Friday 6 July 2012

Nothing beats a cuddle

Like many Mums I know, there is no better feeling than cuddling your baby, soothing them with love and affection and receiving it back, really is the best feeling in the world. So why do so many of us, especially new mums feel as though they are spoiling their babies?

Firstly, I think in society we listen to too many myths and old wife's tales. Hands up those of you who have been told the following when rushing to pick up your baby; "You're making a rod for your own back", "Crying is good for them it helps strengthen their lungs", "They'll never settle themselves if you keep picking them up!"

What I personally feel is worse than all of the above cliches, is the accusation you are 'spoiling them'. What utter nonsense, if you think about it logically, how can you spoil a newborn baby?Remember, crying is the only way they can communicate.

Many Mums, especially first time around don't have the confidence to go with their gut instincts and do what feels right for their babies.

A new mum at my local breastfeeding support group, Bosom Pals said: "I feel guilty holding her so much, I think I should put her down more."

It doesn't help that baby 'experts' reinforce this 'spoiling' notion. Ms Ford, who sells millions of books each year explains her take on these precious cuddles:

"On page 106 in The New Contented Little Baby book I stress the importance of physical contact and affection with your baby. However, I do say that parents should make sure that the cuddling and affection they give is to satisfy their baby’s needs before their own. The baby's emotional needs should be put before the parents’. And, crucially, there is a difference between cuddling your baby and cuddling him to sleep. If he gets used to being cuddled to sleep, it will create a dependence that you will have to break at some point – and it is much easier to get him used to settling himself to sleep at three weeks of age than three months or three years."

Sorry Gina, what utter trash. What really gets me about the comment above is the insinuation that if you settle your baby by cuddles you are being selfish and putting your needs above your baby, I mean come off it.

I am afraid you make more mummies cry than babies with the content of your books. Lucie, a lovely mum who attends Bosom Pals said: "When Robs was a baby, I read her book, I got halfway through it and had to stop as I was crying so much. I knew then that was not how to treat another human.

"What is really sad, is that when they are really small you don't realise just how little time you have to get those precious cuddles in."

Mum to twins and a toddler Maria added: "She has also written a book on training twins too! My two had such different personalities from day one. It's hard to see how a non-parent can sell so many books.

"I love cuddles with my monkies, I just wish I had an extra pair of hands."

Emma, another lovely mummy from the group also pointed out: "The more you cuddle them, the quicker they learn to do it back. And that's the best feeling in the world. Ever!"

Studies show cuddling newborns not only keeps them calm, but regulates their temperature, fights infection, and improves social, emotional and physical development.*

Theories around creating attachments through physical contact have been around for years. Harlow (1962) did a series of experiments with monkeys and isolation, there is a link below for details, he found those who didn't receive the attention and affection from their mother carried traits of not being able to form attachments into adult life.

So in conclusion, next time you worry you are spoiling your baby with cuddles, throw the book out the window and snuggle away.

I think we should start a cuddle campaign and spread the word! Why not add a comment to the post and a lovely picture of cuddle time.

*Read more:

For those of you that fancy some psychology read this, it's really long but so interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I am 100% with you here. Did you know that the CIO method was thought up by a 20 something male scientist in a lab. As for Gina's easy to be emotionally unattached as a nanny!