You want to shower your baby with love and affection, but you might worry that too much attention can cause your little one to be spoiled. Babies have many needs -- they rely on you to feed them, clean them and play with them. Attending to these needs will not spoil a baby. So, set aside your concerns about spoiling and respond to your baby's cues to foster a strong relationship between you two.
Responding to Baby's Cries
You might fear that if you jump up at the sound of every cry and immediately respond to your baby, she will become reliant on you to calm down. This is not the case. During the first year of a baby's life, you must work on establishing a trusting relationship with her. Her cry is telling you that something is wrong -- she is hungry, dirty or scared, for example -- and it is your job as the parent to respond to her cry to identify its cause and find a solution. Doing so builds baby's trust; it doesn't spoil her.
Spoiling with Food
Mothers who breastfeed might fear that nursing their babies on demand might spoil them, causing them to ask for milk when they are not hungry. Instead, nursing on demand is essential for several reasons. In addition to building the mother's milk supply, nursing on demand builds the bond between you and your baby. Breastfeeding offers physical contact between you and your little one, allowing you to soothe and comfort her as you provide her with the nutrients she needs to grow. Thus, you cannot spoil a breastfed baby with too much breastfeeding.
Parents want to raise children who grow up to be independent individuals. They might think that giving excessive attention to the baby will create a needy, dependent child and adult. However, this is not the case. By showering your baby with love and responding to her every need when she is little, she develops a sense of trust and support, knowing that you are there to help her. This baby turns into a confident child who is aware of the support her parents can offer.
The Bottom Line
Don't worry about spoiling your baby. This is the only time in your baby's life that she will truly rely on you for everything. While it is a demanding time, it is also a special one. Set aside any concerns about spoiling your baby and, instead, attend to her needs. When your baby is older and aware of cause-and-effect relationships, you can ensure she does not get spoiled, but now is not the time.