Babies benefit from plenty of attention and love.
Babies benefit from plenty of attention and love. Vivid Pixels

Is it possible to spoil your baby with too much attention?

DO YOU worry that you're paying too much attention to your baby and causing them to become to clingy as children as they grow up?

Babies do require plenty of attention and it's natural for parents to worry about whether giving in to their little one too much will spoil them.

This worry is backed up often by other relatives or friends telling parents that doting over the baby will spoil them.

So let's look at whether you can spoil the baby and how parents should respond to their child.


Can you spoil the baby?

The simply answer is that you cannot spoil the baby.

This is because babies don't think for themselves and don't link cause to effect.

Babies won't link that crying will get them attention, they simply cry because they're cold or hungry or in pain etc.

You won't create long-term bad habits by responding to your baby's needs.

Ignoring them won't teach them to sort it out themselves, because they're not developed enough to sort it out themselves.

Rather than worrying about spoiling your baby, you should be asking how you can respond in a way that helps your baby develop secure attachment.


Respond calmly and consistently

Your baby depends on you completely to give them what they need to grow and develop.

By responding in a consistent and calm way to your baby, they learn to trust you to fulfil their needs.

It helps them become secure and develop a nurturing relationship with you.

Babies who have a nurturing relationship with their parents develop a secure attachment to their caregivers, deal better with stress as pre-schoolers, get along better with other children and are more likely to develop into emotionally-balanced adults.

One way to create consistency to how you respond to your baby is to introduce a routine.

This could be as simple as routine based on an order of feeding, then play time, then sleep time.

Just remember, families also have their own ways of doing things.

A routine may not work for your family and having flexibility may work better for you.

Flexibility is fine - just make sure you're responding in a calm, secure and nurturing way to your baby's needs.


So when do I start to worry about spoiling my child?

Between 6 and 12 months of age, your baby will start to gain control over their behaviour.

This is a good time to start instilling positive behaviour in your baby.

You can do this through by setting gentle limits on how they should behave and what you will respond to.

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