Ask Tina: Am I Spoiling My Baby?

Q:  My 2-month-old is really difficult and wants to be held all the time or he just fusses.  I want to hold him a lot but I feel like I never have one minute, plus my mom is telling me that if I hold him all the time I’ll spoil him.  What should I do?

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A:  Being a parent to a new baby is really hard.  When your basic needs like eating, peeing, showering, and sleeping are being taken away, it’s easy to feel like you’re at his mercy.  Just hang in there.  I promise it will be better soon.  These days (and nights) are really long, but they will go quickly.  And, it may be hard to believe, but you’ll likely long for the days of just holding him all day, just relishing his skin and little breath and holding his little hand.

Your baby needs you in order to help him feel safe and secure.  By immediately responding to him and meeting his needs and holding him, you’re giving him the best gift possible in term of brain development and his ability to trust that he will be taken care of.  Babies this age don’t have the ability to manipulate.  His needs are NEEDS, not wants.  It is never spoiling when we give our children what they need.  Paying attention to what your small son needs and giving it to him will allow you to feel more confident in your own instincts and in understanding what he’s communicating to you.  One thing that might help is that you can think of your baby as “high need” instead of “difficult,” and realize that right now he simply needs more help from you to feel safe and calm.

All that being said, you have needs too!  It might help to get someone else to come over and nurture him for a while so you can sleep and shower or do something for yourself.  And please take just an hour or two to go out to eat without your little man—preferably within the first six weeks of his life.  This can make a huge difference in helping you feel like yourself again; and chances are, after that you’ll actually be glad to come home and have him attached to you once again.

2 Responses to “Ask Tina: Am I Spoiling My Baby?”

  1. trish says:

    Tina, you are so amazing!! Your advise to me about whining/clingyness of early toddler hood has been a HUGE burden lifted of guilt for sitting and holding.. and you were right, when he got a little older he rarely comes back now, because he knows Im always here waiting.

    Thank you so much!!!!!

  2. Az says:

    I have a 4 year old who pushes me away ….I long for the days when she was a tiny baby wanting me to hold her all the time.
    Enjoy this while it lasts!

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