My Baby Won’t Let Me Put Him Down

Elliot is a little over 4 weeks old. Things are going well. He sleeps relatively well at night. I am not a zombie in the morning. He wakes up about three times from 8 PM until 7 AM and that’s totally doable. It helps that I’m breastfeeding AND co-sleeping (JUDGE AWAY!) because when he wakes, I roll over, stick a boob in his mouth and fall back to sleep again.

The problem I’m having takes place during the day. He doesn’t like to be put down, like, at all. He lives on my body. And, yeah, that’s freaking adorable. I love baby snuggles. But I have a 3-year-old to care for. I also have laundry to do and a job. And sometimes it’s nice to be able to clap, write an email, or use the toilet. I can’t hold him ALL the time.

(Emory took this shot.)

Granted, right this second he’s sleeping soundly for the first time in his infant car seat. And has been for about 30 minutes. (!!!) So maybe things are changing. I’m not sure.

Let’s say this is some freak event and things go back to what they’ve been for the last four weeks, what do I do? I am not comfortable with letting him cry; he’s far too young for that. But I’m open to other ideas. Anyone? Did anyone have a newborn like this? Does it pass? What did you do to help things along? Are there slings that won’t suffocate him? Slings I can easily wear around the house? I purchased an Ergo and while I think it’ll be awesome when he’s older, you have to be a freaking yoga instructor, or, you know, smart to put the bloody thing on. I haven’t had any luck getting him into it and feeling he’s safe once in there. I didn’t have any luck with Emory either, that’s why we stayed in for the first two years of his life.

Help me, wise Internet. Please?

47 Comments

  1. My oldest daughter was like that. She was on me or screaming all day. It drove me crazy. Oh and she hated her dad too so that was cool too. She did get better around 3 months. She didn’t have a choice because I had to go back to work. The funny thing is that she has always been a needy kid and now looking back, I can see that her clinginess was a personality trait for her. It will get better, but if he is like she was, you’ll have bouts of this for years to come!

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  2. Do you have a swing? My first did this all the time… turned out she had acid reflux, poor thing. I wish she would have just TOLD me, it would have saved us both a lot of heartache. JK. My second did this to a lesser extent. In both cases, the kids loved the swing. Sometimes they only liked it for for 5-10 minutes at a time, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

    Take comfort that this, like all things shall pass. This tiny creature just isn’t used to the world yet and wants comfort, which is usually in the form of mama.

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  3. My son is going to be 1 week old tomorrow and he is the same…especially at night! I carry him in a wrap I bought from http://www.sewfunky.ca . It is called a bamboo panda wrap, A Moby is similar. It holds them right against your body and supports their head so you can be hands free while holding them. It looks super complicated, but once you put it on 2 or 3 times it becomes easy. I carried my daughter in the same wrap and both babies LOVE it. Hope this helps…there are a bunch of videos on youtube for how to use the moby as well.

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  4. Of course it passes! I LOVED the Kangaroo Korner sling for both my kids. Highly recommend it.

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  5. Might work, might not, but you could try sitting next to him in the car seat or swing or other baby-holding contraption, so that he could be near you without actually being ON you.

    When I was still on maternity leave but trying to do a little bit of work from home part-time, we would put our son in his seat and place him next to me on the couch. I could work on my laptop while still being able to reach up and touch his foot.

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  6. My daughter was like that as well, would cry incessantly if I put her down. There are so many awesome slings and wraps out there, it’s the only way I survived. Mei Tai is a great design, extremely easy to put on. My second is due in a couple of weeks, and I know I’ll be living in one, especially with a 2 1/2 year old to care for as well:)

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  7. Because Cole was so young when Olivia was born, I often didn’t have a choice but to let her cry when he needed a diaper change or, really, anything. So she got used to waiting her turn. It could also be her general disposition. Anyways, it took a couple weeks but she learned quickly enough that crying wasn’t going to get her much and that she’d get her turn. You can only do one thing at a time. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

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  8. I’m just here to say DAAAAANG he’s cute!

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  9. My son was the same! A stretchy wrap (I had the Moby) was great once I figured out how to put it on. When he really needed to be rocked and I was too tired to move I would lay him down on my lap and shift my knees side-to-side. Almost no effort and he would settle as well as rocking in my arms.

