Spoiled Baby

Updated on March 20, 2011
M.M. asks from Bellmawr, NJ
20 answers

I heard. I heard. There is no such baby. But my granddaughter is 3 months old and cannot be held by anyone but Mom. Not even Dad.
My son's mom will be babysitting for 4 or 5 hours a day 5 days a week starting Monday.

So there are two problems. Tactfully getting through to Mom that carrying the baby around all the time is not good for the baby if Mom needs a babysitter. And what should a babysitter or a dad do to help a baby who becomes upset when Mom is not holding her?

Also the baby isn't on the bottle yet. If mom is away for 5 hours wouldn't that also be a problem?

I forgot to mention this is a second baby. Her two year old sister could be held by others.

So what many are saying is that it's okay for the mom to cling constantly to the baby even though the baby becomes hysterical when held by anyone even dad? Bouts of hysteria are certainly not good for the baby.

What can I do next?

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answers from San Francisco on

That problem is not going to be solved by Monday. They are just going to have to go through the difficult transition.

And no, there is no such baby, esp. not at 3 months.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

she should start giving the baby over to dad and other people (who will be around often) when they are around so the baby gets accustomed to other people. Gradual transitioning will work better than her just suddenly leaving the baby alone with a "non-mom" person. If she is always close by, the baby will learn quickly enough that these people are "safe" and mom doesn't just "poof out of existence" the moment she isn't in contact!....

Some babies really love motion! she should see if the baby can tolerate being sat in a swing that is in the same room as whoever has her. My daughter used to be perfectly content "half swaddled" with her arms snuggled up while she was in the swing!

When she is gone she should be taking breaks (at least one) and pumping! she should save that milk and have it bottle-fed to her baby while she is gone. Ideally she should use a bottle made for breastfed babies... wide mouthed bottled with breast-like nipples work best. whoever has her should NEVER introduce formula or other "supplements" unless they are instructed by mom or a doctor, because this can really screw up successful breastfeeding. The first few times the baby is introduced to the bottle (with breast milk in it) she may refuse it... but a baby that is hungry enough WILL eat... and she'll adapt to the bottle within a few weeks. milk should be served warm (close to body temp) at first. My daughter eventually would take breast milk cold too, but that is a worry for later down the road after the baby is used to bottle feedings.

The baby is NOT spoiled, but that doesn't mean the baby will be harmed by having to get used to a new routine. It might involve a few tears at first (by mom AND baby) but it'll get easier for everyone quickly enough!

Good Luck!

5 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Albany on

Well the transition back to work will be stressful, but Mom and baby will eventually adjust. Families are like that, you know? I'm sure mom can pump and the baby will eventually take breast milk in a bottle from someone else. Well, eventually by MONDAY, I mean.

Sigh, I think it sucks that mom and baby have to be apart already.


10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I've worked with babies for years and love to say "food spoils. Babies can't be spoiled."

Mama is everything to your granddaughter. She is food, comfort, womb (still... this is her association), life.

Some babies are very attached to their mothers. Imagine--they have no concept of object permanence. If mama goes out of sight, baby thinks Mama is gone forever. Of course, she will cry.

What would work best is for mama to help her baby get on a bottle, even if only for evening feedings. What worked for me was to get my son nursing, and then hand him to his father and let him use a bottle of breastmilk, and leave the room. I did find that we had to experiment with bottle nipples to find one that worked. (He liked the FloVent by Playtex with standard bottle nipple, not the 'breast' type nipple. Each child is different.)

Is the mother having some feelings of ambivilance about leaving her daughter in care or going back to work? Just a question.

A couple years ago, a woman needed care for her daughter and left her with me for four hours. I found that they had not actually achieved bottle feeding (though she'd assured me she had) and after trying to adapt a nipple to work, just called the mother and *insisted* that she come and get her child, who was so upset she had a hard time getting on the breast to nurse before they went home. The mother was unhappy with me for a while, but my first priority has to be the baby's well-being.

All this to say, don't let this be the caregiver's problem. If mom needs to come home, she will need to. Your wife (I'm assuming?) won't let the baby starve (breastfed babies need to be fed more often than the standard 4 hours, as this milk is metabolized more quickly than formula), and should call mom if the crying goes on for a long period of time...even before she's hungry. I think this "what happens if..." conversation needs to happen in advance.

That said, I'm not sure there's a tactful way to tell the mother 'put your baby down' or 'let daddy hold the baby and leave the room.... let them figure it out themselves'. I've learned the hard way that advice to a parent-- given without their asking for it-- is often heard only as criticism and is usually filtered as such. Therefore, have the mother and grandmother stick with making a backup plan, and then let the mother ask for help. She'll be better able to hear you if she comes to realize that what she's been doing isn't going to work in this situation.

Good luck!


9 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Um...the baby is 3 months old. You're being a little bit ridiculous.

