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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Pregnancy and Parenting » "You can't spoil a newborn!"

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Author Topic: "You can't spoil a newborn!"
Member # 25983

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.. or so the experts say, says my sister.

Here's the deal. My niece is about 3 1/2 weeks old. Ever since she's come home from the hospital, either my sister or her boyfriend has carried the baby with them everywhere. They lay her on their lap sleeping while they play video games for hours. She never gets put down.

Whenever I babysit, the baby will cry if put in the bassinet or crib, and it's quite annoying to give up my whole evening to coddle a newborn that simply can't fall or stay asleep unless it's laying on somebody.

They claim that there's no way to "spoil" an infant, and that babies this young don't develop sleeping patterns or habits this early in development. I believe, however, that this behavior could continue to become a habit.

Could somebody with child development/early childcare studies/parenting experience help me with this?

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 21345

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They need to put your niece down! Yes doctors say there is no way to spoil a newborn but constantly holding and cuddling without a break will have them sooo attached later on in life.

I know I was the same way with my daughter. I held her, cuddled her, and played with her constantly. Never putting her down unless she was dead asleep. I even let her fall asleep on me. Now she is a year old and it is so hard for me to get time to clean or even be on the computer for a little while just to check my email without her coming and trying to sit in my lap. Im pregnant again and I dont know how to help her understand that she wont be the only baby around anymore.

She is severly attached to her father also. He did the same thing as me except never stopped playing with her. Now evertime he has to go get ready for work (he works 2nd and 3rd shift) she fallows him around crying and yelling "Da da da da da!!!"

So yes there may be no way to "spoil a newborn" but you are risking great attachment where you wont be able to go out without your baby screaming at the babysitter because they are soo attached to you. GOOD LUCK to your sister!

Ps I forgot to mention how difficult it is to put my daughter asleep now. She wont go to sleep in her bed without first having me lay her on my chest and rub her back.

[ 06-25-2006, 09:48 AM: Message edited by: mommy4life15 ]

Posts: 51 | From: florida | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 22137

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I agree with mommy4life15.

My cousin (through my boyfriend) has two young children. With her son she was never very cuddly with him (due to a number of reasons. She was only 18 when he was born and she wasn't very good with him to start with) and as a result he's very independent at only 27 months but still knows he can come to us if he does need a cuddle or kiss better. We never had to carry him around with us because he was always quite happy being on the floor and just watching us from there.

Her daughter however who is 13 months old is awful trying to get her to sleep in her own crib. Michelle was far more cuddly with amy than with josh partly because she'd learnt how to cope with a new born and also because amy was very premature and therefore when she was brought home michelle couldnt leave her alone so had to carry her around the house and she couldnt be left alone with josh who was only 16 months old when amy was born and had just started to throw things about so leaving a newborn baby who weighs 3lb at the reaching level of a 16 month old toddler was not advisable. Amy was then very hard to put to sleep until the age of about 10 months old unless you cuddled her to your chest or were even stroking her head and if you ever put her down she would either scream her lungs out or wake up if she'd been asleep. I hated babysitting amy because of it as i would often have to help my boyfriend bath joshua and put him to bed and i couldnt do that with amy clinging to me but there was no way i could put her down. Amy couldnt even sit up by herself until two months ago when we got totally frustrated with the situation and told michelle we wouldnt carry amy around unless we had to and she needed to stop it too.

Now amy goes to sleep by herself but still screams and screams if you go and talk to her but don't pick her up. she can sit up now though.

My uncle's wife also spends all day carrying around or following around their 16 month old daughter to the extent that if Tina doesnt put Izabelle to bed she screams and if tina isn't there when izabelle gets fed she screams. Other than that she's far better now as i can be left with her and she'll quite happily go to bed and eat without her mum being in the room as long as she hasnt seen her immediately before i do either of those things.

