HELP! My Baby Wants to Snuggle and Hates Being Put Down
Originally posted on drlaurenkeller.com
While pregnant, you probably read every article on the internet on all the gadgets and goodies you need once the baby arrives to make sure you have a baby registry that set you up for success. The best crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper? Check. The best carseat? Check. Information on the best butt paste and breast pumps were readily available. Information on what to expect in those first few weeks? Yeah, not so much. Now that you just had the baby you may find yourself in a whirlwind of emotions asking yourself, “is this normal” and thinking, “nobody told me this was a thing.”
Picture this scene: you are wrapped in a nice, cozy, warm blanket constantly being rocked to sleep with music always playing. That seems pretty fantastic, right? Well, not so long ago that is where your baby was at while in the womb. Being rocked back and forth in a pool of amniotic fluid, wrapped in the warmth of your body, listening to the sweet sound of your heartbeat. Now that they made their great escape, everything is different. It’s cold, they are no longer wrapped and rocked to sleep and they have this newfound freedom to move while noises and lights are are all new to them. The only thing that isn’t new is the comfort of you. Of course they want to snuggle up and be next to their protector; you’re the only thing they recognize in this new world! It is not only common, but it is normal in those early days for babies to want and need to be held. They are not trying to be spoiled or manipulate you, they are simply seeking the same comforts they had while on the inside—a steady heartbeat, warmth, and the gentle movements of your breath.
Just because it’s normal for babies to need to be snuggled, it doesn’t mean it is always easy. One way to ease that transition is to implement BIRTHFIT’s Top 7 Postpartum Tips. Lying-in, or hunkering down in your home and focusing on rest and recovery during the co-regulation period can be a huge stress reliever in those early days. It takes away the unrealistic expectations that you “should” be out and about showing off the baby. The co-regulation period is when mama and baby are learning each other’s habits and creating new routines/new normals. One of the best things a mama can do is be present physically and mentally so she can focus on the new baby and learn the baby’s way of communicating. The baby won’t know if she met Great Aunt Susie Q at 2 days or 2 months, but she will recognize and sense your stress levels if you’re anxious about going out. If you aren’t ready to leave the house, don’t! Lying-in gives you an amazing opportunity to support your needs and desires while also working to build a relationship with the newest member of your family. Skin-to-skin helps keep the baby warmer, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and regulates breathing. This can lead to better bonding, less crying, decrease in postpartum depression and maybe even better sleep for both of you!
Once in the recovery period, it’s great to continue skin-to-skin and also get up and start moving around more. One way to ease back into your new reality is to take the babe with you. Go out and walk with your baby. She still wants and needs all the snuggles so baby wearing is a great option to allow you to get up and get back to moving.
Last, but certainly not least, it takes a village to raise a child. There is great strength in asking for help. As BIRTHFIT Bend, Oregon said, “Postpartum is a tricky, cloudy, and confusing time. Connecting with your community, and asking for help from lactation experts, doulas, therapists, doctors, family, and friends is a sign to the world that you recognize your own boundaries and that you are not expected to do all of it alone. You are mama. Not a mama AND a lactation expert AND a doula AND a therapist AND a doctor AND a maid AND a gourmet chef AND … AND … AND ….You are perfect as a mama, with a powerful support system.”
And mama, you’ve got this!
Lauren Keller, DC, DABCABIRTHFIT Chicago Western Suburbs @birthfit_chicago_western_burbs