Help! Very clingy baby soon to start nursery(24 Posts)
My 10 month old DD is very clingy indeed. She won't be held by anyone other than myself or DH, including friends and family members she has seen regularly since birth. She has always been this way but the clinginess has increased over the last few months.
She gets very upset if put down on the floor to play with other babies, even just one other baby her age who is familiar to her is too much. If I sit with her on the floor, she might be ok for about 30 seconds before crying and putting her arms out to me to sit on my knee.
At home with just me and DH, she is a smiley, giggly, happy baby who plays well with us and can entertain herself with her toys too. I get the feeling she's scared of others- she gets absolutely frantic if another adult picks her up and if I leave the room she is in with people other than me or DH (for example, if I have a friend round and nip to the kitchen while she's in her baby walker) she will howl the second I'm out of sight.
I've taken her to baby classes and groups since birth and family and friends will try for a brief cuddle each time they see her but she's never managed to settle with anyone else.
She will be starting nursery from next month and I'm so worried that she won't settle in and I won't be able to leave her. It's really upsetting to see her so anxious and frightened of other people. Has anyone had a similarly clingy baby? Any advice would be massively appreciated.
It is a phase but much worse for some babies.
I'd work hard to make it as easy for your baby as possible: not cuddling/feeding to sleep; lots of time sat between your legs on the floor; practise going and coming straight back; sing when you're out of sight.
My first was pretty clingy around the same age, perfect timing for returning to work.
Does your nursery do settling in sessions? Mine did and she would go for an hour initially, built up to a couple of hours over about 3 weeks. She still howled every day when she started properly but she had at least developed a relationship with one member of staff who became her key worker and she would settle with them soon after I'd left ( in tears)
She hasn't been cuddled or fed to sleep since she was about 10 weeks old and actually settles and sleeps well at night.
I always sing and talk to her when out of sight and say the same phrase when leaving telling her I'll be back soon. We play lots of peek-a-boo type games with her toys so she knows they always come back afterwards.
We will try more time with other baby friends playing on the floor- this currently happens 3 or more times a week.
I just can't imagine a time will come when she'll be happy to be left with anyone else at the moment.
Thanks imaginative, that's really helpful. Was your DD as bad as I've described? Sorry to ask- it might just give me a bit of hope if she was!
How long did it take your DD to settle in in the end?
My DDs nursery do have a settling in process which is over a two week period of increasing the time left there each time- sounds similar to your DDs nursery.
Yes, perfect timing indeed. I'm completely dreading it!
Send her with a cuddly that you've slept with? Sometimes it's hard work to get them to form another bond and sometimes it's a breeze.
If you can do short settling in sessions, building up to a whole session that's great.
Yep exactly the same! She's a creature of habit though and settled the more she went. It took a few weeks until she wasn't crying when I left but she only went a couple of times a week, I think she'd have settled quicker if it was every day. Once she'd built a bond with her key worker she was easy to distract and comfort as I left (with me still in tears). They would text me sometimes to say she was fine 5 minutes later or send a picture of her happy so I knew she was ok.
And as fuzzy said, if she has a comforter always always send it! If you can sleep with one it will smell familiar. My daughter had 2 identical in case one got lost!
Ah glad to hear she settled in the end and sounds like your nursery were great imaginative. Logically, I realise she will at some stage form a bond with another person, I just can't bear the thought of her being so distressed in the meantime. I'm glad your DD settled well and the clingy phase is long gone for you!
She has a rabbit comforter that I have 3 of that are used in rotation (so hopefully they get same amount of wear so DD can't tell them apart). I'll sleep with one in our bed for a while to see if that helps when she's feeling unsettled. Thanks for the tip
My DS was quite similar except DH also works away a lot and so he is v clingy just to me, so I was really worried. I couldn't possibly imagine how it was going to work out ok. He had 3 short settle sessions (2 hours) which got progressively worse so I thought it was going to be awful. The first few days were tough leaving him, and he didn't nap or eat there for a couple of weeks. But after 2 weeks he really was ok! He cried for a couple of mins when I dropped him off for s few more weeks, but actually started reaching out to the staff for comfort when we went into the room rather than stretching out to me. It wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it'd be, and the staff were amazing. It helped for me to remember that most/all kids need help settling and so they've done this lots of times before, it's not just my child! It wasn't long before he happily went in and I didn't really think much about him once I'd dropped him off as I knew he'd be ok.
And he's still quite clingy to me 18 months later in the rest of life, and it's not easy leaving in with babysitters etc in the evening, but day time at nursery is fine.
They sent me photos in the afternoon on his first full day of him smiling and playing in the garden which really helped that day, as I knew he'd had some fun and hadn't been upset all the time!
Hope that helps give you hope!
Boop Thank you! That does give me hope.
I think it is comforting to know that they'll all need help to settle in at first- even the confident ones. I'm glad your DS is now happy and settled at nursery. The staff at the nursery we've chosen for DD seem really lovely so hopefully she'll form bonds with those caring for her and she'll get used to it in the end too.
Nursery isn't really ideal for babies, especially sensitive/clingy ones. Have you looked at a childminder or nanny instead?
I hope it goes really well - do let us know how it goes. Staff that you feel confident in is definitely really helpful. Ours were great and I even meet up with his keyworker now she's on maternity leave, as there was a real connection with her.
Will do boop. She's settling in from mid January so not for a while but I've been totally preoccupied with it all. I've chatted to various staff at the nursery about her clinginess and they've given good advice too and have reassured me she'll get there in the end.
It's lovely that you still see your DS's Keyworker. Hoping DD gets someone so kind too!
My 8 month old is also very clingy to me. Cries even if her Dad has her and she sees me. She also wouldn't drink anything from a bottle or cup or eat any solids before she started nursery a month ago.
I was sure it would be a disaster but she loves it, has really bonded with her key worker and they've got eating and drinking fine (not lots but enough). She still cries as soon as she sees me and is clingy at home but at nursery has replaced me with the keyworker quite happily! Her Dad drops her off in morning which I think helps.
Perfectly normal from a developmental perspective for babies aged between about 6 and 16 months to be clingy. It has an evolutionary advantage and they are programmed that way. It will pass.
Just to update in case anyone else with a clingy baby comes across this thread- she has settled at nursery brilliantly, is far more confident and no longer clingy. It took about 6 weeks for her to find her feet there but now puts her arms out to have cuddles with her keyworker and plays happily with the other children.
I can totally see why you're worried. My DN was just as you describe your DD (but couldn't self sooth to sleep either) and my SiL was very worried when time for nursery came. AT first it was very difficult - they had settling in sessions but it wasn't enough for DN to feel comfortable there, she was miserable for a week or two. Eventually though DN bonded with a particular member of staff at the nursery and was absolutely fine.
I am so glad and really helpful to know as my DD is in a similar situation.
Try to focus on the fact that by leaving her for short periods and then returning you are teaching her to be more secure.
If she never learns that when you go you will come back then she is actually less secure.
It's very normal! Don't worry I remember both mine being like this especially my youngest and they both love their childmjbder and both settled there easily.
Heirhelp I'm sure you're sick of everyone telling you it'll be fine (I was!) but it really will be. I spent months worrying about it. But I'm so happy that nursery has helped to open up a whole new world where DD can have fun and trust others. I'm so glad we stuck with the plan as I nearly bottled it so many times.
And thanks to everyone who gave advice initially and has commented today
Join the discussion
Please login first.