Mommy SOS: Clingy Baby

Friday , 16, November 2012 5 Comments


Separation anxiety can be defined as:   Anxiety provoked in a young child by separation or the threat of separation from their mother.  I think this is what we are going through in the Jones household right now.

It all started on Sunday.  We made our way to church.  Checked Eli in.  Got our pager (just in case).  And went to drop him off at the nursery.  Chaos ensued as I tried to set him down.  He called on his super human one-year-old-grip, and I could barely pry him away from me.  I briefly tried to calm him but realized that it would probably be better to exit quickly to {hopefully} let him calm down and settle in.  I apologized to the nursery workers as I quickly left the room and Eli attempted to crawl out behind me.  Whew.  I hoped that Eli would calm down and maybe even enjoy himself, but reality struck when my pager buzzed and I returned to the nursery to find my little guy red faced, snotty, and irritated.  Poor kid.

Since then, the clingyness has not only been limited to times when I am trying to drop Eli off with strangers.  He gets upset when I set him down for any reason.  I haven’t been able to use the bathroom without a crying baby desperately trying to crawl in my lap all week.

I know that separation anxiety is normal, but I wonder how I can best help Eli to get over his fear of being without me.  According to this website, there are a few things I can do to alleviate the stress of separation anxiety.

It is suggested that you spend short amounts of time away from your child.  This is a bit difficult for me since I am with Eli pretty much all the time, but I think it would be beneficial for us to spend some time apart.  I could work this in by leaving him with my neighbor (who happens to have a little boy close to Eli’s age) while a run an errand or two, to get him used to me leaving—-and more importantly–me coming back.  I hope when he sees that I will always  come back to get him, he will be less anxious when I leave him from time to time.

Another suggestion is to keep your child’s surroundings as familiar as possible.  So maybe my neighbor would be willing to come to my house for the first few times.  That way Eli will be more comfortable with his own toys, etc.

Many sources say that leaving without a big exit is best.  If your child starts to fuss when you are leaving, don’t linger, just go.  This part is difficult for the Mamma!  It is so hard to leave your crying baby behind!




Even though this is just a phase, I would like to hear tips from moms who have been through this.  How did (do) you deal with your clingy baby?

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  • Maggie says:

    so, Liam being clingy drives me crazy. He is mommas boy. And it’s not just when I’m leaving. He won’t wasn’t other people to hold him if I’m there…particularly if he us hungry or tired. Anyway, my one thought was to try to make your leave a positive experience. only works some of the time, but we’ll try playing peekaboo around the door. You can’t do it to long (like you said, don’t make leaving a big to do or they will think it’s a big deal) but you might be able to come up with a special routine that makes it easier as you do it over time.

  • Jamie says:

    Separation anxiety was just a brief “stage” for both of my kids–probably when they were about the age of your son. I made sure they had their favorite toys for comfort and distraction, sometimes I busied them with a snack, I assured them I would be back soon, and then I made a quick exit. Fortunately, my kids didn’t ever cry the whole time I was gone. I was told that sometimes they’d sit in the caregiver’s lap for comfort for a few minutes, but I was always assured they were quickly distracted by toys or other children, and they’d hop down and start playing. Your son is just going through another stage of growth toward independence! For your peace of mind, I hope it won’t last too long!

  • Jamie says:

    PS–Sometimes I had a “surprise” or special snack that I told the children that their caregiver would give them after I left. Often THAT was enticing enough to distract the kids from getting upset over my leaving!

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