When I recently posted on Instagram to see what sort of blog posts people would be interested in, lovely Charlotte over at Just Flapjack mentioned having a very clingy baby and how she is having to carry him everywhere. I’ve been there; Martha is velcro baby extraordinaire and at nearly 13 months she is growing more independent if I’m not around, but mummy’s presence = mummy cuddles. All. The. Time.
Got clingy baby and struggling to get anything done? My top tips aren’t revolutionary, but hopefully they’ll make you feel less alone.
Slings and carriers are your friends
Now Martha actually has never quite taken to babywearing (sadly) but with Toby it was such a godsend and I *wish* Martha had read the memo about how lovely it is. Toby was in a woven wrap from birth and moved into a soft buckle carrier as he got a little older. I can wear Pops in a carrier for a short amount of time, but apparently being actually attached to be isn’t good enough if I’m not wrapping my arms around her too – fussy madam!
Try it, though, lots of velcro babies love babywearing and I truly worshipped my slings and carriers with Toby. Although I advertise the necklaces I sell as teething necklaces, they are also a fantastic fiddle accessory that’s super handy to wear whilst you’re carrying your little one, or breastfeeding.
Martha has such fiddly hands, which is why I love wearing my Boo Chew necklaces so much! She's also teething, so it's good to know that she can safely chomp on the food grade silicone beads. Have a peek at the Boo Chew range on Apples & Pips – including the gorgeous limited edition spring/summer '17 designs. Which is your favourite?
Chuck ’em at someone else
They will cry, you will feel horrific, they will reach out for you and give you a look that says “Mummy, why are you abandoning me, you evil woman?!”.
It’s not easy, but walk away. This was the best thing I ever did with Martha because the first time I left her with Phil and my parents so that I could nip to the shops, she screamed the entire time. It gets easier each time and Martha now happily goes to the creche at my gym. (I say happily, she has a great time there but the trick is for the childminder there to distract her with toys/songs/dancing/food while I leg it unceremoniously out of the door. The same applies for leaving her with my Mum and probably will too when she starts nursery the week after next.)
You’re not cutting the bond, you’re not being cruel, it’s all a learning process and baby will come to learn that they are safe and happy with other people too. I’ve also done this while exclusively breastfeeding my bottle-hating daughter, so it’s not a tip that can’t be incorporated around feeds.
Utilise nap times
I can hear your laughter from here. There’s every chance that you little velcro human won’t nap anywhere other than your arms – am I right? Martha was the same but through gentle transitions when she was tiny, she will now sleep in her cot or in the car or pushchair. Sometimes I use that 20 seconds for a coffee and some me-time, because I believe that it’s crucial for our mental wellbeing to just sit sometimes. The rest of the time, I run around like a headless chicken taking bins out, unloading and re-loading the dishwasher, unloading and re-loading the washing machine, sweeping, blogging, sorting orders.
Sometimes I even eat.
Distract, distract, distract
Got a TV? Use it. I’m not kidding. I’m all for engaging with your kids and quality time together, but there are deadlines and chores and your other kids and there’s just so much STUFF to get done. If 15 minutes (heck, treat yourself, call it 20) of mindless crap on television gives you the chance to get something done while your little beauty sits in their bouncy chair or on the floor, then do it. Toby’s fantastic signing was mostly thanks to me (shameless brag) but Mr Tumble sure as heck helped.
It doesn’t even have to be the TV. Washing machines work wonders with newborns, sit them in a chair under a parasol while you hang the laundry out, pop them in their high chair with food, get out every single toy you own, bride older siblings to sing and dance and create a distraction. Anything!
Abandon all hope and just snuggle
I know, this is quite frankly the most useless tip ever BUT I stand by it. Have you got enough plates and cutlery to eat tea with? Some dead easy, chuck-in-the-oven food? Bins with lids that are still able to close over the contents? Then mama, snuggle that clingy baby.
I am starting a new job in 12 short days and oh my goodness am I glad for the times I just gave up and held my baby girl. I am so excited about my Content Manager job – because owning a business, blogging and being a wife and mummy isn’t quite a busy enough life – but working means that someone else will be cuddling Martha when she gets tired in the late morning. Someone else will have her crawling over to them with her arms up. Someone else will clap when she does something wonderful or coo when she’s being freaking adorable.
Having a clingy baby is hard. I have cried with the frustration of not being able to get stuff done. I have felt guilty about the house being messy and guilty about putting Martha down in order for me to tidy up. I basically went on a cooking strike a few months ago because I couldn’t cook anything decent from scratch when alone with the kids. It’s getting a bit easier but I still make the most of fairly nutritious but very easy food at tea times.
Breathe, prioritise what needs doing and if it isn’t absolutely necessary then cut yourself some slack. Embrace positivity, remember that you’re amazing and go eat some cake with your bestie.