Baby Zap is upset. Mom is not sure what Baby Zap needs. She tries to give him a soother, then his soft, cuddly bear. Next a bottle. Baby Zap doesn't want any of these things. Mom picks up Baby Zap and that turns out to be just what he wants - a cuddle. And just incidentally, Baby Zap burps!
Babies are born with a need for human contact - they need to be hugged, cuddled and touched for their brains to develop the right connections. In fact, babies who are not picked up, or who don't receive the physical stimulation they need, develop smaller brains than babies who have regularly been held and comforted.
Babies experience relationships through their senses, so lots of talking, cuddling and eye contact are the way to tell your child you love her. It's not humanly possible to always be there when she wants a hug, but do notice when she's "asking" for one and do your best to deliver. You can't spoil a baby by meeting her needs.
Infants cry when they need something from you - it's their way of communicating. They may be hungry or wet. They may have an upset tummy or an ear ache. Or they may need a hug. It may be a process of elimination for a while, to figure it out. You'll soon get to know what some of his different cries mean.
You can't spoil an infant by comforting him when he cries. In fact, you are helping him learn to soothe himself sooner than if you left him alone to cry.
Babies need to know that they can rely on you for consistent care. This helps them feel secure and develop an attachment to you.
Food for Thought:
- Why does your baby cry? Can you tell the difference between his types of crying?
- How do you feel when your baby cries a lot? What can you do to cope with it?
- When do you most feel like you might be spoiling your baby?
- Families vary in how they show affection. Some families talk about feelings, some do a lot of hugging. What did you grow up with? What are you comfortable with? Why is it important for babies to be hugged?