First-time parents often worry if they’re showering “too much” attention on their newborn. Am I holding him too much? If I pick her up every time she cries, does that make me a pushover?

Well mom and dad, you can rest easy…because for the first few months of life, spoiling a baby is pretty much impossible! So don’t let the haters tell you any different. You can snuggle your little one as much as you want.

The First 6 Months

You truly do not have to worry about spoiling a baby during the first 6 months. They are cute and cuddly by design! Meeting your child’s need to be comforted, held, and fed in a predictable fashion helps him/her feel secure and builds a loving relationship between parent and child. It does not lead to spoiling. Science backs this up.

 A study published in Pediatrics examined the impact of skin-to-skin contact between babies and parents. And this study didn’t just look at the impact today; it measured outcomes many years later. The results show that babies who had frequent contact with caregivers had less aggression and higher IQs later on in life.

Another study shows that carrying babies helps a lot when infants reach the colicky stage around the 6-week mark. This is when newborn infants tend to be their most fussy. Any action that decreases crying has got to be a good thing!

Need more reassurance? Physical contact was also shown to help during events that might be scary for your baby. For example, comforting a baby while they are getting a vaccination can actually reduce the amount of pain the infant experiences.

Don’t worry about the naysayers that say infants need to “soothe themselves”. Your mama-bear instincts are right. The first few months are crucial for forming a bond with your infant. There is no such thing as too much physical contact. You’re not at risk for spoiling a baby.

Month 6 And Beyond

After the 6-month mark, you can still snuggle and carry around your little one. But you may want to make some (slight) adjustments to compensate for your child’s growth.

For example, it is usually around this time when babies start developing their social reference skills. This means they can pick up on other people’s attitudes through facial recognition. You might want to start paying more attention to what mood you are modeling for your child. If you appear scared or anxious, your baby will pick up on your expression and can become anxious as a result. It’s something to keep in mind.

This is also the time you can start allowing your baby to experience (some) minor frustration. You can ease up and let them cry or fumble a little bit. It’ll help them learn how to properly cope with difficulties. Just be sure you’re there to step in if needed. You always want your baby to feel safe. Being a reliable caregiver does not put you at risk for spoiling a baby.

 Love Em’ Up

There you have it! Your instinct is to pick up your baby, and it turns out that’s the right way to go. There is plenty of scientific research indicating that babies can’t be spoiled. In fact, the data shows that NOT holding your baby enough has negative consequences in terms of overall health and development.

So strap your little angel into that baby carrier and take them with you. You won’t be spoiling a baby. The close physical contact will do you both good.