You can’t spoil a newborn


“Huwag mong buhatin! Baka masanay!”
(“Don’t carry him! He might get used to it!”)

I’ve gotten my share of old school vs. modern takes on how to care for a newborn. One of the more interesting topics was responding to a newborn’s cries. Do you let him cry till he quiets down? Or do you carry him in your arms immediately?

I personally believe that you can’t spoil a newborn. When my baby cries, I try to understand what’s causing his whimpering. It’s usually resolved by some gentle patting on his butt, by satisfying his hunger or by cradling him in my arms. I’ve never left him to cry till he screams his head off or runs out of tears. I don’t think I have the heart to just let him and his cries be. :( He’s a baby, an infant at that. True, babies are smart. But I don’t think newborns have that manipulative streak that older babies may possess. Right now, perhaps all a newborn wants is the comfort of loving arms and a kiss or two.

A baby can’t have too much of skin-to-skin contact. That’s what I believe anyway. When he cries, I’ll be there to hold him in my arms and calm him down. I don’t think you can spoil a newborn with too much hugs, kisses and cradling. Baka masanay? Let him get used to my love, then. For as long as I can calm him down with my embraces, I will do it. I’ll re-think this when he gets older. But for now, I believe you can’t spoil a crying newborn with many warm embraces.

What’s your take on this? Would love to hear your thoughts. :)

Image by: jynmeyer

24 Comments on You can’t spoil a newborn

  1. kreez
    September 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm (15 years ago)

    as early as now, i’m hearing lectures from other moms/parents on how to care for a new born and some of them do say that I shouldn’t allow the baby to get used to being carried around, but i agree with you, i would like to embrace and comfort and carry my baby especially when he is still too young, as much as i can or as much as he wants me to.
    .-= kreez´s last blog ..Final Trimester Begins =-.

    I think the don’t carry the baby right away thing applies to older babies, who may resort to using crying as a bait. Haha! I don’t really know, but that’s how I saw some older babies do it. Parang nakaisa or something. But for newborns, I don’t think that applies. My thoughts!

  2. rowie
    September 9, 2009 at 8:12 pm (15 years ago)

    I agree with you. You absolutely CANNOT spoil a newborn. :) He just spent the last 9 months in the comfort of your womb; of course he feels more comfortable in the safe, familiar arms of his mommy!

    Besides, enjoy it while it lasts! My 10-month-old son doesn’t want to be carried anymore; he just wants to crawl and walk around on his own. That has it’s own joys too but sometimes I also miss when he was just content to lie quietly in my arms. :)
    .-= rowie´s last blog ..Lactation room victory! =-.

    Independence at 10 months? Gah!!! I will enjoy these moments of cradling him as much as I can!!!

  3. Mitch
    September 9, 2009 at 8:21 pm (15 years ago)

    That was one of my mom’s fave dialogues pero wag ka sya din panay karga hehe! Kasi they are so little naman at di nakakangawit kargahin.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..18w =-.

    Haha! Iba ang love ng lola ‘no?

  4. gene
    September 9, 2009 at 8:53 pm (15 years ago)

    Lahat yata sinasabi yan eh. My take on that, if the baby is still young, especially newborn, let’s not wait for the baby to cry her/his heart out. They can’t speak so that’s their way of communicating with us. And skin-to-skin contact is our best way of comforting the baby. I think that line is applicable if there is nothing wrong with the baby (if he’s playing on his own or when he’s in his version of muni-muni) tapos kakargahin. I always tell my cousin-in-law not to bother my now 7-month old while she’s playing in her crib pero bubuhatin pa rin. Lalo na kapag madaming relatives na nakikibuhat, masasanay talaga yung baby, unfortunately, I learned that from experience.
    .-= gene´s last blog ..Alice in Wonderland =-.

    Hindi talaga maresist buhatin ang baby ‘no? Kahit di umiiyak. Ang cute kasi! 😀

  5. lady cess
    September 9, 2009 at 10:40 pm (15 years ago)

    i am drafting a post about this as well. i totally agree with you. my mom encourages me to carry the baby as often as i can, kasi “bonding” yun. :)
    .-= lady cess´s last blog ..This Post Is Brought To You By My Favorite Vinegar =-.

