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Fayette-Mom: Put the baby down

Posted July 18, 2011 8:14 p.m. EDT

Jennifer Joyner

I love going to baby showers, especially when the host hands you a piece of paper and asks you to write down your best piece of advice for a new mom.

I suppose many mothers hit the popular subjects, such as how to get the swing of breastfeeding or where are the best places to hit for consignment sales.

My favorite piece of advice, however, always needs extra explanation: “Put the baby down."

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was beyond paranoid, always wondering if something was wrong with the baby. When she was born and I was finally able to see for myself that she was OK, I was elated. My mom says she remembers advising me from the beginning to not hold my baby daughter while she slept — to get her used to sleeping in her bassinet or the crib on her own. This advice seemed silly to me at the time: What harm could I possibly be doing by simply wanting to hold my newborn?

Heh. Hindsight is something else.

Emma is now 7 and she still has a hard time going to sleep at night. She always wants to be right up under me, at all times, which is wonderful, if I don’t have anything that needs to get done! My mom chuckles when she sees this now, and I know she’s right when she says it’s because I held baby Emma all the time.

For proof, I need to look no further than my son. Eli was born when Emma was just 19 months old, and while I was enamored with my newborn son, I had no choice but to put him down frequently to chase the toddler around the house. Eli is now 5 years old, and he goes to sleep without a bit of problem. In fact, he is rather annoyed if he has to share his bed with anyone. He plays independently with ease and has always had very little separation anxiety.

So, all you new moms-to-be out there: You will be in love with that newborn and could likely spend hours gazing into their eyes or smelling their sweet heads.

But I beg of you. After a little while, put the baby down.

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in September. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. Find her here on Go Ask Mom on Tuesdays.