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  10. What a sweet face!

    I also recommend a carrier or a wrap. I used the moby wrap for weeks with my daughter. Once I got the hang of getting the thing on, my hands were always free and her 12 lb body felt like nothing. I also liked the bjorn when she was very small, but switched to the ergo at about 4 months…just couldn’t figure out that taco insert.

    The new baby store in Greenpoint (Caribou Baby) has a lot of beautiful wraps that won’t lose their elasticity like the moby does.

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    1. That taco insert is a joke. I simply CAN’T get this kid in there safely. It’s absurd.

      I had Moby and it was way, way confusing. Is there ANYTHING a dumbass can figure out? Because that’s what I want. The Dumbass Wrap.

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  11. Yep, I’ve currently got one of those. For the first 3 months we used a handmade moby (as simple as buying stretch knit and cutting in two — check youtube). Now that he’s older (approaching 6 months) I still really can’t put him down but at least he’s physically able to sit in an activity bouncy thing, a bumbo, and the Ergo. Because of his demands I feel I’m constantly bouncing him between me and his “seats” in between trying to get things done (we also have a 2 year old) and I look forward to his naps so I can have my body back.

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  12. I love my ergo. You mention that you don’t know if he’s safe once he’s in there…did you purchase the infant insert also? If not, it would probably help to secure him.

    It gets easier to put on. I actually avoided the thing for a long time because I feared not being able to get it on, and now I can do it with no problem.

    I would also recommend the baby katan, I used this more when he was a wee baby. It is very secure.

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    1. I did get the insert! And he just doesn’t seem to fit properly. Plus, his neck bobbles. Makes me nervous.

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  13. Try the Baby K’tan. I’ve heard it’s a lot like the Moby but you don’t need a degree to put it on (like the Moby).

    I have a 10 week old, and he does really well in the Ergo with the infant insert. I know what you mean about not feeling totally comfortable putting it on, but I found that I could hug the baby to my chest with one arm while I put one strap on, switch baby hugging hands, and put on the other strap, then lean forward to snap the clasp into place behind my neck/upper back.

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  14. I saw that you got the infant insert- did you know there are 2? The regular one seems weird, puts the baby in a strange cradle position. The other, that isn’t as well known, is call Heart2Heart infant insert. That puts the baby in a safer vertical position, that makes you comfortable actually being hands-free. The thing is super insulated, so I always stripped my guy down to just a onesie, but I could do SO MUCH MORE with my ergo while he was still brand new. Also, search youtube for videos of people demonstrating putting on the Ergo & the inserts. It makes so much more sense than the vague pictures in the instructions.

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  15. Moby Wrap! Difficult at first but give it three times and you’ll be hooked (literally do it in front of the mirror w the manual propped up on the sink–and avoid the breastfeeding or sling holds–the others are easier)! I had ZERO luck w the Ergo w infant insert and never could figure out the sling but the Moby made it possible for me to function. Now I use a Beco Gemini (like Ergo and Bjorn combined).

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  16. So I just read Mary’s comment and I had no idea there were two infant inserts.. I definitely have the vertical one and it worked really, really well when my guy was super little. I did occasionally feel like his head bobbled a bit so I would put up the little hood. Not only did it keep is little head and neck safe it made him a dark and warm little cocoon perfect for sleeping!

    Also wanted to mention that my guy had silent reflux and anytime he was not in an upright or inclined position he was so pissed! A hand me down swing and sleeping on his stomach (the pressure helps with the reflux) made all the difference in the world. That doesn’t sound exactly like what you’re going through but maybe it’s a little helpful?

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  17. My daughter was like that – but I didn’t have the added difficulty of an older child!
    I used the Sleepy Wrap – I admit it’s a bit tricky to figure out at first (if possible, go to a baby boutique where they’ll give you a demo with your baby) but once you get the hang of it it’s not bad. The baby can be upright against you, warm and snug, and you can tuck his head in for support. It was the only way my baby napped for months – not ideal but would at least leave my hands free for a half hour or so!
    http://www.sleepywrap.com
    The Sleepy Wrap was also less expensive than a lot out there – I paid $50 CDN for ours.