    Looking forward to reading your blog post!

  6. Jyn Meyer
    September 9, 2009 at 11:16 pm (15 years ago)

    First of all, thank you for using my image for your article! That newborn there is Eva Bella who is 3 1/2 years old now and experiencing her first younger sister. My newest is only 4 1/2 weeks old (about the same age as Eva was in that picture) and I know what you mean by crying newborns.

    Unfortunately for me, I have had no choice but to let my newborn scream her head off sometimes. It seems like a daily routine now, but I only have two arms, two legs and I have 6 kids – 4 of whome are starting school. Sometimes as parents, we have no choice but let a baby cry briefly while we get something done. As long as they arent in a sopping wet diaper, have something in their stomach and arent in pain- you have to do what you have to do.

    As we speak, Emmalia is sleeping soundly on my bed next to me- arms relaxed on either side of her body- she is in ultimate bliss. If I were to wake her now, she would be on the rampage to nurse. This time around I have battled mastitis multiple times- it’s a never-ending battle and I felt it kick in, yet again, last night. So Im sitting here knowing I need to pump before she wakes up because it’s all but impossible to hold a newborn and pump an ouchy breast.

    You can’t spoil a newborn. They have so much stimulation in the womb that coming into this world is difficult for them and they need the support and love of their parent to do anything, at all. So yes- run to them, hear the signs of fussing and catch them before they are pushed toward that cry, because the sound of our hums is so much more pleasant than the sharp cries of a newborn.

    Hi Jyn! Thank you for sharing that wonderful picture on sxc. 😀 And thanks for sharing your experiences! Wow, it’s all about managing the cries and needs of the kids well? Sounds like you’re doing a great job. :) Will learn from you!

  7. Eper
    September 10, 2009 at 8:59 am (15 years ago)

    I know what you mean Toni! Many “well-meaning” people, our parents included, have given us the same advice. But my husband and I believe you can’t spoil a baby so as much as our arms are tired from carrying Quino (who is more than 12 lbs now I believe), our hearts are happy knowing that we are able to pacify him with our hugs and kisses. They’ll never be this small again and pretty soon, they’ll learn to walk and run (away from you!) so we are enjoying every moment!
    .-= Eper´s last blog ..Stop Child Abuse =-.

    Yes, let’s enjoy every moment while they enjoy being hugged!!!

  8. Nenette
    September 10, 2009 at 9:02 am (15 years ago)

    I constantly carried my babies in a sling. I agree that you definitely cannot spoil a baby. Carrying your baby builds trust and bonding. We are meant to keep our young close. If you follow your motherly instinct, you know that carrying your baby is the right thing to do. Good job, mama :)

    I should get a sling. 😀

    Thanks Nenette!

  9. jher
    September 10, 2009 at 9:24 am (15 years ago)

    I’m not a mommy (obviously) so I do not know if you’ll be spoiling Timmy or not. Balance it perhaps? Sabi nila crying daw helps the baby develop his lungs, so ipa exercise mo ng konti.

    Other than that, I would think na ikaw ang mai-ispoil sa kakabuhat ng baby mo pag umiyak. And it will be extra difficult for you when you get back to work.
    .-= jher´s last blog ..Tao po? =-.

    Sinabi rin sa akin ng Mom ko yan, to let him cry para madevelop yun lungs. :)

    And calling a spade a spade! Korek. Ako ata masospoil nito eh.

  10. haze
    September 10, 2009 at 9:30 am (15 years ago)

    i had my share of this as well. i know they mean well but i don’t see the point that newborns can be spoiled. they need all the love, the body contact and the comfort they need. the moment they cry and you attend to them gives them the signal that there’s someone to comfort them and thus build trust and confidence. just go with what you think is best for timmy, let them talk.

    really at this stage, what else does a newborn do but cry, poop, eat and sleep? and being cooped up for 9 months inside a dark cramped space then being exposed to a lot of stimulation would require lots of hugs and kisses to make things less scary. =)

    you’re doing a good job toni, we mommies feel the same way too. yey for attachment parenting!
    .-= haze´s last blog ..let the rain fall down…and still be in style =-.

