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Are You Really Spoiling Your Baby?

Parenting a new baby is exciting but often confusing. How do you know if you're behavior is spoiling the baby or helping him thrive?
Parenting a new baby is exciting but often confusing. 

How do you know if you're behavior is spoiling the baby or helping him thrive?

New parents are often concerned that they may spoil their newborn.  But there is no need to worry, explains pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.  "In the first few months it's not possible to spoil your baby. If your baby's crying then she really is trying to communicate that she needs something. She may be wet or dirty. She might be cold, hungry or want to be held.  So it's very important to attend to her needs."

But at about six months of age, babies can learn to start to manipulate their parents.

"If you've checked everything and the baby really doesn't need anything, then it's ok to let them cry it out a little bit before attending to them." 

Babies have different cries depending on their needs.  Tanya Kothari is learning the meaning of her 3 month old's various cries.  "The hunger cry is a severe cry, you really really know."  

But no two babies are alike and sometimes letting them cry it out is not the answer.     

"If your baby is really hungry at midnight, then it's very important to feed her," Dr. Shu says.  "If the baby gets even more agitated and crying it out doesn't settle her down then put that technique aside for a few weeks or months and maybe try again later."

Babies can be hard to read, so if you're struggling, ask your pediatrician for help. 



(Susan Hendricks for CNN's Health Minute)


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