There is nothing like having a newborn baby. It will test your patience and increase your limits – we are talking about physical, mental, and emotional limits. Oh, and you will find yourself constantly waiting for the day you’ll get to sleep for 8 hours again.
But having a newborn baby means loving another person like you never did before. Maternal instincts, which you might have thought you didn’t have, will surface. Don’t be surprised to see yourself becoming fiercely protective of your little one.
When you act according to your maternal instincts, you will respond to your newborn baby’s cries – every single one of them. Are they hungry? Are they sleepy? Are they getting overstimulated? Are they seeking your comfort? You will respond to these cries because you know your baby needs you.
And you think you’re doing a great job mothering… until a relative or a stranger tells you that you’re doing it wrong.
“You’re spoiling your baby.”
Whether it’s from well-meaning strangers or relatives wanting to share some pieces of advice, chances are you have heard one of these statements from somewhere.
“You’re spoiling your baby, so stop picking her up when she cries.”
“Are you really feeding him on demand? You’re going to spoil your baby.”
It seems like everyone – but you – prefers your baby to be “independent.” A baby who does not cry much is a baby who “knows how to self-soothe,” while a baby who cries is a baby who is “spoiled.”
But is it really possible to love a newborn baby too much? Can you spoil a baby?
The simple answer is no. Let’s dispel this myth, which is not only absurd but also unhealthy. A newborn baby will rely on you for everything they will possibly need; ergo, they cannot be “independent.” In fact, it is choosing not to respond to your baby’s cries that will bring adverse effects!
Here are more reasons why it is plain impossible to spoil a baby.
5 Reasons Why You Can’t Spoil a Newborn Baby
1. Newborn babies need to communicate their needs.
Unlike us, a newborn baby only has a few basic needs: a need to be fed, a need to be comforted, and a need to be loved. As we all know, a newborn baby doesn’t know how to talk or relay their needs. Their cries are not an annoyance; they are an attempt to communicate.
Responding to your newborn baby’s cries does not mean teaching them to become overly dependent. Instead, you are merely answering to the fact that they need you. It is your job as their parent to listen to your baby and address their needs the best way that you can.
2. Newborn babies have an intense need for comfort and security.
The newborn stage is a difficult phase both for you and your baby. You are in for a new lifestyle, but think about it, your newborn baby has it worse: they are suddenly thrust in a strange, new world. The newborn stage will be difficult for you, but it can be downright terrifying for your baby.
Your newborn baby will definitely have an intense need for comfort and security, and these things will come from you. Consistently responding to this need will teach your baby that they can trust you and they don’t have to be afraid. They will feel more secure with you around, which is what you should aim for.
3. Newborn babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact.
There are a lot of developmental benefits that can be unlocked with simple skin-to-skin contact. According to Unicef, these benefits include regulation of your baby’s heart rate and breathing, stimulation of their digestion, regulation of temperature, and even protection against infection.
Because having skin-to-skin contact with your baby brings about many benefits, it does not make sense to withhold affection. Hold your baby as often as you can! It also benefits you as holding your baby reduces stress, makes you feel calmer, and strengthens the bond between the two of you.
4. Newborn babies don’t have the necessary sophisticated skills for manipulation.
The number one argument a well-meaning child-rearing advisor may give you is that your newborn baby may learn to manipulate you by crying. This is simply not true. A newborn baby cannot possibly manipulate you because they don’t possess the skills necessary to do it.
A newborn baby does not have advanced communicative and cognitive skills yet. They only know that they are hungry and need milk, or that they are feeling tired and need to sleep, or that they are lonely and need you. If you think that your newborn baby is 100% pure and innocent, you are 100% right.
5. Newborn babies will become more independent if they know they can depend on their caretaker.
If there’s anything that can affect your child’s independence, it’s your responsiveness. Contrary to the popular myth of spoiling, it is more dangerous to not respond to your baby’s cries. Doing so can impact a child’s self-esteem, which can cause a child to have difficulties adjusting to different environments.
According to studies, being a consistently responsive parent produces better outcomes. A baby whose needs are addressed right away feel more nurtured and secure. This has an impact on their development, as this fosters positive traits like cheerfulness, empathy, and – yes – independence.
Can you spoil a baby? No you can’t. It is simply impossible to spoil a baby when you respond to their cries. These cries are simply their way of communicating their needs, and addressing your baby’s needs is your primary responsibility as a parent.
Your baby won’t become clingy or dependent if you “spoil” them with love and attention. On the contrary, doing so will pave the way for true independence later on. So go ahead and hold your baby. Feed them whenever they feel hungry; let them sleep in your arms. Go ahead and be a responsive parent. Let your baby know they are loved.