Will Holding Your Baby Spoil Them?
How many times have you heard “Put the baby down or you will spoil him?” We all know someone who has this opinion and isn't afraid to voice it. We know that when our babies are young, the one thing we love to do is hold and cuddle them. I would be curious if you didn’t want to hold your sweet baby. But due to the prevalence of this old fashioned advice, it is one of the most common questions received during newborn and parenting classes.
I say to you now confidently and boldly: HOLD YOUR BABY!
Every part of parenting, motherhood in particular, is about following your instincts. And I’m about 99.99% sure that when you thought to yourself, ‘Will holding my baby spoil them?,’ that you knew the answer right away. You knew in your gut picking up your baby and holding them was the right thing to do. But the incessant Internet chatter, mom groups, or even better, a family member has told you to put your baby down because you are spoiling them. Well listen to me Mama, YOU are the only person in this entire world that your child can get a certain type of love from. YOU carried them and nourished them and labored and delivered them. Their first comfort came from YOU. So why not continue doing that?!
Did you know there’s a psychological reason that makes it absolutely necessary that you wrap your sweet love in your arms and melt away into their newness, their smells and their sounds? Back in the 60’s, a man named Abraham Maslow decided that humans are motivated by a hierarchy of needs both basic and growth: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The hierarchy was placed in the form of a pyramid listing the most critical needs from the bottom up. This is one of the most valuable theories that should be acknowledged in parenting, and discussed during newborn and parenting classes.
After our biological and physiological needs of food and shelter are met, the next most important thing to humans starts with a SAFE and ends with TY. We need to know that we can be protected from the rain, covered by law and order (no, not the show!). We crave security in our jobs, finances, health and well-being. Once these needs are met, we are free to seek out love and belonging. However, many people have difficulty with that very thing. Let’s do some math, shall we?
When we don’t pick up and soothe our babies, particularly newborns, we are beginning to teach them to mistrust us, to keep trying to attain love and comfort on their own. I remember distinctly talking to both of my children during their newborn phase and saying to them, “You have eaten, you are dry, you are warm, what is it that you want now?” Yes, I know they couldn't verbally respond, but by crying they were trying to tell me, ”Mommy, I need love, connection, bonding and to belong.” LISTEN TO YOUR BABY. They know what they are talking,well, crying about.
One of the greatest pleasures I have in offering newborn and parenting classes is reassuring new parents that holding your baby is natural and right. You have permission to cherish this time, to keep your babies snug in your arms knowing you’re providing them with the best chance at emotional stability. After all, all we need is love.
Xo, Nurse Jacque