1 year old still cries when held by other people. It is exhausting.

(23 Posts)
Eastie77 Tue 15-Jul-14 13:30:17

Went to a friend’s on the weekend as she was celebrating her daughter’s first birthday. Had a lovely time but felt a bit demoralized as I watched her daughter happily being passed from person to person. My daughter has just turned 1 and still cries if she is picked up by anyone apart from a very small group of people primarily made up of me, DP and her CM.

Her CM tells me that there are also 2 people at the children’s centre she takes her too who she will be held by although it took about 4-6 weeks before this was possible. She is also fine if my CMs son holds her as well as the mothers of the childminders other 2 mindees but again that took several weeks.

So I know she will eventually go to other people but she the fact that she initially cries hysterically if anyone else picks her up can be quite exhausting. On 3 occasions recently I’ve attended a friends house for a birthday or BBQ and have had to spend the entire time holding her as she will not go to ANYONE. She also will not initially be put down on the floor to crawl but will eventually after maybe 2 or 3 hours get down from my lap. At the birthday party on Saturday she cried when I tried to gently get to play with toys in the garden near the other kids. After about 2.5 hours she was finally happy to crawl on the grass, laughed and played peek a boo with other guests (but would not let them hold her even though I was close by).

The bizarre thing is when I take her to a local toddler restaurant (yep a restaurant specifically for toddlers – I live in very child centric area!) she will happily crawl off into the play area almost straight away. It is quite a hectic, busy environment with lots of children running and crawling around but she seems perfectly fine. She is fine at baby music classes and will crawl around. However if we are in someone’s house she becomes hysterical and clings to me.

Is she particularly sensitive? I think most of my friends kids of a similar age will happily go to and be held by people including someone they have just met for the first time. Anyone else have a child who eventually grew out of this? My mum tells me I was like this for a long, long time so maybe it is some kind of inherited trait...

Mine is the same, she is 13 months and takes a long time to trust a new adult, even family. She will interact with them if they talk to her but she will not be held. With other children she is fine, even older children she will happily play with, I assume they are just more comfortable around other kids, perhaps adults can seem intimidating? I wish I knew the solution!

Jolay100 Tue 15-Jul-14 14:11:51

Mine isn't 't that age yet but I have to sat I thought stranger awareness ( ie refusing to go to anyone they don't know well) was normal at this age. Peaks at 15 months, improves by 18 months if you read the books ( which babies obviously never do!!!)

Eastie77 Tue 15-Jul-14 15:32:42

Thanks for the replies. I was just a bit worried she is unusually sensitive. She is usually fine in the company of strangers when she has warmed up to them. It is just awkward at family gatherings when one of my family members cannot even hold her for a second.

Her CM has remarked that she is quite a serious child and the other 2 mindees spend a lot of their time trying go make her laugh.

She has only in the last few months emerged from the phase of getting upset when strangers speak or smile at her but seems ok with that now.

I feel bad as she still cries occasionally when one of my neighbours speaks to her. The neighbour in question bumped into my CM the other day when she was in the park with my daughter and said "Oh I won't stop and say hello as baby Eastie doesn't like me and becomes hysterical when I speak to her" sad

Booboostoo Tue 15-Jul-14 16:35:18

My DD was the same at that age. A lady tried to stroke her I her buggy and she screamed so loudly the woman nearly fell over. She's 3yo now and although she an still tell people she's too shy for the first few minutes of meeting them she's then absolutely fine.

Eastie77 Sun 20-Jul-14 04:25:12

Booboostoo - do you recall how old your little one was when she grew out of this? We've had another tiring day as friends came to visit and as usual DD was hysterical when either of them tried to hold her & would not let me put her down for 1 second.

She played with an older child but only whilst sitting on my lap. I had to hold her for several hours and could not put her down to put food in the oven or use the loo (felt embarrased at the ear splitting screaming if I left her with one of the guests). Thankfully DP arrived home and took her so I got a break.

She is actually an otherwise quiet child and sat observing and smiling at the guests as long as I held her.

Her behaviour seems completely normal when she is just with me & DP but I am starting to worry and think the anxiety she shows when we visit people or when guests come to the house is not entirely normal.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 20-Jul-14 09:49:19

My niece was like this; she would not let anyone hold her for any length of time. Then she spent 2 years licking everyone.

