can you spoil your baby by holding them too much?

Mandi - posted on 01/22/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )




and if so at what age does it begin to affect them being held all the time?


Brenda - posted on 01/22/2010




I'll give a disclaimer to start with before someone jumps my case. I'm an attachment parent, so I don't believe that you can ever be too affectionate with your child. I wear my son, and will well into his toddler years, so in essence I don't believe there is something such as "holding too much". But not everyone is an attachment parent like me.

From the psychological standpoint, infants cannot manipulate their parents until after 9-18 months of age. There is a range because all children develop differently. They simply don't have the cognitive capability to manipulate their caregivers. They barely have the concept of object permanence until they are between one and two for most babies. You should not for a second believe that a child can ever be adversely affected by being held because until they are two or three, they have a very real need for affection. Before the age of one, this affection creates a trust bond that after a year or so they become more and more independent and require less holding for the simple reason they know you are there and have implicit trust that they can leave you and return. An infant's need of comfort is just as real as the need for food or sleep because the world they exist in is foreign and completely strange. They progress so rapidly in the first two years of life that they literally go from not being able to see, move on their own, or do more than cry to being fully sighted, walking and talking. That's a lot of development and change in a short period.

:) Just my two cents.


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Ashley - posted on 01/22/2010




no I don't think you can hold your baby to much. If you are trying to sleep train them to go to sleep on their own then you don't want to rock them to sleep, but babies need held lots and lots, and I think it is good for mommies too.

Samantha Neil - posted on 01/22/2010




my son is now 10mth and well we have found that holding him well he falls a sleep and holding him all the time has made him now not want to go to bed in his own bed he will wake up and cry and want us to hold him vs our first son who we didnt do this two we just put him down onces he was a sleep and he always has gone to bed on his own since hes been 6 mths and not a problem so im not sure if its from us holding our 2nd son so much as dad is in the army and well is around more this time so he wants to always hold his boys but good luck

Deanne - posted on 01/22/2010




I do not believe babies can be spoiled by holding them if you are torn you should read the attachment parenting book by Dr. Sears it's very insightful

Bridgette - posted on 01/22/2010




From what I've been told, it's impossible to spoil a baby. They NEED the comfort you give them

Amy - posted on 01/22/2010




I agree with Brenda! I got a lot of comments about my holding my first baby, I dont think he was put down except to sleep! Babies are building trust and they need to know your there when they want you, I hold and hug all my babies, even though my oldest "baby"is almost 9, he still comes for a hug and cuddle.

Elissa - posted on 01/22/2010




Babies need contact and reassurance. It tends to be adults who have problems with intimacy and these are learned, babies dont have them. You know what your baby needs and when he/she needs to be held - you cant spoil them.

Besides which I dont believe you can spoil a baby with affection anyway. Children who are spoiled tend to get a lot of things or have no boundaries, I've never seen a child spoile because they were hugged too much. So dont worry about it and cuddle away - I do and its great!

Kelly - posted on 01/22/2010




I dont think that holding your baby is spoiling them. My lacation consulant told me that think about it from a baby's point of view. They are carried inside us for 9mths, kept warm, never hungry and they are with us 24/7, Then they are born and expected to survive on their own i.e expected to settle themselves, regulate their own feeds and basically fuction like we do. I love having that bond that only a mother can have with their child! No one can take that away from me

Theresa - posted on 01/22/2010




/ agree with Brenda!

I'm no expert, I did some psychology at college and one of the topics covered was actually early child development. I can remember when we were doing case studies we researched an experiment that involved a baby monkey. It was put in a cage with a 'wire' monkey mother who would feed it and then in one with a 'fluffy' monkey mother who did not do anything except... well.. be fluffy. Anyway, the research found that the baby monkey preferred the 'fluffy' monkey mom even though the other one fed him. And when this comforting stimulus was removed the baby monkeys behavior became 'disturbed'. Now it ddn't go into detail about what that meant. Long story short infants are supposed to not only prefer but to benefit psychologically from being held. Poor baby monkey I say, to be honest.

On the flip side, I held my first son Nathan all the time. He was breastfed and if I wasn't holding him, his relatives were. He's a lovely little boy now, with many good strong bonds throughout our extended family. He goes to daycare too three days a week and gets on very well with other children. I'm not saying holding him was directly responsible for this, as I believe talking and making eye contact with your baby all the time is just as important (People think I'm a nut in my town because I go for walks and talk away to the babies in the strollers hehe). I agree that kids can't manipulate you until after a year old. I am starting to see this with Nathan now, but even then it's not that he is wanting held all the time. If I ask for a cuddle he will come and give me one, if he wants one he lets me know, but he's not hounding me all the time to get up. If anything he tries to manipulate by throwing one of his infamous 'wobblies'. He threw one yesterday because he dropped his biscuit and it broke in half.

I honestly don't think you can hold them too much, and sometimes it's the best thing to do :D

Christine - posted on 01/22/2010




I agree with Brenda. If something as simple as holding your child will console them, why not do it? I'm more than happy to hold my daughter. I do believe at some point, maybe after a year (or maybe a little earlier) they will want to be held just because-- maybe they are bored or just want your attention-- in that case if you don't want to hold the baby? I would say to gently say no and divert the babies attention with a book or another activity. :)

Wish you well


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