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Parents Talk: Can You Give Your Baby Too Much Attention?

How do you stop your infant from needing attention all the time?

Eight months ago I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy nephew. Grant is the first child for my sister and her husband and is also the first grandchild for my parents. As a result, we all dote on him constantly without batting an eye. (He’s so happy, sweet and snuggly it’s hard not to!)

A few weeks ago, Grant’s daycare provider suggested my sister not give him so much attention at home as he was becoming very needy and demanding of attention at times.

“As if I’m not going to give my son attention,” my sister told me as she scoffed at the idea.

Now, I’m sure this isn’t a new problem. A new baby—especially the first-born—are generally showered with attention and become attention hungry as a result. And with daycare providers having other children to attend to during the day, they would love a break.

While Grant makes me melt, I will admit that he’s becoming a bit of a mama’s boy, and he definitely has a distinct “fake cry” now when he wants something.

Is there such a thing as too much attention? Are there little things parents can do to begin teaching their infant more independence? Or should parents dote all they want? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Jan February 02, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I agree with Mary... I think that you should consider finding new child care.
Caitlin Burgess February 02, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Well, I don't know if she would consider that. And I don't know exactly what was said since I got it second hand, but nonetheless something to that effect was said. Any suggestions on how parents can prevent their kids from being so demanding? Or is it just something that comes with the territory?
judy Erdahl February 03, 2012 at 07:20 PM
This is really just the beginning of an occurrence your sister will soon become all too familiar with; being the recipient of a flood of well-meaning, often times unasked for advice freely given by strangers, friends and family members. What's a new, first time parent to do? We fret, doubt ourselves and scan the internet in search of the perfect answer. In reality, there is no right or wrong way, although plenty of people and books will tell you otherwise. The truth is your sister knows your nephew and his needs better than anyone else in the world and she's on her way to experiencing a parenting journey that will be unique to your nephew and her. The best answer to the question is what does your sister believe? Because that's what really matters. Parents are a child's first and most important teacher. It might be helpful for your sister to join her local Baby and Me class offered through Community Education and her school district. Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes are a great way for new parents to meet with other parents and a licensed parent educator and to learn information about parenting and child development that will help them make these decisions on their own. Judy Erdahl Coordinator, Minnetonka Preschool and ECFE Licensed Parent Educator judy.erdahl@minnetonka.k12.mn.us
Chris February 03, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I second Judy's advice. ECFE is a great program, especially for first time parents. My opinion- free advice is often worth what it costs. How independent is an 8 month-old? Can they talk? Walk? Get their own food? Change clothes to get comfortable? We are not talking about an 8 year-old crying for things, we are talking about a _baby_. They need us. In about 2 years, that little fellow will probably be doing just the opposite, and 'I'll do it!' will have everyone pulling their hair.
Caitlin Burgess February 03, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Thanks for your comments. I agree that first time parents are always questioning themselves and hoping they are doing the right thing, that's why I thought this was a good topic.

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