We were talking about this last year, that she wouldn't let me hold her when she was a baby and she got really annoyed with herself.

The more she does it the more anxious you feel before putting her down and the more she will cry. Oh the irony...

Booboostoo Sun 20-Jul-14 11:14:09

It was very very gradual with a lot of regressions on days when she was ill or feeling insecure.

Ar 9 months it became possible for me to leave her with one other specific person for short periods of time and we had to work on that ( a lot of peek a boo, me walking out of the room and back in again, etc). At around a year old she would much prefer to interact with animals than other children and would shy away from them. At 18 months she started nursery but very very gently (15 minutes at a time at first). By 2.5 years old she started asking to go to nursery 4-5 times a week for 3 hours each time in the morning. Now that she is 3yo she chooses to go off for short trips with people she knows (grandparents) and will play with other kids. She gets on best with shy kids and with role play, if other children are quite physical for example she may choose not to go on the climbing frame until they finish.

Does that help at all?

BB01 Sun 20-Jul-14 17:23:55

Just wanted to say my DD is similar, and it can be very wearing. She is often fine going off to play in a big space like a soft play centre or park. But in a small room with other people close by she will want to sit on my lap for ages. She's also very resistant to being held by others, always has been. I do feel she's getting slightly better at the mo, partly because she can now walk and think she feels more like she's close to me rather than right down on the floor. Obviously it won't solve the being held issue but as they can walk more steadily they don't need to be held as much anyway.

Eastie77 Mon 21-Jul-14 10:28:32

Thanks for your replies, helpful all. She has just started taking a few steps unaided so will hopefully be fully walking soon and being held won't be so much of an issue.

In the meantime I will try to just take things slowly and hope they improve.

Saturday was just particularly trying as one of the guests was a judgy mum who kept raising her eyebrows, then gave me the sad head tilt and trilled "oh I don't know how you cope, my 2 were never so clingy. They do say that
when you hold a baby too much you create this kind of situation.." grin

Booboostoo Mon 21-Jul-14 14:46:46

Oh no don't listen to such judgey nastiness. Each child is different and some things that are easier with one child are more difficult with another, but then again different characters all present different strengths and weaknesses.

I was at the airport with DD when she was about 2yo, by coincidence following another family through all the checks. Through check in, security, etc, DD was a challenge as she wanted me to carry her, never DH, and would not be separated at all. By contrast the other little girl was running about, smiling, looking at the planes, etc - it was a breeze for the other family. We then boarded and DD spent the flight in her seat, with her seat belt on never budging from my side, whereas the other little girl run up and down the aisle with her exhausted parents in tow and had major tantrums at take off and landing.

All children affine some things easier and some things harder and children certainly don't become clingey by being held!

Alizzle Mon 21-Jul-14 17:49:00

urgh ignore that lady, she's probably jealous that you get to hold your baby so much. ds was like this for a few months around 1 year (now nearly two) and still screams at fil if he picks him up without asking and shys away from strangers but he is a happy out going boy. its normal for.children to be wary of strangers.
There wasn't really anything we did to get over it except I tried to let him spend more time with other people. he was better with others if he was with dh or mil for example.

Eastie77 Wed 23-Jul-14 10:31:45

Funnily enough travelling by plane with DD was also a breeze when we went abroad a few months ago. I was dreading it but she sat happily on our laps, charmed the airline staff and didn't bat an eyelid on takeoff and landing.

While I struggle with what I think of as 'difficult' behaviour re. her reaction to being picked up by others, other parents have told us how lucky we are to have such a calm content child so it's all swings and roundabouts I guess.

The judgey mum is actually an old 'friend' who has criticised me consistently from day one for holding DD too much and she seemed particularly pleased to see me struggling on Saturday. Fortunately I do not see her very often!

ElasticBandBall Wed 23-Jul-14 10:41:41

My ds2 (14m) is very very clingy and doesn't like being put down at all. There are a few people he will go to (dh, the CM, a couple of my friends who he has seen once or twice a week since birth) but mainly it's just me. He�s a very happy smiley boy, but just does'tt like not being held! He has been better since he can crawl as he can get to his own toys and also is starting to interact a bit more with other children / babies, but only has a 10 min max limit of being put down I'd say.

