hour. My last baby was even worse. What am I doing wrong here? He will screech and scream until I pick him back up. Of course I adore him and want to show him he's loved and cuddle him but frankly i do have other things I need to do sometimes, like play with the 2 year old! BREATH! I guess I just need a gage here, do you let them screech it out? I tried buying that you can't spoil a baby under 6 months but after these last two I disagree lol!! My husband's no help, all he ever says is "He's so spoiled!" He just lays him down and lets him scream. I dont know what to do anymore, I'm tired and Im getting resentful Im a SAHM and I love it, but I NEVER get anytime to myslef,ever. He's in his bed screeching as we speak because he was dozing off and I layed him down. His eyes instantly popped open! HELP :)

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So What Happened?

Keep the advice coming ladies lol! He has never liked the swing, I finally put it away! The bouncy either, doesnt seem to matter if its not ME he doesnt want it. My MIL even gets "annoyed" that he'll fuss with her until I take him back ( I kind of find THAT funny) Im thinking of trying a bumbo, although my first hated that too. I tried a moby and could just not get the hang of it. There was SOOO much material! Maybe I'll go for the sling, however I still think he needs to sleep on his own. He always end up in our bed halfway through the night which Im not a big fan of either!

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E.M.

answers from Honolulu on

I baby wear for this reason. In house and out of it. That way I have hands free and can still get him to nap. I use a mobi wrap like thing (I made my own out of batik fabric, no sew, just cut and wash!)

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B.

answers from Augusta on

I held mine all the time , especially my oldest , she needed it, She was a HIGH NEEDS baby. my son was the more laid back baby.
My oldest is the most independent kid ever. But as an infant I had to hold her all the time and she NEVER slept. She is ADHD and gifted and still doesn't sleep at 9 yrs old. My youngest on the other hand didn't require the constant holding as a baby and he's a clingy whiny little thing right now at 6.

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P.W.

answers from San Francisco on

I held my babies as much as they wanted me to. I almost NEVER let my babies cry. My oldest didn't let me put him down for the first 6 months. And it was exhausting, and hard, and sometimes boring. But I did it.

Swings and walkers are a lifesaver.

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M.M.

answers from Bellingham on

I feel your pain! My little guy was the same way! I held him ALL THE TIME! Get a sling/baby carrier! That way your hands can be free so you can do what you need to, while holding him. I recommend a hotsling, moby wrap, beco, or ergo. Also, read this link on "high needs" babies. It helped me alot when I was going through all that.
http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t050100.asp

Also know, that this will pass! As soon as he gets mobile he will want to explore on his own!

I just wanted to add....PLS don't do any type of cry it out, or "sleep training" He is WAY to young!! Your baby needs you to feel secure, there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a good thing!

4 moms found this helpful

K.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

I held all 3 of mine ALOT!

You should invest in a sling/wrap/hands free carrier...they really do rock!

~of course it is OK that they fuss for a bit but I was never one to allow them to all out cry for long periods of time, it's just not for me...but you do need to be able to take a lil' break without feeling guilty. Have you tried a swing? How about propping him up on some pillows and blankets on the floor or couch (assuming he can't wiggle his way off) some where that he can still see you?

They are only so little for such a short time...your gonna blink and think, remember when he was little and Needed to be held all the time?

~I am serious about the body sling...they are a life savor, you get to get other things done and your baby gets to still be next to you and feel you, it's a win win!

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

Try having him nap/sleep in a sleep sack.
Amazon has those and you can see it there and read the reviews of it.

But he is young... make sure you feed on-demand... and that he is latching on properly etc., otherwise he will not be getting enough intake... then he not being 'full' after feedings.
Babies... often need to feed... on demand, not by a schedule. And more so when hitting growth-spurts. Which in a baby is every 3 months.

When over-tired or over-stimulated... it actually makes it harder for a baby to sleep and sleep well.
Do you look for his 'tired' cues? When do you put him to nap?
Where do you put him to nap?

Some babies will also wake with the slightest noise. My daughter for example, would even wake from nap if the toilet flushed. Down the hall.
Any noise, woke her.
So I'd even turn off the phones at nap time.

