Am I spoiling my baby?

February 23, 2021

You get pregnant and give birth. Then, you are full of the joys of spring because you come back home with your loved one and start the most exciting as well as difficult part - raising a child. From the first days of motherhood, Google becomes your best friend (I get you, girl). Show me a mom with a newborn, and I will show you a mom who has just Googled “green poop” “rash“ "how long should I carry the baby" and thousand of different concerns (fact: during the first year, Moms spend over 1,400 hours worrying about their baby’s health). It's totally normal. Also, you want the best for your baby so you follow your maternal instinct. Easy peasy until the moment you are bombarded by the advice of your family and friends. You are confused and in a pickle. Probably you think 'she raised 3 kids so she must be right, my maternal instinct must have failed me'. WRONG.

Is it possible to spoil the baby?

A mother's dream is not a spoiled child certainly, but on the other hand, there is a question of whether it is possible to spoil the baby. You want your child to favour heaven, and at the same time, you are afraid that in the future you will have a badly brought up child. 30 years ago, most people believed that nothing would happen to a child if she cries a little. It means she can exercise her lungs, get tired and fall asleep. Nowadays, it was proved there is a hidden need behind any baby's behaviour. If she cries, she simply communicates some discomfort. So can meeting needs, carrying, hugging, spending time and attention have negative consequences for our child? Not at all. However, a lack of empathy and not responding to crying can have a big impact on the baby. Obviously, the negative one.

Consequences of long-term crying

Recognising the reason for a baby's cry is the most important part. After some time, the baby and parents get to know each other and it's quite easy to know what the baby wants at the specific moment. Also, maternal instinct helps a lot! Supporters of the very restrictive method of rising children claim that baby cry is a way of manipulation. Nothing could be more wrong! The baby has very limited possibilities of establishing contact with the parents. Crying is the only way she can communicate with loved ones. Actually, we should be glad the cry exists! Imagine if something is wrong with your baby and she does not show her emotions. Thanks to crying, the signals are sent to the parents: it informs whether the baby is hungry, too cold or too hot, or in pain. Sometimes it's just a cry out of a need for closeness. When my baby wakes up during the night, I always hug her firstly or hold her hand so she can feel my presence. Sometimes it is enough to get her settled and there is no need for the feed.

Origins of carrying babies

Anthropologists confirmed that our ancestors were carrying the children vertically until it was completely independent. It doesn't mean 24 hours of rocking, but literally carrying it. It was as natural as feeding or sleeping. Thanks to the grasp reflex, and clenching of the thighs and hands, the baby easily grasped the hair on the mother's body and accompanied her in everyday life.

Effect of carrying on the child's brain

Baby cries. You carry her, she stops crying. You put her down, she starts crying again. Every mother could put herself in this situation on the daily basis. Usually, that's when you can hear 'don't carry the baby because she will get used to it' or 'you have spoiled the baby by carrying it whenever she wants.' Typical.

Japanese scientists dispelled doubts. They found out why the baby stops crying when we pick him up. Children under 6 months of age participated in that study. Not only their heart rate was monitored, but also the intensity of crying depending on whether the baby was held by the mother who was sitting or walking around the room. When the mum picked up the baby, his heart rate normalised immediately. The number of movements of the child decreased as well. The baby became calmer and stopped bending. Let's have a look!

At the time of birth, a child's brain is the most immature structure that shapes depending on how it is used. Obviously, genetic plays a huge role as well but it is treated as a base. The experiences (whether the baby's needs are met) are that make the brain function the way it is. It plays a really important role in the development process.

Spoiling the baby is a good thing

All of the advice of our grandmothers or aunties regarding spoiling the baby can go in one ear and out the other. There is no such thing as spoiling a baby. It's totally natural for the mother to carry the baby, sing to her, speak to her or lie close to her. It's called meeting a baby's needs. Believe me, it will not cause any negative habit or addiction. Furthermore, the first months of a baby's life are the most important. The more attention you pay to him in the beginning, the more it will pay off in the future. Hence, not only it is crucial to react to the baby's crying immediately, but also stroke the head, kiss the forehead and play with her. Toys, baby clothes and other gadgets cannot hold the candle to these simple things.