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  18. So then I won’t suggest a wrap to you, even though I love mine. Hehe.
    I’ll suggest the AngelPack instead.
    http://www.angelpack.com/
    I love that one too. And it’s the most easy thing in the world to put on, seriously, you can NOT do it wrong. And it’s so quick, I carry it everywhere, because I can just stick him in there in about 13 seconds and be done with it. It’s small and light, fits in the diaper bag.
    And I use it for my tiny one now, he’s probably smaller than Cujo, and his neck is perfectly supported.

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  19. I never used any of those things so I’m probably not any help, but my boys both lived in their vibrating bouncy chairs when they were infants. I don’t know what I would have done without one. They did use a lot of batteries, but I never would have been able to do all the puming I did without one.

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  20. Cherie: I know! Em was in his swing when I pumped. (for 5 months!) too. I gave it away thinking we weren’t ever having a second.

    Thanks all for these suggestions. I’ll look into them all and hopefully become less stupid.

    Reply

  21. I don’t know if this will help in your situation, but my son wanted to be held all the time, too. And he was only happy if I was the one holding him. My mom finally suggested that I keep my dirty shirt from the day before and use that like a “blankie” for Asher. It worked amazingly; suddenly I could leave him in his infant car seat or a swing for 20-30 minutes at a time- longer if he fell asleep. If that’s something you haven’t tried, maybe give it a shot. It also helped when my mom or sisters would put on my “yesterday” shirt so they could hold Asher while I went for a walk or got a shower.

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  22. maybe try a bunting bag snow suit thing for sleeping? he might feel all warm and cozy:) or just enjoy every last second of the snuggles… i’ve got 2 that turn into wriggly jello to get out of your arms. i miss the needy, tiny, breakable baby:(

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  23. Ergo is terrible for infants, even with the insert… But it’s AWESOME once they can hold their head up – I still use mine at 20+ months.

    For Infants. I second the moby wrap. Or a ring-sling. (I used a ring-sling exclusively for the first 6mo, then sporadically after that.) And go to a granola-y store and get them to show you how to use whatever you decide to try. Heck – TRY stuff in the store WITH the baby. They can be perfectly safe when used properly – personally, I used a kangaroo hold almost exclusively for the infant stage.

    Also… He’ll get over it. =)

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  24. My second lived in the mei tai for the first few months of her life. It seems complicated at first, but once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes second nature. Once he gets bigger and can hold his head up, you can wear him on your back, too. Maybe the shop someone recommended gives demonstrations? Good luck!!

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  25. Yay for the breastfeeding and the co-sleeping. I personally don’t understand how it works any other way.

    Also, don’t be afraid to try some slings. Babywearing totally rocks. You won’t suffocate your baby. You just won’t. You’re aware of them every minute. I know that there have been a couple of times when it happened but I just can’t imagine. It’s just like co-sleeping. Some people say that is dangerous because you might roll over on him. Now that you’ve done it, you know that isn’t true. Even asleep there is a part of you that is aware of him. Same thing in a sling.

    Try it!

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  26. I just have to say that he is beautiful. Beautiful! My girl wanted to live on me too and I just let her because I didn’t have any other little ones to run around after. I don’t have any suggestions although I did use the Baby Bjorn when Soph was a little bit older and I liked it and she seemed to like it too. Otherwise, good luck, it will get better and OMG he is beautiful!

    Reply

    1. Emory lived in the Bjorn. But he was older. I’ll try a few slings. I never said I was opposed just that some are confusing and others make me nervous as they seem far too tight.

      Thank you, everyone!

      Reply

  27. Slings! Absolutely there are ones for one-month olds. I could NOT do the wrap, for the same reason it sounds like you can’t do the ergo – it looked too complicated, took to much practice. I wanted to just get him in something and be done with it. Also, ring slings made me nervous (yes, they are PERFECTLY safe when used right, I just didn’t want to be responsible for adjustments). So I just got a pocket sling. Mine is the peanut shell (www.thepeanutshell.com). You do have to make sure you get the right size, but then that’s it – you just put it on and you’re done.

    One thing that site doesn’t mention – for little ones that are still floppy you should fold up a small reciving blanket and stick it behind their back in the sling so their head isn’t slumped onto their chests. But yeah, I started using my sling when my boy was 2 weeks old and haven’t looked back. He’s 5 months now, 18ish lbs, and it’s much easier to get him in and out and I put him in it around the house during his fussy times and anytime we leave the house. It’s fantastic.