    Thank you Haze! Let’s get strength from each other! :)

  11. Len
    September 10, 2009 at 11:08 am (15 years ago)

    Go ahead and carry Timmy. My kids are now 10 & 16 and I always carried them whenever they cried when they were babies. And they didn’t grow up to be spoiled. In fact they are very malambing. Must be all those embraces . . .

    Awwww. :) That’s so sweet!

  12. maver
    September 10, 2009 at 11:08 am (15 years ago)

    i couldn’t agree with you more, toni. enjoy the moment while it lasts because before we know it, our babies will be shrugging off our warm kisses and embraces. boohoo!

    enjoy motherhood!
    .-= maver´s last blog ..GETTING TO KNOW MAVER =-.

    Naku, baka maiyak ako when that time comes. Haha! So I will hug and kiss him as much as I can now! 😀

  13. Trina
    September 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm (15 years ago)

    Hi again Toni :) Like everyone else, I totally agree that you can’t spoil a newborn :) This critical period is when we build their trust in us, they should know that we are there for them when they need us for whatever reason… and the way they tell us they need us is through crying. I read in one of my books that it’s actually harder to make a baby stop crying once the fit is full-blown, I think the rule of thumb based on the research is you need to pick him up within 3-5mins of crying. :) Worked for us, Gabby is such a sweet baby 😉

    Hi Trina! Yes! I read that same thing that it’s harder to calm down a baby who’s been left crying for a longer time. I’m happy to know I’m in good company. 😀

  14. odette
    September 10, 2009 at 3:03 pm (15 years ago)

    there are many schools of thought with regards to taking care of babies. there are those who who are anti-touch, that a baby is never too young to instill discipline and structured scheduled. there are the naturalists who believe in touch, that babies and mothers should bond as much and have skin to skin contact as much as possible.

    personally though, i’m like you, you can never spoil a baby too much. i’d tote him around, kiss as much, love as much, hug as much! you’ve looked forward so much for this time, and you have so much love inside you and so why bottle it all up? reserve discipline when he’s old enough to understand what you’re saying. at this time, you can only communicate with him through your touch. by all means do so! ^-^

    loves to you both toni and timmy!
    btw, have you received the package i sent already? it should be there already. ^-^
    .-= odette´s last blog ..goin’ crazy =-.

    Oooh let me check! I gave you my office address and I’ve been out of the office for a month now! Will let you know!!!

  15. Shai Coggins
    September 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm (15 years ago)

    When it comes to raising kids, I believe that we teach them what they learn about the world. If, from a very early age, they realise that no one comes when they cry – then, they might think that the world is not a place where they can say something and someone will listen.

    So, I come. When my kids cry – I come. I give a hug, a pat on the back, a song… anything that I can possibly give. While I can.

    As parents, we won’t always be the ones who’ll be able to give them what they need… the ones to soothe all the pain and the hurt… to protect them.

    So, I’d like to be there while I can. When they want me. When they need me.

    And, I hope, that for the rest of their life… I will always somehow be there when they cry.

    You are doing the right thing to follow what you believe is right. Trust your gut. Being a first time mum is confusing when it comes to listening to people’s advice. But, just know that even with all the best of intentions, no one will know your child better than you.
    .-= Shai Coggins´s last blog ..09-09-09 at 9:09 =-.

    Thank you so much for this Shai. It’s very inspiring and encouraging! *hugs*

  16. Leica
    September 11, 2009 at 1:21 am (15 years ago)

    I think newborns (and all humans for that matter) need to be held and touched. I do understand your mom though, she’s trying to teach your child to self soothe so that you can have some shut-eye too, once in a while.
    .-= Leica´s last blog ..Tuyo Pasta with Cilantro =-.

    When I need shut eye, I pass Timmy on to his dad or grandparents. Heehee.