Also, is baby sleeping in a crib? If so, make the crib comfy and cozy. Cribs are often HARD... the mattress. For us, I put a baby comforter UNDER the fitted sheet. To make it more comfy. And our kids as babies had a "Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium" in the crib too. They liked that and as they got older would even operate it themselves... And I had a couple of baby safe stuffed toys in the crib.

I would try a sleep sack. He may need to be "swaddled" that way.

At this age, babies also have a 'startle reflex' and it is involuntary, and they can't control their appendages... so this wake them too. As they get older, the startle-reflex will stop.

For a few of my friends, their babies would not really sleep well... because their baby was not latching on properly and they did not have enough milk... so that combined, made baby just always not satisfied and hungry... and not be able to sleep. Once they saw a Lactation Consultant and got their milk increased AND their baby latched on properly... their babies THEN got enough intake... then slept better..... for example.

Your baby is also probably over-tired...since he does not seem to nap... much or at all.

He is NOT "spoiled."

3 months was also a growth-spurt time... (every 3 months is a growth-spurt in a baby) and their intake has to keep up WITH them... if not, their intake will not be enough. Thus, feed on-demand always. AND babies also do what is called "cluster feeding' which means they need to feed even every.single.hour.... and is normal per their growing....

all the best,
Susan

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S.D.

answers from Denver on

I have 3 children. The last 2 were the same way. I held them as much as possible. If I couldn't, they would have to cry for a few. I also strapped on a snuggly and wore it around the house. They eventually got better. He is still pretty little and is just wanting to bond with you. Trust me, get it while you can, he will eventually get better about that and then one day he will be too big to hold!

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I feel for you. When my children were little I held them pretty much 24/7. We of course would have tummy time, massage etc. But the majority of the time I was holding them. Try getting an ergo carrier---it will save your back and you will be able to get things done too!

M

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P.G.

answers from Dallas on

I loved the Ergo Baby Carrier. A little more expensive than some of the others, but it'll carry kiddos till they're over 40 lbs. He may just need some extra lovin. The ergo was VERY easy to deal with. Good luck!

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K.N.

answers from Cleveland on

I hold my son constantly, co-sleep, or more accurately he sleeps and I sit awake cause I hate having him in my bed, it scares me to death, and I wear him often. That being said there are still things and times that he has to cry, period, end of story. I can't shower and hold him, I can't get dressed and hold him, although I have tried, I can't always cook dinner if I'm wearing him, some foods splatter and it's dangerous, and like you said, I do have other obligations, like feeding the older kids.

like your son, mine hates everything, we have 4 different beds for him, two different swings and a bouncer, nothing works, he hates to be swaddled.... so there is just only so much you can do.

I have started taking him to a chiropractor and it has helped, he's really gassy all the time and the adjustments seem to help him a bit, so that's a thought if you are comfortable with such things, I know a lot of people think I'm crazy.

i say do the best you can, you need time for you as well and crying won't hurt him if you are meeting all his other needs. good luck!

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R.S.

answers from Sacramento on

My first one was just like that. I could not put her down for more than 5 minutes and had to hold her in order for her to take a decent nap. She is 10 years old now and I wish I had enjoyed it a little more because they are only little once. I totally understand about wanting to get things done though. It will get better so hang in there and try to enjoy the cuddling. Can you afford a house keeper for a couple hours a week to do the basics? Do you have reltives who wouldl love to cuddle your baby while you clean, cook for the week, etc? Luckily my second one was very independent.

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A.C.

answers from Columbus on

At his age, my baby loved the mei tai baby carrier. It's really simple to use (even DH figured it out, LOL). And it's safer than a sling. You can wear him facing you or facing out at this age (since he can hold his head up. And it will let you run and play with the 2yo more actively.

I do think that you should let him fuss some, sometimes. But I'm a big believer in having the baby know that you're there for him when he needs you. Some kiddos just are more needy, and all babies like to cuddle.

Definitely schedule some away time--Leave baby with Dad for a couple of hours and take the 2yo and go do something fun. And make a regular thing, so that baby & Dad get into a routine (routine helps!). And also schedule some "me time" for just you.

