Press "Enter" to skip to content

What to do when the baby just wants to be in the arms

At eight or nine months, a phenomenon called separation anxiety occurs in the development of the baby. This term was coined by child psychiatrist Bowlby, who developed a theory about attachment. Bowlby considered the need to link the baby to a main attachment figure as a primary need.

This is the time when some moms and dads feel insecure because babies begin to demand more of their presence or claim their arms more frequently, as a result of which many begin to question themselves as parents.

From then on, advice comes that we should never have listened to, but the reality is that it is often repeated to the point of satiety: “let him cry”, “don’t pick him up so much” and the phrase that is most often repeated: “be careful you will get used to your arms”.

It is a mistake to think that we have to teach children to be without their parents in order to foster their independence. Around 14 months the child will be able to understand that their parents still exist even though they cannot see them, so it is neither good nor convenient to let the children cry and much less during this period of time.

In this way, we will not be able to make them independent but quite the opposite.

This is a process that far from being harmful, is a fundamental moment for the integral maturation of the child, we should not understand it as a problem.

At nine months the baby begins to realize that it is already an independent being and experiences the fear of being alone, babies are pure instinct, crying ensures their survival.

Reflect on what are the benefits we get when we are afraid and leave us alone, then decide if it is what you want for your child.

In order to establish a secure foundation in the relationship with our baby, it is necessary that at this time we meet his physical and emotional needs. In this way, it will be easier to create a healthy, strong and secure bond with our child.

When children feel threatened and there is a lack of affective response, there is emotional suffering.

If babies are allowed to cry they only learn to close themselves, in situations of prolonged distress they stop growing, feeling, and stop trusting (Henry and Wang 1998).

We can ask ourselves then:

Do I have to hold the baby in my arms all the time?

No, sometimes it is very difficult, especially when we have to attend to other needs that cannot wait.

We can try to carry. Ergonomic porting has multiple benefits: babies are safer and cry less, they have less colic, porting also favors parent-child bonding. Elisa Cruz, matron, recommends: “that in those moments of exhaustion and despair, when you think you can’t take more, take your baby, the less clothes the better, carry or rock him in your arms, feel him, listen to him, sing, reconnect, be one again. The safer a child feels when he is with his parents, the safer he will be when they are not present.
Another option besides carrying or arms, which can help the baby feel safer, is that each time we leave, we let him know that we will come back, talk to him calmly as we move around the house, in places where he cannot see us.
Some games such as cuckoo after or toys such as the permanence box, can help them understand the separation.
Babies only understand what they see, the here and now, the rest does not exist for them, so they have so much difficulty assimilating that when we leave we are in another place. It’s very simple, what I do not see does not exist.

If mom or dad’s arms become your baby’s favorite place consider it normal, their demand is not a problem to be solved or a whim, it is simply an important need that we must address.