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Can you spoil a baby?
Can you spoil a baby?

Can you spoil a newborn or young baby?

The answer to this question is ‘No!

Young babies need lots of attention, and you might worry – or other people might tell you – that if you ‘give in’ too often or give too much attention, it will ‘spoil’ your baby.

But this won’t happen. In the first few months you won’t create bad habits by responding to your baby’s needs.

Young babies can’t consciously connect cause and effect. They don’t think to themselves, ‘I’m going to cry until I get what I want!’

If your young baby is crying or fussing, it might be because baby is cold or hungry, has a dirty nappy, or is in pain. Or your baby might just want to know you’re nearby. Ignoring your young baby when they’re fussing won’t teach your baby to sort it out for themselves, because young babies can’t do that yet.

Why it’s important to respond to your young baby

Your baby depends on you and other caregivers to provide what baby needs for growth and development.

If you calmly and consistently respond to your baby’s calls for attention by sorting out what they need or just by being there, your baby quickly learns to trust that you’ll fulfil their needs. And this helps your baby become secure and confident over time.

Balancing routines and flexibility

You might worry that if you cuddle your newborn too much, baby won’t get into a sleeping routine. But in the early months, it’s important to help your baby develop secure attachment to you by calmly and consistently responding to baby’s needs.

Some parents find a simple, flexible feed, play, sleep routine can be calming and predictable for their baby. Others find that it helps to aim for flexibility rather than routine, especially in the first few months.


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