What Do I Do When My 9 Month Old Baby Wants to Be Held All the Time?

My mom always used to say, “Babies are like tiny little emperors, ruling our hearts and homes.” It’s true, isn’t it?

Especially when they’re about nine months old and seem to have a newfound fascination with being held. All. The. Time.

Now, you might be wondering, “What do I do when my 9-month-old baby wants to be held all the time?”

Here’s the thing.

It’s not that your little one is trying to be overly demanding or manipulative. There’s a whole lot of growth and development happening at this stage, and sometimes they just need the comfort of mom or dad’s arms.

But before we dive into how to navigate this phase, let’s get one thing straight.

Contrary to some beliefs, responding to your baby’s need for comfort doesn’t mean you’re spoiling them. It just means you’re being responsive to their needs.

Now, let’s look at some strategies to navigate this clingy phase without losing your sanity or neglecting your household chores.

1. Understand the reason behind your baby’s clinginess

Why does your baby want to be held all the time?

First, know that it’s perfectly normal. At this age, your little one is starting to explore their surroundings more and more. This newfound independence can be both exciting and scary, leading to an increase in clinginess.

Secondly, your baby’s brain is growing rapidly. They’re learning so much about the world around them, and sometimes, they just need a familiar, comforting presence (that’s you!) to help them process all these new experiences.

So, if you find yourself with a 9-month-old who always wants to be held, take a deep breath. It’s not a reflection of your parenting abilities or an indication that something is wrong. It’s just part of their development.

Understanding the ‘why’ behind their behavior can make handling the ‘what’ a whole lot easier.

2. Employ the “distract and divert” tactic

Let me share a little story from my own parenting journey.

When my daughter was around 9 months old, she went through a phase where she wanted to be held all the time. I was exhausted and couldn’t get anything done. Sound familiar?

Then, I stumbled upon a strategy – distract and divert.

One day, while I was holding her, I noticed her fascination with a brightly colored toy. So, I plopped her in her playpen with that toy. She was so engaged with it; she barely noticed when I slipped away to finish some chores.

From then on, before I needed to put her down, I’d find something that would hold her interest. A new toy, a household object she loved (like a Tupperware container), or even just a change of scenery.

This might not work every time, but it can certainly buy you some much-needed hands-free time. And sometimes, that’s all we parents can ask for, right?

3. It’s okay to say no

Here’s something we often forget as parents.

It’s okay to say no.

You’re not a bad parent if you need to put your baby down for a bit. You’re not neglecting them if you need a break. You’re human, and you have limits.

I remember one particular day when my little one was at her clingiest, and I was at my wits’ end. I felt like I was failing her by needing a moment to myself.

But then I realized something crucial – I needed to be okay too. If I’m exhausted and stressed, that’s not good for either of us.

I gently placed her in her crib with her favorite stuffed animal, and took a much-needed coffee break. And you know what? The world didn’t end. She fussed for a bit and then settled down.

It’s essential to take care of yourself too. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and sometimes, saying no is the best thing you can do for both of you.

4. Create a comforting environment

When your 9-month-old wants to be held all the time, creating a comforting environment can work wonders.

Think about it. Your arms are a haven of warmth, familiarity, and safety for your baby. Can you blame them for wanting to stay there?

But you can replicate this feeling of security even when they’re not in your arms.

Try to create a safe and engaging space for them to play and explore. Make sure their play area is clean and filled with stimulating toys or objects. A soft blanket that smells of you can provide comfort and familiarity.

And keep in mind the power of your voice. Even when you’re not holding them, talking or singing to your baby can provide the reassurance they need.

I found that using these strategies often gave my little one the confidence to venture on her own, freeing up my hands and giving her the chance to learn and grow independently.

Your baby wants to feel safe and secure, whether they’re in your arms or exploring their world. So, creating a comforting environment is definitely worth a try!

5. Engage in babywearing

Have you ever come across the term ‘babywearing’?

It’s a practice where you carry your baby in a sling or carrier, keeping them close to you while freeing up your hands. It can be a lifesaver when your 9-month-old wants to be held all the time.

Here’s something intriguing. In many cultures around the world, babywearing is a traditional practice and is believed to promote a strong bond between the parent and child.

Not only that, but it also enables the baby to observe their surroundings from a safe vantage point, which can be stimulating for their developing brains.

I remember using a baby carrier with my daughter when she was going through her clingy phase. It was like having an extra pair of hands! I could do household chores, go for walks, even catch up on my reading, all while she snuggled close to me.

Give it a shot! You might find that babywearing is the perfect solution for those times when your little one just wants to be close to you.

6. Remember, this too shall pass

Parenting can be a rollercoaster ride, can’t it?

One day you’re marveling at your baby’s first laugh, the next you’re wondering how to get anything done with a baby who just wants to be held.

But here’s something I want you to keep in mind.

Every phase, no matter how challenging, is temporary. Your 9-month-old wanting to be held all the time is just that – a phase. And like all phases, it will pass.

It might not feel like that when you’re in the thick of it, but someday, you’ll look back at this time and miss those tiny arms reaching out for you.

Take a deep breath, handle one day at a time, and know that you’re not alone. There are countless parents out there navigating the same waters, and we’re all doing the best we can.

Hang in there. There’s a whole community here cheering for you. You’ve got this!

7. Trust your instincts

At the end of the day, you know your baby best.

You’re their parent, and no one else understands their needs, cues, or quirks better than you do.

While it’s useful to seek advice and learn from others’ experiences, never underestimate the power of your own instincts. If something doesn’t feel right or a certain approach isn’t working for you and your baby, it’s okay to change course.

Your bond with your baby is unique. Trust that bond, trust yourself, and you’ll find your way through this phase – just as you have through every other phase so far.

There’s no ‘one size fits all’ in parenting. What worked for me or anyone else might not work for you, and that’s okay. You’re doing a great job. Trust yourself.

Embracing the journey

You find yourself with a 9-month-old who wants to be held all the time.

This is just a phase, and like every phase, it will pass. Before you know it, your little one will be off exploring the world on their own, and you’ll be reminiscing about the days when they wouldn’t let go of you.

Parenting, with all its challenges and joys, is a journey. Each step is an opportunity for growth – for you and your baby.

Take a moment to reflect. Is this phase as challenging as it feels? Or is it an opportunity to slow down, to savor the warmth of your baby’s tiny body against yours?

With each point we’ve discussed here, remember that they are not rules set in stone but suggestions. Trust your instincts – because in this journey of parenthood, those instincts are your most reliable guide.

And most importantly, be gentle with yourself. You’re navigating new territory with every passing day, learning as you go along.

This stage of your baby always wanting to be held might feel overwhelming now, but someday you might look back and see it as one of the most precious times in your life. So breathe, take it one day at a time, and remember – you’re doing a great job.

As Fred Rogers once said, “There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.” Your baby thinks so too.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey is a nomadic writer with a background in psychology, specializing in child development. Born and raised in diverse cultural settings, she developed a deep understanding of human behavior and the intricacies of parenting. Driven by her passion for helping others, Tina now contributes to Careful Parents, offering practical advice and insights drawn from her expertise and experiences. Through her articles, she aims to empower parents with effective strategies for nurturing healthy relationships and fostering their children's growth.

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