My 8 month old daughter, Penelope, is going through a separation anxiety phase. If I walk out of her eye sight, even for a second, even if Peter, my husband, or someone else is sitting with her and playing, she cries. She is a MAMA’S GIRL right now. When her anxiety first showed up, I was concerned. I thought, “Oh, God, what have I done?!” Is she TOO attached? Have I taken Attachment Parenting to an extreme and done damage? I thought, “should I finally get a babysitter and leave her with someone other than my husband and “teach” her to be OK.” Which, of course, had been so often told to me to do by my neighbors and some friends. I have also been told, to simply let her fuss for a bit and not immediately pick her up and tend to her.
Luckily, I snapped out of my doubt, and regained my confidence, before I heeded any of that advice. Even if her behavior is not the stereotypical- 8-month-baby-separation-anxiety-phase, and she simply wants me all. of. the. time.its perfectly fine with me. I am her mother, she is my baby, we are still deeply connected through my breast milk that I make for her. To me breastfeeding, feels like an extended, energetic umbilical cord. I hold her all day long, I sleep and cuddle with her all night long. I want to be in close contact with her, as much as she wants to be in close contact with me. This is what is supposed to be happening. This is how mothering and baby rearing is supposed to be.
One of my most favorite books is the Continum Concept. When I read it, before I was a mother and I was a Nanny, it turned on a light bulb in my head. What a novel idea, that babies are EXPECTING to be with their mothers at all times! They are expecting that Mama, or a really great close Mama substitute for the time being (like a fabulous Nanny, like I was), is going to be right there, every step of the way. I will admit, that sometimes I dream of lounging by the pool, or going out to dinner and then (gasp!) a movie with my husband, but most of the time, I am thrilled to meeting her every need and demand. I love knowing that she has not once, Cried It Out, to go to sleep. I love knowing, that she knows, if she communicates to me that she needs me, that I will be there, every. single. time. She completely trusts me and that makes it all worth it.