All this showed me that carrying around babies constantly from an early age basically causes an emotional developmental attatchment far earlier than babies who are not carried around all the time. Tell your sister to put her baby down once in a while otherwise she is going to have very very big problems getting her to sleep by herself, play on the floor by herself when theyre cooking and cleaning, won't even be able to go to the bathroom (which is something my aunt went through for a month or two before she put her foot down and just let izabelle cry through that). It's also unwise to say they are spoiling their child. Yes, to an extent they are but the infant has no concept of being spoilt or having their every whim tended to, because to them that is just the way things are for now. So just offer to babysit one afternoon by yourself and see what happens when baby is placed by herself in her bassinet, let her cry for a couple minutes then cuddle her. that's how we broke amy out of the habit. leaving her for longer periods in her crib until she eventually realised that it was ok to be by herself for a while.

I wish you a lot of good luck with this. It'll be tough but worth it so you all cope better in the future.

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It's important to keep in mind that some parents do look for this sort of attachment to form early on ... Some parents are okay with having to carry their babies around with them (animals do it!) and get slings/wraps for this purpose. Doing the dishes? Laundry? Kicking back on the couch? Stick the baby in the sling and you can carry him/her around with you as if you had a pouch (like a kangeroo!) specificially for this purpose. It doesn't have to be a battle of his/her need to be held and your need to be free (of a baby).

So you've said that this is a problem for you babysitting, but you haven't said whether this is a problem for the baby's parents ...? If they have no problem having to carry her around or sleep with her then i really don't see a problem. Again, many parents don't accidently do this to their children, but they purposely set them up to have them this attached. And provided they're around to provide this care (or provide the baby with others able to provide the same level/type of care), i don't see a problem.

I would also strongly advise NOT purposely going against the wishes of the baby's parents. If they dont' want you to let the baby 'cry it out' before attending to her, don't do it. Don't try to change any of what they've been doing (especially without talking to them first!) because you think you know better. If you do, you will quickly lose the trust of the baby's parents and if it were me, you wouldn't have to worry about babysitting anymore.

[ 06-25-2006, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: LilBlueSmurf ]

Nursing is a work of heart!
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Posts: 7168 | From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 25983

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Thank you for all your replies. Just to clarify, I didn't mean spoiling the baby in a literal sense. I meant that they were establishing what I thought could be an unhealthy sleeping habit.

Everybody who's babysat the child agrees that the baby needs to be put down sometimes. The parents have absolutely no problem with it, but when they leave on trips so frequently it leaves the sitters (often me or mom) in quite a pickle. We get a little angry (the two are the know-it-all types) when they ignore our concerns, but let them go as they see fit.

I'll definately share with them the real life experience mommy4life15 and guiltyangel210 shared; I just hope they'll listen.

Until then, I guess I'll have to politely decline to babysit. I mean I love the kid, and she's cute, but I simply don't have the patience to put up with the habits they're encouraging; like Smurf said, I don't want to go outright against their wishes.

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Smurf handled this prtty well, but it is important to realize that there are MANY styles of parenting and childrearing.

And for many people (and in plenty of cultures as a rule), what you're describing is normal, common and the kids that spring from it are as healthy and adjusted as anyone elses. In some cultures, babies live on their mamas for a good year, literally. But for brand-new parents like this? What you're describing is really normal: remember this baby isn't even a month old.

Recently, in western culture this model has been popularized as "attachment parenting." (

You might also just want to do some reading on different child-rearing styles and some actual study. people's anecdotes aren't without use, for sure, but there are SO many factors involved in parenting, so many variables with different children, that to leap and say that what you're desciribing will "spoil" a child (lordisa, do I hate that term, I gotta say), or that is, in and of itself, has some of the results shared above, is iffy.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 22137

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Sorry smurf i didn't mean it to sound like i condone people who go against a parent's wishses for their child. I did mean to say to ask the parents what they wanted to do, but from what misslauren has said it does seem as thought it might be a good way of getting the parents to cope, and baby to cope, anyway.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Posts: 228 | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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