Can babies be spoilt? Can you give them too much attention? Can you give in to a young baby’s needs too often?
In a word, no.
Sometimes babies get colic, in which case it can be hard to know exactly what is causing your baby to cry. Usually though, young babies cry as a natural response to a trigger, such as hunger, discomfort or pain.
Babies and infants who are still too young to communicate are pre-programmed to cry when they need something. This will alert their caregivers to tend to them and is something human babies, and other species, rely on very successfully.
As is sometimes suggested, tending to a young baby will not ‘make them needy’, ‘spoil them’ or ‘get them into bad habits’. While this may sometimes be sound advice regarding older children, a young baby does not yet grasp the concept of cause and effect. They are not being naughty or petulant so they can get what they want – quite the contrary, young babies are often unsure themselves of what it is they need.
Sometimes babies cry just to be reassured that their caregiver is nearby and they are safe. Again, this is a very natural survival response and one that can usually be soothed by your warm and calming presence.
It is important to respond to young babies, rather than ignoring their cries, because there is no lesson to be learned by them at this age. There are very few things that infants can do for themselves, and to grow and develop unhindered they will need to rely on their caregivers for everything at this stage.
“Babies can’t tell us: ‘I have a really itchy nose’, ‘I’m so hot’ or ‘my tiny toes are cold’, so as parents and caregivers we have to get really good at guessing, or using trial and error.”
As your baby bonds and learns the smells and sounds of those who respond to his or her needs, they will soon feel naturally more confident and secure around their caregivers. And this is mutually comforting and beneficial.
Bedtime routines and techniques for settling your baby will come when they are a little older, maybe 6-12 months. However, in the early months, developing trust and a secure attachment is more important.
In general, consistency and nurturing in the very early stages has proven to help babies develop into happy toddlers and less stressed pre-schoolers with a better sense of self and well-being.
Our Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare Centres in NSW cater for children from just 6 weeks of age until they are school-ready at the age of 5. We know all about the needs of babies, toddlers and young children. Our highly qualified educators will be more than happy to discuss your family’s individual needs.