Snuggles and Cuddles for the Adult Baby (and what it means to Daddy)

If you’re a daddy to an adult baby, you’ve heard the requests: “Daddy, I need hugs!”…”Daddy, can we pleeeeeeze snuggle!”.

Little ones need a lot of attention and that includes physical affirmation. A hug can tell them that everything’s OK. Being held can tell them that daddy cares and that they’re safe.

For a daddy to the adult baby boy, they’re probably second only to diaper checks as a way to create a bond with a little one.

Adult baby boys and the need for cuddles

These moments can range from holding your little one as you watch Paw Patrol together, to finding he’s holding on to your leg as you try to cook dinner!

They can be a quick hug at the door as you welcome him home from ‘nursery school’ (and then whisper in his ear – “time to get you into a diaper kiddo”). Or they can be afternoon-long sessions in the blanket fort as you hold him and tell him stories.

But What’s The Difference Between a Cuddle and a Snuggle?

So, I thought it was all pretty simple. Until a little one who was new to the community asked me: “what’s the difference between a snuggle and a cuddle?”

Being a daddy, I couldn’t admit that I didn’t have an immediate answer! And so I said – “Just wait until you get here to see!”.

But I sure could use some help! What IS the difference between a cuddle and a snuggle?

I’ve come up with some working definitions – but I’d like your help in the comments below πŸ™‚

Working Definitions: Cuddles and Snuggles and Hugs, Oh My!


For the Little

For the little one, requesting a hug means: “I need reassurance. I’m feeling a bit big, maybe, or a bit vulnerable. Big stuff can be icky and I need some reassurance that I still mean something to daddy”.

For Daddy

Face your little one and wrap your arms around him. There is no such thing as a hug that’s too long! Don’t be the one to break off a hug. Leave it to your little boy – he’ll know when he feels reassured. Just as important as the physical holding are the words you can say: “Awww you’re such a good little boy”, “Daddy loves you and everything is OK”.


For the Little

A snuggle means: “I feel cute! I feel playful and little. I’m feeling cozy and happy and want my daddy to share in the feeling.”

For Daddy

Hold your little one, usually while lying down on a couch or bed. Snuggles are playful and should include more hand movement – rubbing circles on his tummy, giving a light tickle under his chin or ruffling his hair.

For a daddy, a snuggle is also a secretly-disguised moment for a diaper check. Your little one will get a squirm of pleasure when you use a snuggle to also give his diaper a little squeeze to check for wetness, or to pat his padded bum.


For the Little

Cuddles mean: “I want to be loved and feel safe, I want to be protected and know Daddy cares”.

For Daddy

Hold your little one much like you would for a snuggle. But in this case movement is your enemy! You’re holding your little one to give him assurance and validation. As you hold him, you’ll feel his body loosen and relax. His breathing will get deeper and he may even nod off a bit. Often, you’ll sense that he wets his diaper – which is a sign to you that he both feels safe and relaxed.

Snuggle Piles

Now, one thing to mention – when little ones get together they will almost always end up in a big crinkly pile!

Snuggle and cuddle dynamics amongst little ones will always be a bit of a mystery to a daddy: how the heck do they manage to breathe when they’re all piled on top of each other? How can you check your little one’s diaper when you can’t figure out who is who in a big pile of little ones?

I’ll leave snuggle piles for another post I guess!

So…What Do YOU Call a Snuggle?

So…I’m still not sure if I got it right. Above are my working definitions πŸ™‚

So I could use your help – what IS the difference between a snuggle and a cuddle? What other terms do you use? Drop a comment below!

3 Replies to “Snuggles and Cuddles for the Adult Baby (and what it means to Daddy)”

  1. I am thrilled to see your blog back online and the return of your thoughtful, long-form posts. Each one is an interesting musing on the experience of littlespace and bigspace, and I must confess that just reading your account of what Daddy’s thinking rockets me straight into littlespace every time. Thank you so much!

    As for the topic of this post, I’m not exactly sure how these words should work, but each kind of cuddle that you describe feel VERY real and distinct to me, and well worth naming! I think there should also be another word for naughty and frisky snuggles, because my Daddy loves to suggest that it’s cuddletime when he actually means something quite different. πŸ˜‰

  2. Awwww thanks so much Wolven! It means so much to me that the site helps you find that space…and it means a lot to finally have it back online again. It was back up for a short period but there was some sort of hack/virus and a new host seems to have solved the issues with regular scans etc.

    Now, honestly, I think I agree – it’s important to know what all these words mean. But at the end of the day whether a little on asks for a cuddle or a huggle or a snuggle the important thing is that they want their daddy’s attention and care.

    But you’re right! And I had forgotten – sometimes it’s DADDY who asks for cuddles and when it comes from Daddy it can have a whole different meaning. Meanings that can sometimes make a little one blush or squirm πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for your comment and here’s a snuggle just for you! -snuggle-

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