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8 Tips for Coping with a Clingy Baby and Separation Anxiety

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Will your baby just NOT. STOP. CRYING?

By Vincia Maloney

MochaManual.com Staff

Are you out of your wits with your clingy baby? Newsflash: When babies are in unfamiliar surroundings or in uncomfortable situations, they can become very clingy towards mommy and daddy. While it could be easy to mistake a fussy baby as clingy, this behavior is usually associated with older babies who are more aware of their surroundings. Separation anxiety usually appears around eight months of age, peaks at 12-18 months and usually goes away by 24 months.

Babies experience separation anxiety because they do not have a sense of object permanency. When you leave the room, they think that you have disappeared. Sometimes the simple act of putting your baby down so you can go to the bathroom or cook dinner can cause a tearful episode.

This is completely normal and will disappear as your baby becomes more independent and learns better coping skills. Until that happens, you may feel like you don’t know what to do. If you are overwhelmed with your clingy baby, here are some suggestions on how to cope:

· Practice brief separations from your baby. Tell your baby that you will be back and then leave the room for a few minutes. It is okay if she cries and throws a fit for a few minutes. When you re-enter the room be sure to greet her with lots of hugs and kisses and tell her that it is okay. Try this a few times a day. This process will help your baby to learn that while you may leave her sight, you will always come back.

· Change your baby’s position to try and redirect her attention. Example: If she cries and clings each time you put her in the play pen, try soothing her with the swing instead.

· Understand that there will be days that your baby simply needs some extra tender love and care. This may mean you have to just sit and rock him for a long while.

· Check to see if your baby is hungry. Clinging and fussiness often come when it’s been too long since breakfast and the baby needs a snack or lunch. This is especially true during growth spurts, when appetites increase.

· Think about recent activities. Is there something that has disrupted your baby’s schedule — or scared her? A couple of days back on the normal routine might fix the problem.

· Try a nap. Your child may be clinging out of exhaustion. Make sure your baby doesn’t miss his nap time. Also, try an earlier bedtime.

· Determine if you are overly stressed. Babies can pick up on your anxiety — and it can make them anxious as well. Discover the cause of your own stress and work to eliminate it.

· When you must leave, make your goodbyes brief . Simply say goodbye, give your baby a hug and a kiss and leave. You don’t want your baby to get emotional or to start to have a lot of fun playing with you, only for you to get up and leave. Keeping your goodbyes brief will help her to not get overly emotional by your absence and she will be able to be calm herself down much quicker.

Don’t feel guilty if your baby is clingy. This may just be a phase that will pass in time. Days can seem long and tiring when dealing with a baby who is going through separation anxiety but remember: This time will soon pass. Soon, there will be a time when you will want your baby to sit and cuddle with you, but that will be the last thing on her mind. So, remember to find some joy in the other cute things she is doing at this stage of development.

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