Sounds like the baby's mom is doing an awesome job. You'll just have to deal with the fact that the baby might not be as happy without mommy there...that's the reward we get for being the one getting up with the baby every night at 12 AM, 3 AM, 5 AM, etc. Sorry but get over it.

Oh and there is no tactful way to say what you're asking...you don't say it.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

The baby will adjust because that's what babies do. The baby will eventually calm down when someone else if holding her ( especially if Mom is not there) and the baby will eat from a bottle when she's hungry.

She's not spoiled. Mommy smells good, Mommy sounds good and Mommy has the boobs. I would venture to say that almost all babies are more easily comforted by Mom in the first few months.

I remember talking to my Mom on the phone (she lives in another state) when my daughter was 4 months old. She asked how the baby was and I told her she was a little fussy that day unless I was holding her. She told me that my daughter was "conditioning me". She said that if my daughter had been fed, had a clean diaper and wasn't tired, she was crying to be held and I was being conditioned to pick her up when she cries. I said " ok then, I'll tell you what... The next time you call me, I'm going to ask you if you need anything and if you say no, I'm going to hang up on you." She's said "what??? Why would you do that?" And I said " why wouldn't I pick up my baby and comfort her when she cries? What if she just needs me?"

Love that baby and hold her all anyone wants to... You've got a good 3 or 4 months before she starts conditioning you.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Get the book "What To Expect The First Year."
So that, baby development will be known.

Your Granddaughter is normal.
It is instinct and normal, for a baby to behave this way.
ONLY the Mommy, is comfort and security and a baby knows, Mommy feeds her.

Carrying baby all the time is fine and normal.
It IS good for a baby. That is how they learn comfort and security and independence, later. It gives them, a good solid sense of self and development and confidence.

Babies, typically do not like anyone except Mommy.
Babies also go through 'separation anxiety' which is a NORMAL developmental based thing.

Babies, also feel the most secure, with Mommy.

If baby is not on a bottle... then how is she being fed????
A baby needs to feed very often and on-demand. NOT by a 'schedule'. Going 5 hours without a feeding... is NOT good.
For any baby, especially that young.
So I agree with you on that.
A baby... can also DEHYDRATE very quickly.
Not to mention, baby will get very hungry.
Thus, baby will get fussy and want Mommy, because she is ALSO, hungry. And needs, Mommy.

A baby, will adjust.
They are a baby.
You need to be patient.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Many breastfeeding moms have that problem if they are away longer than between feedings. They have to pump and the sitter use a bottle.

As for spoiling the baby, at this stage they should get what they want, when they want, from whom they want. It is not spoiling, it is nuturing, comforting, providing what is needed, providing stability and letting the child know his needs will be met. Now, if mom needs to do something and dad or someone else needs to hold the baby they should. If he cries, they should continue to do all the things necessary to sooth the baby (calmly, reasurringly, and lovingly because babies sense nervousness and uncertainy and it will cause them to be harder to sooth).

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

3 months old, not spoiled. 3 month old is dependent on mom for food.. so yes, baby likes the smell of mom.. Remember we humans are animals.. Just like a puppy that does better with the scent of the mom when they are separated, the infant is very dependent on odors and smells..

I suggest some of moms tshirts and pillow cases that have not been washed. These can be used over the shoulder like a burp cloth. Also mom can sleep with some crib sheets so they will also smell like mom..

Please understand, this infant has been inside the mom and feeding from the mom for a long time.. Everybody else is brand new.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

At 3 months if baby slept a 6 hr stretch mom would be thrilled so no baby not being on a bottle is fine if baby refuses 5 hrs is nothing baby will probably just nurse more when mom is around. I wore my youngest in a sling or in an ergo a lot when he was small so I could get things done of course baby doesn't want to be held by anyone else when moms around she is her food supply and comfort. It will take sometime for baby to adjust when mom returns to work but I don't think you need to nit pick moms parenting style. There is nothing wrong with attachment parenting.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My daughter was like that but she also is now the one who goes in to crowds and plays great with others, I hated it when people told me to get her off my hip, I did not hold her that often during the day to validate such comments and it drove me crazy. I would happily hand her over to her extended family to love and she would flip out, it wasn't great for me or my husband either. But we got through it and she is a social butterfly. But the mom needs to get baby on a bottle of breast milk by someone other than her to get the baby ready for her return to work.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

I wouldn't say the baby is spoiled. If mom gives the baby to dad and leaves for an hour, the baby would be fine. Some practice with that wouldn't hurt before your partner needs to be a caregiver for this child 4 to 5 hours a day. Baby will probably just get used to it once she's been with her for awhile anyhow. I suggest the mom brings a carrier your partner can use for the baby's fussy periods.

As for the feedings, that is a problem. Expecting your partner to just deal with a hungry hysterical baby because the baby doesn't want the bottle is not fair to the baby or the caregiver. Mom needs to get that child bottle trained ASAP by pumping (i'm assuming) and leaving the house for a short time so dad can bottle feed it. It is not always easy, especially since she waited this long to do it. I started at a month or 6 weeks of age and my child still put up a fuss. I basically had to pump all day and keep offering the bottle to her because my husband was too easily discouraged.

