Infants are needy. They whine, cry, whimper, and do whatever they can to get our attention as parents. But is it possible to spoil a baby? From dealing with mom brain to postpartum insomnia, moms already have enough to worry about.
So many first time moms assume this won't be them. They'll never be a pushover, constantly at the beck-and-call of their little ones. In reality, we usually do just that. Is that so bad? Can a newborn or infant really be spoiled? Let's find out once and for all!
The Science Behind Spoiling
The good news is you can't really spoil a baby. That is, you can't spoil a baby during the first 6 months of his life. During this important first part of a baby's life, they actually need all the cuddling, coddling, and security they can get.
When young babies can rely on their parents to be there, this builds a strong relationship.
After the first 6 months? Things will change a bit. Babies now need to learn how to not only trust their parents but also trust themselves. Yes, your baby still needs you. But he also needs to figure things out for himself.
How to Avoid Spoiling Your Baby
While you don't need to worry about spoiling your baby in those early months, there will come a time when you need to take a (small) step back. If you want to foster independence in your little ones, here are some tips.
1. Look at your own behavior.
Once babies pass the 6-month mark, they begin looking to their parents for hints on how to behave. Babies read facial expressions. If you're always behaving anxiously when you and baby go to the grocery store, for instance, she'll start to associate the grocery store with stress herself.
Instead, be mindful of your own expressions and behavior. Be calm in new situations and when your baby acts out. Show your babies the value of self-care from early on by taking time for yourself. You might spend a night each week taking a relaxing bath or using your favorite all-natural mud mask. Whatever you choose, make it count.
2. Allow some crying.
It's okay to let your child figure out new things on his own. This is called learning, and it's an opportunity for your baby to discover something new. A little bit of crying can be beneficial, as long as you're still there for your baby.
3. Find your baby's signals.
Crying isn't always a sign of distress. Infants can cry for a number of reasons. They might be overstimulated, hungry, tired, or any number of things. Rushing to hold your infant immediately for every minor sign of problems isn't necessary.
The best thing you can do is learn your own baby's signals. You know your baby best. Learn for signs that they need some quiet time. Leaning into these signals makes everyone's lives a whole lot easier.
Finding the Right Balance
There's a learning curve that comes along with being a new parent. Nobody wants to raise a spoiled child, yet so few people understand how that works. As long as you're reading your own child's signals and being mindful of his needs, you're doing everything right.
It's easy to focus so much on your child that you forget about yourself. A bit of spoiling from time to time is a good thing. Allow yourself some me-time (or mommy and me time) to calm yourself. Taking a chamomile milk bath or using a relaxing, natural face scrub helps you reconnect with yourself.
The good news is there's no such thing as a spoiled newborn! In the meantime, feel free to spoil yourself all you want.