Can babies be spoiled? No, that’s why!

A child who can count on his parents, who is sure of his bond with them, is a happier and less needy child. Over the years he will become a child first and then an adult, with the courage to face the world independently.

You will surely have come across some family member or acquaintance who, sparing unsolicited advice, told you: ” If you keep picking up your baby every time he cries, you will spoil him “. Or “ If you breastfeed him whenever he wants, you spoil him! ” Or again: “ If he sleeps with you, you won’t get rid of the bed before 10 years! 

Let’s start by applying the first fundamental rule: never pay attention to those who tell you that you pay too much attention to your child. It’s a pun, but an effective one. As a mother you will get unsolicited advice all the time, let it slip your way.

It is not possible to spoil a newborn and this has been proven by science. Without ifs and buts.

Despite this, in the incorrect imagination of many people, children are compared to little tyrants with their parents at their complete service. A very undignified image, for everyone.

Do spoiled people exist? Of course, there are people who believe that everything is due to them, but there are no spoiled babies. 

It is true that children expect a lot from us. They have intrinsic growth demands that require special care and constant presence. With only 25% of adult brain volume at full term birth, they need an “external uterine” experience to create millions of synapses every second. They have to feel good to grow well. But that doesn’t mean they are spoiled. They are just growing.

Respond to the baby’s cry

Newborns cry because they have basic needs : to be fed, held, comforted, and loved. Their needs are actually the same as their wants at this age. It is our job to listen to our instincts and respond to those needs and desires in the best possible way.

Children communicate when they feel something is wrong. And not only with crying, crying actually happens in an advanced stage of their communication that started much earlier with gestures and grimaces. And it is by living the child up close that you learn to know his needs without necessarily having to cry . And skin-to-skin contact is the beginning of that fundamental path of knowledge.

If all of that means carrying your baby in a sling while you do the laundry or getting up every few hours every night to breastfeed, so be it. All this will in no way be the “ruin” of a newborn.

When a parent or other caregiver responds to your baby’s cry, does nothing but try to meet your baby’s needs, you are teaching them to feel safe. And that security and confidence will translate into less crying and more independence in the long run. This is because young children who feel deep trust in their parents tend to develop a secure sense of self that helps them calm down later. To build a resilient body and brain, we need to provide them with the necessary support.

The more relaxed you remain, the easier it will be to console your child. Even very young children are sensitive to the tension around them and react by crying. Listening to a crying baby can be frustrating, but letting your frustration turn to anger or panic will only intensify the baby’s screams. If you start to feel like you can’t handle the situation, get another family member or friend to help you. Not only will this give you much-needed relief, but sometimes a new face can soothe the baby when all your attempts have run out. No matter how frustrated you are it is very important not to shake the baby . Shaking a baby hard can cause very serious complications for the newborn.

Never take your baby’s crying personally. He doesn’t cry because you’re a bad parent or because he doesn’t like you. All babies cry, often for no apparent cause. Newborns usually cry for one to four hours a day. It’s part of adjusting to this strange new life outside the womb.

No mom or dad can comfort their child every time they cry, so don’t expect miracles. Take a realistic approach to the situation, organize yourself with some help, get as much rest as possible and enjoy all those wonderful moments with your child.

Babies are not kidding you

How many times has it happened to you that they tell you; ” He’s smart, he looks, you pick him up and he stops crying, then he didn’t have any problems .”

As beautiful and loving as newborns are, they are not yet intelligent enough to formulate an elaborate thought like: ” I cry so he picks me up “. The needs and wants of newborns are much simpler and more basic.

So if you respond to cries for food, or cuddles or need help falling asleep, you’re not spoiling him but reinforcing the idea that you’re there with him and he can count on you. Your behavior will help your child develop a healthy bond with you as a parent.

Obviously there will be times when you won’t be able to respond (because you’re cooking or taking a shower,…) you don’t have to be perfect but respond to your child’s needs in the best possible way, to make him understand that he is loved.

All of this certainly costs effort but the results are priceless: a child who can count on his parents, who is sure of his bond with them, is a happier and less needy child. Over the years he will become a child first and then an adult, with the courage to face the world independently.

The risk of spoiling appears at what age?

Once your baby is about six months old, their wants will become more sophisticated and may not coincide with their needs . For example, an older child may want to pull hair or an earring or he may want the TV remote with all the interesting buttons to push, or just to be able to throw it wherever he wants. .

In cases like this, it is good to establish limits and teach that there are precise rules : in this way, the child will be able to understand the concept that the mother does not always give him what he wants, but loves him anyway.

For now, though, while your child is still very young, remember that you can’t spoil a newborn, but you can teach him to trust you and the world.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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