Is it normal to have a clingy baby?

November 15, 2017

Many of us mothers bring our babies into the world and are met with an outpour of well wishes and congratulations. We usually have some hands on support from our friends and family for the first couple of weeks, but then things slowly dwindle down, and suddenly we're left alone to care for our infant.

To add to this, it becomes increasingly challenging to take care of our own basic needs when this new beautiful baby is incredibly dependent and clingy towards us.

It's something many mothers are emotionally and physically unprepared for, and even with preparation, there's no denying it's hard and a huge responsibility. 

You may be wondering if it's normal and when it will end.

Let me share with you why your baby is perfectly normal and actually very intelligent for being 'clingy'. I know it's not easy (man can I vouch for that!), but your freedom will soon creep back into your life, and before that happens, there's many tools to help you along the way (especially using a baby carrier!).  

So why does a child love to be held and cry when put down? Are we just spoiling them? Are we creating bad habits by picking them up all the time? Simply, no!

It is biologically essential for a newborn to have body contact and skin-to-skin with their mother. It is in their DNA to recognise mum as ‘the safe place’, and to recognise ‘danger’ as being away from mum.

Compare this to baby birds. Their safe place is their nest. When their mother bird leaves the nest to get food, they stay quiet because they know they are safe in the nest and their mother can come and go. 

It's not the same for human babies. When mum leaves or isn't giving enough body contact, they believe they could be in danger and they can become quite anxious. They usually then cry for their safety, their comfort, and their security, to come back.

feeding clingy newborn baby with mum

Ever put your finger into the palm of a newborn? What do they do? They grasp it really tight and can hang on for ages! Notice their feet are turned in very slightly too? All these aspects are so they can literally ‘cling’ to their mother. As designed to. 

Just when you thought the start of your parenting journey only had a three trimesters.... Well, there’s a secret, a less known chapter of that story and it is... *DRUMROLL*... THE 4TH TRIMESTER!

You’ve had your baby growing in your belly for 9 months, and now they're here. There’s so much to learn from your part, and it’s a whole different world than in your belly for your baby.

While us as Mothers adjust to a new and demanding human in our lives, it is our little humans themselves that undergoes the most change. A warm and snug womb, into an inconsistent temperature and huge world! Only knowing mum, then to meeting dad, grandma, brother, sister, friends... Queue: "Where I am? Who are you? I want my mum!!"

Carrying your child in a baby carrier or sling really helps soften the blow from womb to world! It helps bub stay close in a snug and warm environment that mimics the womb. The smells, sounds, and movements, are all the same. It’s safe, and it's calm, and that is what a baby wants. Oh, and bub's food supply is well within reach too (they think they’ve scored the jackpot!). 

babywearing new baby in a manduca baby carrier

Not only does babywearing give your baby comfort, it gives you the closest thing to FREEDOM. You have two hands free. Your baby is usually asleep and content and you can go about your day. Whether that's cooking, cleaning, going for a walk, doing some shopping.. All these things are much more achievable and convenient when you've got a happy baby close to you. It also gives other caregivers the opportunity to provide a place of calm for your cuddly newborn, infant, or toddler. 

You may be referring to your baby as a 'Velcro Baby', or telling your friends and family "she never lets me put her down!" 

Please mama, don't stress. This is your baby being perfectly normal. You are the only safe place they know and they naturally want to cling to you all day long! So cuddle, feed, and carry them often.

Soon it will be just a fleeting memory as they become the independent, resilient, little beings you so lovingly raised to feel safe and confident in the world. 

You've got this, 
Brooke x 

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