Friday, December 05, 2008


Can you actually spoil a baby?

Your baby cries a lot and you're uptight. You're not sure if you're supposed to soothe him or let him weep.

You are not alone. Many parents know very little about what to expect from babies. Your motherly instinct may be to comfort him, while friends and relatives tell you "No, you'll spoil him." The question is can you spoil an infant?

Spoiling means teaching someone to expect that his every demand will be met each time he makes it. Babies under three months exist in the present. And because crying is your infant's only way of telling you something is wrong, you need to listen to him so he can begin to make the connection between his cries and your reassuring, which happens around 6 months of age. Even then, an older baby probably is incapable of manipulating you to get your attention.

Young babies should not have to wait for a response, either. Too much stress on an infant's nervous system such as crying continuously is not healthy for him development. After three to six months, you can try stalling your response a bit with a gentle "I'll be right there", but it's never a good idea for babies younger than 6 months to "cry it out."

So trust your gut -- pacify your new baby when he weeps. Turn a deaf ear to everyone's advice not to your baby's cries.

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