Is it possible to spoil a newborn?

Parenting Styles   |   Age: 26 days

Is it possible to spoil a newborn?

Despite the advice you may have heard from grandmothers, friends, family, and other random people you meet on the street, recent studies have shown that it is impossible to spoil a newborn. So go ahead, give your baby all the love and care she wants and needs. Keeping your baby close to you actually aids her brain development and teaches her that you will be there when she needs you, solidifying the bond between parent and child.

A newborn’s brain is not developed enough to understand manipulation, so when your baby cries, it is not to try to control you. Rather, she cries to communicate the basic needs to be held and fed, and your response to these needs is an important part of your baby’s development. In fact, babies that are secure in infancy develop a strong sense of self that helps them self-soothe later in life.

After 6 months, however, babies start to learn enough about cause and effect that some of their cries are about getting what they want, instead of a physical reaction to a need, and they start to anticipate your response to certain actions. At this age, or after, some parents start to differentiate between their babies' wants and needs, and to respond to needs, but not all wants, as a way to discourage some behaviors. Holding your baby as she falls asleep is a common example of this - your baby doesn't need to only fall sleep in your arms, but if that's how she feels most comfortable, and she knows that fussing will get her her way, it can be problematic.


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