“My mum says I’m holding my baby too much as I pick her up every time she cries. I’ve read that you can’t hold your baby too much as it helps with their emotional development. My mum says holding my baby all the time will create problems later on. Who’s right?”
When I first became a mum I always asked my self “who’s right?” “What is the truth?”.
With time though I’ve come to realize that there isn’t one absolute truth, and that nobody is completely right or wrong. Every case is different. Your baby is YOURS and you get to decide what to do. I understand that you’d look for answers from others but the truth is, nobody knows you as well as you know yourself and nobody knows your baby as well as you do. So you get to choose. And if holding her all the time is what you want to do, don’t let anyone talk you out of it!
My first born wanted to be held nearly all day. When she slept, I held her for the first months. When she cried I picked her up, every single time. Because that’s when she needed me. Babies don’t cry for no reasons. They cry when they need you.
Three years later my little one is a confident girl that still loves to cuddle. But she explores the world independently.
So I don’t think, you are holding your baby too much.
You’re showing your baby that you care about them, and take them seriously by reacting on their cry.
You can’t spoil a baby. Evidence actually suggests babies who are cuddled and responded to grow up to be more independent children. Your mum’s view is probably along the lines of ‘sleep training’ – the belief that a baby who is not picked up and eventually stops crying to be picked up, has learned to ‘self soothe’. What actually happens, is that baby learns that no matter how much she cries you won’t pick her up, and stops crying but still feels lonely and experiences stress (this has been shown by studying levels of stress hormones in babies who are sleep trained). Of course our mums didn’t have that research, and just saw a quiet baby that seemed to have learned some degree of independence. Long story short, respond when your baby cries and cuddle your baby as much as you want. If you are struggling to do this, try baby wearing, cosleeping (check the safe cosleeping guidelines) or having someone else hold bub while you take a break.
Your mum is telling you the kind of advice her generation of mothers heard. Your mum probably also heard this from her own mum. Ideas ( and knowledge ) about parenting change over time. You should also be aware that young babies are not being manipulative when they cry. Toddlers and preschoolers are a different matter, and can learn that crying is a good way to get parents to give in to their demands. Little babies don’t think like this though.
I believe that the quicker you get to a crying baby the easier they are to settle and more content when you put them down because they know you will come if they need you! Definitely don’t feel like you can spoil a baby they have been used to having you with them 24 hours a day of course they want to be with you ?
The nurse that came and did my home visit told me that you can’t spoil a baby. Holding them helps them to feel safe and loved which is great for their emotional development later on
Evidence says no, a baby who is cuddled when they need (which is whenever they cry for comfort) tends to have less anxiety and more confidence when they are older. Babies need comfort just like us adults do, if you ask your husband for cuddles, he cuddles you right? And vice versa? Without question. When your baby cries for cuddles, that is them asking for cuddles, they can’t talk yet but they still need comfort and closeness with their family