“Out of no where, the child that never cried in the arms of family and friends now unleashes a wave of yelling and screaming when you pass them on. It is frustrating and tiring to say the least.”
What just happened? You may ask yourself!
The simple answer, is nothing really.
Clinginess is just a normal part of growing up and one thing is for certain, if you have or are planning to have a child you will experience it.
There are several stages of clinginess.
- When babies are born they don’t perceive distance, baby and mum are one – there is no separation and their worlds are united.
- As babies grow they begin to perceive that mum can actually leave them. When they realise this they “cling” onto mum for reassurance, its like an elementary survival instinct – mum is a harbour of safety.
- When they known mum is around, babies will begin to explore the world around them and reach new developmental milestones. You will come to realise that your baby will eventually explore the world around them and leave you to do so without a tear. But if you move they will often start crying and run back to you.
- As they become more and more confident, clinginess drops and they return to their happy selves giving you breathing space to do things with two hands instead of one.
The term “separation anxiety” is often used to describe these phases. Yes i said “PHASES”with an “S”! Clinginess is not just a once off thing, it will happen over and over again as your baby grows.
Here are some general tips to help you deal with clinginess.
- Reassure yourself that you have done nothing wrong. Most mums feel an incredible guilt that they have spoiled their child. This could not be further from the truth. Clinginess is normal and every child goes through it, your child is not a brat.
- Talk to your baby, never leave them and run away so they don’t see you – this just intensifies their fears. Always acknowledge them, tell them your leaving and coming back. Never just abandon them.
- Learn to free yourself and just sit with your baby. Your baby needs you at this time. They want to feel safe. Get your relatives or other half to do things around the home to help you out.
- Join some local mums groups or go to play groups – many find that their baby is not as clingy in these situations.
- Look after yourself, these periods can really drain and stress anyone out. Get some babysitting and pamper yourself.
- Introduce your baby to many people around you while holding them. Normalising social interactions with strangers is an important part of development
- Count down the days, it will pass and you will have a “normal” baby soon.
Your baby will often neglect your partner during this stage of growth. That is normal. It doesn’t mean anything and your baby still loves their father.
Clinginess is hard, but one thing is for certain it will end soon!
If you are struggling with clinginess, feel free to see your family doctor, they will often just provide the reassurance you need.
The advice provided on healthykid.com.au is of a general nature and in no way should replace your therapeutic relationship with your doctor