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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Most small babies love to be carried and cuddled, but some do not. If yours is an uncuddly baby, he may seem to resent the physical restriction of being held.

• Instead of molding himself to the curves of your body, he probably wriggles and fights. He may hurt your feelings; you may have to think quite hard about how to handle him too, because he’s refusing one of your ways of comforting and playing with him.

• Although he doesn’t want as much physical contact with you as you expected, he’ll very much enjoy other kinds. Try lying on a bed or a rug on the floor and leaning right over, so he can study your face from close up while you talk and smile. He may smile and talk back rather earlier than you’d expected.

• You can indulge your sensuous pleasure in him without holding too. When you long to stroke his wrist or kiss the dimples in his back, do it while he’s in his baby seat or on his changing mat. He’ll probably be even more delighted if you’ll show your physical affection in physical play, bicycling his legs and blowing raspberries on his tummy.

• And while you give him what he seems to enjoy, don’t totally give up what you enjoy. He can put up with being cuddled sometimes, and he’ll learn to like it.

Penelope Leach, Ph.D., is one of the world’s most respected (and best-loved) developmental child psychologists. She is most widely known for her best-selling books on child development and parenting. They include Babyhood, Children First: What Society Must Do — and Is Not Doing — for Our Children Today, the classic Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five (now in a new edition for a new generation), and Your Growing Child: From Babyhood Through Adolescence.

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Behavioral, Problem, Support and Advice, Temporary