Open Discussion Forum

Topic: baby wants to be held all the time 

Riley Snow
11 days ago  

1.  baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 12 days ago
​I work in a mixed age infant and toddler room.  Recently a 3 month old started at the center.  We are having a hard time putting her down.  She cries if we put her down.  We can't even lay her in her crib without her waking up and crying uncontrollably.  We definitely have to let her cry while we tend to the other children, mostly this is during transition time. Her excessive crying sometimes upsets the other babies and they begin to cry too.  I'm not sure if she is held all the time at home.  Any ideas on how we can break this habit?

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Liane Rousseau
Peterborough NH
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2.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 12 days ago
It can certainly be challenging when you have a room full of children that need attention. But a baby of there months, developmentally, needs to be held and responded to. This isn't a situation of needing to break a child of crying to be held - the baby is doing its job! :) Infants, especially young ones like this, start the foundations of all future relationships by learning that their needs - including attention, love, and physical reassurance and soothing - will be met, and their cries responded to. You mention the infant recently started in the room - the baby has not yet learned that you are save, loving, trustworthy caregivers! These are the moments to take cues from the baby - they're not built to adjust to our schedules and needs - we need to adapt to theirs! Best of luck!

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Lydia M. Bowers
Sexual Health Educator
NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council
Cincinnati, Ohio
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3.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 11 days ago
Liane, this baby needs to be held all of the time. The appropriate responsiveness is to soothe and comfort. The fussiness can go away in two or three months if she is well responded to. The issue could be as simple as a high cortisol release in her brain from her mother being anxious about her pregnancy, or from issues like loud noises, poor nutrition, alcohol, or drug addiction. She responds to many things, anything new, with fear. Making her comfortable will change her chemistry and develop her thinking. Her anxiety can last a lifetime if she isn't adequately soothed. She needs a comfortable body that holds her tightly and has a slow heart beat. You might get a grandmother to do the job. Carrying her around in a sling may also help. I'm glad you're concerned.

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Jack Wright
Success With Children
St Ignatius MT
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4.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 11 days ago
Hello Liane,
I can imagine how torn you must feel, wanting to tend to this infant's needs while juggling the needs of the other children, as well. The desire and need to be held is absolutely normal and developmentally appropriate for a 3 month old. It takes time for infants and small children to learn how to self-regulate, and until they are able to do so, they need all the help they can get from their caregivers! This is called co-regulation, and I recommend a quick google search to learn more about it. It is important to respond as quickly as you can to the infant's cries, but please don't feel guilty while you are tending to the needs of other children. As the infant gets used to the child care environment, and gets a little older, she will probably cry less often and with less intensity. There's no way for her to understand at this stage that she has gone from getting one-on-one attention to having to share time with a caregiver. I just really want to encourage you to hang in there! It will get better! The important thing for you to focus on is building loving, trusting relationships with each of the children in your care. It takes time :-)
-Cassandra

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Cassandra Caffee Morelock
Quality Improvement Coordinator
United Way of Southwest Virginia
Abingdon VA
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5.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 11 days ago
Is it possible for you to "wear" her for awhile until she is more mobile and used to the space and caregivers??

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raquel dewitt
Vancouver WA
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6.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 11 days ago
Hi!
This is super common in group care and always a challenge to staff and other children.
Infants have limited coping mechanisms. Crying when not held is clever when you think about it. It is a new person stating " i can't figure this group care thing out !"
Here is my suggestion...... hold when it is practical and verbally reassure the child.
When they must be unheld,  have staff state " I am placing you here while I _______".

If possible, have staff be eye level to speak to the child, even when the child is prone on the ground. Many a time i have been holding one child when kneeling down to say to another " I hear you. i must help Jane go to sleep right now, and then feed Jack a bottle. Try to calm down and look around while i am busy and I will hold you when I am done with them"
You know, of course this infant will develop new coping skills over time and staff and other infants are learning about each other while it develops.
It makes for a noisy, challenging day for sure.

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Mari

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7.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 11 days ago
I feel for you as I have been there myself. Have you communicated with the parent/guardian about any sleep routines? If there isn't one, maybe you could offer some resources. I like to do things similar to home when possible so building good relationships with parents and creating some similar routines could help. Is the baby used to sleeping on his/her back at home in their own crib? Is the baby swaddled? Is baby missing the sounds and smells of mommy? If possible, does the infant need a quieter space to rest or a white noise?
What about tossing a blanket in the dryer to slightly warm up the crib sheet? Be sure to remove or correctly tuck it in according to licensing regulations, before laying the baby down on his or her back.
Imagine being only 3 months old and learning all about life at home, and now a different environment at daycare without being able to do anything more than cry as a way to express discomfort, hunger, being tired, or insecure. It isn't always easy to figure out what they need. It takes very special people, like you, to care for them. Thank you for sharing.


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Kari Sanders
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8.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 11 days ago


9.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 9 days ago
Obviously I turned responders off. When I'm excited about data from science I sound arrogant. I'll try again. It has been clearly found that toxic stress affects brain development in a way that limits the executive function of the brain. What I'm trying to say is that crying that isn't adequately responded to ends up being toxic stress with effects that can last a life time like lower intelligence and constant fears. Please, all of us, find a way to soothe babies like this one constantly and consistently.

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Jack Wright
Success With Children
St Ignatius MT
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10.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 8 days ago
Jack- thank you, thank you, thank you. When in doubt, listen to the children. It's easy to forget to listen to the child expert.

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Armandina Macias
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11.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 5 days ago
​Jack,
You did not "turn me off", I was thrilled to see such a scientific as well as caring response. Young babies have only one way to learn to trust - and that is to have their needs met. Not to minimize how difficult this can be in group care, but I have read lots of good suggestions.
Thank you for sharing the research,
Marti Higgins

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Marti Higgins
Executive Director
Indiana County Child Day Care Program, Inc.
Indiana, PA
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12.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 7 days ago
​Hi there,


 The Shanker self-reg is a powerful method for understanding stress and managing tension and energy.
Here are some resources that maybe helpful:
https://self-reg.ca/self-reg/
http://edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/selfRegulate.html
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/positive.html

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Lisa Taylor
quality assurance Coordinator
County of Dufferin Children's Services
Orangeville ON
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13.  RE: baby wants to be held all the time

Posted 6 days ago
Lisa, just last year new information came in--Lisa Barrett, "How Emotions Are Learned,"--that I think affects the emphasis on rational approaches to the regulation of emotion and impulsivity that we see in the Shanker method. Lisa also suggests that we are in a period where it is crucial to have a data approach more than an ideological one when we discuss human development.

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Jack Wright
Success With Children
St Ignatius MT
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