Baby is one hundred per cent dependent on you. She is not a manipulator and all of her actions are not out of spite. Just like you, the child follows her instincts. She calls for help while crying and the only thing she needs is closeness to mom or dad. Is it so much? I don't think so. I truly believe you would raise an independent, courageous, self-confident and trusting child if you meet all of her needs.

Frequently asked questions

What to do when baby cries?

Firstly identify her need. Check if she is hungry, too cold or too hot, bored, needs a burp, needs to be held (try different ways), the clothes may hurt her, needs a nap, nappy change, doesn't feel well (check the temperature), has colic. You can give her a soother, carry her on the tummy, warm bath, tummy massage, hairdryer/vacuum sound (white noise), car ride, rock her in a stroller, hold her in the sling, reduce stimulation - sights, lights, sounds, and textures. Every child is different, however, a baby sling and hairdryer (a real one, baby despises the voice from youtube) work wonders in our case!

What should I do if nothing seems to help?

Firstly identify whether your baby is a High Need Baby and read about it. Secondly, remember that you are not the reason for her crying. I'm sure you will be better off if you accept that your baby simply cries a lot. If you've done everything to calm her and met all your baby's needs, the best you can do is to take care of yourself. Bear in mind that your baby feels if you are stressed and in bad mood. Hence, make sure you are relaxed so the baby can pick up good emotions from you.

Is it bad to pick up a newborn every time they cry?

It's totally fine to pick up a baby every time he cries. It is the only way your baby can communicate with you. He feels safe, loved, and just the best in your arms.

Can I hold my baby in the baby carrier?

Carrying babies in a sling or a carrier is a great way to build a relationship based on closeness, presence and affection. The carriers are designed for children who can sit up themselves, and thus are ready to maintain a sitting position in the carrier. Baby slings are recommended for younger babies. If the are tied correctly, they enable safe carrying from the first days of life. Also, make sure that your baby always facing the parent (the baby's belly to the parent's belly or the child's belly to the parent's back). Do not hold the baby towards the world, no matter what the manufacturer proposes. If you still decide to do so, keep in mind that the baby's legs are not supported properly, the baby's joints are affected, the position of the pelvis is incorrect, the spine does not take on its natural curvature, the baby's weight is primarily based on the perineum, the baby's head is unsupported, it's hard to find symmetry and very easy to overstimulate baby.

Do newborns feel love?

Despite the fact, she cannot speak yet, love for you really fills her whole heart. Research conducted by scientists has proven that a child sees mum as an inseparable part of himself in the early stages of life. Right after giving birth, your baby sees you as a source of pleasant sensations. You exist as a smell, a voice, a sweet taste, and a sense of security. Your presence soothes the newborn and stimulates its development.

Can I cuddle my newborn too much?

Not at all. Cuddling with your baby makes her calmer and makes her cry less often. She spends more time in silent wakefulness. This is the state in which the baby is the most satisfied, makes contact with the environment best and learns most effectively. By hugging and carrying a baby, the parent becomes more sensitive to his needs. Research shows that children of parents who are cuddling and meeting their babies' needs are better developed physically, emotionally and intellectually.

Does the newborn recognise Mum?

A mother and a child form a unique bond. It is one of the strongest relationships a human being can create. Its building begins during the coexistence of 9 months of pregnancy. From the moment of birth, a child can focus his eyesight on various objects. He chooses human faces the most often. After a few weeks of life, he learns to distinguish individual faces and respond to them. She recognises the face of her mother most often. From the third month on, the baby clearly recognises one person and seeks to contact her. Most often it is the mother who, due to feeding and frequent contacts with the baby, becomes the closest to him.

I hope you like this blog post! Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Also, if you know any other methods of soothing the baby, I am happy to get to know it. Cheers!

© 2021 Natalia Snopkowska