New Research: Babies Should Be Picked Up Every Time They Cry

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By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist

Results of a study soon to be published in the Applied Developmental Science journal suggests that babies should be picked up every time they cry. Apparently, a mother's instincts are right!

You Can't Spoil Them

Contrary to the popular myth, you can't spoil a baby by always giving them cuddles and attention each and every time they cry. In fact, for babies aged 0-6 months in particular, being held and soothed constantly has drastically beneficial effects on their development compared to children who weren't always picked up. 

The study, conducted by Notre Dame Psychologist Darcia Narvaez, surveyed 600 adults, a mix of those who were cuddled frequently, and those who weren't. It was shown that those who were given lots of affection grew up to be healthier, more productive, happier, well-adjusted, more compassionate, more empathetic adults. 

Narvaez told Tribine Media Wire to cuddle away for your baby's sake, and that spoiling them is pretty much impossible. "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 adulthood, that people that are not cared for well, tend to be more stress reactive and they have a hard time self-calming."

Not A Surprise, Says Many Baby Experts

This research comes as no surprise to paediatrician Dr. David Obudzinski. He told MetroParent that the idea of self-soothing or letting a baby, particular infants under 6 months old, 'cry it out' simply isn't the way to go. “The more you respond to their needs like when they cry, the more secure their world becomes for them. They certainly grow up to be more secure adults and stronger in their own personality and self-worth.” Obudzinski, however, does remind new mums and dads that there is a difference between cries and other baby noises. “Newborns will make all kinds of sounds when they come home. It’s important to not just jump and respond to every sound they make.” Crying, on the other hand, “means they need something. They have a need," he told MetroParent. 

Your baby will thank you for all those warm, cosy cuddles both now, and later!