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L.L.

answers from Redding on

I've always felt that the baby guides what he wants. My first was fine with being set down, but my daughter wants to be held constantly, and always has. Just keep at it. Yes, it's exhausting, and can sometimes make you want to scream and run away. Just hang in there. Keep in mind that very few 10 year olds are being carried around constantly. It won't last forever.

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H.L.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi there, I've a 6 month old that likes to be held too. I do have a Baby K'Tan (like a moby but no wrapping at all, very easy to use). Also use a mei tai. I see you live nearby, so if you'd like to meet on 480 for a mom and me coffee to try them, sounds like something fun to do on the weekend (just pm me). I love both carriers but also plan to get a buckle version (like Beco Butterfly II or Baby Hawk Oh Snap) of the mei tai mainly because I don't like the straps hanging on the ground when out and about and worry about keeping it clean. The Baby K'Tan (you can snap one up for about $30 on diaperswappers where I found mine) may not last much longer or at least not good much longer for out and about, but I mostly use indoors. It's stretchy, so not as supportive as the mei tai. I do not use it to rock to sleep, but to do some holding time several times/day while vacuuming, etc. I will also use the swing, high chair, bumbo with tray with supervision, activity mat.

I do think some babies are more needy, but I do let mine cry for 10 minutes MAX. I don't like cry it out. I also won't rock to sleep. I use white noise with a fan or you can search youtube, my older son found a 7 hour video of white noise! lol At daycare, they have found she likes her carseat best which pops into the swing. According to them, she is definitely a baby that prefers to be held so I'm not the only one she challenges. lol She won't sleep in the seat that comes with the swing, go figure. And she does sleep with me at night as I find I need that time with her too since I've gone back to work, but I do put her to bed alone, again fan on and nurse her, but I do tell her firmly any time I put her down that it's time to sleep and check in every few minutes and say it again (softly, nicely, firmly). That way she knows I'm there. And I agree, start going out for an hour to two hours at a time and leave hubby, etc. with a bottle. He will get used to it.

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B.M.

answers from Chicago on

Well, I definitely buy into the holding-them-is-good-and-makes-them-feel-secure-&-you-can't-spoil-a-baby train of thought.

Then again, I only have 1 and she's 10 now - so I've repressed A LOT!!!!!

However, I can tell you that she was a pretty high needs baby and didn't want to do it (anything) on her own. I was just like you - wanted to have more than 5 or 10 minutes to get stuff done and didn't want to have her screech!!!!!

I got one of those really soft carriers (not the kind that's like a professional backpacker with the metal supports) - this was just cloth and I wore it like a backpack (with a thing that buckles around your waist) except she was on my front/chest facing out - gave me BOTH my hands to get stuff done.

You might give that a try!
Good Luck!

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L.L.

answers from Topeka on

I held my babies non stop I would do my chores at hiome but as soon as I was doen they were back in my arms.This lasted till they were mobile once they figured out the rolling by themselves then scooting times in mommies arms was shortned they wanted to be on the floor it all goes to quik hold baby for several hrs a day you'll soon miss it when they nolonger want to be held rocked or soothed unless it is on their terms

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T.C.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Love the sleep sack idea. It worked for my children like a miracle. Also, have you tried using a sling to carry him while you go about your daily tasks. Also, do you have a swing? Some of my babies slept best in a swing. They might fight sleeping in bed, but they were helpless to the lulls of the swing. Hang in there. You are doing a great job! I love it that you are meeting the needs of your baby even though it is so difficult on you! As you know, this stage will pass.

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A.C.

answers from Cincinnati on

I love my Beco Gemini. You can wear your baby on your front, facing in or out, on your hip, or on your back. I've never had much luck with slings, and my daughter hates the Moby Wrap, so if you find those don't work for you, I recommend you check out the Beco Gemini. You can do a Google search, but to save you time, I bought mine from here, and she has a great return policy:

http://www.frogmama.com/

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P.L.

answers from Chicago on

Ok I think all babies, if you let them want to be held 24/7.But when I had my first one, I realized, I would get nothing done EVER.
So I met all my babies needs, and than he had to deal with me, let's day making dinner, laundry....if he would be screaming, I would put my ( than walkman) in and let him had his fit.I truly believe, if you give your child enough attention, it is OK to teach them from the get go, hey things need to be done and you have to learn to entertain yourself....for a while.
Guilty feelings to the side...get an Ipod.I have seen those kids hanging on their moms, when they are 4 and up, whining about every little bit....
Babies are already pretty clever and figure you out, what works early on...
Trust me, I have 3....they are all very mentally stable :).
Good luck.

