The truth about spoiling your baby
I feel very strongly that I share with you all that I have discovered over the years about “spoiling your baby”.
- You can’t spoil a baby with love. There is so much neuroscience on this. Don’t doubt it, and if you do, research it.
- What exactly is “spoiling” a baby? I do not like this phrase. What does it even mean? To ruin a baby, to mess a baby up, to make a baby “not good” These are big scary labels and very wrong. Babies are completely open. They absorb information around them. They grow through the lessons and experiences we provide. A baby’s brain is only 20% developed at birth, the rest of the development happens as a result of epigenetics (i.e. genes interacting with the environment). What we do with babies creates them and they develop into the experiences we provide. To not provide babies with responsive love, care and support can give them reduced capacity to deal with stress in later life and be emotionally unequipped to cope with relationships. How we respond to our babies as parents is arguably where you could say our actions towards are babies are life defining. Let’s give all babies love enriched experiences.
- Who defined what activities “spoil” babies? Often people cite picking babies up if they cry, carrying babies around, being in lots of close contact with babies as spoiling or overindulging them. From all the scientific research, I have read the more we touch our babies, the more skin to skin, the more they are carried and nurtured the more they grow physically and emotionally. Science has shown us that touch is essential and vital to all babies’ development. Studies show that baby mammals deprived of touch die despite having food, shelter and warmth. All the evidence culturally and scientifically suggests the more we respond to our babies with love and care, the more independent and balanced they become.
- Being frighten to respond to your baby in fear of judgment or “spoiling” him has to be the greatest pressure and emotional burden any parent can feel. In most situations if we see another human crying, calling out, needing our attention, we go to them to ask them if they are okay, to help them and to comfort them. Somewhere in one of the darker moments of parenting, the idea of responding to your baby when he cries for you became tinged with guilt, anxiety and worry. It became a negative thing. Instinct was dampened down with societal and generational pressure. Not following your hormones and instinctual feelings can lead to misalignment in your identity as a parent and leave you confused and even depressed. When your baby cries, don’t panic or judge yourself or the situation, just tune in. What’s the message? What does he need? Never be afraid to ask and talk about it with your baby. He hears you in all you do.
- Having a close emotional bond and attachment with your child is the greatest gift you can ever give him. Investing your time, attention and love in your child will enable you to really understand each other. Don’t hold back. This is the most raw, natural and honest relationship you will ever have. Embrace it all and just be present. Be yourself and be a teacher. Help shape the future by teaching love to your child.
- Being responsive to your baby does not mean picking him up all the time; it means picking him up when you know he needs and wants you. Babies smile, coo, fuss and cry to communicate with us. As you learn more about your baby, you will know how to respond to him but if you don’t tune in and listen, you can’t connect with your baby on this level. You won’t spoil or over indulge your baby by listening, you will only learn more about how to meet his needs.
Nurturing touch, skin to skin & massage is the simplest way to communicate love. Don’t be afraid to respond to your baby with the security of your arms at anytime you feel it is right. You are the expert of your baby. Your heart will teach you all you need to know.
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