Can you spoil a newborn?

United States
May 6, 2007 9:26pm CST
I just had my son a month ago and am constantly hearing people say how spoiled he is. He cries just about any time I put him down and prefers me over anyone else, but this is mainly because I breast feed. Is it possible to spoil a new baby or is it okay to give them as much attention as they crave? Any thoughts?
6 people like this
23 responses
@wdiong (1817)
• Singapore
7 May 07
By the time your baby is two to three weeks old, you will begin to understand what his different cries mean and will know if he is in pain, hungry, tired, bored, uncomfortable, or just bored. Until you are able to differentiate between the different types of cries, when your baby cries you should try and feed him, especially if has been at least an hour and a half since the last feeding. If he doesn't stop crying, then you will know he is not hungry. Next check for a dirty diaper or try burping him or just continue to hold him. It is important to remember that you can not spoil a newborn baby or young infant. Quickly responding to his cries and holding him at this age will not result in spoiling him.
• Australia
7 May 07
I'm not sure whether the feeding thing here is correct, most new borns will feed usually every 3 -4 hours not every 1 1/2 hours. My daughter never cried when she had a dirty nappy either so i guess you'll work that out.
@Swtrose (3399)
• Canada
7 May 07
Every baby is different. My son was bottled fed. He ate every 1 1/2 hours to 2 during the day and evening.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 May 07
For my son it depends on how long he nursed at the last feeding. If he has a full feeding of about 10-15 minutes on each side, then he can go up to 3 hours before he is ready to nurse again. If he only nurses for a few minutes then he will probably be hungry again within an hour or so. Thanks for the advice.
• United States
7 May 07
My short and simple answer to this would be no. I personally do not believe that you can spoil a newborn. If holding him is getting in the way of daily function, or making your arms hurt, try a baby carrier. I personally hated the Bjorn and it made my back ache for weeks after just one quick use. However, I really like the slings, the asain baby carriers, and mei tais. CHeck out wearyourbaby.com or mamatoto.com if you are interested. Congrats on your little one. New babys are so sweet and precious. It doesn't last long, so enjoy it while you can :D
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the recommendations! I have been telling my husband that we should have bought a baby carrier or sling. It seems like I am constantly holding my son and it can get very tiring. While I enjoy having him close to me as much as possible, my arms need a break every now and then.
• United States
7 May 07
No, you cannot spoil a newborn. I once heard it described that spoiled things are what you leave alone (ie you leave fruit or bread or whatever sit, it grows mold and gets yucky - spoiled!). Love and cuddle and attend to your baby's needs. Don't be afraid to hold them and give reassurance that you are there. They just came from a warm, secure place where the comforting sound of your heartbeat and your voice was something they were surrounded by 24/7. Don't take that away from your little one when he needs help getting adjusted to a big new world that's kinda scary sometimes!
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the advice!
@Swtrose (3399)
• Canada
7 May 07
No you cannot spoil a newborn. Newborns need that contact. They need to be calmed, coddled and fed. Ignore those who tell you that you are spoiling him and congrats on the birth of your son.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the comment. I was planning to continue ignoring all of the negative comments I get from people on this topic, but since I've gotten so many great advice and comments from people with same view point as me, I'll have plenty to share with them:-)
@Calais (10900)
• Australia
7 May 07
NO, you can never spoilt a baby, they just need their mum. They dont know what spoiling is, all they understand is that they need their mum. Go for it enjoy every second of it because they grow so fast. Dont worry what everyone else says, you do what you want to. I would have mine in my arms 24/7 if I was allowed, you can never give them enough attention.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the advice. I agree that they do grow too fast. Pretty soon I won't be able to carry him around at all, so I am enjoying holding him as much as possible now.
@34momma (13895)
• United States
7 May 07
girl don't listen to that crap! you are suppose to love and shower that baby with as much attention as you can. some babies are just more of a crier then others. that doesn't mean that they are spoiled. you just keep giving that baby love and attention.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the advice and encouragement!
1 person likes this
@34momma (13895)
• United States
9 May 07
you are so very welcome
@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
7 May 07
Congratulations on your newborn! I have a two month old son as well and he is the same way. I don't think it's possible to spoil them at this age. Of course he prefers to be carried rather than laid on the ground, he was carried in your womb for nine months. The world is still a foreign place to him, and as a mother it is your job to help him feel safe and secure in his new environment. If that means carrying him and snuggling up with him to let him know that everything is okay, so be it! Carry him as much as you want to and ignore what everyone else says.
• United States
9 May 07
Regardless of what everyone says I will continue to respond to my sons needs as often as necessary. Not only do I feel that it is my responsibility as his mother to comfort him when he needs it (and even when he doesn't) I also enjoy having him close to me. Maybe there is a little selfishness involved on my part too, as I really love that he wants me over anyone else. Thanks for the comment!
