Once again I find myself wondering what we are doing wrong. Suddenly our daughter is fussy and super clingy, again. I thought we had already been through this and moved on. What is this now??? Whyyy? It was so nice to be able to walk two feet without a total meltdown! Maybe I should re-think the attachment parenting and throw her in a sling?! Are we just completely doing this wrong??!
Times like these turn into me frantically searching the internet, looking and hoping for answers. What do you know? I found some! Apparently around 13 months, babies hit another milestone. I have fuzzy memories of her last milestone, where she woke up three or four times a night and made me question my very being.
Anyways, Sacha has just started to walk (her new milestone), and this has unleashed a whole new realization about the world and what is in it, (according to several articles I read – see below). That’s why she is suddenly scared to death of the new lamp store in town. Suddenly there are more moving parts to the world she is in, so she “clings” to me for security. Okay. I get it. When I look at it that way, it’s still frustrating, but it’s a little more tolerable. She is just trying to figure out the world, and she needs reassurance. I still don’t understand how that translates to me being three feet away and her freaking out, in our own home, with no one else around, but life is full of all kinds of mysteries.
It’s a good reminder that the first two years of a baby’s life are extremely important for setting them up with confidence and self esteem. She needs to be secure, and know that she is not on her own. So instead of thinking that I’m spoiling her and needing to get tough, I should be aware that she needs some reassurance in her little world. And what’s so wrong with that? I’m not in a hurry for her to grow up yet. It’s happening too fast already. If she wants me to sit with her and hold her bottle while she drinks it, I will. No problem. I know she’s perfectly capable of doing it herself. I don’t know any grown ups who drink out of (baby) bottles held by their mothers, do you? I think she’ll be okay. She’s still a baby, after all.
So baby, cling away. I know this phase will end eventually (I’m getting wiser already!).
And just to clarify, this has nothing to do with discipline. My clingy baby is not biting me and getting away with everything under the sun. The two do not go hand in hand (another subject for another day).
Here are links to some of the articles that I found most interesting, and reassuring:
EssentialBaby.com “Joined at the Hip: Loving your Velcro Baby” So this is what they call it! I think I might have a velcro baby…
Janet Lansbury “Calming your Clingy Child” Nice article on ways to handle clinginess, and how to get through it together
Dr. Laura Markham at Aha! Parenting.com A reader sent in a question asking the doctor if her responsive parenting was causing her baby to be clingy. Her answer is worth reading.