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New Research: You can’t “spoil” an infant

In what will come as no surprise to some mums and a relief to many others, new research has confirmed that there’s no such thing as “spoiling” an infant.

In other words, picking up your baby frequently when he or she cries and offering endless kisses and cuddles won’t do your baby any harm.

On the contrary in fact. According to the research, conducted by Notre Dame Psychologist Darcia Narvaez, doing so leads to healthier, less depressed, kinder, more empathetic, and more productive adults.

The study included 600 adults and found that those that were cuddled as infants grew into more well-adjusted adults with less anxiety and better mental health.

Possibly the most important take home message from this study is that parents shouldn’t worry that they’re spoiling their bubs by being attentive – it’s just not possible.

In fact, Narvaez takes the message one step further, saying that not only is it impossible to spoil a baby, but that you’ll actually negatively impact the baby’s development by letting it cry.

“What parents do in those early months and years are really affecting the way the brain is going to grow the rest of their lives, so lots of holding, touching and rocking, that is what babies expect.

“They grow better that way. And keep them calm, because all sorts of systems are establishing the way they are going to work. If you let them cry a lot, those systems are going to be easily triggered into stress.

“We can see that in adult hood, that people that are not cared for well, tend to be more stress reactive and they have a hard time self calming,” said Narvaez.

So follow those instincts and cuddle your baby till your heart’s content. You’ll both feel better, and they’ll thank you for it later.

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