The judgy mum is talking bollocks. By the very nature of him being no 2, ds2 has been held less than ds1, and yet ds1 has never had a moments clinginess or separation anxiety. It's just a personality thing.

I just try and see it as weight training, my arms are very toned grin

Bumpsadaisie Wed 23-Jul-14 10:46:02

It is exhausting. But it is a good sign! It means she is securely attached to you and protests at separation from you. From a child development point of view it's far more worrying if a child doesn't mind every Tom, Dick and Harry holding them!

Lots about attachment in children here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory#Behaviours

She will grow out of it. Different children get through the separation stress phase at different ages. My DD was 2.5. My DS is 2.8 now and coming through it but still not completely.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 23-Jul-14 10:48:33

PS I know from bitter experience that you can't teach an anxious child to be OK with separation before they are ready or try and force them. It is such a strong thing with them, you just have to wait for it to pass. And the more reassurance they get, the quicker it passes. The more you force it, the more anxious they get.

Eastie77 Thu 24-Jul-14 13:29:00

Bumpsadaisie - thanks for the link, very interesting. I hadn't read anything on these attachment theories before. DD likes exploring (to varying degrees) if I am nearby and is definitely not ambivalent when I leave or return so based on the info on that page I'm going to place her within the 'secure attachment' model. Well it makes me feel a whole lot better about this trying phase so I'm going with that grin

hilbobaggins Sat 26-Jul-14 14:44:15

Hi, I also agree with the secure bonding thing - it's great that your DD is so attached to you. For what it's worth I used to feel this way with my DS, then I came across a blog by a woman called Janet Lansbury which was wonderful and helped so much. she talks about the importance of genuinely respecting our little ones and trusting them when this sort of issue arises. I started to see that it was perfectly normal for my DS not to want to be held by others - after all, why should he? It's not necessarily enjoyable to be held by different adults! They might be holding him in a way he doesn't like, for all I know! - and to really respect that and understand that about him. Just because someone wants to hold him doesn't mean it's right for him, and being there for him when he makes this choice teaches him to respect himself and his decisions. Hope this helps!!

PrincessAnnaOfArundale Sun 27-Jul-14 08:04:45

Both my DSs were the same. I hated family functions, people wanting to hold them, pass them round. I had to put my foot down and just tell them, he will come to you when he's ready! I sounded precious and over protective I am sure but I just couldn't stand the hysterics they got themselves into.

In my opinion it's a normal phase!

hilbobaggins Mon 28-Jul-14 23:25:08

Good for you PrincessAnna for putting your foot down. It drives me mad the way some people want to pass babies round, as you say. It seems so disrespectful to them - and potentially quite scary and upsetting for them too. I wouldn't like being passed round a group of people I don't know very well so why should they? They're little people, not dolls or pets, and they need us to stick up for them in situations like this!

neolara Mon 28-Jul-14 23:34:32

Completely normal and a good thing as it shows your dd has formed a strong attachment. It could easily carry on for another year. Don't worry. It's fine.

My dd has massive separation anxiety from about 4 months to two and a half. I had to carry her everywhere. At 4 she is probably the most socially outgoing child I know.

Booboostoo Tue 29-Jul-14 05:29:51

My experience with DD has been similar to Bumpsadaisy's - you just can't force her beyond her comfort zone. On the other hand she's been quite easy to read and she has let us know as she has become more comfortable doing more things with other people (which has not been a linear progression, she does regress depending on circumstances but has become overall quite different over time). Whenever we've had to push her, usually because of unavoidable external circumstances, she's always become more clingey for a few days again as a result.

stinkypants Sat 02-Aug-14 08:07:41

My ds was the same, even screaming when some people tried to speak to him! We went with the gradual a approach and it took a long time. Now at nearly 6yo he is still shy but has improved so much. I think the turning point was preschool and in particular making friends with a few lovely boys. He still hides behind me a bit when people try to talk to him but with kind, gentle adults he will gradually talk to them and has a very cute shy smile. With his mates he is loud and boisterous! And with just family he is even louder. I agree that your dd has a secure attachment and that she is trying to say she does not want to be held by lots of people which is fair enough. She needs to trust that she can stay with you as long as she wants. It sounds like she is fine with very familiar places and familiar adults so she is making great progress with the gradual building of confidence.

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