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Mums of children who used to be clingy babies

(16 Posts)
tiredandgrumpy Thu 06-Oct-11 14:43:39

when do they grow out of this and did you have to actively do anything, or just go with the flow until they get better?

Dc3 is 5 months old and really hates to be put down or held by anyone else. She refuses to sleep in her cot, so we are co-sleeping in the spare room. I can ride with this for a couple more months or so, but am getting exhausted and really struggle to keep on top of the rest of my life (other dcs, getting meals etc). I don't want to get tough with her as I can't bear to leave her howling, so would be delighted to hear that she may just grow out of it soon. I do use a sling, but that doesn't allow me to sit down and rest, or do anything involving picking things off the floor.

I guess if I could just get her to sleep and nap in the cot my life would be transformed as I could get better rest and would be able to do essential stuff when she was asleep. Tips and reassurance please.

MatchsticksForMyEyes Thu 06-Oct-11 14:48:54

My daughter was EXACTLY like that. At 5 months I couldn't even pass her to her dad!
Your DD and mine are/were high needs babies. It DOES get better. I can't remember exactly when, as DD is now 3.9, but she is now a very independent little girl who will only give kisses and cuddles out if she feels you haven't already had too many!
She runs off at nursery without giving me a second glance.
At the moment, she just needs you. Try to see it as the huge ego boost it is. I managed to get her to nap in her cot by using a white noise CD and just laying her down and patting her to calm her. You could try this at night too or just go with the co-sleeping a little longer.

tiredandgrumpy Thu 06-Oct-11 15:04:05

Thank you. I am trying to put a positive spin on it as otherwise I'm starting to not enjoy her babyhood. I just find myself wishing away the time, which is awful. I'll try a bit harder with her naps as you suggest.

TryLikingClarity Thu 06-Oct-11 17:11:43

My DS is 20 months and still very clingy. Makes me sad when we go to toddler groups and I see other kids his age (or younger) running about not being clingy to their mums.

At home he's grand, but when we're out and other people are around he's clingy sad

>> TLC chants MN mantra, "This too shall pass." <<

fuckityfuckfuckfuck Thu 06-Oct-11 17:15:53

My ds is 3 and no longer so clingy. In fact he's come on leaps and bounds in the last year. DO you have a good sling? At 5 months, an Ergo could change your life smile I found once he was asleep it was pretty easy to pop him out of it and ley him down. You do have my sympathy though, at the time I couldn't see that it would ever get better. It does smile

seeker Thu 06-Oct-11 17:17:21

Hate to tell you this, but dd is still a bitnof a mummy's girl and she's 15!

Mind you, ds was quite clingy til he was about 12 months and after that would cheerfully have gone off with the Child Catcher. So I think it depends on the child..

Not much help, am I?

NightLark Thu 06-Oct-11 17:17:33

DS was like that as a baby. He was also the 3 year old who needed his mum to go all over the soft-play with him. At 5, he still has a very very strong preference for being with people rather than alone.

On the plus side, the being physically held onto bit hasn't lasted forever, my thigh muscles are excellent and I have very strong arms, and no other baby has ever seemed like the same kind of hard work. And DS will hopefully grow up with a fantastic level of inner confidence, as we've had to work so damn hard to nurture it.

Sorry, I know it's not the 'don't worry, it will all be over in 6 weeks' answer, but my experience is of a very very loving DS who just happens to be entirely focused on people, not things (still very hard to interest him in toys, though he is turning out quite sporty...)

TheProvincialLady Thu 06-Oct-11 17:18:21

I've seen clingy babies develop into confident, independent toddlers and children - and I have also seen the reverse happen, where an 'easy' baby grew up into a whiny, clingy preschooler. These things are so often phases and not indicative of their personality long term. My DS1 was a very clingy baby and grew up into a happy, independent little soul but it did take a while. Just do what you have to do to get by. I am sure it won't be long before you can put her down for naps and get a break. Can anyone help you with the meals, housework etc in the meantime?

Acinonyx Thu 06-Oct-11 22:38:52

Dd was like this and it actually peaked when she was 3 and drove me quite demented. Then at around 4ish it eased off. At 5+ it started easing off a lot - in fact, now she's 6 and I miss it!! The happy medium didn't last long enough.

sonnysmum Fri 07-Oct-11 09:53:21

My first DS was super clingy although babyhood, toddler-dom, pre-school...we were so worried about him starting school & he just sailed in! Secure attachment! He's nearly 8 & super confident, happy & balanced...
I remember being at my wits end with him as a baby until my friend (with much older kids) said "why don't you just pick him up?". So I did. And I basically carried him around for about a year. Unbelievably, her simple method chilled us both out!

DeWe Fri 07-Oct-11 10:20:14

Dd2 was super clingy until she was about 2. Since then she's very confident. We used to go to parties with her saying all the way "you won't stay will you." "I can go in on my own" etc.
Dd1 who was a very sociable baby and toddler is much less confident, and would probably have me staying with her out of choice at parties and stuff even now and she's 10yo.

Jan2 Fri 07-Oct-11 12:47:04

My daughter was VERY clingy - from birth until about 20 months!! As a baby she cried when anyone said hello to her and we couldn't leave her with anyone not even grandparents until she was about 2. For the first two years it was either myself or my husband with her. I didn't go back to work as I felt that I really couldn't leave her!

