You pick up your infant when he or she screams. And you end up holding them a lot more than you put them down at times.
This will almost always result in some criticism, usually from a well-meaning relative, friend, or acquaintance.
“Holding your baby too much will spoil him.”
But can you really spoil a baby? Let’s find out in this article.
Can You Spoil a Baby by Holding Them Too Much?
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Despite the fact that specialists have been repeating for years that you can’t spoil a newborn, this is a misconception that has survived for a long time.
In fact, the journal Pediatrics published a study in 1986 about a randomised controlled experiment that discovered that newborns who were carried more cried and fussed less.
In an article by Healthline, the researchers said,
“We conclude that supplemental carrying modifies ‘normal’ crying by reducing the duration and altering the typical pattern of crying and fussing in the first 3 months of life.”
The brain of a newborn baby is still developing, which is why you cannot really spoil them. In reality, their brain won’t be fully developed for quite some time.
As a result, being close to your baby allows them to respond to all of the new stimuli in their environment and begin to self-regulate.
According to child development experts, it is impossible for parents to hold or respond to a baby too often, contrary to popular belief. Infants require regular attention in order to develop emotionally, physically, and intellectually.
Kevin Nugent, director of the Brazelton Institute at Children’s Hospital in Boston and a child psychologist says that a newborn is learning that the world is in some way reliable and trustworthy and that his or her basic requirements will be supplied. It’s not a case of spoiling your child by responding to his or her indications. It’s all about addressing your child’s needs.
Moreover, Dr Barbara Howard, assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on psychosocial aspects of child and family health, says,
“A spoiled child is one that’s manipulative, but babies don’t learn until they’re about 9 months that they can cry to get you to do something for them.”
At What Age Can a Baby Be Spoiled?
Photo by Laura Garcia
Your baby may have varying needs and wants. By the time he or she is 6 or 7 months old, you might be able to withstand their requests a little at that time.
It’s not so much that you’re pampering them if you “give in” to every request, but it could be more advantageous to teach them some boundaries, especially if it’s for their own safety.
Should You Let Them Cry a Little to Keep Them From Being Spoiled?
A 2020 study looked at kids whose parents had occasionally let their infants “cry it out,” and found that babies who were allowed to cry in the first 6 months had no harmful behavioural or attachment concerns by the time they were 18 months old.
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the study found that allowing a baby to cry was uncommon during the neonatal period. But it got more common after 3 months.
The researchers admitted that responding to every single cry from a baby can be stressful. But a following 2020 review found that letting a baby cry occasionally in the context of a caring parent-infant interaction isn’t harmful.
When to Stop Holding Baby All the Time
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Responding to your child’s true needs is not spoiling them. And they are unquestionably needs, not wants, during the infant period.
However, you can begin to understand more about your child’s cues in order to determine what those needs are. Which may influence your response (and how quickly you respond).
Newborns, believe it or not, have various different types of cries. Some of the cries are hunger cries, while others are discomfort cries. They may cry because they are weary or overstimulated, and some new newborns, of course, cry because they need to be changed.
Crying is your baby’s method of communicating with you and letting you know that they need something, in all of its subtle and not-so-subtle variants.
We’ve been taught for decades that carrying newborns too much “spoils” them, despite the fact that throughout much of the rest of the world, babies are and have always been carried or worn in a sling all day until they can walk.
Following a certain parenting philosophy will not satisfy our infant’s basic need for human contact. It’s all about respecting and following nature’s biological blueprint for human development.
How to Soothe Baby Without Carrying Them
There’s really nothing wrong with picking up your baby when they are crying. But it depends on your threshold and your energy as a parent. If you are also feeling sick or unwell, best to ask your partner or someone you trust to take care of your child first.
Moreover, if you feel exhausted and not able to carry, there are a few things you can try to comfort your little one. After checking to make sure your baby is not sick, hungry, or needs a diaper change, try these calming strategies:
- Rock them in a rocking chair or hold them while sitting and sway from side to side.
- Gently stroke their head or pat their back or chest.
- Swaddle them.
- Sing a lullabye.
- Talk to them in a soft voice.
- Play relaxing music.
- Put them in the stroller and walk them around. Or just push the stroller back and forth while sitting.
- Go out and take baby — and yourself — for a nice, easy car ride.
- Turn on the white noise machine, or put them next to a rhythmic noise or vibration, like a washing machine or fan.
- Burp them to relieve any trapped gas bubbles.
- Try giving them a warm bath and massage afterwards.
This article was written by Margaux Dolores and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
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