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Can you ‘spoil’ your baby if you hold them too much?

Contrary to popular belief, research shows that you cannot really hold your baby "too much". While some assume that holding the baby can make the little one clingy or demanding, studies suggests that rather than spoiling, it actually relieves your baby's stress.

holding baby, parenting tips Can you spoil your baby by holding him or her? (Source: Getty Images)

Mothers are often warned about not holding their baby too much. A woman recently shared on Quora how her mother-in-law said she will “spoil” her infant by holding him too much.

Contrary to popular belief, research shows that you cannot really hold your baby “too much”. While some assume that holding the baby can make the little one clingy or demanding, studies suggest that rather than spoiling, it actually relieves your baby’s stress.

In 1979, neonatologists Edgar Rey and Hector Martinez reportedly asked some mothers to hold their infants diapered but bare-chested between their breasts in an upright position as often as possible. The doctors found babies to be less dependent on incubators as a result, with mortality rates falling to 30 per cent from 70 per cent.

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Improves brain development

Holding the baby involves skin-to-skin contact, also called kangaroo care, which helps the newborn adapt to his or her post-birth environment. It also assures better brain functioning compared to those who had been placed in incubators, as per a 2012 study titled Cerebral motor function in very premature-at-birth adolescents: a brain stimulation exploration of kangaroo mother care effects.

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Soothes the baby and helps them sleep

Holding the baby also reduces his or her stress and pain. According to a study published in AACN Clinical Issues by Susan Ludington, with skin-to-skin contact, “heart rate and crying responses to pain” are significantly reduced in premature infants, helping them sleep well.

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Improves parental bonding

Skin-to-skin contact is known to increase levels of oxytocin, which is the bonding hormone, and makes the baby feel calm and secure. Holding the baby, therefore, can “increase parental bonding, decrease stress for both the parents and the baby, and reduce the length of hospital stay,” according to Rebeccah Slater, who authored a study in Current Biology on skin-to-skin contact with babies.

First published on: 03-05-2019 at 02:02:50 pm
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