I struggled at groups as she wouldn't get off my knee or join in. Everyone else's children seemed happy and confident. I blamed myself although I couldn't really work out where I had gone wrong!

I now realise that I didn't do anything wrong - she was just a very sensitive and alert baby.

Then at around 20 months (when she started talking and communicating and was able to understand things a lot better) she started to improve. At two she went to pre school for 2 mornings a week which was a nightmare to start with but by the end of the first term she was absolutely settled and very happy to go on her own (after a very gradual build up of me leaving her for short periods and returning and then gradually extending the periods I left her for).

She has gained more and more confidence and was 4 recently. she started school in September and I would say that she is one of the most confident children in her class! She is very sociable and chats to anyone. She loves school and is a very capable and independent 4 year old.

I only wish I hadn't worried so much when she was little - she just needed a bit more time to gain independence and confidence.

TryLikingClarity Fri 07-Oct-11 16:35:39

I've posted on this thread before, but I'm gaining a slight bit of comfort knowing DS isn't the only one. Well done OP for starting this thread!

DH, myself and DS were out today shopping. If I went out of eyeshot or went to the other side of the shop DS whinged and got upset, even though he was with his dad!

This is a new level of clinginess, makes me feel even worse! sad

MumCBA Fri 07-Oct-11 21:28:45

I too have a 10-month old cling-on. The worst thing is both grandmothers think she doesn't like them!
I'm starting work and have been been getting some childcare two or three mornings a week to make it less traumatic for DD when I'm out all day. It's working really well and is happy as Larry with the childminder, mainly because she takes her out to playgroups or the park.
Only today I was home all day and every time I left the room she flipped out.

bean612 Sun 09-Oct-11 22:39:50

My DD was the same - until we learned to swaddle her, she spent the first 2 or 3 weeks of her life sleeping only ON me at night. I remember the first night at home after coming back from hospital, blithely putting in her cot, thinking, there you are, this is your bed. Ho ho ho. She hated the buggy, hated the car seat, couldn't lie in her Moses basket/baby bouncer for more than a few mins (on a good day) without crying. Basically, she wanted physical contact at all times. I carried her in a sling most of the day, most days, until she got so heavy I was getting back problems. I can't remember when she got less clingy - when I went back to work at 10 months, I think, and I was lucky enough to find a nanny who was the ONLY person apart from me and DH who she was happy to hold her (she wasn't even happy to be held by my mum, who she saw at least once a week, often more). Finding this brilliant nanny was a complete godsend, actually. Before then I'd often felt as though DD was still physically attached to me, and though sometimes it was lovely and snuggly, sometimes - quite honestly - it was completely suffocating.

Like your DD, she would only nap on me, either in the sling or on my lap after BF. At 9 months we went to a sleep consultant about her appalling night-time sleeping (or lack thereof) and part of the plan involved getting her to nap in her buggy (also essential at that point as I couldn't realistically expect our nanny to carry her around in a sling for an hour twice a day!) This we did by putting her in the buggy and pushing her until she went to sleep - she wailed the first few times, but actually settled down far more quickly than I'd been expecting. She rarely went to sleep silently and immediately, but generally she'd fall asleep after a couple of minutes of low-level crying. Your DD is that much younger and you might not want/be able to let her cry at all, but by that time I desperately needed a physical break for a bit of time each day, and it was a real sanity-saver.

Anyway, now she is nearly 3 and super-independent, wants to do everything on her own, always yearning to do a bit more than she realistically can. She is super sociable, loves other children, and is confident and chatty. She is clingy only in the sense that if I'm around, she always wants me to join in her games/be involved in whatever she's doing, but I think that's pretty normal for her age. Hang in there - I know it's tough, but she won't be like this forever, I promise!

zayla Mon 10-Oct-11 15:57:23

I was at your point at about 5 months having waited for everything for magically get better at the 3-4 month mark like everybody promised!

I think things got better gradually rather suddenly. It was at about 5-6 months that I decided that there were some basic things that I needed to do like eating my lunch without DS in the sling trying to grab my food and having a shower each morning, that I was going to do even if there was crying while I did them, and that otherwise I'd hold him if he cried but no more rocking etc.

Then at 6 months we went to see a sleep consultant as I wasn't coping on 4 hours sleep a night and we had literally tried everything short of sleep training. We moved DS from cosleeping to a cot and did the gentlest sleep training we could (basically stroking/patting him while he cried in his cot and didn't leave him crying alone at any point). Nighttimes were sorted pretty quickly - in less than a month - and apart from teething/illness DS has been sleeping through ever since.

We finally started getting naps in the cot at about 8-9 months, although again that was gradual as the naps increased to a sensible length and the afternoon nap is still hit and miss. I also completely ditched the sling at about 7 months, partly because DS was getting too heavy and partly because I had just had enough of it, so I did have a month or two of no naps whatsoever. We've also only finallyjust got to the point where he will go to sleep without any crying first. I'm glad we did the sleep training then rather than now as he's beginning to understand more what's going on and it'd be harder now he is more mobile.

At 11 months, apart from not being keen on naps, I don't think DS is any more clingy than other babies and crawls/cruises around everywhere at baby groups etc and explores more than many of the other babies.

I found the book Tears and Tantrums by Aletha Solter helpful in terms of making me rethink my attitude towards crying as well as this article on Listening to Nursing Children: www.handinhandparenting.org/news/16/64/Listening-to-Nursing-Children

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