Can a baby be “spoiled?”

I will answer my own question up front. I think no. A big fat NO. But let me tell you what brought me to blog about this. I have twins with two very different personality. Is that a surprise though? After all, every baby is different. Josiah is pretty laid back and chilled out. For him to really cry, something has to be truly bothering him. Otherwise, he will hang out all days with a big smile like it’s nobody’s business. Micah is a pretty chipper baby too, but he does have more fussy moments than his brother. This relates to the fact that he is a bit colicky. I snuggle and hold both of my boys pretty often. Not all day long, but if they’re upset and need to be calmed or held, I don’t hesitate to do it. I’m not a member of the “cry it out” club. Not because I think it’s wrong, but because it’s never worked for us in the past.

What my MIL recently told me because Micah had a huge crying/screaming moment while she babysat him: “I think he’s starting to get spoiled. He only wants to be held.” What a nurse once told me at a one month appointment to check for a heart murmur for Josiah “He’s spoiled” because he was crying when they hooked everything up to him and wanted to be held. Um, no duh he wants to be held lady. I’ve heard this mentioned at different occasions as well, when one of them is crying a lot so we pick them up and they stop. I can’t tell if it’s a cultural thing or if it’s the norm for people to say it. Either way, it’s obnoxious and drives me nuts.

Let me be clear about one thing – we do not pick up our babies at every grunt, or movement. We don’t go rushing into the nursery if they make a little bit of noise. But we DO pick up our boys when they’re upset and need a good old fashioned cuddle from their parents. And I don’t feel bad about it! Research actually shows that babies can’t be spoiled and are better off when their needs are met. I just wish people would stop throwing that phrase around. My instinct is to say, “Oh, I’m sorry I show my babies too much affection…my bad.” I will cuddle the crap out of them (lol..cuddle the crap) but no seriously, I will. I’ve waited for them, saw them endure a lot of hell after they were born…and am so grateful for them. They will only be this small for a short period…and when they’re older, who the heck knows if they will want to be cuddled? Their babyhood will be over sooner than I know it. They’re too little to say no to my irresistible snuggles, which I love! They will probably reach an age where they are too “cool” for it. One day, they will go off to college. They will probably marry. God has entrusted their precious lives into my hands for a period of time…and during this time, I will hug them to pieces, kiss their cheeks, and HOLD THE HECK OUT OF THEM. In the meantime, whenever someone makes a ridiculous statement about spoiling them, I will internally roll my eyes and tell them off..while outwardly offering a tolerant smile.

Things someone has told me about how to do things, how they did things “back in the day”…

Regarding their outtie belly buttons: “When my kids were babies I just stuck a penny on it. The doctor told me to tape a penny to it and it would go down. And it did.”

Regarding feeding them food: “When my babies were one month old I was already feeding them rice and beans.”

Regarding weaning them off the pacifier: “I just dipped it in hot sauce and stuck it in their mouth, they spit it out and that was the end of it.”

These are only half of the things I’ve heard. I will stick with present day. Thanks.

Feel free to share some of the things people have said to you or say to you that make you go bananas regarding your baby. I like to laugh. 😀


25 thoughts on “Can a baby be “spoiled?”

  1. Shannon says:

    Good post. Have you ever read that article about how babies in Africa don’t cry. That’s because they are carried around by their moms all day. It’s natural, it’s the way we evolved. Its only recently (comparatively speaking) that people have decided babies need their own rooms and should be separate. They are babies, they need their moms. In fact, studies show that babies who are “coddled” early in life actually become the more independent ones later on because they have the confidence and self esteem to do so. My number one piece of parenting advice is do what works for you, and I can only hope that when people see this beautiful fragile innocent baby they will forget all the nonsense they have read or been told and follow their instincts. Sorry for the rant! LOL Cheers.

    • bibbitybobbitybump says:

      Read that article – it was SO good! It’s funny how society tells us to fight our instincts and let a baby ‘cry it out.’ The article made a point that stuck with me – our instincts are there for a reason! Before ‘civilization,’ if babies cried, they would attract predators. If adults were never meant to let babies cry, it also stands to reason that babies were created to have those emotional needs met.

  2. K, Twin Mom says:

    Your MIL’s comments are hysterical. I agree with your post. Liam is my needy one, and Amelia prefers to just hang out with anyone. I think if they could be spoiled, our content ones would be mimicking their sibling to get the attention too, no? Some people are just more independent than others and I think that starts from the womb. I bet our needy ones will be the ones who always need a BFF around or always want to be around others. There’s nothing wrong with that. When they are at an age to understand, we simply help them to be okay being independent too. Doing it now would be pointless. As if a baby understands. No one says anything to me, but I know they think I hold Liam too much. Or that he’s my favorite. He just requires more attention right now. I know that their roles will switch one day, and I’ll need to give her more attention. Like you said, everyone is unique. We need different things at different stages of our life. I think since we are teachers, we understand all this more than others.

    • roadtofertility says:

      I know, I can’t believe half of the things she says half of the time lol. You should see the pictures she posts. They’re hysterical as well. She’ll crop their faces into like the moon. I had to block her tags on fb cause the pics are so weird! I agree with you. I think that I am definitely seeing a glimpse of their personalities and I’m okay with that! I don’t feel like any baby is neglected but they do require different amounts of attention at different times. I respond to their needs as a mother should! I think we are both doing a great job considering the circumstances.

