Go Ahead and Spoil Your Baby

There’s always plenty for parents to feel guilty about, but I have some good news! It’s OK to spoil your baby! So, I just read the Time magazine article about how giving your infant an excess of holding, cuddling and hugging can make your baby kinder and more intelligent. Wow. I must have the kindest, smartest kids in the world because I think I practically WORE my kids until they could walk on their own.

Being somewhat paranoid, I couldn’t carry any of my babies in one of those carseat/baby seats. I was sure that the handle would break and the baby would go crashing to the pavement. I even got one of those cloth sling things that you wear around your body (mainly because I was starting to walk sideways from carrying a kid on my hip).

Crying? No, couldn’t do it. If one of them cried, they would immediately be swept up and held. Remember that Ferber technique (this was years ago in the dark age of parenting) where you were supposed to let your baby cry for a few minutes, then gradually increase the time you left them alone until they could sleep on their own? I tried that with my son — once. I couldn’t do it. I’ll admit it. I couldn’t stand the crying. Instead, I used the “stealth method.” I rocked and rocked and rocked. Fed and fed and fed until they went to sleep, then I put them down and tip-toed out. I know. You’re sitting there reading this, thinking, “Oh, what a wimp.” I am. I know. Hey, I’m just as bad with my dog. She’s totally spoiled, too. Ask my husband. Ask my kids.

Yes, it’s true. My kids were completely spoiled with affection. So, all you “let them cry” naysayers. All you “don’t hold that baby too much; you’ll spoil him” naybobs, take that! I now have science on my side!

That’s why I’m so happy to learn about this study. At least in one area, I wasn’t a bad parent! The researchers found that all that rocking, holding, responsiveness to crying – all that over-affection creates adults who are more empathetic, kinder, gentler people.

You know what? I really think it’s true.

Categories: Editor’s Blog