Your maternal instinct probably already clued you in that holding your newborn A LOT is the right thing to do. The incomparable experience of snuggling your baby is downright amazing for both of you. And contrary to the old wives tale you may have heard, science proves you can’t spoil a newborn, not even by holding her too much.
Not only is holding your baby not spoiling her, it’s meeting one of her basic needs for touch. Newborns really have no concept of manipulation or desires outside of their basic needs. These needs include food, shelter, warmth, sleep and human affection. Just as you provide your baby with the best nutrition through breast milk, holding your baby is helping her adapt to the world with warmth and security. Luckily, breastfeeding and touch go hand-in-hand!
It is not until around nine months of age that babies understand that crying gets your attention. Until then babies cry because they are in need. This is why you probably consider your baby’s hunger, temperature, diaper status and need for sleep when your baby is crying – those are all common basic needs and concerns for babies. But sometimes your baby just craves touch and that may be the cause of her cries. Not in a spoiled, manipulative way, but in a way that longs for security, nurture and understanding.
Studies show the benefits of touch for all humans, but newborns especially need it. The power of touch improves brain development, emotional stability and physical growth. Recent research found that gentle touch for premature babies can help continue brain development more similar to when the baby was in the womb. And babies who are touched more often generally grow up to be happier, more independent and more self-confident.
Whether your baby is crying for comfort or already content, holding her is one of the best ways you can nurture and care for your newborn. In addition to the phenomenal nutrition your baby gets while breastfeeding, the act of nursing does double duty in this crucial developmental stage for your baby.
Babywearing is another way to keep your baby close at all times. Perhaps you can get a few things accomplished as well. Rocking, cuddling in bed, dancing and playing with your baby in your lap are all terrific for maintaining that amazing skin-to-skin contact and helping your baby feel your eternal love.
If anyone tells you to put your baby down for fear of spoiling her, continue to listen to your maternal instinct. Hold her as closely as possible. Because even science proves you can’t spoil a newborn.
Sources: WebMD and Parents