Why I like to hold babies

jen-holding-baby3Babies smell good. Their sweet milky breath gets me every time. I can’t help myself. When I see a baby wrapped up in a lot of blankets or reclining on a car seat carrier, I’ll find myself undoing straps and taking off blankets almost before I ask permission to pick them up. I think I must be hardwired to bring a baby into my arms and then start the mama dance – a little swaying bouncing two step that I developed with my own babes that just sets itself in motion.

I notice that we all do it. And that each person’s mama or papa dance is unique. When I was pregnant with Willa I read somewhere that a dad has an uncanny ability to calm their newborn’s cries. Something about their smell, or familiar deep voice, or big comfortable hands. I shared this with my husband who took it in, but didn’t really believe it until it happened. Newborn Willa fell asleep in his arms while he was doing his own version of the daddy dance and hum.

We like to hold babies and babies want to be held. All the time. Science tells us that a baby that sleeps on the chest of one of her people will have a regulated heart rate, breathing and temperature. This is great news for premies. It also tells me that science has confirmed what my heart already knows.

I am grateful for all the tools out there that help us hold our babies while we go on with our lives – slings and ergo carriers, baby bjorns.

I know that this sounds cliché and may even be annoying, but our time with our babies goes by fast. Before you know it you’re oldest daughter has left for college, and your youngest is moving so quickly through her days in high school she barely has time for a quick hug now and then (that’s me this year). So cherish those baby days, even when it’s hard. Relish the fact that your touch can calm your child’s anxiety, can bring a big goofy smile to his face, can ease her back to sleep, even when you’re exhausted. Look for help so you can keep holding your baby.