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

Oh no! First... do what feels ok to you. If it feels ok to let him screech every once in a while, do it. If it breaks your heart, dont.

Second - I really think it has alot to do with the babies personalities. My first, my son, was JUST LIKE you described your babies. I was a little relieved when materninty leave was over so I could have a little peace. I tried very hard NOT to hold him and "spoil" him, but, still, my husband and I could not even eat dinner at the same time because one of us had to be standing up, walking, jostling his little self around. My second, my little girl, I held her all the time - I joked that she would never crawl or sit up because I held her so much - but when I put her down, she was fine. Sometimes I would even forget about her (a little - not alot - dont call CPS) when she was in her pack n play. I NEVER forgot my son because he was over there red faced, screaming at me.

Finally, - get a mommys day out or some other kind of help. Being a mom with babies is very lonely and isolating. You have a high maintenance, little guy - which is great because he will always be able to get what he wants in life, but its still hard now. Dads, even great ones, dont get it. You need some time to yourself or where you can socialize with other moms. You need a break.

Good luck! And just think, 14 years from now your little guy wont even want to be in the same room with you...

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

Do you have a bouncy chair? not an excersaucer but a laid back chair that he can kick his feet and move a little bit but still be snuggled in and fee safe? or a swing? and yes you do need to lay him down some and let him learn to self comfort a little bit. a lot of people are big believers of those sling things But I found myself starting to resent my kids when I never got a break. I am with your husband in that he needs to learn to be able to sit or lay alone part of the time. good luck.

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Get a sling! my daughter has been home from Ukraine for 3mos and she's slinging most of the day. :) That way you have both hands free and he gets the closeness he's craving.

D.M.

answers from Denver on

Hi. I am a Post Partum Doula and Newborn Specialist. I work with the babies and twins, ages newborn through 3 months old. The first 3 months is where YOU are teaching your baby what to want and love in his World.

At age 3 months they have settled into patterns and habits of their own, if you have been following HIS cues. Its all learned in these first months of life.

However, maybe we can apply many of the same things, just at an older age, so a bit more resistance is to be expected. Its harder for a 5month old since some patterns and habits have to be broken or restructured. :-)

We are changing behaviors as opposed to introducing new patterns and habits proven to be best for newborns as they develop. That is what I teach from Day One.

So, if you held your baby UNTIL fully asleep and then put her/him down, baby never learns about going to sleep on their own, or how to move and go back to sleep. All they know is I need! They learn to need the "crutch" so to speak, of Mom or Dad (Mom usually, since easiest to convince)
and they literally can't do it on their own. And that is where all problems start. Toddlers who won't stay in their beds. Crying every nap or night before sleep.

Afterall, sleep is the key to feeling good. Babies shouldn't have to or want to cry when they are put down! Especially for babies, who need 14 to 16 hours a day.

So, to have a baby 4 1/2 months old and older, it can take more rigid training to get into the proper schedule for both baby and family, as well as sleeping through the night.

I am a Night time Babynurse, as well. I not only do consultations, but I work with families with twins or A baby, and parents sleep while I work with the parents to have them sleeping through the night by 3 or 4 months old. A lot has to do with what happens during the day, so we tweek that as well...and wha-la. No crying and everyone is rested and happy.

I am in Denver so not sure where you are, but we could evaluate your situation, if it gets to that, for sure. I just can't make any suggestions without knowing more about your little one, but you are welcome to call or write me @ [email protected]____.com and ###-###-####.

D. J M.
The Baby Tender
[email protected]____.com

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S.H.

answers from Detroit on

I know it is not the answer, but both me and my husband really like the k'tan sling.... I also carry my almost 3 month old a lot... he is just more content that way. IMO, the K'tan is much easier to figure out than the Moby! Good luck and hang in there!

