Depends on the age
Newborns need to be held.
Up to a couple months of age, a baby only understadns if his needs can be met. Hold him all you can, but allow him always to learn to fall asleep by himself by placing him in his crib when sleepy. After this period s he becomes more interested in the world around him, play with him while he is on his mat or chair so he does not expect to be held all the time.