Why I “spoil” my baby

spoil kitty

I have been quite lucky so far. Aside from one passing comment about not cuddling my little one “too much” (who knew there was even such a thing), no one has accused me of spoiling my baby. I don’t really believe that kids can be spoiled, although maybe it’s just a terminology issue – some babies become materialistic and entitled, but I think that has more to do with how you raise them than how much stuff they have. As for spoiling with love, well, I simply don’t think that’s possible.

I’ve written before about the kind of mother I want to be, and I still stand by those words. I don’t let Harley “cry it out”, choosing rather to cuddle and comfort her. I want her to know that she is heard when she asks for help, even when she’s too young to articulate what she needs (or even know it herself). I already linked to an article explaining that children who are cuddled and loved as babies are more adjusted and have fewer mental health issues, but apparently it goes beyond even that.

Over and above sound mental health, which is a reason enough in my book, children who are cuddled and tended to when they cried as babies also end up smarter and more empathetic. Who knows how true that will turn out to be – after years of people saying that breastfeeding improves IQ they’ve now found that there isn’t a significant correlation. So maybe it’s all just confirmation bias – I know the kind of parent that I want to be and I pick and choose those studies that confirm that it’s the right thing to do. But I’m also okay with that.

I want Harley to know I’m here to make her feel better. I want her to know I listen to her. I want her to know that I’m always here for her. Those are qualities that my mom shared with me, and I think they modeled behavior that made me a better human in general. I really listen to people. If I say I’m there for someone, I actually show up and support. I know how to be a good friend, how to support people I care about, how to be loving. Sure, there were other experiences in my life that reenforced that behavior, but I really do believe that it all starts with the bond with the tiny human – she knows that I will come when she cries, and as a result of getting the comfort she needs when she’s upset, she will be more inclined to offer comfort when she sees others upset.

At least, that’s the hope.

So, is it spoiling my baby? I don’t think so. Will it make her smarter? Who knows. But if nothing else, it makes me feel better; it makes me feel like I’m being true to myself, and there isn’t much more I could hope for. Except maybe for one day to be able to show her that I love her without needing to hold her while I work…

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  • Having your kid have everything without learning that sometimes they need to work for it = spoiling

    Comforting your child when they are upset is not spoiling. It’s called responsible parenting. Well done!

    They cry it out method is OK if done right but treads a dangerous line. When babies become upset (and I mean seriously upset like freaking out upset) their brains release chemicals that, if left to accumulate can have very negative effects (Just do a bit of research on cortisol release in infants and how it can actually damage synapse and neural growth)

    People misunderstand spoiling and comforting. Just because it’s an inconveniance to the adult people seem to label it “spoiling”. What a load of garbage. It’s called lazyness.

    Sorry, I get very upset about this topic and I 100% agree with you Zoe, showing that love and affection and letting your kid know you are there is not spoiling and is exactly how I want to raise my kid too.

    My kid needs to one day be the teenager that goes “Dad, I messed up and I need help” without fear that I won’t care or that I’m going to lose it with her.

    Bravo.

    Although a small difference in your approach to mine is that I won’t simply give my kid too much stuff. Not because I see it as spoiling but rather I’d want to see my kid learn the benefits and awesome feeling of knowing they got something because they worked towards it. But that’s a small difference and one of parental choice.

    The love and care however? My kid will get as much love, comfort and care as I can possibly give.

    Although, at some stage you are going to have to do sleep training and trust me, that’s a killer on the heart. But only about 3 days.

    • With you on the know the value of stuff point, and that comforting your kid is so not spoiling. Sleep training not so much. But hey, we all do things the way we know will work best for our kid.

      • Our sleep training was a bit tough as she was very used to being rocked to sleep.

        But we didn’t lock her up in the room and leave her. We walked in and comforted her when she started moaning. Just not rocking her to sleep.

        • Oh man, rocking her to sleep no wonder you wanted to change that. We got so very lucky in receiving some great advice to establish a routine from 6 weeks and go with that. Our routine though does include a grown-up with K till he falls asleep, but it works for us. It helps me refill my patience well.

          • Yeah, we missed that particular bit of advise lol. It was hell on the arms eventually. But, we got through it. Our little munchkin now fetches her blanket and goes and stands by her cot to go to bed at night ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Oh, my goodness the cuteness.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      yeah, not planning on giving all the things – also like the idea of earning rewards. but, i don’t think that having lots of stuff inherently makes a kid become materialistic or entitled.

      oh man, sleep training! O.O hoping to avoid that. so far quite lucky, Harley seems to be a pretty good sleeper. knock on wood that doesn’t change with the next milestone…

      • for sure. Having stuff is not spoilt. It’s just up to a parent to teach that having stuff comes with responsibility and that it’s not always a given. I reckon you’re on the right track so bugger what others say ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Comfort does not equal spoiling. From what I see of Keiden’s behaviour, I think there is something to cuddles helping with empathy. Or social skills could just be one of his talents. And I see my need for hugs and the like as something that stems from my childhood…physical affection was not something I got a lot of growing up. Conversely, I think it helps me be more empathetic.

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      Indeed, and it upsets me so much when I read things like “spoil your child with lots of hugs during this period”… um, how is that even possible?! glad that K also benefits from all the love and cuddles. how can we resist loving and hugging our tiny people anyway?!

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