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You can't spoil a baby!

 
Why do complete strangers feel they have the right to judge parents?
woman covering her ears
By Shannon Richards

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
My baby was a few hours old, my husband and I hadn't slept for about 50 hours straight. We were both exhausted after a slightly traumatic and very long birth journey. My birth story is one for the books but, that didn't deter us.

As new parents, we were on a complete high. We were astounded that we had created this gorgeous little being and, of course, to us, she was the cutest person we'd ever laid eyes on. We took turns holding her while she slept, examining in minute detail every inch of her face, discussing her long eye lashes and perfect nose, tiny fingers and crinkly toes. We didn't put her down once, holding her closely all the time and breathing in her beautiful newborn scent.

When someone bursts the bubble

And then, of course, somebody with a judgemental attitude arrived in our lives. It happened while I was sneaking a quick (and oh so needed) bath. My husband was holding the baby while she slept, watching her breathe (as you do, as a first time parent!). A midwife entered the room and scolded him. She said "Stop spoiling the baby, as she will never learn to self-soothe". Since then, we've encountered a barrage of complete strangers who seem to think they have the right to cast judgement on our parenting, and have full rights to tell us how to raise our child. We've been stopped in shopping centres, whilst I was wearing my daughter in a sling. The unsolicited advice is always the same - "Stop carrying the baby all the time! You'll spoil her!" My response has always been "I'm trying my very best to spoil her as much as possible!"

Nurturing is not spoiling!

Babies are not manipulative creatures. They crave cuddles and it’s necessary for development. A million studies show that babies who are regularly cuddled are calmer, and the developmental benefits are endless. There is a significant difference between spoiling your child and nurturing her the way we feel is natural. The bombardment of uninvited advice from strangers who think that we are doing our child harm, really irks us. We raise our daughter the way we want to, the way that feels natural to us, and we're totally okay if people think we're spoiling her. Baby wearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping are all just parts of our parenting life, and we love every moment.

So, the next time someone says: "Stop that! You're spoiling the baby!", simply smile, cuddle your child a little closer and respond with: "No, I'm just loving her the way she needs to be".

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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