Crying & Cuddles: Debunking the Spoiled Baby Myth
“Put that baby down or you’ll spoil him!”
You’d be hard pressed to find a mom who hasn’t heard this well-meaning (?) rebuke at some point during her motherhood journey. But here’s the truth: it is impossible to spoil a baby. It has been shown that keeping your baby close, comforting him or her when they cry, and holding them when they want to be held have many physiological and developmental benefits! So where did this spoiled baby myth come from, and how can we move past it? Let’s debunk it in this blog!
Besides basic sustenance and survival needs, comfort and security are among the most important things you can give your baby. It has been proven that physical contact and care have many positive effects for babies! A study at the University of British Columbia revealed a surprising result: children who receive more physical touch and care are changed on a cellular level. The study found that children who received more physical nurturing had more developed and mature cellular structure than children who received less touch and attention! The study concluded that on the most basic and essential level, lack of physical touch can lead to developmental delays, while receiving more physical attention helps a child to grow and mature.
Babies are born into the world completely dependent on those around them, and the only way they are able to communicate their needs is through crying. They are completely helpless, with no language to even ask for the help they need! That is why responding to their cries is so important: it teaches your baby that there is safety and security in this big world, and that it begins with you, their mama.
Every mama wants to raise well-adjusted children, but the truth is that we will not create entitled, needy children by holding our babies too much. Babies don’t even realize they can cry to get what they want until about nine months old! Their brains are simply not developed enough to become manipulative at such an early age. However, when we respond to our babies’ cries and meet their needs, their brains begin to form connections and attachments. Responding to their needs lets them know that they are safe and secure. While babies at this age are incapable of feeling complex emotions such as love, this safety and security are the fertile ground from which their love for you will grow! Trust, security, and attachment are the building blocks from which a strong bond will be formed between you and your little one.
In a world filled with well-intentioned advice, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as spoiling a baby with love and affection. Holding your baby is not only natural but also essential for their growth and development. So, trust your instincts, mama: cuddle your little one, cherish these precious moments, and rest assured that you are nurturing a strong and loving bond that will last a lifetime. Your baby is only little for a short time, and your love and care are the greatest gifts you can give them.