My 9 Month Old HATES to Be Held

Updated on February 06, 2008
D.Y. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
14 answers

My son will be 9 months old soon. He started crawling about 3+ months ago and ever since then - he refuses to let me hold him. If I pick him up - he lunges out of my arms to get down on the ground and he'll scream and cry if I don't put him down. I know he wants to explore and all, but I want to cuddle him sometimes - you know!!?? He's a maniac!

I wouldn't be so concerned if he settled down sometimes, but I've never seen him calm. Do you think he might have ADHD? Is it even possible to have at such a young age? Or is it a boy thing? My daughter who is five was a perfect little calm angel ;-)

Even at night when it's bed time - I try to hold my son and rock him for a bit but he hates it!! He arches his back towards his crib like he's saying "let me in there!" I just don't feel that I'm getting the mother and baby bond that I felt with my daughter through her whole infancy. Holding and cuddling brings that special bond...

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answers from Philadelphia on

Ahhhh...sounds like typical second child behavior. Who wants to be held when life is so exciting? This has been my experience with #2. He'll do anything to squeeze out of my arms so he can find a truck. I can't even rock him to sleep at night because he can't stand to be constrained! Don't worry...sounds normal.

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answers from Williamsport on

Please do not even entertain the notion of the highly overly mother-diagnosed ADHD for your baby at such a young age. Nothing is wrong with him. This is a phase. You are disappointed because you want to cuddle him-which is understandable. This will pass, and even if he turns out to be extremely active and even unaffectionate in the future (highly unlikely), it's not a flaw, just his way. Hang in there! If you don't WANT his attention, he may give you more too. Kids sense neediness much like adults. Just cuddle you daughter even more, and he may want some attention.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Please please please Don't lable your son or jump to conclusions because he isn't are doing both of you a great dis-serivce!! There are just kids out there that want to be active...and there are many people that are not cuddly. It sounds like he's just an on-the-go-guy and you need to roll with it. Too many people are ready to lable kids with ADD and ADHD...when simple diet changes and just plain old common sense are needed. Back when I was a kid (wow that sounds like I'm really old LOL) they were quick to lable kids "hyperactive" it's all about ADD, ADHD, and autusim. They tried to tell a friend of mine her daughter was ADHD at her pre-school because she bit a boy after he bit her!! Ya gotta wonder.... Maybe if you let him go he will come to you when he's ready for that cuddle. The more you push it, the more he will fight it. Good luck & best wishes.

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answers from Williamsport on

I don't think you need to worry about your son. He's sounds normal! If you had even more children you would soon find out that even the 3rd, and 4th, and more all act differently. Your little boy sounds like an explorer and there's nothing wrong with that. Also, I've found that our first one tends to cuddle more because we are a "new mom" and may feel a little "insecure", we ourselves need the cuddling. After we experience our first we are more confident mothers. Our babies can sense all of this from day one. Your daughter might have picked up your "insecurity" and cuddled. Whereas your son senses your confidence (as a 2nd time round mom) and feels secure to take off on his own in confidence as well. They are all so different and do things at different times and in different manners. I have four and cannot believe how different each of them can be. (Of course mine are all grown and I now have a granddaughter who is different than my four children were!!) :) Good luck and enjoy. (He will need cuddling with Mommy at times - but it will be at his own call.)

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answers from Philadelphia on

Dear D.,

A. Carol here.

Oh my goodness.

I have a thought on this one that I really think you need to examine through the proper physicians. Perhaps you should start with your pediatrician. I do not say this to frighten you, rather to enligthten you and give you an avenue for exploration.

I have known many parents in the past and present over the years who experienced the same type of activity and in many of the instances the child had some form of Autism. You see, Autistic children can be brilliant! However they have a distinct aversion to being touched or held. One of my friend's children has even asked me not to touch him on his shoulder or arm when I speak with him. These children draw a circle around themselves and feel very comfortable standing alone within it.

You might want to look up Autism on the internet to see what it appears like in children as your little guy may be exhibiting other symptoms as well. However keep in mind that a diagnosis should come from a qualified physician and NOT the internet.

If it is Autism, it is not the end of the world. Sounds like your little guy is quite functional. It would mean just "learning a different way" of being a Mom, and of course you CAN do that.

Good luck, D..

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answers from Philadelphia on

Unfortunately, that is just the behavior of boys. I have 2 sons and a daughter, and my son gave up cuddling as soon as he was mobile. They just have the be on the move, and don't want to be confined. I guess it makes them feel like they don't have any freedom. Don't feel bad, my older son is 2 1/2, and now he will occasionally slow down for a little cuddle.


answers from Pittsburgh on




answers from Lancaster on

I know how you feel, but don't worry, I think it's a personality thing. My son cuddled all the time. When my daughter came, it couldn't be more different. When she was done nursing she wanted to be in her crib, not held, rocked, or cuddled. She would fall right to sleep once she got in there. Same with when she was awake, she wanted to be on the floor playing. Now she is almost 3 and wants to cuddle all the time, it maybe started around 18 mos. Anyway, she is healthy, happy, and very bright. No concerns with ADHD or other diagnoses. Just give him time, he'll get there.