1 person likes this
@biwasaki (1745)
• United States
9 May 07
I agree that there is some degree of selfishness to it on my part as well. But the way I see it, my son will only be completely dependent on me for a short time and then he will be "too big" for cuddles from mom. I want to enjoy him as my baby for as long as possible, before he gets too grown up.
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
7 May 07
This is so hard to answer. I have a 5 month old girl. When I had her I promissed myself that I would not spoil her. It is hard not to. In a way I feel like I did spoil her and some people said that I was, but at the same time I think that children need there mom. I have heard that you can't spoil a newborn because they NEED confort they don't understand WANT yet. Which I can understand and agree with. My little girl is spoiled. But in a different way. She has been primarly with me since she was born because I don't really work. (I am in direct sales and am able to set my schedule to how I want) She does not like going to other people at all. Even though my husband has been there since the begining and does just as much as I do its hard to even get her to go to him. Nursing doens't help that much. Because your son is so close to you he will probably have the same issue as my daughter. A little hint my doctor gave me was to pump and let dad or some one else feed her too. That way she/he doesn't think your the only one that can feed him/her. That will help a little. I gave my daughter all the attention she wanted and then some. Good luck and Congrats!!!
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
7 May 07
One more thing once your son is a little older try not to pick him up when he is crying. Calm him down then pick him up. Pick him up often when he is NOT crying. This will show him that crying does not mean that mommy is going to run in and pick him up. Otherwise you will have some problems.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the advice. I agree with you in that it's hard not to spoil your kids, but it seems to have gotten easier for me with each one, mainly because I have to divide my time and attention between each of them. With the baby its harder to resist because they have more needs right now than the older kids. I don't mind holding him as much as he wants, but it makes it harder when I need him a break to give him to someone else because he won't go to anyone else.
• United States
9 May 07
No you cant spoil a newborn, infact they tell you when the baby cries make sure you pick him up and tend to his needs, thats how you bond and he builds a security in knowing that you are there for him. They say a child starts to get"spoiled" around 6-9 months old.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the advice! It's good to know that I am definitely not alone in my parenting preferences.
@Jennifer21 (2476)
• United States
8 May 07
I personally think that spending time and loving your young child is not spoiling. Young children, and ever older children need love and affection, and I do not think you can give them too much. I think that giving your young child the attention they need creates them into a well and respected person. It is good to flatter them with affection in my eyes, I always do, and it has always had great benefits for me. I do not think that you can show too much affection to your child. If you give them attention, such as holding them all the time, or teaching them to rely on you for everything, then that is spoiling. If you just give them their desired amount of love, which may be quite a bit, and always be there for them in their time of need, then you are considered being a good parent, and I think that is what it is all about, being a good parent.
• United States
9 May 07
Very well said and encouraging advice! Thanks for the comment!
• United States
7 May 07
I think you can "spoil" a newborn. But THEY are not spoiled. Because they do not know they are being spoiled. You spoil newborns with a lot of love and affection. And there is nothing wrong with that! Whatever you are doing for your son, keep up the good work!
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the comment!
• United States
7 May 07
Even infants have already developed their own individuality. I doubt you can spoil a newborn. They need lots of attention and protection from their parents at such a helpless age. At least, that's what I would guess. I'm not much of an OB/GYN. Or whatever those particular doctors are termed.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the comment!
• United States
7 May 07
My mother-in-law, that I love dearly-honestly, no joke, told me the same thing. She always complained that I spoiled my son when he was a baby, that he didn't want anyone else to hold him but me. Well, what do you expect? I take care of him more than anybody else and he doesn't see many other people during the day except for our immediate family. I tended to him when he needed it and let him play and "explore" his surroundings when he was fine. Needless to say, I didn't pick him up everytime he cried. As a mother you should be able to tell the differnces between your babies' cries and tell whether or not he is hungry or needs his diaper changed, etc. My son was also on a schedule, something I did for all three of my kids, and that helps to "not spoil" them. They eat and sleep at regular times and then you can schedule some play time, "tummy time" as some people call it. My son did go through a spell when he was very young, like yours, where he just couldn't sleep laying down, I had to hold him on my chest. There just wasn't anything I could do about it. He grew out of it and is now almost two and definitely NOT spoiled. I don't know about some people but I don't enjoy listening to a screaming baby so I did pick him up quite a bit (not to mention that holding a baby is about my most favorite thing to do!) but, like I said, he isn't spoiled. We live out in the country and he just got over his shy period since he isn't used to seeing new people much; now he is a friendly (sometimes OVER friendly) toddler who enjoys the reaction he gets when he says "hi" to someone new. He doesn't get everything he wants, he isn't spoiled, he is completely normal. I think that by holding your baby as much as possible you will bond better and form a lasting, loving relationship between you and your son. Congrats by the way, on your new arrival, I wish you a lifetime of joy.