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  28. I was also a dumbass when it came to the Moby BUT I found that if I used it only at home (I could not deal with figuring it out in public) it was workable. My kid also hated being put down (unless swaddled tightly and put in a swing) and the Moby, oddly, was the only thing that I found that kept her content and kept her securely in place with safe head support. It took a little time and she would definitely cry while I struggled to get the stupid thing in place, but once that was done she inevitably fell asleep.

    That said, I think that I only used it for the first 2 months. After that I just used the Bjorn, then later the Ergo.

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  29. my kid did the same thing at that age (like a month or 2 ago). we used the ergo some but really didn’t love it until she could be in w/o the insert. we had some success with other parents who used it helping put her in it on me. she ended up liking the stroller some but only outside so mostly we just waited, and practiced putting her down so she got used to it some and doing everything one handed. still only sleeps 1/2 hour naps though. few more weeks and he will like to be down on the floor watching his brother or shadows or whatever.

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  30. I had one of the complicated, needs-a-Ph.D. (which I am actually one iota away from completing, although not in babywearing) to use, which I abandonned in favor the Bjorn. It is so easy and so easy to unsnap once they are asleep and lay them down. That was the feature I loved.

    I also used a really basic sling that I received as a hand-me-down.

    I was a baby-wearing, co-sleeping, nurser, too. :)

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  31. Hi, no baby so no baby wearing advice to offer. Just thought I’d let you know that you crack me up! In my head it’s like you have a baby velcroed to you who screams and reattaches everytime you try to get free. (I dated a guy like that once.)

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  32. Haha… I just got an ergo for my 4 month old. I’ve pulled muscles in my shoulders and back trying to wear it and adjust it WITHOUT him in it. I’m sure it’s great once it’s on… but c’mon!

    My little guy was similar at that age – wanting to be held. I got away with swaddling him tight and leaving him in his bassinette. Would not have worked without the swaddle. Good luck with that.

    Reply

    1. I know! Happy to hear I’m not alone. I too pulled a muscle in my neck putting the ergo on. Toby was right there helping too. It shouldn’t be that hard.

      Or I shouldn’t be that out of shape and stupid.

      Reply

  33. Your post reminded me how long it has been since I had babies. One of my twins didn’t let me put her down for a loooooong time. We started “tricking” her by having me stand really close to somebody else that was holding her or me standing really close to the swing while she was in it and then gradually moving away from it. It took some practice, but eventually it worked. Like you said, the laundry had to get done somehow and with twins there was A LOT of laundry.

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  34. Congrats! I vote for a swing.When my E was tiny she hated to be put down. So I went on Craigslist, picked one up for $40 and it worked like a charm. That swing saved my sanity.

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  35. I loved the Bjorn, you can tighten it around their head & neck to keep them from being so floppy. My first was never floppy – so I was a little freaked out by the girl being so floppy.

    I could never get the hang of the other carriers, the bjorn just felt right to me. Babys will let you try everything on and walk around the store. Hard with the 3yo, but maybe this weekend?

    I was going to recommend the vibrating baby bouncer. We would put our son in it and he would immediately squack if the butt wasn’t vibrating. The other suggestion I have is that he might be cold, new babies just aren’t good at temp control yet, so he is probably jonesing all your heat. The little baby buntings are like little ovens, you can unzip a little if you think he is to warm, plus the legs are separated, so you can still lock him into the swing and/or bouncey seat if needed.

    I got a moses basket for my second, you can bundle them up, and put them in there. You can carry the basket around with you, so the baby is always near, and they feel secure in their little space. You don’t use it for ever, but it is sure handy for the few months you need it. Plus – you could keep it for a kitty bed when he outgrows it.

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  36. omg I’ll be on the next flight. I will hold your baby for all long as you need me too. he is soooo freakin’ cute! xoxo

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  37. I’m late the this but I just wanted to let you know that yes I had a baby like that. I became a master at doing things one handed. My sling was my best friend. My baby is now 6yrs and I’m happy to report as independent as everyone else.

    I can’t recommend a specific sling because mine are now old. But you might look for a NINO (Nine in Nine Out) group to see if they have someone who can help you out with sling choice and fit. The local group here has sling class for people new to the idea.

