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Can you cuddle too much with newborn?

Cuddling with a newborn baby is one of the most rewarding parts of being a new parent. Skin-to-skin contact provides comfort, warmth, and bonding between parent and child. However, some parents worry that too much cuddling could spoil the baby or prevent them from learning to self-soothe. So how much is too much when it comes to cuddling a newborn?

The benefits of cuddling newborns

Cuddling provides many proven benefits for both baby and parent. For the baby, benefits include:

  • Regulates baby’s body temperature, breathing, and blood sugar levels
  • Lowers stress hormones and provides comfort
  • Strengthens baby’s immune system
  • Promotes secure attachment between parent and baby
  • Aids brain development

For the parent, benefits include:

  • Promotes bonding, affection, and responsiveness
  • Lowers parental stress and postpartum depression
  • Increases breastfeeding success
  • Boosts parental confidence and intuition

As you can see, regular cuddling provides major benefits that impact a baby’s health, development, and relationship with their parents in the early months. Unless cuddling is constant to an extreme, it’s unlikely a baby can get too much of this positive contact.

Signs of over-cuddling

While the benefits clearly show cuddling is vital, some babies actually can get over-stimulated. Signs of over-cuddling include:

  • Baby becomes fussy, cries, or pulls away when held
  • Baby has trouble sleeping or frequent waking
  • Clings to parent and cannot self-soothe
  • Cries increase when put down
  • Falls asleep only while held or rocked

If you notice these reactions, it may be a sign your baby needs more opportunity to self-soothe or experience calm awake time. Over-cuddling could prevent them from learning to self-regulate emotions and behaviors.

How much is too much?

There is no set amount of time considered too long for cuddling a newborn. Some babies crave constant contact, while others need less. Watch for signs of overstimulation, but otherwise trust your instincts. Guidelines include:

  • Cuddle during all feedings and whenever baby seems fussy
  • Aim for at least 2-3 hours of cuddle time spread throughout the day
  • When in doubt, hold your baby close
  • Remember babies change daily – adjust as needed

Allowing self-soothing

While you can’t really cuddle too much in the first couple months, it is important to also allow self-soothing. Ways to encourage this include:

  • Put baby down drowsy but awake for naps
  • Allow 5-10 minutes of calm, awake time a few times a day
  • Observe cues before picking up crying baby
  • Avoid constant rocking or motion to sleep every time

This allows the baby to learn to fall asleep independently, self-regulate emotions, and develop autonomy – all important skills.

Tips for safe cuddling

While you likely have the instinct to hold your baby close, there are some tips for safe cuddling practices:

  • Always support baby’s head and neck if not holding
  • Avoid blankets, pillows or stuffed animals in first few months
  • Use a baby carrier/wrap for hands-free holding
  • Cuddle skin-to-skin as often as possible
  • Avoid falling asleep with baby on unsafe surfaces

Following safe sleep guidelines will allow you to cuddle worry-free.

Transitioning from newborn cuddling

In the first three months, a newborn basically can’t get enough cuddling. But as they grow, you will notice their need shifting. Signs it may be time to scale back constant holding include:

  • Baby is less content being held for long periods
  • Baby pushes away or doesn’t mold to your body
  • Baby wants to see surroundings and interact with world
  • Baby enjoys floor time playing independently

At this point, shift cuddling to key times like feedings, bedtime, and when tired or upset. Follow baby’s cues, but remember touch remains vital as they grow.


Cuddling your newborn baby is one of the most rewarding joys of parenthood. While some worry about spoiling baby with too much contact, this concern is unwarranted in the first months. Babies need constant cuddling for regulation, comfort, and bonding in the beginning. Trust your instincts, watch for overstimulation, and adjust as needed. While allowing self-soothing, enjoy these precious months of newborn cuddles without worry or guilt. Your baby will let you know when they are ready for more independence.