I really hate the word “clingy”. I hate the negative criticism that has been levelled at me about having “clingy” babies.
You “need” to put the baby down.
They “must” learn to self-soothe.
It’s time for a routine.
Babies are meant to be clingy
I often found myself reflecting these criticisms or words of advice, in defence of my choice to keep my babies close.
Oh well, she just won’t be put down.
She will only sleep this way
She only settles in the sling or at the boob
Well, I need my hands free to clean the house …
(Like there is a prize for the day you CAN put the baby down or they WILL sleep on their own … and I was doing it wrong until they were off me.)
But here’s the thing, babies are meant to be clingy. And from now on I’m going to stop using the word.
That word says to me:
Something is attached to me and I don’t want it to be
I’m trying to shake it off
It’ll be better when I don’t have something clinging on
Clinging on for dear life – danger of panic
It’s weighing me down …
So how about the word “close” instead?
My baby stays close to me.
That word makes me think of being warm and cuddly.
Allows for interdependence.
It is a choice to be made.
Emotional closeness as well as physical closeness.
A feeling of togetherness rather than forced non seperation.
A level of bond we strive to have.
And then it feels easier. Being close to my children is my goal. Not to become separated and distanced, but to be close.
And for a baby that is physical closeness. Of the sling, or at the breast or in arms. As my children grow bigger we carry on being close and find new ways to remain close.
And when the days are long, and the challenges are great, I will try to remind myself it is closeness.
Foundations of love. From the very beginning.
Ditch the clingy. Welcome the closeness.