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  38. Jumping in to say I hear you on the sling confusion and the fear that the babe could suffocate..my answer was a mesh sling. Ugly as sin but I wore my daughter everywhere..I was able to do housework and run errands and get on with life while she chilled in there. Someone mentioned the Kangaroo Karrier upthread and that’s what we went with. Also super easy to put them in and can have them be vertical or horizontal. Mesh is the answer!

    http://www.carrymeaway.com/category_59/Kangaroo-Korner-Adjustable-Mesh-Pouch.htm

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  39. Oh my goodness, first of all, what a cutie! Secondly, the Sweetpeace Soothing Center swing saved our lives. Our kid was in that thing like 20 hours out of the day. We got it used for like $60 and we ran that thing into the ground. We had another swing that a friend gave us that was a side to side swing and our son did not like it. He liked the kind of motion that the Sweetpeace provided. Imagine the swing rotating like a half circle back and forth.

    Hope that helps.

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  40. Adorable baby! the ergo was the best best best thing we ever got. we did not have an insert, but when our baby was 1 week old we just used blankets to swaddle him a little so he wouldn’t be floating. it did feel complicated to put it on at first, and it helps to have a second pair of hands when you are figuring out the straps etc. but if you use it a few times a day within a few days you will find your arms twisting at just the right angle to put it on. then ahhhhh bliss!!! you can have baby right there, (perfect head-kissable height) and you can do all your home stuff, dishes, laundry, playing with your older son, etc. at this stage, baby is so tiny, he is not in the way at all. then as he gets bigger, around 6 months, he can go to the back position. (which, just to warn you, yes, calls for more another set of yoga twists and getting used to putting it on, more adjusting and practicing over beds and stuff and fearing you may drop baby on his head….. but as soon as you (and baby) get used to it, you are laughing! we used ergo for 2 years solid, every day (never used our stroller, too complicated to get up and dopwn stairs). the ergo was great when you have no car or walk a lot and take the metro/subway/bus every day, up and down stairs like it is no big deal. even now at 3 years of age, we use it on and off occasionally (albeit for shorter periods, since he is getting heavier), ie. when there is too much snow for strollers, when he is sick and really really wants to be close to us for comfort but we have stuff to do around the house, when he wants to play around… yes, there are other really awesome carriers out there. but from the experience of many friends, a lot of families tried one or two carriers as baby grew out of each one until they tried the ergo. we started with ergo from day 1 (okay, maybe day 5), and never used another one. did not even use stroller until he was 2 years old. ok, really sorry if this sounds like brainwash ergo advertisement as each baby is different, but hope you enjoy your snuggly baby whatever works for you guys! congratulations too!

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  41. hi there! I used the sleepy wrap and loooooved it. It calmed my son everytime and is relatively easy to figure out. Sometimes I’d put it on in the morning and just wear it all day – pulling the kid in and out as needed. Your sons are beautiful!

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  42. Just another vote here for swaddling. My son was swaddled for quite a while to go to sleep, and he seemed to love it. Also used just a sit up chair and did stuff next to him. It was not a moving one or anything, just one he could relax in, even before he could hold his head up. I NEVER got the hang of any sling, and was always too worried to have him in one. He also used me as a bit of a soother, but it was ok. Remember he is going to have growth spurts, and his feeding habits will change. I remember trying to watch a movie with friends and he finished eating, and literally 3 minutes later he was hungry again. Remember babies will feed more in order to make your supply ramp up to meet their needs. I wish you luck, I am glad you are finding breastfeeding is improving. I was so glad I was able to bf my child, it really helped us to bond. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Reply

  43. I know I’m a little late to this conversation, but we both wore our foster baby while we had her because she had attachment issues. It was probably the most meaningful thing that we did for her after feeding her.

    I found this website: http://wearyourbaby.com/ and used the 5 minutes $5 instructions to make a carrier from knit cotton jersey fabric. There are many wonderful videos there teaching you various wraps and carries. Check it out. You don’t need to buy a special carrier. Women have wrapped their babies to their bodies using shawls/woven fabrics for centuries.

    Use some extra fabric to make an identical carrier for your toddler. Then he can wear and tend to a “baby” just like you and your hands are free to work, tend to him if needed and everyone is mostly happy.

    P.S. Hope your little one is doing better.

    Reply

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