Can a toddler be TOO attached to mum do you think?

(25 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Wed 12-Mar-14 20:31:48

My son is 20 months now and although I know periods of separation anxiety are normal, he is more the other way around - there have been patches when he's 'easier' and will entertain himself for a short period (I'm talking 5 mins not half an hour!) but in general his default setting is to be completely obsessed with me.

Some days I can't even shower without him crying throughout- I do because I don't want to be smelly! But even though he has so much if me it never seems to be enough. We co sleep from around 11 or midnight as he won't be put back i his cot then and are still breastfeeding. I can't imagine how I could ever wean him tbh, he loves his milk so much. I am at home with him at the moment so he has me every day, but even when DH is there he isn't that interested in him and will bother me for attention instead. This is obviously hard on DH who would like more affection, and me who needs a break!

Funnily enough he will play happily with my parents, but if it's DH, me and him at home he just wants to be with me. Does that sound normal? Maybe I should have encouraged him to spend more time away from me, but haven't had the opportunity as DH works long hours so we're together a LOT.

I think DH is starting to think there's some kind of problem and DS should be more independent by now. Though that doesn't seem to extend to actually taking over from me much to give him any practice.

dyslexicdespot Wed 12-Mar-14 20:36:28

He sounds completely normal and very much like my DS. He will become more independent with time. It's exhausting but you are providing him with the security he needs!

cooper44 Wed 12-Mar-14 21:02:28

Think it's totally normal and sounds exactly like my 18month old. He's recently become less obsessed with me by spending more time with his dad but it's definitely taken a while.

my2bundles Thu 13-Mar-14 10:44:16

They are supposed to be attached to their mothers this way at 20 months. My son was like this, at age 4 he happily skipped into nursery without a second glance, at 5 the same with school. I strongly belive that children need the security of their mother and attachment to her in the ealry years as it makes them feel secure and gives them the confidence when they are slightly older to make the move to school without fears. Ive found its children who are forced to separate prematurely are the ones who struggle with self confidence later in childhood.

PenelopeChipShop Thu 13-Mar-14 15:20:52

Thanks for the replies, it's good to hear there are others like this. So often at playgroups I hear from mums that their kid sleeps all night in the cot or will play alone or watch tv so they can do jobs etc... Sometimes makes me wonder if he is unusual in being so mummy orientated! And of course most mums actually work so some days I think, there are so many toddlers your age at nurseries and you can't even let me cook dinner 5,metres away from you! But of course it has it's advantages, he is very cuddly which is lovely!

Sometimes I just worry about him developing a relationship with DH as, although he certainly enjoys seeing him he doesn't act hugely bothered either way if he's there or not! There's still time for that to change, yes?

dyslexicdespot Thu 13-Mar-14 15:31:50

Apologies for the Wiki link, I thought you might find it useful.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory

Hormonalhell Fri 14-Mar-14 19:50:08

My DS (nearly 12 now) was very clingy with me up until starting school but from about 5 or 6 he got closer to his dad and now prefers his company to mine hmm

Saying that though he still very affectionate and thinks nothing of giving me a big kiss and cuddle without being asked whereas DD (14) has to be bribed grin

crazy88 Fri 14-Mar-14 21:17:20

I think I read in that Steve Biddulph book that boys belong to their mothers until they reach about 6 years old and then they become more aware of being "male" and start to appreciate their dads more! I must say as a mother of 3 boys it seems to be going that way with us, or it would if dh was ever actually there hmm

It's all a bit Oedipal until then it seems smile

TheFabulousIdiot Fri 14-Mar-14 21:22:27

It's just a phase.

I am still co-sleeping and breastfeeding a three year old and he alternates between thinking I am brilliant and thinking I am the worlds worst mum and just wants his daddy.

That 18month -2 year stage can be hell though so I empathise.

My three year old has suddenly started beng incredibl whiny and annoyed about everything... It's a stage. It gets better, it gets worse, it gets better again.

girliefriend Fri 14-Mar-14 21:23:29

I think it does sound normal however there would be no harm in maybe trying to find a way of your ds and dh bonding a bit more, maybe swimming lessons or football tots or something your dh could do with just him on the wend?

I would also be encouraging him to play independently so setting up activities for him and then getting on with a job that you need to do and personally I would be encouraging him to stay in bed all night! Are you still bfing at night? If so at nearly 2 that is a bit unnecessary imo.

