Now what? My baby wants to be held. All The Time.
Spoiler alert: There are a few answers to this big thorny question but they all circle back to the primary advice –> Go ahead and hold your baby. My friend’s grandma told her that babies demand so much from us but for such an exquisitely short period of time. It might not feel like a comforting thought when you’re in the thick of it, but I have found that to be true.
Jill from HappyLoudLife is parenting her fourth baby and she says, “Lower your expectations. Set that bar on the ground. Yes, baby wear, but also just… hold the baby. Binge watch your favorite shows and just hold the baby while your house stays messy and your dishes don’t get done.” Right on, Jill.
Master some one-handed tasks.
We’ve all heard that moms have eyes in the backs of their heads and can juggle eleventeen tasks at once. Sure, some day you will probably drive a carpool while quizzing spelling words, finding split-ends, and reciting the grocery list in your head. But for now, let’s keep it simple.
What kinds of things can you do while one hand is occupied with baby care (be it shoving in a pacifier, nursing, patting, or bottle feeding)? Lots of things! If possible, do some prep work before getting busy with baby so you can have the right supplies at your fingertips:
- Eat a snack or mini meal. Have cut-up or handheld food (sandwich, cold pizza) near your nursing station. Throw a dishtowel over the baby’s head. Hot soup is a bad idea, trust me.
- Write thank-you notes. Have a stack of cute postcards at the ready; write with your dominant hand and pacify with the weaker one. How charming and old school! Cross it off your did-do list.
- Binge on your favorite TV. Before long, you’ll start to worry about baby’s exposure to screen-time but in that fresh newborn haze, just go for it. PBS kids can wait.
- Type very slowly. A well-positioned laptop or tablet goes a long way toward success. I’ve tucked a keyboard into a shelf while bouncing and shushing in the baby carrier. And we can all thumb-type on the phone.
- Drink a frosty beverage. Use a straw or narrow-necked bottle. Self-care just became too easy.
- Read a book or magazine. Rest your eyes from a screen and flip open some paper pages; if you can keep it open with one hand, you can read it. Then again, a kindle sounds good right about now.
Get going baby-wearing.
True fact: not every baby likes every baby carrier, even those that won’t let you put them down. Each baby probably can find the right one if we don’t give up. My first baby was a BabyBjorn kid and we never figured out the sling. My second baby was pretty chill and didn’t mind being put down; he also liked all the carriers I borrowed, including a homemade fake-Moby wrap and a limited edition hip carrier. Baby number three — who screamed in the car and never wanted to be put down unless it was into a moving swing — was all about the Ergo or my bare arms. I vividly remember feeling like I couldn’t make dinner or even brush my teeth during the roughest weeks.
If you have a baby demanding to be held, try out some different carriers and find the right one.