Short answer - yes. Here’s why...
1. They Stick Close To Their Food Source
Cities are planned and malls are designed around being close to food sources - so I think baby's approach is very genius and strategic.
2. When They Are Sick
Food naturally heals us and breastmilk is specifically designed to repair little bodies. Babies literally depend on it to get over whatever their systems are fighting.
So at night, they may suckle to clear the mucus out of airways so that they can breathe and sleep peacefully.
Or they may nurse to ease the pain of teething.
They may also depend on it to lower their fever from an ear infection.
One definition of clinginess is being overly dependent, however I would argue our young children literally "cling" and depend on us when their immune systems are fragile and still developing.
3. For Security
This is another strategic move of self-preservation and survival.
After getting injured my breastfed children nursed. They know that if something goes wrong, I will comfort them.
I don’t view this as dependence. I view this as them seeking guidance on how to get through scary moments. We teach them comforting words that will become their inner voice. And we teach them how to physiologically calm down by deep breathing.
I completely understand clinginess can be overwhelming if you’re not properly prepared for it. Instead of pushing the child away, I vouch for building a strong community of trusted individuals (young and old) so that baby/child has a solid network of people they trust. As well as having a plan to stay mentally stable for yourself.
And please do not confuse clinginess with shyness. While certain situations make them cautious, our children love to make new friends and have new experiences.
What's your definition of clinginess? When do you find your breastfed children to be most clingy? How do you deal with it?
I understand clinginess can be a deterrent to breastfeeding. If you are experiencing this - try filling out our breastfeeding goals. I find it helpful to document why I am doing things so that when moments of doubt or hardship creep in I am reminded of my mission.
Until next time…
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