BarbarianMum Sat 15-Mar-14 22:29:04

It would probably help your dh's relationship with your ds if you went out sometimes and left them to it. Ds2 never wanted dh if I was available but was fine if I was not around.

NanaNina Sun 16-Mar-14 01:11:36

I don't believe there is such a thing as being too attached and more importantly this is a secure attachment (meaning that all this child's needs are being met and you are attuned to him and of course love him unconditionally) and that will be a protective factor for him throughout the lifespan. The first 3 years of a child's life are of such importance because they lay down the foundation for later life, and I don't think you can give your child anything better than 1 - 1 care from a parent/carer who is not only physically available to him but is also emotionally available. He is 20 months - just a baby - he wants you because you are his attachment figure and over time this will extend to his daddy too, but just now, it's you he needs and luckily he has you!

If your dh is worried I suppose it would be a good idea to leave them together for short periods of time as others have suggested.

matana Sun 16-Mar-14 19:47:13

Well I don't know if it's normal, but this sounds like my ds too! He can entertain himself well, ia very sociable with others and outgoing but if it's me, him and dh at home it's me he wants to do everything as a preference! He's 3.3 and we're only just getting to the stage when he'll be more or less happy with dh doing things. He's much more independent now, but still very attached to me in many ways. I think he's so confident now precisely because he feels so secure though. I don't think you have anything to worry about.

melonribena Sun 16-Mar-14 23:09:50

Hi Penelope, I've no advice but wanted to say my 19 mth old ds is just like this! We co sleep from 11 ish each night and he still feeds in the night.

I've stopped worrying about it. Enjoy the cuddles!

MistressDeeCee Sun 16-Mar-14 23:12:16

Sounds completely normal to me. He's only a toddler! You're his security in a world that doesn't quite make sense to him as yet. When he's 17 (& thats being ambitious) you'll be complaining you barely see him smile

bump6 Sun 16-Mar-14 23:17:03

Are you honestly saying that your ds isn't weaned yet?

ChocolateHelps Sun 16-Mar-14 23:38:20

Find a local LLL group and ask if they have toddler meetings for mums who are 'still' breastfeeding past 1st birthday. You'll find lots of mums who feel the same as you. Surprised to be bf a toddler but seeing no reason to stop. Being with a few other mums who are doing something similar can help you feel normal. Which you are. And so is your DS. wink

melonribena Mon 17-Mar-14 07:34:46

Bump6?

Bumpsadaisie Mon 17-Mar-14 07:54:03

Normal. Peak time for separation stress is 18-30 mths.

IME by the time they are three they are growing out of it and turning outward to the world - they start to make their first real friends and be ready for preschool without you.

But for toddlers the raison d etre of their existence is "make sure my caregiver person doesn't get separate from me!!!!" It's such a strong drive that very little you might do to try and "correct" it will work.

Keep your son close, hard as it is, if that's what he needs. Some are more clingy than others (eg my boy much more so than my girl) He'll grow out of it soon x

dyslexicdespot Mon 17-Mar-14 08:11:27
bump6 Mon 17-Mar-14 15:18:16

Thanks dyslexic..
interesting read.
I know what I wrote was off topic, but just curious to know if I had read op post wrong.

Sunnysummer Mon 17-Mar-14 18:51:21

I think it's totally normal but agree with BarbarianMum that perhaps you could find a way of he and your DH having some time for just the two of them?

My DS is similar and prefers to be with me (or with both parents) if I'm home, and sometimes even would choose my mum and sisters over DH, he seems to prefer women! But he now loves his time with just dad too. Perhaps the two of them could take trips to the playground together on the weekend, or do a father and son lunch, or do something more organised like swimming lessons?

meepsmum Mon 17-Mar-14 19:05:19

My Ds is exactly the same and is 18months. Also bf still and cosleeps from 10ish at night. Sometimes I want to cry about it. Other times I love the special times and try to remind myself he will be big soon and not want me anymore!! Easier said than done when you feel like you've had a baby permanently attached tp either your hip or boob for past 2years...

meepsmum Mon 17-Mar-14 19:06:33

Fwiw my dh now looks after him 1morning most weeks while I work and I do think my ds is now a bit more into spending time with dada!

mrsannekins Tue 18-Mar-14 16:05:09

Sounds just like me and my 26 month old DD. She has velcroed to be at all possible times for the last 3 months. I love her dearly, but would love to be able to pee in peace sometime, without a running commentary.

She is getting better though, but it's been very gradual!.

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