Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dealing with a Clingy Baby

It's true that every baby has his or her unique personality. Your first baby may have been an outgoing social butterfly. Then baby number two comes along and he's shy and withdrawn. Shyness really isn't a learned behavior-- some kids are naturally just more bashful than others. And while being bashful can be cute at times, being clingy is a whole other ball game.

Is your baby a clingy child? Does he or she want to be held 24 hours a day? Does your baby bury his or her face in your chest when a stranger says hello? Do you have to pry your baby from your leg just to take a bathroom break? If you answered yes to these questions, then your baby is indeed clingy.

It can be very frustrating to deal with a clingy baby. First of all, no matter how much you love your child, you need a break once in a while. Taking a shower shouldn't have to feel like a luxury. Neither should having five minutes to yourself. But if your baby wants to spend every waking moment with you, then you may be setting your self up for some problems in the future.

Your baby will have to leave your side some day. Yes, preschool will be here before you know it. So it's important to take steps now to ensure that your baby becomes a little more independent. Here are some tips to help you with that cute little clinger:

Join a playgroup. If your child spends times with other babies, he or she will eventually want to join in and play. For some reason, kids love other kids' toys, so entice your baby with a play date at a friend's house. He or she may just give you a little space.

Go out at least once a week without your baby. No, it doesn't have to be a full blown date night with your husband every week (although if you can swing it, that's not a bad idea). Simply ask a relative or a trusted friend to watch baby for an hour while you shop or do some errands. Your baby needs to learn to be comfortable around other people. Plus, you will get some much needed time alone.

Enroll your child in a baby tumbling or music class. Places like Gymboree offer programs for young babies. With age appropriate classes for crawlers, pre-walkers and experienced walkers, you should be able to find a class that is suitable for your child. Even though you will join your child at these classes, it is still an opportunity to do something together-- without holding your child the whole time. If you baby loves music and dancing, check out some age appropriate music classes at places like Gymboree or KIndermusic. Your baby will make new friends and will hopefully come out of his or her shell.

Check out free story times at your library. Many libraries offer story times for babies that include simple story books, songs and finger plays. If you go faithfully every week, your baby will grow accustomed to it and will soon enjoy interacting with other kids. Don't be discouraged if baby sits in your lap for the first few weeks-- before you know it he or she will leap out of your lap when a familiar song starts. Just wait it out and soon your will enjoy a less clingy, but still just-as-loveable, baby!

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