All babies undergo a phase when they are super clingy and just don’t want to leave their mumma’s lap. For some kids this phase is short-lived, but for a few others it’s a prolonged one. Mine is a latter case. I have twins, out of whom one is a clingy baby.
While my girl is a little independent and would manage to explore things around all alone, my boy is a super clingy baby. All he wants is to be carried all day. He needs his mom to be by his side all through. Even while sleeping he doesn’t leave my lap. I try to sneak out thinking he is asleep. But the minute my feet hit the floor, his eyes start to blink and his familiar wailing begins.
Handling such a baby is tough. And, more so because I have two to look after. While carrying one baby all day, I always feel guilty of neglecting the other.
On top of it, I have been at the receiving end of a lot of criticism, judgment and even unsolicited suggestions, in the past:
1. You are spoiling your child by giving in to his demands all the time.
2. You are being over protective. Your child will never become independent if you carry him all the time.
3. Let the kid cry. That helps to develop his lungs.
4. Kids cry all the time. You can’t be giving in everytime.
5. Go away from the child. You being around all the time makes him want you all the more.
6. Leave the child alone. That ways he will learn. You seem to be emotionally very weak.
7. It’s not the baby who is clingy. It’s you who cannot stay away from the child for long.
8. And the worst of all, it’s your breast milk that makes him stay on your lap all the time. You probably breastfeed him a lot.
All such opinions ended up creating more distress for an already worried mother in me. So one day I decided to know, read, learn and understand everything about clingy babies.
Why Is A Baby Clingy
While there could be several reasons for a baby to be clingy, a few basic ones could be-
1. Separation Anxiety
In the early months of life, kids have no concept of independence and so they consider themselves and their mother as one. Gradually, as they grow, they realize their mother is a separate individual and this thought overwhelms them. That’s when babies do not want to go away from their mums. They need their presence around them all the time.
2. Development Changes
All babies experience clingy periods when big changes in their development occur. Be it phases like teething, or achieving milestones, they take time to adjust and hence seek more comfort which they get only from their moms.
While the reason could be any, what’s to be assured about is that these clingy stages in a baby’s life is developmentally normal and appropriate. It’s actually a sign that the baby is making progress.
How I Deal With My Situation
1. Ignore the world and follow my heart
A mom of a clingy baby attracts people’s attention all the more. She is most susceptible to judgements and even suggestions. To maintain my sanity, I always ignore what people opine about me or my ways of dealing with my child. As far as suggestions are concerned, I practice the ‘filter policy’. Simply filter between what’s positive and what’s not, between what is followable and what’s not.
2. Always be there for my child
I believe in giving that attention, comfort and support that my son needs. Simply because, attachment fosters independence not dependence. Leaving him distressed, to cry and settle on his own only worsens our situation. However being with him, diverting his mind, cuddling and comforting works well as he feels secure and assured that no matter what, his mom is always by his side.
3. Believing it is a temporary phase
It’s certainly not easy managing the household chores while clasping a clingy baby to my hips all the time. It’s exhausting both physically as well as mentally. But at the end of the day, I believe in the fact that it’s just a phase, which may be tough but is not endless. It, too, shall pass.
I call my son a ‘velcro baby’ as he is always strapped around me. Wherever I go, he accompanies. Babywearing adds to our comfort as I go hands free and my baby peacefully enjoys the rhythm of my heartbeat.
5. Explaining the baby
Talking out to the baby always helps, even when we think that he is not able to understand. In situation when I have to leave my son in care of someone else, I prefer telling him goodbye and leave, than sneaking out behind his back. Explaining him that I will be back in sometime helps to do away with his fear that his mom will never come back.
6. Sleep talking
I try sleep talking with my son when he is half asleep. I say all the positive sentences like’ Mama is always with you’, ‘Mama loves you a lot’, ‘Mama is always going to be by your side’, etc. Speaking such affirmative sentences feed his unconscious mind with some positivity that may help to reduce his insecurities.
A clingy baby is not a problematic baby. It’s just a baby’s way to learn and deal with his surroundings. And so such a baby doesn’t need rolling eyes of people around. All he needs is to be felt secured and loved. This will not just give him confidence to strike out on his own but will also help him emerge as an expressive person.
Also Read: Dilemmas Of A Mother of Twins