My 9-month old baby is so clingy! Is this normal? I found myself asking this question earlier today after snapping at (shame) our boy. The Little Man kept crying the whole morning just because he doesn’t want me out of his sight and out of his reach. I have to be at arm’s length all the time while he’s doing whatever activity he’s doing. I tried to get him to nap, but the moment I leave his side, he starts crying.
I snapped because I can’t do anything at all… not even go to the bathroom! No kidding here. I take him with me every time I need to go or else he’ll be extremely upset–and by the I mean breath-holding spells. The Princess wasn’t like that before. I mean, she did have a phase wherein she cried every time I’m about to go out of the room, but it wasn’t as bad.
So I took the opportunity to search the internet on my phone while the Little Man was breastfeeding and calm. I’m pretty sure other moms experience/d the same thing–and I was dying to know what is up with my boy and what I need to do to get him to calm down when I need to leave the room.
To my surprise (and relief), upon searching the term “my 9 month old is clingy” on Google, I found so many other moms experiencing the same thing. I looked at some of my go-to resources about parenting and found a couple of helpful articles.
“…crawling out into the wide world is fascinating — and terrifying. Your little adventurer gets it now — that as much as she wants to venture out on her own, she desperately needs you, and is panicked that she’ll lose you somewhere along the way.” (TheBabyShrink.com, full article here)
This is actually very true. The Little Man started being so independent and needy at the same time when he started crawling. I first noticed this when we brought him to Gymboree for the first time. While he was very excited to explore, he also kept checking if I was still there every now and then.
So what can parents do to calm a clingy little one? I’ve been a constant reader of Janet Lansbury’s blog for a few months now and I find what she has to say about dealing with clingy babies interesting:
“Children also need to feel trusted to separate and return as needed. (Confidence in our children to experience this is essential to them forming secure attachments according to Bowlby’s Attachment Theory.) But child-led separation can’t happen if we follow babies and toddlers around.”
And there goes one mistake I’ve been making. I keep following him around, trying to keep him “safe.” I am always close by when he and his big sister are playing because I’m afraid our little girl might unintentionally hurt her brother. I always follow him when he crawls around the room, too, because I don’t know what he might pick up along the way.
I wasn’t like this with the Princess. I let her play all she want, I let her explore and get dirty–which is probably why she has grown to be an independent and smart toddler. As to why I have become overprotective of the Little Man, I don’t know. But I sure want to change this (for his good and my sanity)!
Moms and Dads, did/do you experience the same thing with your little ones? How did you handle the neediness?