Ever had a case of the dreaded Velcro baby? A cute but angry koala-like babe glued to your side? Chances are, you have if you are a parent. Babies are notoriously clingy at certain times and boy, can it be difficult! Simple, everyday tasks seem almost impossible with a little human wanting to be held ALL DAY LONG.
Eli, my little boy, is ten months old now and the clingy times can still be tough going. On those days I often put him to bed with a sigh of relief and wonder if I could have made it any easier for us both. While there is no magic cure for banishing clinginess, there are some things that can help.
Here’s 6 things to try when you’re dealing with a Velcro kid.
1. Be hands free
Perhaps the most obvious. A carrier or sling keeps a clingy baby close while keeping your hands free. When Eli was teeny and craved skin on skin 24/7, I would wrap him up tight to me for some cuddles and get on with the chores - when I had a sudden spurt of energy. He’s a lump now, so I do this less, but it’s a no brainer for parents of newborns.
2. Avoid overtiredness
Having a baby stuck to your side is hard work & in my experience it’s harder when either one (or both) of you is tired. I try and make sure Eli has enough nap time each day & I force myself to switch off my phone and get a few early nights per week too. Before we conquered the nap times and Eli’s sleep in general (he really didn’t enjoy sleep for the first six months of his life) I had to take up offers of help when he was particularly clingy, whether that was having an hours break from him, or family getting in some groceries for us. This mum stuff is hard work, so on those really horrible days, take up offers of help and DON’T FEEL GUILTY!
3. Get out of the house
Your tiny human may not be so happy to be strapped into the pram during a clingy stage, but persevere. Chances are a good walk will ease the moaning & the fresh air will do you both the world of good. A trip to your local play group or to a friend’s for a cup of tea, provide welcomed changes of scenery as well. I know sometimes just getting you both dressed seems like a nightmare, but time away from your usual environment can really alleviate grouchiness for you both – Eli certainly seems to shake off his need to be attached to me as soon as we venture out, probably because he’s nosey like his mum!
4. Be prepared, be patient, relieve frustration
If you haven’t heard of the Wonder Weeks app, then today is your lucky day. My go-to parenting app, it gives a heads up of possible clingy stages over your baby’s first few years which often seem to coincide with mental developments. This foresight allows you to be prepared & approach clingy stages with more patience and understanding. A help section of the app also suggests ways to help your little one achieve new skills, relieving their frustration (and yours as well).
5. Treat yourselves
If your baby is on solids, a treat or two can tempt them away from your arms for a while. A piece of cake – for them and for you ;)
6. Is there a problem?
Teething is a red flag sign. But other health problems could also enhance clinginess. If the episodes are around for a long time, a check-up at your local GP or health visitor can spot any underlying problems which could be the cause.
Remember as parents we all go through these difficult stages – sharing your experiences can be a huge help.
Keep parenting like heroes!