I dont agree with your spoiling assessment but I thought alot of posters did not consider that this mom needs to be preparing her baby to transition to child care not be in denial about it . My two cents...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

She's not spoiled, she's just not a super social extroverted baby. My son is a people person and has been since he was tiny. This baby sounds like she's not a people person - she may never be. THe other mom's had good ideas about mom-scented stuff. The baby will adjust, and if your wife can wear the baby as well, it may help. The baby's going to have to be on a bottle to be fed while mommy's away - hopefully she'll have pumped or gotten formula ready. If not, she needs to ASAP.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

My children are all the same way. It annoys all my family. Let me tell you trying to push her and make her feel bad that the baby doesn't go to any one is just going to make it worse. Just make it known that you will hold the baby if possible. Otherwise, I don't honestly think that there is a tactfull way to tell her to put her baby down. My emotions were always running high and any "advice" on this topic always sent me thru the roof. This stage is so short that soon the little one will be running around!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

The baby isn't spoiled... it is instinct. She was in her mommy for almost a year and if mommy does most of the baby work that will add to the bond as well. If she does need a babysitter she will have to transition the baby by first letting dad hold the baby if of course dad is cool with it (sorry trying not to let my ex dead beat dadness influence my post lol). Then maybe when the baby is cool with dad holding her, see if grandma can hold her. Once she realizes that she can be safe with grandma or dad (holding or just being taken care of in general) without needing mom all the time she will be better about it. She (the baby) needs to feel at ease before the babysitting or it is going to be stressful for the baby (and the grandma). She may want to start pumping breastmilk (or buy formula) and start bottles and still nurse so the baby can be comfortable with both and not freak out when she all of a sudden has to have a bottle.

I hope I used words right, you said granddaughter had the problem, but said son's mom so hope it was all good :o)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Hi, M.:

There are no spoiled babies. Has the baby been checked for a health condition?

As the challenges unfold, then seek the remedy.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

True. Mom is causing this (but the baby isn't spoiled). If mom would put the baby down or pass her around, she'd be used to people in no time. But. She's the mom. And it's her call. You can't pressure her. Yes 5 hours away is too long to go without eating. She will have to pump a bottle or leave some formula.

I have an enormous family that makes a point of passing babies around precisely so they feel secure no matter who holds them, and it works, and they're not insecure later for it. But others believe babies will be more secure later if you hold them more as babies. If both are true, then it's up to momma. At 3 months old, the baby won't be permanently spoiled from being held by mom though. It's just going to be hard for others to watch her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

Well I have to disagree. IT is not bad for Mom to carry the baby around all the time even if she will need a sitter. I have two kids, carried both of them around all the time, and as infants my daughter wouldn't let anyone but me and then my Mom hold her, my son went to everyone. so the holding had no impact on their personalities even as babies. My daughter screamed whenever I was gone except with my Mom. There was nothing I could do about it. I could leave my son with anyone and he was happy as a clam. Kids are different even at 3 months old. This is just this child's personality and if Mom doesn't hold her as much it could actually get worse not better. The baby will eventually adjust to whoever is babysitting her, my daughter let my Mom care for her no problem, but no one else until she was over 3 years old and still the only people at that point were my parents. It wasn't until she was 5 that she would even go to school without hysterics. My son on the other hand, I actually think I held him more than my daughter, but he goes anywhere with anyone, always has. Please don't make the Mom feel guilty for her child's personality, I can't tell you how many people blamed me and how bad I felt, with my daughter. It was just awful. I also have to disagree with the feeding issue. If the baby is breastfed, she can be fed right before leaving and fed upon return. Many babies go much longer than 5 hours at night without feeding when they are breastfed and some do it in the day. The baby will nurse more when Mom is home. I sat for a baby who was exclusively bf and they always left a bottle and he never, not once drank it. Initially I had a crying baby until he wore himself out and fell asleep, but that didn't last long and I found ways to comfort him without nursing and he got used to it and nursed more when his Mom was home. If Mom doesn't want to use bottles she doesn't have to. I did with my daughter, but not with my son. So my best advice is relax, don't give advice to a stressed out Mom who is doing the best she can. And baby and grandma will figure out their own way of relating pretty quickly, even if she doesn't give a bottle. Blessings!



answers from Philadelphia on

I'm one of those Moms who didn't listen when everybody told me to put the baby down and let him cry a little.. (now he's 18 months) I was told by everyone... and wouldn't listen...

Unfortunately, she's just going to have to learn on her own. I'm sure when she has other children running around, she will be forced to put the baby down...



answers from Harrisburg on

Did your daughter-in-law ask for your help? If not (and it sounds like it), I would just leave her alone to figure things out. You will damage the relationship with your son and DIL if you give unwanted advice. It's a short stage...and not a life changing issue here. The relationship with the adults is more important.

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