Q: Will I spoil my 3-week-old baby if I rock her to sleep in my arms and pick her up when she cries at night?

A: Despite what you may hear from well-meaning relatives, you cannot spoil a baby younger than 4 months. In fact, by helping your newborn daughter fall asleep and comforting her when she cries at night, you are teaching her to trust that you will be there for her. Of course if you find opportunities to put your daughter down awake (like when she's drowsy after a car ride) go ahead and try it. This will help ease the transition later when she has to learn to soothe herself. After 4 months, you'll definitely want to help your baby learn to put herself to sleep and comfort herself in the middle of the night (so you can get some sleep as well), but for now you should go right on picking her up when she cries.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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