Snuggling your baby to sleep is not a "bad habit" - you are being an awesome mom when you do that so PLEASE don't feel guilty for doing anything wrong. You certainly aren't hurting your baby - when he learns that you will comfort him and take care of him when he's lonely or scared, it makes him *more* secure, not less. Lynn Z. (below) had great advice. (Not only will you not be rocking them to sleep when they're 10 as Lynn mentioned, you'll be *missing* not being able to do that.)
Someone said "Babies are wise....they will get conditioned to having you react to their crying...that is how they know to get your attention." As if that were a bad thing.
Yes, babies ARE wise. They know what they need and they know how to ask for it - this is GOOD! When he learns that you will respond to his needs, he learns that the world is a secure place and maybe he won't be devoured by wolves. Whereas, if left to cry it out, "the child stops crying because he learns that he can no longer hope for the caregiver to provide comfort, not because his distress has been alleviated." Ouch!
And as far as "crying never hurt a baby...," researchers at Harvard and Yale Medical schools say otherwise:
Here's 10 MORE reasons why you have no reason to feel guilty for your "bad habit." Science is on your side!
Plenty of parents not only rock or snuggle their kids until they fall asleep, they share their beds with their young children and often in those families, everyone sleeps better because of it. (Not saying you have to, just that there's nothing wrong with it and it's there's a lower risk of SIDS - contrary to popular opinion, it's SAFER than leaving a baby to sleep all alone, assuming you can keep them from rolling off and you're not stone drunk.) For some people this puts too much strain on their marriage and would lead to divorce - it's not for everyone. But if the parents are comfortable with it, the only effects on children are positive. THE GOAL IS THAT EVERYONE GETS THE SLEEP THEY NEED AND EVERYONE'S NEEDS ARE RESPECTED.
PLEASE beware of "sleep trainers" for the reasons above - there is the assumption that babies "need" to learn to sleep alone by some certain age or "they'll NEVER learn", which is complete hogwash. With sleep trainers, everything is skewed to parental convenience rather than listening to what your baby is TELLING you he needs. (Sleep trainers, in case you aren't aware of the term, focus on making the baby sleep alone through the night no matter what, people like Ferber, the "baby whisperer", the Ezzos <cringe>, moms on call.) They also have unrealistic expectations of "normal infant sleep." See
<a href="http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/sleep.html"&... infant sleep. </a>
When you hold your baby or rock him to sleep, or snuggle him down or nurse or whatever, think about how quickly this stage will pass, how every single day he gets a little bigger, how wonderful it is to feel his warm body and hear his breathing gradually slow down as he drifts off to sleep and how you'll want to remember that sound and that feeling for the rest of your life, and how you won't be able to snuggle him in a few short years. Cherish his babyhood while you can.