Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.
Baby Doesn’t Want to be Put Down – Reasons & Solutions
Many new parents find themselves struggling with a fussy baby who refuses to be put down, making it difficult to accomplish daily tasks. This is a common issue faced by parents of newborns, and we will explore some possible reasons for this behavior and provide solutions to help remedy it.
The outside world is a huge shock to a baby’s system. After being in a nice, dark, cozy womb for 9 months, they find comfort in being held since it is closest to the environment they are used to.
The post-birth period, commonly referred to as the 4th trimester, is a time when both mom and baby adapt to life after delivery. For a newborn, the transition from the familiar and comfortable womb to the outside world can be overwhelming.
It is not uncommon for babies to crave physical contact and wake up crying when they are left alone, as they seek comfort through human touch.
Lying on someone’s chest where they can feel the vibrations of another’s heartbeat is incredibly soothing for an infant, especially when compared to being isolated in a crib.
You may leave your baby to cry by themselves, expecting them to self-soothe or fall asleep eventually but find they don’t stop.
The ability to self-soothe is not a skill that all babies possess and is not something that is easily taught. It is a form of emotional regulation that requires a certain level of brain development, which newborns do not yet have. As a result, infants tend to rely on their caretakers for comfort and find solace in being held as it provides them with a sense of safety and security that they cannot provide for themselves.
The National Library of Medicine did a study that indicates physical touch can have a soothing effect on babies and also establishes bonds between the infant and the caretakers.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is important to reach out for help from a loved one, such as your partner, parent, sibling, neighbor, or babysitter.
Having someone to hold your baby so you can take a shower or catch up on sleep can provide much-needed relief and reduce your stress levels. In addition, as your baby becomes more accustomed to the outside world, they will gradually require less physical contact for comfort over time.
To keep your hands free but still give your infant the closeness to you they desire, you could invest in a baby carrier or sling.
As human beings, it is natural for us to carry our young and your baby will feel comfortable and secure in this position.
When it’s bedtime, you can try nursing or cuddling your baby until they are fast asleep and then set them down in their crib.
Another option to get them used to not being held is to lay your baby down on their back and hold or stroke their tummy.
Is it normal for a baby to not want to be put down?
Yes, it is very normal, especially for the first few months, for a baby to want to be held. Of course, some babies will not experience this, but most babies go through a phase of not wanting to be put down.
Why does my baby wake up as soon as I put him down?
Babies can sense changes in movement and environment, so are aware when the position of their body changes. If they are in a deep sleep, their brain may send signals to keep sleeping but if not, they may be triggered and wake up immediately.
Why won’t my baby let me put her down?
Research shows that a baby’s nervous system and heart rate calm down when they are being held, and putting them down has the opposite effect. Since your child feels the safest when being held, they will often become fussy or cry when you put them down as it makes them uncomfortable.
What to do when your newborn doesn’t want to be put down?
As a new parent, it is normal to feel overwhelmed when your baby doesn’t want to be put down. Asking for help from other members of your household will ease the burden and give you a break.
You can also try carrying them in a baby carrier or sling to free up your hands.
Lying them in their crib or on the floor while you are around can help them get used to you being there but not having to hold them.
If they still cry, just stroke and talk to them to reassure them. Providing distractions like mobiles above their crib can keep their attention while giving your baby new things to learn and look at as their senses develop.
You will notice over time that their need to be held will gradually decrease as they grow and become more comfortable in the world.
Your infant’s desire to be held is one of the most common issues newborns face. It is a big adjustment for them to get used to the outside world, and being held is their main source of comfort.
This won’t last forever though, so don’t get frustrated, ask for help and even try to enjoy it because there will come a time when you might even miss it.