Comforting Baby Doesn't Mean Spoiling
Sometimes parents think that if they go to their baby each time he cries, they are teaching him to cry even more to get attention. Infant researchers agree it is very important for parents to go to baby promptly when she cries. This leads to less crying later. The important thing is how quickly parents respond to crying---more so than the amount of time spent comforting the baby.
By about the 4th week of life, infants use fussing noises when they need something. If these quiet cries are answered, the baby learns she doesnt always have to scream. At about 6 weeks, just making eye contact with baby can sometimes quiet her.
Remember, your babys cry is a way of asking for something. Your baby needs you not only to provide for his bodily needs, but also for comfort and reassurance. Because there are many different needs, its important to know and use a variety of ways to respond. Sometimes if you answer quickly when your baby begins to fuss, the sound of your voice alone will be enough to soothe.
Very young babies often like to be swaddled. The snug wrapping of the blanket provides warmth and security. Some babies seek comfort through sucking on a pacifier, thumb or fist. Others prefer motion to soothe them---rocking, being carried as you walk, riding in a stroller or infant swing.
Other ideas include:
Reference: GH 6121 "Development During the First 3 Years" University of Missouri Extension