Mom & Dad Say Baby Girl Is 'Spoiled' Because She Only Wants Her Mama To Hold Her — Experts Disagree

There's a very simple solution to the baby's cries and it has nothing to do with her feelings toward her dad.

father holding newborn pikselstock / Shutterstock

New parenthood comes with all sorts of challenges, from lack of consistent sleep to learning how to meet your new baby’s needs. Often, parenting is a trial-by-fire situation — for as much advice as people give, you can’t know what being a new parent is like until you’re actually doing it.

Many well-meaning friends and relatives might comment that certain actions can lead to “spoiling” a newborn baby — but babies can’t really be spoiled in the way older kids might be.


One mom and dad called their baby ‘spoiled’ because she only wants her mom to hold her.

The parents of a baby posted a lighthearted video to TikTok that features the dad holding his baby girl while she cries. He pats her bottom and shushes in her ear, which are all time-tested ways to calm a baby down, yet his daughter keeps crying.

The mom, who’s filming the video, tells the dad to put the baby down. The dad rests the baby on the bed, then takes the camera from the mom, who goes over to the baby. The mom picks the baby up and holds her, at which point, the baby stops crying immediately.


“Look at that,” the dad says as the baby lifts her head and smiles. “She smiled at me!” he exclaims. “That is a little person in disguise.”



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But babies can’t actually be 'spoiled' — in reality, they cry only to ensure that their basic needs are met, and picking a baby up lets them know they are safe.

Touch is one of the most important senses for a baby. In order to feel secure, babies need to be held by their primary caregivers. There’s no such thing as holding a baby too much, just as there’s no way to spoil a baby.


In a 1989 research paper titled “Spoiled Child Syndrome,” BJ McIntosh defined the spoiled child syndrome as “excessive self-centered and immature behavior, resulting from the failure of parents to enforce consistent, age-appropriate limits.”

While it’s possible to spoil older children, it’s impossible to spoil babies, because they’re just trying to have their basic needs attended to.

The Mayo Clinic states that a parent’s relationship with their baby acts as the foundation for the baby’s development. Reacting to a baby’s cries gives the baby a secure attachment, which is necessary for them to develop in order to self-soothe as they grow older. As noted by the Mayo Clinic, it’s incredibly important to react quickly when a baby cries.

“You won't spoil your baby with too much attention,” the Mayo Clinic states. “Your care helps build a strong bond with your baby. It is the basis for the confidence your baby needs to settle down without your help one day.”


A 2021 article in Psychology Today reinforces the belief that babies can’t actually be spoiled, stating that “responsive caregiving is the best practice for infant caretaking, as it builds the bonds of attachment.” Holding a baby whenever they cry promotes a secure attachment style and also enhances infant mental health. A held baby is a happy baby, a baby who knows they are loved.

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It's completely normal — and even expected — for new babies to show a preference for mom over dad.

“Most babies develop a preference for their mother within 2 to 4 months of age," board-certified neonatologist Jennifer Bragg, M.D., explained to Romper. "From birth, the combination of sight, smell, and sound likely all help babies distinguish their mother from others," Bragg added, largely in part to the closeness provided by breastfeeding. "Then there’s clearly smell, and the sound of their mother’s voice, which they’ve been listening to the entire time they were in the womb.”

However, that doesn't mean dads are forever the secondary parent. As pediatrician Alyssa Kuban, M.D., told Romper, eventually, "babies bond to the individual who responds most frequently to their social cues such as crying or smiling, and that may not always be the mother.”

The mom and dad who posted the video of their ‘spoiled’ daughter are clearly having fun and joking around, and it’s equally evident that they care deeply for their newborn daughter and they're both on their way to creating special bonds.


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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.