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Clingy toddler - what's normal?

(20 Posts)
NooNooMummy Thu 22-Jan-15 12:51:25

"What's normal?" is a stupid question, I know. But I'm worried for my little one who is very clingy. Should I push her/ help her learn to be less clingy?

She's 15 months old and she refuses to be held by anyone but me, my husband or her older step-sister. She breastfeeds every night til she's asleep then feeds during the night and is upset if I'm not there when she wakes up. We don't even bother trying to put her in the cot anymore. She likes to breast feed during the day too, which some people are starting to make comments about... We have lots of friends and a busy mum and baby social life so she's comfortable being around other people and loves other kids so long as I'm nearby and no one else tries to pick her up...

Instinctively, I couldn't care less if she clings to me for another few years. I've been made redundant, had an ok pay-off so I'm lucky enough to be able to stay with her for as long as we want. She's also made steps forward in her own time in other areas and I think she might do too with her clinginess and sleep habits... I think controlled crying is the equivalent of "breaking" her and I don't want to "break" her spirit! We didn't plan to parent like this, it just happened and we seem to have inadvertently been practising attachment parenting, which is fine by me because we have a happy, contented little girl.

But...

...other people seem to be able to leave their babies with baby sitters, at nursery, with relatives etc and I'm wondering if I should push my little one to manage in those situations too? And it feels like everyone else her age (and younger!) can sleep through the night in their own room. And it would be nice for husband and me to have an evening out eventually... or even just an uninterrupted few hours at home together. And it's really upsetting for grandparents and others who want to cuddle her... And I don't want to hold her back developmentally...

Thoughts, anyone? Advice? Please!

Chickz Thu 22-Jan-15 18:20:24

She may surprise you, especially if you are out of sight. My 15 month dd is a high needs cling on who wont go to anyone apart from me and dh. But if we aren't around she will go to others and happily be around others. She's settled in at nursery and we have regular baby sitters too.
Try leaving her with others, you'll never know otherwise. Good luck.

NooNooMummy Thu 22-Jan-15 20:46:39

Thanks. I think you're right. smile.

NooNooMummy Thu 22-Jan-15 20:47:57

... Would be nice to hear what other's think/ have experienced. Maye I'll just read some other threads on similar...

JoanGalt Thu 22-Jan-15 20:54:17

The same experience as Chickz really.

DD2, 1, is so clingy and I spend all day carrying her around. We call her our little monkey because she will climb up you and hang on for dear life if you try and put her down.

However, we have been out twice in the last month without her and she's been totally fine. Without us there she has been perfectly happy and even had her nap in the babysitters arms. little madam that she is

poorincashrichinlove Thu 22-Jan-15 21:01:41

Perfectly normal attachment behaviour. Some children need more closeness than others. Sounds like you're handling it well OP. In time your DD will feel cobfident enough to explore further, safe in the knowkedge that you're always there to reassure her and keep her safe

NooNooMummy Thu 22-Jan-15 21:14:34

Aah! Thank you! That is reassuring

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 22-Jan-15 21:19:54

DS1 (now 2.7y) was exactly like this and we were fully co-sleeping at that age with a gazillion wake-ups a night for boob. I work FT, however, so he was at nursery during the day and was absolutely fine. He's still a bit clingy at times, but nothing like he was.

If DS2 is the same when he's a toddler, I'll end up with arms like Popeye...hmm

SmokyRobinson Thu 22-Jan-15 21:22:51

My oldest dd was a very clingy baby/toddler. I never deliberately pushed her, and was quite happy to just go along with her, although then I also didn't know if I was doing it 'right'.
She did have to go to nursery from 10 months though, when I was returning to work, but she never really liked it (and in the beginning really hated it!). After my second dd was born, I became a sahm, and she loved being at home.
When she started preschool, it was a completely different story - she loved it, the shorter days were much better for her, and she turned out to be a very independent child.

I don't think you need to push her into being without you if not necessary. That said, I also don't think you need to overprotect and never let her experience a seperation, cause she will also then learn that you will come back. I guess finding a balance what feels right for you , realising that she will survive sometimes being upset and have some time for yourself, and on the other hand let her be clingy and see that you are there for her.

