to have and to holdPosted: June 7, 2013
if there’s one thing almost everybody i know seem to agree on when it comes to raising a child, it’s that he shouldn’t be held often.
i can’t count how many times i’ve been advised by well-meaning friends and family to make sure i don’t hold my son too much, for fear that he’ll get so used to it that there would be no other way to calm or comfort him and i would be unable to do anything else but carry him all day long.
i was told to feed him while propped on a pillow, lull him to sleep by patting him while in his crib, and when crying, to not pick him up unless i absolutely have to.
i have to admit that i had agreed wholeheartedly with this piece of advice while i was pregnant, and had resolved to follow it. what i had not counted on was how much i would enjoy holding my infant son.
oh, of course there are times when i couldn’t wait to put him down, but most of the time, i love feeling my son snuggled against me, cheek on my arm, his baby weight on my tummy. i love watching him eat while in my arms, his little mouth making sucking noises, his unfocused eyes on my face.
i didn’t think i was holding him too much, didn’t think comforting him with my warmth was such a bad thing, but soon people began commenting that i had gone and done it, i had held my son too much, too often, and he has gotten used to it. and so i tried to stop; i fed him while propped on a pillow, tried to lull him to sleep by patting him while he was in his crib, tried to not pick him up as often.
every time i *did* pick him up, i felt guilty, as if i was doing something wrong.
one day i looked at my crying son, went with my gut, and picked him up.
i decided i really didn’t need the extra stress and guilt. i know he felt more secure when he’s in my arms. i know he slept better when i rock him to sleep. soon, he would grow up and i would not be able to hold him the way i do now.
so yes, maybe some people will think i hold my son too much, and they might even be right, but i think i’d rest easier knowing i held him when i felt he wanted to be held, rather than let time pass and wonder if i didn’t hold him enough.