5 tips for handling a clingy baby

Happy Independence Day!

In honor of Lebanon’s independence, Jaleesa is sharing posts on how to foster independence in babies and kids. This is the first in a series of two: check back later this week to see our post on how to encourage resilience and independence in your older kids.

Clingy infants are stressful for everyone. Not only is your baby upset by the slightest change in attention, but you’re stressed and anxious by the need to constantly be either attending to their baby, or suffering the (loud) consequences.

Babies being clingy is related to the realization that they are their own little person, separate from their parents. This stage begins at about nine months, and is a scary thing to face! So, for a while, babies will want to pretend it’s not happening by insisting on being with you– or on top of you!– 24/7.

Having a clingy baby can be trying, but it won’t be forever. Until the phase passes, here are some tips that might help:

  1. Be patient Your baby is super sensitive to your reactions, so even if you’re frustrated by not being able to do anything alone, take some breaths and stay calm.
  2. Be confident You haven’t spoiled your baby– a quick Google search will turn up evidence that a) nearly every parent faces Velcro baby syndrome at one point and b) it’s impossible to hold your baby too much. Put away insecurities about your parenting. This isn’t your fault!
  3. Teach your baby that things that go away come back Games like peek-a-boo help babies build confidence that things that leave their sight will come back. Putting a cherished toy into a box or bag, then taking it out again will help with this concept as well. Finally, add visual cues to your hellos and goodbyes, like waving. This will help link in your baby’s mind scary separation with happy return.


  4. Talk to her When you leave your baby with a family member, friend, or babysitter, tell her that you’re leaving and why. She understands more than you might think! Plus, learning how to listen is an important precursor to learning how to express herself.
  5. Know when to take a break Can’t get your baby to stop crying and feel like you’re going to lose your mind? Put your baby down and walk out of the room. Crying alone won’t hurt your baby, and if you’re not healthy and happy, your baby won’t be either.

When is it time to seek help? When your baby is inconsolable long after you’ve left her with a caregiver, or if she’s so anxious to do anything without you by her side for prolonged stretches.

Need to talk to a pediatrician? Check out our list of mom-recommended pediatricians in Beirut (with phone numbers!).

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