Google+ Authentic Parenting: Babies Don't Spoil: Affection and Attachment Matter!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Babies Don't Spoil: Affection and Attachment Matter!

Long ago, a notion came about that babies could be spoiled by love. Parents were instructed to change, feed and interact with a baby in a detached manner…how sad to think about all the missed gazes, the gentle touches and magical moments. 
Thankfully, this notion of spoiling babies with love has long since been proven false, not just by mamas and papas that trusted their instinct but by science as well. 
Did you know that not only can you not spoil a baby with love but that the bond of love deepens as you actively care for your child? What an incredible thing love is!  Love, the nonverbal emotional connection between child and parent, the attachment bond, impacts the future mental, physical, and emotional health of a child. 
Current research tells us that babies that are shown and given more affection early in life  and have their needs met become more empathetic, better at self-regulation and better at understanding others later in life. 
Some wonderful ways to love babies?
Nourish with loving touch - My favorite memories with all three babies were those early morning feedings as the sun was coming up - all was still, all was well... Regardless if you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, gaze into your babies eyes, touch their skin softly, enjoy the still quiet moment together! 
Keep baby close to your heart - I loved baby wearing, it is an amazing way to connect with baby and it's practical too! The beat of our hearts is the most magical lullaby. 
Respond Tenderly- I used to love watching my little babies faces and the way they would crinkle up a certain way or another, coo and gently swat their hands to let me know what they needed.  The more you bond and connect with your baby the more you will recognize what your baby needs; feeding, changing, cuddling, a sweet song, a stroll in the fresh air. 

Babies really do biologically expect to have their needs met - this only makes them feel more secure, loved and wires their brain just right to grow up healthy and strong. So, go ahead, don't be afraid to pick up, comfort, love and meet your babies needs. 
Were you ever warned or scared that you would spoil your baby?

Ariadne Brill is a certified positive discipline parenting educator. She has three children, loves chocolate and is passionate about helping parents and children create harmony at home. Find Ariadne at the positive parenting connection, a resource for gentle and positive parenting. 



  1. I need help here. My mom INSISTS that I don't pick up my 3 week old every time he fusses and shows signs that he'll cry.

    I know that when he fusses and is time for him to cry (normally he gives a few "warning cries," nothing big, just a "I really need help!") he'll cry and then he'll get so wound up that I can't help him soothe as easily. I hate when he feels hopeless so I pick him up. I want him to make sure that even though the world is big and scary right now he can always count on us. It's gotten to be awesome that when I need to go pee I say "Murphy, mom needs to go to the bathroom. Please wait for me here, I'll be right back!" and he doesn't cry.

    My mom says that if I carry him I will make him be carried all the time and when I need to do stuff around the house it'll be really hard. It is right now by the way because I don't have a baby carrier.

    And then she says it's bad for my back. I had a 10 lbs 2 oz baby.

    I can't help but get angry.

    I get angry because of her assumption and not even asking what I think. I know she's just trying to help.

    I get angry because my brothers used to cry all the time as babies and to "train them" she'd do that.

    I get angry because I am a person that receives affection through physical touch and even though she was a stay at home mom she wouldn't just up and hug me. I had to request hugs all the time. Then I'd tell her and she'd say it was all in my imagination. That she indeed hugged me out of her own volition not just when I asked for it. It was true but only for a few times.

    She says this so often that I am starting to doubt myself.

    I know that if I don't run to hug him he will indeed learn to not be picked up all the time. But the truth is that what he'll actually learn (from what I've read) is to not bother crying because people won't come to rescue him. I don't want that.

    Am I going overboard?

    I seriously need a fresh perspective!

    1. Karelys - It's always difficult when family members believe to know best. Is your mom open to reading about the latest research - we know better now what babies need than we knew then. Also, the needs of a 3 week old are very different than a 10 month old in terms of getting housework done. This newborn time is precious, follow your heart :)

  2. This is exactly what we did when Little Bits was a baby and now she is 10 months old. My father called her spoiled last weekend because she doesn't want to go to strangers and still doesn't like to be put down sometimes. But I wouldn't have it any other way. She is securely attached to her mom and dad and that is the way we like it!

    I really do not understand why when a baby doesn't want to go to someone they don't know there is something wrong with the baby. You wouldn't want to give a hug to a stranger, why should we expect our children to?

    1. Melissa- i think adults want to rejoice in the happiness of that new baby and give it hugs, play with it yet they forget to regard them as a being with own needs and thoughts...sigh!

  3. Hi! I am 23 weeks pregnant and I cannot wait to experience being close to my baby.

    1. Trina - how sweet! wishing you a healthy pregnancy and a great start into motherhood :)

  4. When my son was one, people became skeptical of baby wearing like they thought that was why he wasn't walking yet. It's not like I wore him 24/7, and I don't see how putting him in a cart or stroller when we are out would make him walk any faster, ha ha. I've always been close and loving with my son , and our pediatrician is always so proud and happy to mention how well adapted and confident my son is. Ever since the first few visits when my son wasn't anxious or upset to be looked at. Now maybe it is partly (or mostly)that he has a calm temperament, but I like to think I helped. :)

  5. Karelys, if you are on Facebook, look up The Mule, it's a great page that gives support to moms like us who hold and carry our babies, because we love them. You need to follow your instincts!!! YOU are the baby's mother, not her! If you do not listen to yourself, you will undermine your relationship with your baby, and you remember feeling what it's like to not be hugged or held as much as needed. Your mother has her opinion, but that's all it is- opinion. You are ultimately responsible for how you raise your baby, she isn't. I am sure she cares, and loves you, but she needs to show that by supporting you. Stay strong! Your arms and back will grow in strength if you keep good posture, don't worry about it. Find online and local support, like a Le Leche League group or moms group. Hugs! Sammy


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