When we have our first baby we have images in our head of a cuddly newborn sleeping on the couch. We imagine holding our baby endlessly on our chest. However, what we don’t realize is there are a lot more aspects to parenting than just cuddling. Some children really don’t like to cuddle. It can be a simple as a personality trait or as serious as a mental health problem. There are a lot of factors that can go into a child being unwilling to cuddle or be touched. So before you immediately jump to their being a problem, consider these facts about a not so cuddly baby.
Some people just don’t like to be touched. Some children are just personality-wise less likely to want to be touched. So in that case, a less emotional baby will cuddle less. This is likely in kids who are also more independent. Just like some adults are not interested in being touched, some children are that way too. Also, if a child has experienced any type of abuse, they are less likely to be cuddly. This is because they fear touch because they have experienced it in a bad way.
Attention in Other Ways
Children who aren’t interested in being touched are likely seeking attention in other ways. Less cuddly children typically enjoy more interaction with adults. They will move their face and body in ways that they know gets attention from caregivers. They will seek attention through interaction rather than touch. There are other ways to give your child attention. Spending quality time with your child is important. Ensuring that you are providing your child a safe healthy home is important as well. Providing a safe place for your child to live and sleep can help give them wanted attention in other ways.
Some babies prefer swaddling to cuddling because swaddling feels more womb-like and more secure. Swaddling is a simple way to calm your baby. It makes them feel safe and helps lessen the reflex that makes them jump like they are falling. Swaddling as been the primary form of cuddling for newborn babies for centuries basically because it works!
Many people believe that if you hold a baby too much you will spoil them and then they won’t want ever to sleep alone. Although that can happen when they are toddlers and older children, that is unlikely to happen with newborns. Newborn babies are unsure of the world around them, so one way that they find comfort is being held by mom. Mom is the only thing that they know to be safe. Along with that, babies don’t get spoiled because they don’t have a strong memory.
As a child grows and becomes interested in more things around them they will be less interested in sleeping all the time. There is so much brain development that happens in the first few months that all babies really do is sleep. Then after that, they are more interested in the world. So with less sleeping comes less cuddling. Children don’t enjoy being cuddled because it means their face is nestled in your body. It is impossible to see and experience the world like that. So typically they will not be interested in cuddling anymore after they have found the world.
Some children have trouble relating to the real world. Some children are colicy and have problems with their stomach learning how to process milk. This makes them colicy and teary-eyed. This is the point when swaddling and putting them in a swing may be the option that they like. Typically, colicy babies don’t like to be on their tummy. This makes them less likely to be interested in cuddling.
A child may be more cuddly if they are cold. If your child isn’t usually cuddly, but suddenly is consider that the temperature in your house is cold. Babies know that mom is a sense of security and warmth. So if they are cold they may get more cuddly.
There are plenty of other ways to bond with your baby. One major way is through feeding. Breast and bottle feeding is a time of day that you can spend time looking at your baby and creating an emotional bond. Your child will bond with you through food. Also, when your baby is younger in the newborn stage, skin to skin contact can create a bond. This bond can be very helpful when your child is sick. This bond can also create long-lasting positive relationships. When a child is a baby, they learn how to relate to people.
Different stages of development can bring forth different traits out of a child. A child may not be cuddly simply because they are going through a growth spurt. Growth spurts often spur curiosity and make a child not want to be restrained in a cuddle. Along with that, as a child learns to be more independent and active, they are less likely to want to spend time laying with mom. They have things to do and people to see!
Autism can be associated with a child not enjoying being cuddled. However, this can only be a clear diagnosis after a child is five and shows many other signs. A child that has autism and doesn’t like to be touched will also display other symptoms such as not looking at others in the eye, lack of speech, and lack of thought control.
In the end, a baby not being cuddly is really not a huge deal. It can show independence in your child and hopefully be a precursor to a strong intelligent child. So if your child isn’t cuddly and your getting worried, don’t. Ask your pediatrician about any other possible reasons they may not be cuddly. If she finds no issues, then just know you have an independent child.