At some point, a grandma, neighbor or random stranger has probably served up advice (unsolicited) that you're going to spoil your baby by racing to comfort her when she cries or fusses. Or, this parenting guru wannabe has read you the riot act for for holding your baby too much. "You're going to spoil her," they proclaim. "You'll be sorry."
Well, pooh-pooh to them, say many Circle of Moms members. These moms feel strongly that you can't spoil a baby by holding or comforting her too much. In fact, they believe the opposite: that meeting an infant's need to be held and fed in a predictable fashion actually helps your baby feel more secure and will build a lasting relationship of trust between mom and child.
"Human infants are born incredibly vulnerable," says Lisa M. "They're also biologically programmed to need near-constant contact with their mothers. Basically, a baby feels out of sorts and wrong when not being carried. A dry diaper and a full belly just don't cut it," Jennifer L. says, adding that "A baby needs to be held, It isn't even that they just want to be, they actually need it. Human contact is essential for proper brain, cognitive, and emotional development."
What's more, many of Circle of Moms members feel that responding to your baby actually fosters independence. "I held my son all the time, I still pick him up when he is crying," says Nikki M. about her 13-month-old son. "I don't believe you can spoil a baby, a baby needs their mommy to comfort and soothe them. Studies have shown babies who are not left to cry are the ones who are the most independent later on, because they feel safe and secure. My son is the most independent little boy out there."
Many Circle of Moms members also agree that cuddling and holding a baby fall into the same category of basic needs as feeding and changing dirty diapers. As Angie E. explains,"The need to be held and cuddled...is as much a need as any of the other things. It's how they build attachments and learn that they are safe. Remember the baby has just spent nine months living inside of you, hearing your heart beat all day long and being warm and cozy. How scary must it be for them to suddenly be put in a big crib all alone with no heartbeat to listen to, no warm cuddly place where they can hear your voice?"
So next time someone suggests that a baby is purposefully turning on the waterworks to yank your chain and be spoiled, don't pay attention, suggests Brandy K. "If your baby is having some separation anxiety and is being extra-needy, wanting to be held all the time, the quickest way to get him through it is to be there for his every cry. [Knowing] that you are there for him all the time, whenever needed, will build [his] confidence and support him in becoming an independent person. Mothers are supposed to be nurturing, and babies need to be held and comforted."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.