J.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

I held my now 16 dd it seemed 24/7... but i was 20 and had the energy. Now with dd #3, I have had to swaddle her for naps, to keep her asleep. It was a battle to get her to go down, but it was the only way, and she used it until very recently, (shes 10 1/2 months) if she had a rough day i would still consider it. we got a very good moblie with critters she likes that plays music for 20 stretches & another projector thing by v tech that starts up on its own when she cries. You cant spoil a baby undeer 1, they need to be picked up before they have a "meltdown", I do not believe in crying it out, thats far too hard on baby and Mom... swaddle him, then cuddle him to sleep, and slowly put him in the crib. use music + white noise (like a fan), keep your hands on him until he settles and quietly sneak away. My dd would NOT do tummy time & i was so worried she'd never roll, sit or crawl, but she did just fine. also, my dd now sleeps on her tummy, which is why she no longer needs the swaddle. Its not recommended, but a few years ago it was... if he can roll, or he seems fine on his tummy, try it, at least for naps, he should get 2 two hour naps a day...

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

I don't "hold" my babies, I WEAR them! Get a sling or a soft carrier (Ergo, Bekko, MaiTai, etc...). Then you can do other things with your hands :) The soft carrier - as long as you don't get a Bjorn or Sniggli which aren't good for the baby's hips anyhow - can be worn on the back as well, giving you that much more freedom!

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C.W.

answers from Lexington on

i didnt read all the responses, but try swadling. i nanny for a six month old and stil swaddle her.

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S.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

4.5 months is young for the "let them scream, they'll get over it" philosophy.

You really should invest in a baby wearing device. I had a Moby and I loved it. It took some time to get the hang of it cause it IS a lot of material. Once I figured it out, I was a whiz at tying it. I'm not a fan of the ring sling, but I know others that swear by it. It seems that pack carriers like an Ergo or a Beco are really popular too. I was going to buy one of those, but I found my Moby for super cheap at a garage sale. You might get more done if you use something that has the option for a back carry.

Try starting out playing with him while he's in your lap. Then ease him down to the floor, still playing. Slowly move yourself farther backwards. When you reach the point where he cries, start over again and stop at that point. It's going to take awhile. I think this is about the time for rolling over, sitting up, growth spurt and separation anxiety. Your baby's cries are the only way he has to tell you that something is wrong. In my personal opinion, there is no reason, at this age, to not listen to those cries. I held my first all the time. I wore my second from almost birth. I co-slept with both of them too. I held them during naps. I don't see anything wrong with it. They learned to play on their own when they were ready. I think it was at about 6 months old.
And no, you can't spoil a baby under 6 months of age. Their brains aren't developed enough yet to understand manipulation. They need to be fed, put down to sleep, and cuddled on demand.
It stinks that we as mothers don't always get a break. We don't get 30 mins for lunch and 15 min breaks every so many hours. If we're lucky we can get a few minutes peace while our kids nap. Look at it this way, if you can't get the dishes done because you have to hold the baby, who's going to care? Are the dishes police going to come and arrest you? NOPE! It's far more important to give the baby the love he needs to grow and feel secure.

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D.P.

answers from Raleigh on

My husband and I called it "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" when we would lay my son down to sleep. He would lay there for 60 seconds, then his body would crouch into a little ball and the wailing began. He would turn all red, like a fire breathing dragon. lol I laugh about this now, but it was SO frustrating. My son was a very colicky baby until about 3 mos old. So honestly, I could tolerate putting him down in the exersaucer or jump-n-go and letting him blow off some steam for a while. Eventually he figured out that playing with the toys were more fun and stopped all the fussing.
One thing that I also did when my son was this age was put him in the swing and turn on the fuzz from the TV. I would turn on the surround sound and up the volume until he stopped crying and then leave it there. It was crazy, but he would go into this trance and doze off. There he slept for naps until he was about 6 mos old. The swing itself didn't work, neither did the fuzz. It was the combination of the two. Anyway, I hope this helps and maybe gives you something to try!

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J.V.

answers from Chicago on

You have to let them fuss sometimes. 4.5 is a giant wonder week period. Hang in there, it will pass, he will come out of it a better sleeper, and you will get through this ;-)

It's hard, just hang in there. Around 6 months I started to be able to breath after having my second.

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