Is It Normal for a Newborn to Always Want to Be Held?

By Natalie Smith
Newborns often want to be held because being close to a parent makes them feel more secure.
Newborns often want to be held because being close to a parent makes them feel more secure.

When you first found out that you were having a baby, you might have imagined a sweet, newborn baby sleeping peacefully in her crib. When your baby arrived, you might have been dismayed to find that she does not like her crib, or to be anywhere except in your arms. This behavior is normal for many newborns because they are used to hearing your heartbeat and being held. However, you must find a way to cope with this behavior if you want to get anything done at home.

Baby Carrier

Some parents find a baby carrier to be a lifesaver when it comes to caring for their new babies. Some attachment parenting experts, such as Dr. William Sears, recommend that parents always pick up babies and respond to their cries during the first four to six months of life because this is an important part of building a strong bond with your baby. Placing the baby in a sling or baby carrier can be an ideal way to carry your baby while freeing your hands to complete other household tasks, or even to work.


Swaddling your newborn baby can be another way to make him feel secure enough to be set down. Swaddling the baby wraps him tightly, much like how he was in the womb. In addition, swaddling helps prevent newborns from being woken or disturbed by their startle reflexes, and keeps them warm in the early days when their internal thermostat is not yet working efficiently. Swaddling allows many newborns to feel secure enough to be set down for naps or for a few minutes while you complete a task around the house.

Training Baby to Lie Alone

Some child care experts, such as Dr. Carrie Brown, a pediatrician and columnist for the BabyCenter website, advocate slowly training your newborn to be comfortable with sitting or lying alone. Brown suggests beginning by setting the baby down alone, but staying nearby. In the first few attempts, pick her up before she begins crying. Gradually, set her down for longer periods and start moving farther away. Begin picking her up only when she cries. After a few days or weeks, your baby will learn that being alone is normal and safe and she will fuss less when she is set down.

Have Patience

The most important element for a parent of a newborn is patience. Your new baby is adjusting to life outside of the womb, and that adjustment does not happen instantly. Learning to sit alone is a process, much like potty-training or learning to read. When you start to feel frustrated, remember to cherish these early days because before you know it, your new baby will be all grown up.

About the Author

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.