• United States
9 May 07
I think the people with negative things to say are just mad because my son just doesn't want them! Thanks for the comment!
• United States
7 May 07
Newborns don't spoil. They need to be held, fed often, and comforted. Our culture values independence in children, but independence doesn't have to be forced on them. Kids have a natural drive for independence, and if you pay attention to their cues as they get older, they will gradually find interests outside of you. I held my first dd for the first month, almost literally putting her down only to shower and go to the bathroom. She's 11 now and is independent, responsible, and confident. She also still considers me a friend as well as a parent, and talks to me about what's going on in her life. I've done the same with all the others (although as I had more kids, someone else had to do part of the holding at times-only so many things one person can do at a time) and they are also all secure, happy, and appropriately independent for their ages. IMO, forcing kids to be independent too soon makes them insecure and afraid to separate from you.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the encouraging remarks!
@lisado (1230)
• United States
7 May 07
I don't think you can spoil them, but each person has their own opinion. Some children are more needy than others. My children prefer me to other people, but then I am a stay at hom mom, so I am the one that is always there to change their diaper, make them bottles and make boo-boos better. They also prefer me because I am their mom. I don't think they can be spoiled until they're a couple of months old. Is it possible that you hold him to much? Maybe. A friend of mine has a son that doesn't want to be put down. She held him constantly, even when he slept. He's almost a year old now and she can't get anything done. It's also a problem when she has appointments and needs someone else to watch him. He wants me to sit and hold him while he's here and I can't. I have a child of my own that is two months older than he is, plus I have stuff to do. He now knows that now. As long as he can SEE me, though, he is okay playing in the floor. It took a couple of visits, though. He will have to learn to lay by himself sometimes, even if it's just next to you. I didn't want to put my son down, either, so I know how much harder it is to do than say. :) What I did was lay my son next to my leg while I was sitting on the sofa watching TV, reading or folding laundry. He wasn't moving around much yet, so he didn't roll off. He was close enough to me to be happy (laying against me so he still felt the pressure) but I could still get stuff done. Later I could lay him in the floor and as long as he could see me he was happy. Now, he is almost 13 months old, he will play in the floor by himself or watch the Disney Channel. There are times he wants his momma, but usually it's when he is tired or something. Just love your son. No matter what you do, I have found, someone won't like the way you do something (or anything) and will tell you a "better" way. If what you are doing now works for you and your family then leave it alone. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". :)
• United States
9 May 07
When my son is sleeping or when he's quiet I just let him be. I don't see the need in carrying him around for no apparent reason. That's not to say that I don't get the urge sometimes just to pick him up and hug him or cuddle with him. But generally when he's quiet I leave him where he is (usually in his swing). Thanks for the comment!
@mkmsam531 (269)
• Philippines
7 May 07
no, you cannot spoil a newborn. The way of communication of a child is through his crying. maybe your child need something either he is hungry, wet, or not comfortable. Your son has not adjusted well in the new environment.Remember your son used to live inside the womb where he is secure and could hear the beating of your heart. Congratulations on your newborn child
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the comment!
@angelface23 (2498)
• United States
7 May 07
I have always heard that you can't spoil a new born. Give him as much attention as he needs/wants. This will make him feel safe and loved. People will say what they will say but you do what feels right for you and your baby.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the advice!
• United States
7 May 07
No, you cannot spoil a newborn. Your baby needs all the care and attention you can give. Ignore the advice of well-meaning relatives and friends who think babies need to "learn independence". Instead, listen to YOUR instincts. Your baby is too young to use crying to manipulate or annoy you. He cries to communicate his needs. It's important for you to respond to his needs immediately at this age. By the time your baby is 6-8 months old, he'll begin to learn "cause and effect". He'll start to see a direct link between his actions and your responses. At this point it's okay to set some limits. But for now, enjoy you little one and "spoil" him as much as you like!!!!
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the encouragement and advice!
@mememama (3077)
• United States
7 May 07
No, you can not spoil a newborn! Imagine being in a womb for 9 months and then being out in this scary world-he needs you! If you want to get some things done, get a sling or baby carrier. I found this real helpful. Do not have the baby cry it out (I'm not sure if anyone here has said to do this but elders always say to). Here's a link on the harm of babies crying it out http://www.askdrsears.com/html/10/handout2.asp When your son is ready, he'll be fine spending some time alone. My son was attached to me for months, but when he started sitting up on his own, he wanted to be left alone a lot more.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the comment! Having some hardcore information on the dangers of letting a baby cry it out is really helpful. Knowing that doing this can harm my baby only reinforces my views on picking him up every time he cries.
@magikrose (5423)
• United States
7 May 07
When it comes to a mewborn you cant spoile them at all. At that age they need the attention at least untill they learn that you will always be there to meet every one of there needs no matter what is going on. Dont worry about it. You are doing fine.
• United States
9 May 07
Thanks for the encouragement!