No signs of clingyness at all in my now 7 year old dd!

NooNooMummy Thu 22-Jan-15 21:26:58

ElphabaTheGreen - ha! Yes, it is pretty good for keeping the arm muscles toned!

NooNooMummy Thu 22-Jan-15 21:35:14

SmokyRobinson - thanks for that. I think you've hit the nail on the head - it's about finding the right balance. I really want her to be happy and enjoy going out into the world. I would hate for pre-school to be an ordeal for her. And I do worry that she's not getting enough practice at being away from me. But then I don't want to push her yet if there's no need. Anyway, good to have it confirmed that a clingy little one CAN become a confident child. (And I think that's what's keeping me going - I read something about attachment parenting that suggests that keeping the child close means that they'll explore confidently when they're ready...)

Thanks again.

VilootShesCute Thu 22-Jan-15 21:42:09

Describes my life NooNoo! I feel that our girls are lucky to be able to do things at their own pace. Like others have said some children need more support. I'd definitely describe my dd as high needs, but it's her, and I wouldn't change the needy little madam for anything. Not even my boobs back. Oh and don't bloody listen to anyone in your life negatively commenting about your breastfeeding. Grrr

SmokyRobinson Thu 22-Jan-15 21:46:07

I absolutely agree with the attachment parenting theory. My dd was ready to explore when 3, so preschool was great for her. They even commented on how independent and confident she was (ha, little did they know about the years before:-).

There won't be a right or wrong thing to do. Follow your heart and your little one, and it will all slot together, me thinks :-)

museumum Thu 22-Jan-15 21:47:36

I wouldn't worry about her developmentally, especially if you have no intention of requiring childcare, but if there are involved grandparents around who would be keen to be more involved. then I would work on gently increasing her confidence with them. Just slowly and gently being further away / in another room. I love how my 16mo old gets excited to be with his granny (MIL) and grandad (my dad).

Eastie77 Thu 22-Jan-15 23:22:10

My 18 month old is very similar OP. She will be held by a grand total of 3 people: me, DP and her childminder. Cries when anyone else attempts to pick her up. She loves her CM and has settled happily with her but it took a while. My sister babysits occasionally and DD still cries hysterically when we leave but Dsis reports that she is absolutely fine once I am out of sight. I would echo advice to leave your little one with a relative/babysitter for short periods to build up confidence if you want to but the clingy behaviour is completely normal.

NooNooMummy Thu 22-Jan-15 23:39:34

Good good good! Nice to know that it's not just my little one who is v choosy about who can hold her. But poor granny isn't one of them yet. Thanks for the replies!

Jojay Thu 22-Jan-15 23:45:18

Let her cling! So much will change before she starts preschool , that's ages away so don't worry about that.

My boy twin was super clingy at that age, a real Velcro boy, but its him who has now trotted off to preschool without a backward glance. His sister, who was less dependant as a baby is now the shyer of the two.

It's a phase, don't fight it.

FoulsomeAndMaggotwise Sun 25-Jan-15 04:23:51

My 17 month old is very clingy. I constantly worry about it and worry that I've made him that way by being a SAHM or something, but then I regain my senses and remember that he's just a baby and I'm his mum! And he's very slowly getting more confident leaving me for a few seconds at a time when we go to toddler groups, so he's getting better.

I don't know whether that helps you or not, but you're not alone!

RoseTheHat Sun 25-Jan-15 12:35:06

My dd was exactly like this. All she was interested in till she was well over 2 was being with Mummy and breastfeeding! Poor DH never got a look in. I had to leave her with my Mum 2 days a week while I worked, she was always devestated to be left sad (although fine when there!).
Her turning point was really from her third birthday onwards, and by 3.5 she was skipping merrily into pre-school without a backwards glance, and has started Reception without a single wobble smile

addictedtosugar Sun 25-Jan-15 12:50:15

DS1 has always been a Mummy's boy (and was a velcro baby).
He is approaching 6, and if I'm around, he only wants me. When DH is away, until recently, he wanted to sleep in our bed.
However, he is also incredibly confident, and will happily visit friends houses etc.
Don't stress it. But if you need to leave her with someone, make sure she knows them before you disappear.

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