Do you have a baby that refuses to be anywhere but in your arms? Velcro babies are particularly clingy and will cry or fuss if they are not being held. While many people love to hold a baby, it has its limits, and needy babies can be quite exhausting for parents. Here are some tips on how to survive a Velcro baby.
How can I tell if I have a velcro baby?
Most babies enjoy the comfort and feeling of safety while being held, but some of them end up having separation anxiety that can negatively affect those around them. Velcro babies are only content while being held and will cry as soon as they are put down. Parents and caregivers feel like they cannot get anything done because they must constantly have the baby in their arms.
Velcro babies do not sleep well unless they are being held. They will frequently wake up during the night or when napping. Not only does the baby become sleep-deprived, but so do the parents.
What causes a velcro baby?
Babies can be fussy and needy for various reasons and some babies are more so than others.
- Colic. Colic is when an otherwise healthy baby cries for long periods of time without any obvious underlying cause. When babies cry, they swallow air, which causes an increase in gas in the abdomen, resulting in the baby becoming even more irritable. About 20% of babies are affected by infant colic.
- Gas or feeding intolerance. This can certainly change a happy baby into a grumpy one. Gas pain can make babies very irritable and cry out. If a baby develops a feeding intolerance (difficulty digesting breast milk or formula), it can cause diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting. Similar symptoms can occur with food allergies.
- Teething. This may cause discomfort to a baby's gums and mouth, causing them to drool, grab at their ears, and possibly have a fever. If a baby starts showing signs of teething, putting pressure on the sore gums can help to soothe the pain. There are teething toys specifically created for this purpose, or parents can massage the gums with their fingers. Oral pain-relieving gels or baby Tylenol are other common treatments.
- Personality. The personality of your child can play a role in having a Velcro baby. Some babies are simply more sensitive and needy than others, and these traits can continue throughout childhood and even adulthood. Helping your baby learn to cope with their changing environment will hopefully reduce their anxieties and allow them to go with the flow.
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Tips for surviving a velcro baby
Learning how to cope with and manage a clingy Velcro baby will make life a little easier for parents and caregivers. A study has shown that mothers who have highly irritable babies experience an increase in symptoms of depression. This is why it is important to address the issue as soon as possible.
- Buy a baby carrier. There are many products available for parents to comfortably carry their baby around with them. Placing a Velcro baby in a carrier will free up your arms and allow you to walk around.
- Ask for help. Perhaps you have family or friends who are willing to come over and help you by either holding your baby so you can get things done or by helping you with all the things on your to-do list. You may need to look into hiring a nanny or babysitter to assist you.
- Start to wean them. At some point, a baby must learn to tolerate being put down. Create a schedule where you have designated times to put the baby down. Slowly extend the time that they are not in your arms. Distraction with music toys with lights, or using a vibrating infant bouncer or rocker may prove helpful.
- Let them cry it out. It sounds terrible, but sometimes you just have to let them cry it out. The hope is that the baby will eventually tire of crying and soothe themselves or will simply fall asleep. Letting your baby cry can be emotional and upsetting to parents. As long as the baby is in a safe spot and position, walk away and take some deep breaths.
- Leave your scent with them. Babies have a strong sense of smell and become accustomed to their mother’s scent quickly. Breastfed babies can recognize the scent of their mother’s milk. Leaving your scent on an item that is near your baby may be soothing to them. It is not a safe sleeping habit to place loose articles in the bed with your baby. However, rubbing your baby’s fitted sheet, swaddle blanket, or outfit on your chest will leave your scent behind for them.
The time we spend with our babies is precious, but having a Velcro baby can quickly create exhaustion and suck the joy right out of parenting. Surviving a Velcro baby means learning how to handle the situation and taking time to ensure that your needs are being met as well.
Velcro babies refuse to be put down and are only happy when they are being held.
Utilizing a baby carrier will allow parents to hold their baby while getting other things done.
Slowly help your baby get accustomed to being put down so they can learn to soothe themselves.
Parents of clingy babies need to ensure that their own needs are also being met to help prevent fatigue and velcro baby burnout.