Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Held too much

Is that even possible? I recently came across a statistic that babies within the United States are only in physical contact with another human being 25% of the time. This includes hugging, cuddling, holding, breastfeeding, and any other form of physical contact. 25% seemed awfully low to me. Looking at how much I hold Hyrum, it seems as if most of his day is spent in my arms, in a sling-type wrap, or sitting in my lap while I hold him. In fact, I almost feel like it's the odd time when I put him in an exersaucer to take a shower or in the bouncer while I make supper. I know I definitely hold him more than the average mom but again, that seemed super low.

That is, until I went for a walk today. It was such a beautiful day. Hyrum was getting a little sleepy, I wanted some exercise, and I had a book I wanted to finish reading. So, I put on my Moby Wrap, grabbed my book, and we headed out for a walk. As expected, Hyrum nodded right off and I got some great "me" time as I read and walked around the neighborhood. I reveled in the fact that I could have the best of all worlds--exercise, reading time, and close physical contact with my baby.

As I walked I encountered a number of people and received a number of comments. The first was from a three year old girl who questionably exclaimed from inside a car, "What are you doing!?" I actually wasn't sure she was talking to me until I heard her mother say, "She's holding her baby!" Nothing profound, just cute.

A little bit up the road I ran into an elderly woman out for a walk. She exclaimed, "Wow! How's that for multitasking! That is wonderful." As we passed one another I thought of how she must fondly look back on her mothering years. Nothing like a grandma to know how fast the years of babyhood fly and how precious they are.

Next up was a mom who seemed to be reluctantly pulling her two little girls in a wagon. One of them was definitely small enough that she could have been easily carried. Her comment to me as she passed me was, "those things get too hot, don't they." I casually agreed that it was a little warm but thought to myself, "I feel great! Who wouldn't want to be holding their baby when they could, even if they were a little warm?"

Later that afternoon my neighbor invited me to go for a walk with her and a lady from her church. It was the same lady who came with us to the jewelry party. I thought for a second as to whether I should take the Moby Wrap or the stroller. I chose the wrap. I mean, it's what I preferred and it's what my baby definitely prefers, so why not? My only concern was that I would get comments from the other mom about transporting my baby in a sling. That seemed like a silly reason to make a decision. Sure enough, we got around the corner and she proceeded to tell me how much her daughter hated it the one time she wore her in a sling. I agreed that the first few times were a little tricky but with practice on my end, Hyrum came to love the thing. I mean, seriously LOVE it.

As we kept walking, my neighbor's baby started to fuss. You could tell the poor little kiddo had had enough of that stroller and just wanted out. After trying to calm him in the stroller, my neighbor simply picked him up and he stopped crying. My neighbor sure didn't seem to mind and her baby was much happier. The other mom casually commented on how babies will do that--fuss until you pick them up, carry them or do "some other thing like that you're not supposed to do."

My jaw seriously almost hit the ground. Really??? Not supposed to pick up your baby? Who decided that was the rule? Especially when the poor little kiddo can't really go anywhere on their own, can't see anything but their immediate surroundings without your help, and most of all, want your loving touch. How is giving your baby better mental and physical stimulation and most importantly, loving touch, something you're not "supposed" to do?

I was obviously mistaken. Maybe 25% of the time really isn't a low estimate.


  1. Amy, I bet you have a very happy baby! I have always thought that babies can't be either held too much or "spoiled," which was something I was cautioned about when I was having my children. Silly people!

  2. I really want a moby-wrap for this little one who will be here. I don't care if your holding your baby a lot i do what I need to do for me. i want to use the wrap and see how it affects my shoulders and neck as I have really problems with them. I did know a lady in the ward we were both in where she held her son all the time (she said "literally all the time" and she developed a medical condition in her chest and back and had to go to a professional to get it fixed. But she loved holding her son. I have no idea where she got the "not suppose to pick up your baby" idea, that's just sad. I do it to V but she's 18m and I'm 8m along.

  3. Silly Amy, you're not in the US! ;) (statistic about the US above...) - just being funny
    Joshua loves his Baby Bjorn, too, but I agree that it definitely weighs on my shoulders after a while and makes my back hurt. He also loves his stroller and will sit quietly observing the world around him until we either get home or he falls asleep.
    That said, I do like holding him a lot, too, but sometimes HE just wants to be put down. He'll literally fuss until I put him down where he can play on the ground. So, like you say, it's all about what your baby wants/needs. There's no such thing as spoiling a baby. They can't be spoiled until they understand cause and effect of their actions, which is later.

  4. i always carry austin in a carring bag thing its not a mobby wrap but i love it and austin loves it. i dont even own a stroller so i carry him all the time.... he loves it and it helps mommy help lose the baby weight a little faster:) austin doesnt nap good durnin the day unless he is being held.

  5. Wow! That is crazy! Graham loves being carried around in our Mei Tai carrier (very similar to a Moby). Love your blog!

  6. Amy, I'm going to have to disagree with your approach just a little bit again. :) If a child is held all day long, they don't have as much of an opportunity to improve their motor and coordination skills - which happens when they are able to play. It's wonderful to be able to hold your baby, and sometimes I wish that Tommy wasn't such a wiggler so that I could hold him more, but learning to play and have quiet time to themselves is a very important skill for a baby to learn.

  7. Side note: I'm talking about 10-20 minutes of alone play time.

  8. I agree that people can definitely go overboard but my overall thought is that if baby wants to be held, hold him! If Hyrum wasn't developing on track then I might make some adjustments but thus far, his development is great. In fact, I think that by holding him when he wants to be held he has a lot more fun exploring when he wants to play. He lets me know when he wants to practice his roll or his sitting and has even started scooting around already. Also, some great bonuses to "babywearing" are better verbal skills because they're on eye and mouth level with people (Hyrum chatters up a storm!) and no flat heads! Again, I think you're right. In excess, this could definitely pose a problem. Overall I think that when we follow our babies cues they'll get exactly what they need to grow and develop just the way they should.