answers from Scranton on

My son who is almost 2, was just like you said. He crawled around 7-8 months and has always been very active...just wait til he starts walking/running! He liked to be held only to be moved around and see more. Never liked to be cuddly. In my case I think it is more that he loves to move and explore. My friend had a little girl that is, as you said, a "perfect little calm angel" who is one month younger than my son. (I too tend to compare and feel left out of the cuddling) I would say it is just that our boys are different. There was a time when I thought that we weren't bonding also, but I have found that I have to bond with him in a different way. I bond with him by doing what he does... running around, kicking the soccer ball, crashing his blocks, and being loud like a boy. This is not really my nature to run around like that but he gets the biggest smiles on his face when I do. And that makes my heart melt to see that! He is just a boy, you will get your hugs in time.



answers from Lancaster on

Hi D.,
I would not worry. My son is almost 1 (next wednesday!) and he was the exact same way when he learned he could roll, army crawl, and crawl all over the house! He rarely wanted to be held unless it was on his terms :0) He wanted to check out his world and was (is) always on the go! He wants to be snuggled when he is not feeling well such as that nasty stomach flu that was going around, teething and when he is tired. Even at night sometimes when I am rocking him he sometimes just wants his bed and that is that! Then other times he wants to snuggle until he is almost asleep and then I lay him down (in a matter of minutes this happens...thank God!) So, I would not worry. However, if it seems like he never wants to be held then I would talk to your Ped about it just to find out if there is anything going on.



answers from Harrisburg on

Hi D. ~ Don't worry, find other ways to bond/spend time with him!! My now almost 10 yr. old son hated to be held, in a swing, bouncy seat, rocker, you name it he didn't like it. He wanted on the floor out in the open. And today he is very loving and doesn't yet mind sitting with mom! And my 12 yr. old was the exact opposite, liked to be held/cuddle and he was dx with ADHD at 8-9 yrs. My other 2 boys were different in their ways also! Blessings ~ J.



answers from Allentown on

This could be a boy thing, this could be an age thing, or it could be something more. Monitor his overall behavior, keeping in mind that 1 or 2 "quirks" is not necessarily cause for alarm. In the meantime, the key is figuring out what works for your son.

My oldest didn't like to cuddle either. (He also lived in a Russian orphanage till he was 2, so he had a whole other set of issues.) But the curious thing was that even when he didn't want to be held in my arms, he LOVED to be held in a sling! As soon as I put him in there, he settled right down and nuzzled against me. I think it has something to do with the swaddling feeling. Now he's 5 and can't get enough cuddles!

Every baby's different, and it's common for busy boys to refuse cuddles. I hope you find a way to have that special bonding w/ your son.



answers from York on

I agree with the other posts in that all children are different and react differently to various situations. That said, many of the behaviors you described are often attributed to sensory processing issues.

My youngest son has severe Sensory Processing Dysfunction (also known as Sensory Integration Disorder/Dysfunction). I attended a seminar a couple of years ago on the disorder and one of the speakers showed a short video of an infant with sensory problems that manifested as boundary issues. When the mother came toward the child, the child got extremely distressed. When mom backed away, the child calmed down. The presented summed it up as this (this is not an exact quote - but it's pretty close), "the mother was doing everything right - in parenting almost any other just wasn't right for this child - in other words...right parenting/wrong child" this short explanation hit me perfectly - it just made so much sense in everything we had (or hadn't) done with my son. We just weren't responding to him properly. Once we did, he was a very different child.

Ok...that was a lot about me...but as it applies to your post, your son might have different boundary issues - sensory related or not. My son didn't like the soft cuddling but he liked very deep pressure contact. Ironically, rough housing with him would calm him down. Wrapping him tightly in a blanket and rolling him across the floor would mellow him out. My son physiologically does not get tired - he was "on" all the time - so we had to find ways to at least bring him down and they all involved the exact opposite of what we would have thought.

It's just a thought but almost everyone has sensory issues of some type or another - most people learn to live around them (cutting tags out of shirts, wearing pants without buttons, covering their ears when they flush the toilet, etc.) but if they are "bigger" than that, sometimes they need a little help resetting themselves neurologically.



answers from Philadelphia on

Well, you sound like a very calm person yourself to have a creative hobby. I think as long as you model calm behavior and sit on the carpet with him in his exploration, he'll grow out of his exploring stage and come back to you. I was worried like that about my daughter who is now 3, she was very independant, but it's a stage they go through.

Not that they stop being creative or independant, but when they can see all they can on their own they get very excited until they've mastered it and then it's less interesting. Let him know that you think it's okay and give him stuff like tuberware and spoons from the cabinets and sit on the floor with him to let him know you still want him to know your there. And he'll think your apart of his plans and come and hug you every once in awhile...I know I wish I could get more hugs, I'm always with my two kids. I know how much they need me and love me ironically when others are around! I don't think it's ADHD at all! Have Fun!

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