      • K, Twin Mom says:

        We sure are! LOL I wish I could see those pics. When she says the hot sauce comment you can say “yeah, I think they would classify that as child abuse now. But thanks for the tip.” LOL.

  3. journeyformybaby says:

    Lol. yes it drives me nuts too!! Of course u can’t spoil a baby. Babies need held. after all, they just came from our wombs where they were snuggled 24/7. The nurses at the hospital kept telling me that u can’t spoil a baby. it just doesn’t happen. and like u said, we can’t get this time back!!

    • roadtofertility says:

      I agree! As much as I would love to cuddle them into adulthood (LOL) I know that there will be a time when it just won’t happen anymore. I will replace the cuddles with lots of hugs! I’m cherishing every moment I have while they’re babies. No shame in that!

  4. futuresoccermom says:

    I couldn’t respond to this post fast enough!! My MIL has said the EXACT same thing with regard to picking up my twins. I also have an “easy going” twin and a “fussier” twin – who of course had reflux and was very small to begin with. But she has said it about both of them – “I don’t want to hold him/her too long because then he/she will always want to be held”. At 6 months of age? What??

    I don’t even want to spend too much time harping on this because it gets me all fired up, pretty quickly. But you can’t SPOIL a baby. What is spoiling, anyway? Spoiling your 5 year old’s appetite because you gave them candy before dinner? Maybe. But you can’t give too many hugs to a child of any age to make them “spoiled”. You can’t pick up a crying baby too many times. If I could hold my twins all day long, and attach them to me as I move around the house, I absolutely would. With a 21 pounder and a 17 pounder..that’s not going to happen.

    Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say so as not to lose my cool. 🙂

    You can’t spoil a baby. They need as much love as you can give.

  5. sparrow says:

    I know what you mean. I could never worry about holding my twins too much–I already feel bad that they always have to split my hug time! My mother has been saying that the good thing about twins is they CAN’T be spoiled. I’m not sure if that’s actually a good thing or not. More hugs!!! Loved your post.

  6. MyFamilyIsMyHeart says:

    Amen!!!! I don’t do cry it out. Of course I let my baby cry sometimes but I’m not gonna sit there and listen to her cry for 30 minutes. My hubby and his family are all about “cry it out” but not me. And I win that disagreement every time. 🙂

    • roadtofertility says:

      Same! Tried it before and it was horrible, for me and the baby! He was sweating, a complete wreck, and I vowed I would never do it again and I didn’t. A little bit of crying or fussing is fine, when it leads to the baby settling himself. However, if it goes on and on it’s beneficial for absolutely NO ONE!

  7. breeowen says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I HATE people telling me I spoil my son too! If spoiling means I won’t let him scream his lungs out because I believe crying is his way of communicating a need then yes I spoil him by responding to his needs. It’s such an old fashioned way to think that a baby can be spoiled by responding to a need to be loved and cuddled! I find that if he is crying from hunger then not even my hugs can soothe him. To me that proves that when he does stop crying if I pick him up then the need he had was to feel loved. This subject actually makes me really mad. My in laws, parents and my grandparent have all said it to me at some point and just try and shrug it off but it still drives me crazy! I think you are doing an amazing job and I’m sure your boys feel very loved 🙂

  8. randomsqueaks says:

    I love all the support you’re getting! I agree that babies can’t be spoiled but I’d sure love it if they’d let me put them down once in a while! If my mom didn’t come over every day, I wouldn’t be able to do laundry, nap, or even eat or go to the bathroom! I love that my usually fussy one is asleep in my arms as I type this but I’d much rather be asleep in bed right now. Maybe it’s the 8 weeks of sleep deprivation talking but holding my babies isn’t as enjoyable as I thought it would be.

    • roadtofertility says:

      I know what you mean. The beginning is rough…very rough. I cried so much and wondered what the heck we had gotten ourselves into. If I’m being honest, it felt nightmarish. I hardly had to eat, rest was not an option, and I didn’t necessarily enjoy it like I thought I would have. It does get better though. I find that as they get older, they are capable of being more independent.
      Once they were old enough and I could get them into a routine, it helped a lot. It took awhile, but around four months I began to see a positive change in myself! Now I don’t dread being home alone with them and find myself feeling much less overwhelmed. There’s light at the end of the tunnel…but it does take some time.

  9. bibbitybobbitybump says:

    My husband has started to tell me that I ‘spoil’ our son because every time he cries I pick him up. I wish he’d take a look at the research supporting ‘attachment’ parenting, or whatever you want to call it, that begs parents to address their children’s emotional needs from infancy. 🙁 It just makes so much sense to me!

    • roadtofertility says:

      It does make sense. Right now, I am home with my boys for most of the day since my husband works and I’m still on maternity leave. I do what I have to do so that the time is enjoyable for all of us! This doesn’t mean I’m holding a baby 24/7, but it does mean that if one of my sons are upset and needs some cuddle time, I will give it to them! In the end, we are all happy 🙂

  10. afamilyformcmanda says:

    i say jackson has “first baby syndrome” – we can’t help but “spoil” him and respond to his needs quickly! he’s the only one needing us. I would guess this is similar with you guys, you just have to split time between two equally-baby babies 🙂 we don’t cry it out, not for (a pathetic) lack of trying, but because it just is too much stress for mama!

  11. Theresa says:

    We have a laid back and more dramatic twin also. When she cries I can’t NOT pick her up. Sometimes I’ll wait her out a bit but in the end, if the wants to be held I’m going to hold her.

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