How to Cope With A Clingy Baby
By baby number 3, I thought I had the Mama thing pretty down pat. But Cooper threw a new curveball at me: the Velcro Baby.
I remember handing him to my husband and hearing him scream, just so I could have a shower. I remember getting changed into pyjamas, still holding him with one arm because I was too scared to put him down for fear he would wake up. I remember crying when a friend offered to come over and hold him so I could get a few things done: “oh please let him sleep on a body that isn’t mine!”
I see you, mama. I see you and your Velcro baby. I have been there. And here’s what I learnt:
REMEMBER WHAT IS NORMAL
Your baby has been inside your body, warm, fed and comforted, listening to your voice and your heartbeat for 9 months! YOU are their normal. Then seeking you out for comfort and safety is normal.
Accept your baby, however they need you, even when it’s hard (you’re allowed to admit that!).
See an osteopath for both you and baby.
Get baby checked for tongue and lip ties by a preferred provider (this FB group is super helpful)
Hire a cleaner. Order in easy to prepare meals. Teach your mum to babywear so you can take a nap/have a shower/make a sandwich.
Misery breeds company. It’s absolutely true. The more you think “urgh, this is so hard, I’m never going to be able to shower again, whyyyyyy do I have a clingy baby” the more you will think negative thoughts.
Set an alarm in your phone for twice a day and write in your phone notes, or download an app that will help you record your thankfulness. Start really small if you’re struggling to find the positive moments.
I am grateful for coffee. I am grateful for Netflix. I am grateful for cute baby snuggles. I am grateful for warm slippers. I am grateful it is bin day and I don’t have to shove rubbish into my bin any more.
I know we hear that all the time. “They’re only little for a short time. This too shall pass. The laundry will wait.” Honestly, when someone said that to me, I wanted to scream at them. I wanted to say “but the laundry isn’t going to wait for 6 months!”
Surrender looks different to each person. Surrender doesn’t mean losing control and giving up. It is the gentle letting go of your constant effort to chase something “better” than what is here right now. It means gaining control of your response and choosing to engage completely in your life as it is RIGHT NOW.
It doesn’t mean that you have to give up on eating off clean dishes for 6 months…..but it does mean you might need to rethink how you’re going to get them done. (And, lucky for you, I wrote another blog about how I still managed to get most of the things done with a baby attached to me!)
YOU WILL BE OK
It may not feel like it right now but you will be ok. Being needed by another human as much as a newborn does is exhausting. But not being able to put the baby down or hand them to anybody else, having them scream for hours after feeds, having to sleep with their little body smooshed up against yours so they don’t wake up….brings a whole new level of exhausted.
You can do this. You are strong, you are resilient, you are amazing. You can get through this.
And if you’re not feeling ok, reach out to someone. Mention to your partner, best friend, mum or GP that you’re really struggling to cope with being needed by this tiny human ALLLLL the time.
by Mim Dart