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Why You Can't Spoil a Baby

Why You Can't Spoil a Baby

Why You Can't Spoil a Baby

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 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." 

Image Source: The GiantVermin via Flickr/Creative Commons

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.

RachaelNeuman RachaelNeuman 4 years
i agree you cant spoil a baby just by your love!!! But My son he is a big lover with him momma.. i work full time job and his daddy stays home with him, so daddy is the stay at home daddy.. but my son is a bigggg mommas boy, sometimes my son wont stop crying for daddy until momma holds him. Or the two days that i have off its like he knows it because he only wants me.. if daddy trys to hold him or do anything he cries.. so i get him my two days off.. which i do love.. but he needs his daddy too!!
wolfcat87 wolfcat87 5 years
I carried both of my children constantly until they were 1.5-2 years old and neither is spoiled. I get compliments on my children all of the time. ♥
Tiffany40768 Tiffany40768 6 years
There have been so many scientific studies conducted with the same results that this strong correlation between maternal attention and secure attatchment it has become considered common knowledge within early childhood education circles. Go on the Zero to Three website. All the information on there comes directly from the Zero to Three Journal. There is even a link to the journal if you enjoy reading the research firsthand.
JodiTipton JodiTipton 6 years
Jeanna, choose a childcare with a low staff/ infant ratio or try to find someone that watches kids in their home. I worked in an infant room at a daycare for several years and, after about 8 months of age, the kids really keep each other entertained and don't want to be held by a caregiver as much. It is hard for caregivers of younger infants to find time to hold and cuddle them. A ratio one 1 caregiver to 4 infants or less is ideal. Good luck!
JeannaStrachan JeannaStrachan 6 years
I agree with this article. But I'm having trouble with starting child care. I can't be there to hold her all the time at child care. What do I do?
StephanieStone3056 StephanieStone3056 6 years
yeah apparently holding them too much spoils them that's why I'm putting my daughter down as much as possible right now.... (heavy sarcasm) she's due in September!! LOL MAN is she going to be spoiled... carrying 9 months solid... what was I thinking! If there is one thing I've learned in the 20 years of being a mother and that's you can never hold them enough or give them enough attention.
ZenettaDiemer ZenettaDiemer 6 years
I agree u held my 18 month old everytime he cried and carried him for almost his first 3 months of life and he us very independent. I now have a 6 week old that I'm doing the same for. I don't consider myself an expert but as a mom and a pediatric emergency room nurse I can tell you I've dealt with a lit if crying babies and the majority of the time they just need a little love and comfort to stop the crying and feel secure
meganhulser meganhulser 6 years
i think that the "experts" are not experts till they have there own child . and untill then im not listening to anyone but other moms (the real experts ) i held my son every time he cried because it felt wrong not to and now my son is 15 months and gose off and plays in his rroom for hours when he is hungry,tired' hurt , or drity he come to me and lets me know ..
SarahEaton94007 SarahEaton94007 6 years
to Alexandra... moms who deal with a child every single day are not experts?? i am a perfect expert into my own child and can respond to his behavior in what way is necessary.
AlexandraRobinsonFawcett AlexandraRobinsonFawcett 6 years
it might have been usefull to quote some actual experts for this piece l- and not just the opinions of mothers. I'm sure they mean well but I like to see some evidence of properly conducted research and not just what individuals feel and think. That is exactly the same as the individuals who talk about spoiling babies, who this article suggests be ignored.
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