Many(or most) babies go through attachment issues at some stage of their lives. What has surprised me is how people get ‘upset’ when a baby won’t come to them. Attachment is part of growing up and developing – it means you are forming relationships and bonds with caregivers of familiar faces.
“The more the child feels attached to the mother, the more secure she is in her acceptance of herself and the rest of the world. The more love she gets. the more she is capable of giving. Attachment is as central to the developing child as eating and breathing”
When my little Mianke was a baby, she would go to friends and family with no issues as she didn’t really know any better, but at around 9 months, she became aware of me leaving. I couldn’t even go to the toilet without her crawling after me at full speed screaming as if she was being chased. She would play independently when I was in the room but as soon as I left she would start screaming.
Even her daddy felt offended. I think he thought she doesn’t want to be with him when really, she just wanted me around as her safety blanket. Friends or family would want to hold or hug her and she would scream or try and push them away. I always felt bad for them because of how she was reacting. I would hear at times “don’t be like that” or “don’t be so attached to your mom”, to which I would often reply “she is teething so she isn’t feeling well” or whatever the case may be. Then I realised I need to stop making excuses. She wants to come to me, she can come to me. Why would I force my small baby, who is still discovering the world and people around her, to go to someone she obviously doesn’t feel secure with at that moment? And someone trying their hardest to hug, kiss or cuddle her can clearly see they are upsetting her, which in my opinion will just make her not want to come to you even more. Why would a baby want to come to someone who is forcing themselves onto her? Then I am left to pick up the pieces of a highly upset child.
Something that totally riles me up too is if she is crying, hysterically, and someone won’t give her back to me. When she is in that state, I am all she wants, and that’s okay because I am her mom. I am not the type of mom who jumps up as soon as I hear her crying, but if she has ‘THAT’ cry, you need to give her to me.
I can’t even imagine what it is like for a 1 year old to go to a party or family gathering surrounded by strange or unknown faces. It is overwhelming. I am sure people think she is permanently stuck to my hip but she really is not. She only becomes clingy when she is in situations she does not feel comfortable in – and I am her mom and her safe spot – of course she cries for me. I am not spoiling her, I am not coddling her – I am protecting her!
I am not here to apologize for her crying when people want to hold her. She needs to know that if she does not want to be held, she can say no. If that means she says no by giving a shout or putting her hand out, then that is okay. I will teach my daughter manners and teach her to be polite, but that does not mean she is rude by not wanting to be held by someone else.
Fast forward to my 13 month old Mianke now. I can leave the room, she loves her daddy so much and she is comfortable with both of us. She goes to her daymother, loves her and feels comfortable with her but if a child comes into her space and she doesn’t like it, she will let them know. And as her mother, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. She is learning human contact. She was never a cuddly baby and if she doesn’t want to be held, she will not even let me hold her. She wants what she wants and personally, when it comes to her little body and her level of happiness, I will grant her wishes to not be held by anyone she doesn’t want to be held by. She is getting better and more loving, all on her own time.
My daughter loves her mommy and daddy – and that’s okay!