  17. Dexie
    September 11, 2009 at 8:29 am (15 years ago)

    Follow what your heart tells you. The thing is, being carried is their comfort after coming out of a comfy, and cozy womb. The skin to skin contact and the soothing ssssssssssssss from us while cradling them reminds them of the womb and the noise inside. So they need that and it usually always work.

    Infancy is not the time to “discipline” babies. So hold Timmy as much as you can, before you know it, he’s crawling or walking everywhere.. :)

    “Infancy is not the time to discipline babies.”

    Perfect line! I so agree.

  18. Rico
    September 11, 2009 at 11:49 am (15 years ago)

    Ok. We don’t have a kid yet so this is purely based on limited experience.
    I don’t think you can smother a baby with too much hugs and kisses. Babies can’t talk the way we do, so I believe that in their own words, thru crying, they call our attention. It’s not just because we need to change their diaper, or maybe feed them, but maybe because they got lonely, and they miss us. After all, this is a strange, new, and big world, and they might be overwhelmed. I’m sure we too get scared. And wouldn’t it be better if we have somebody around?
    .-= Rico´s last blog ..ang sofa, baw =-.

    I echo your thoughts Rico! :)

  19. Kay
    September 11, 2009 at 6:15 pm (15 years ago)

    I agree … you can’t spoil them at that age … hold him, love him …
    .-= Kay´s last blog ..Mafia Wars: MOSCOW =-.

    That’s right!

  20. JO
    September 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm (15 years ago)

    Crying infants are music to my ears.. but not the toddlers ones.

    Sometimes it is good to just let them cry for a few minutes. I guess you will later on learn to differentiate between a hungry cry from a sick cry to a “I need to be hold” cry.
    .-= JO´s last blog ..Never Again! =-.

    I’m slowly beginning to tell the difference 😀

  21. abbee
    September 13, 2009 at 3:44 pm (15 years ago)

    LOL but that’s what babies need the most: spending lots of time in their mommies’ arms! I would’ve carried my godsons more, if I wasn’t so scared shit of dropping them or anything. I don’t want crying babies & I’d always feel better when I get to lull them to sleep with my favorite nursery rhyme (Row, Row, Row Your Boat, anyone?) LOL.
    .-= abbee´s last blog ..Happy 09/09/09! =-.

    I’m running out of lullabyes. I’ve totally forgotten about Row Row Row Your Boat. Hahaha! Will add that to my songlist later, heehe!

  22. Chrissy
    September 17, 2009 at 10:48 am (15 years ago)

    So the best way to teach baby you love them is by this book I found called Dear Baby, What I love about you! by Carol Casey.
    It’s a warm and nurturing story that tells baby how much you love them and why they are so loveable. the bright retro style illustrations with endearing Baby faces and poses set in eye-popping tropical colors, and baby will love it as he/she grows older and then can read to you and tell you why they love their mommy or daddy so much!
    Plus, like some of the comments above, another reason to cuddle and snuggle with your baby!
    .-= Chrissy´s last blog ..ChrissysKorner: what is julie chen wearing a mumu? =-.

    Oooh thanks for the tip!

  23. smarie
    September 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm (15 years ago)

    i wish i had done that with my 1st born, instead he spent most of his younger months in the crib, instead of in my arms, as i was told by our manang not to carry him too much :( i wish i could’ve held and cuddled him more.

    now, i can’t get enough of him and my new siopao. i just want to keep hugging and cuddling them until they will allow me to 😉
    .-= smarie´s last blog ..Villa Alba =-.

    Your Siopao is soooooo cute! Very huggable!

  24. nisa
    February 8, 2022 at 12:42 am (2 years ago)

    Unfortunately for me, I had no choice but to let my newborn scratch my head sometimes. This may seem like a daily routine now, but I have only two arms, two legs and I have 6 children – 4 of whom are starting school. Sometimes as parents, we have no choice but to let the baby cry briefly when we do something. Unless they’re in a soaking wet diaper, they have something in their stomach, and no pain – you have to do what you have to do.


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