Not a day goes by when a mother doesn’t wonder if she is doing everything right by her baby. Not only does she wonder if she is doing right, but she probably wonders if she has already done something to screw them up. It is the sad reality of being a mother, and the guilt a lot of mothers carry around with them is enough to cause a lot of mental breakdowns.
There is always the age-old advice that moms are often given, but the problem is they all tend to contradict each other. Mom will hear, "Don't spoil a baby" in the same sentence as she will hear, "don’t pick up the baby every time she cries." It is impossible to know what we are supposed to do when our baby wants us.
Unfortunately, this can lead to some babies being left behind or forgotten, because their mom was so afraid of not allowing them to have their own independence. This is not always done purposefully, but it does happen. Then, on the other side of the coin, we have babies who are too attached to their moms, where it may be hindering their development.
Where does anyone find the line? Well, we have compiled a list of 10 signs a baby is feeling forgotten about, and 10 signs they need mom a little too much in order to help guide moms through these tricky waters.
20 Attached: Mom Has A Permanent Backpack
Now we are going to move on to the section where there may be a chance that a baby is just a bit too attached to mom. Some don’t see a problem with this, that there is no way a child could be too attached to their own mother. However, this can be a problem as they get older and need to learn a sense of independence.
The clearest sign that baby is too attached, is that mom can never put the baby down. Babies like to be held and carried, but there are normally moments that mom can put them down and have them be entertained by a toy for some time. If this never—and I mean never—happens, then the baby may be a bit attached. It is important to make sure that it is only safe toys that the little one can play with.
19 Neglected: More Than Crying
Babies cry; it is just the way it works. It is their only means of communication with the world around them and if they didn’t cry then how would we ever know that they needed something. A baby that may be feeling a bit ignored, is a baby who cries and can not be consoled. If mom has ruled out everything that could be wrong with the baby and they are still crying it could be a sign they need more attention.
The baby should also be taken to the doctor to rule out any medical concerns that could be going on as well. If nothing still seems to be wrong with the little one, but they are still crying, then spend some quality time cuddling and building that attachment bond.
18 Attached: Can Mom Leave The Room?
All babies go through periods of separation anxiety, and this is normal, and it doesn’t mean that they are too attached to mom. There are normal ages that this happens though, and if baby still seems attached to mom after these have ended, there may be a cause for concern. If mom can never leave the room for even a minute, then the baby may be too attached.
There are times when mom has to leave the room and the baby fusses for a minute, and that is normal, but they will normally calm down and be okay. If mom is always having to act like a ninja to get out of the room and hope her baby doesn’t notice, then we have a problem.
17 Neglected: How Does The Mom React?
Biology is a great thing and it has almost everything to do with every aspect of being a mom. For a lot of women, that maternal instinct kicks in as soon as she receives a positive pregnancy test. This may not be the case for all, and for those moms, it sure kicks in the moment the baby is handed in her arms. That biological impulse to want to care and nurture that little baby is there.
When there may be some absence is when mom has a hard time reacting to the baby. When babies cry, a lot of the mom’s out there will feel it in their gut. Almost like a pain, and they want to console their babies. The same goes with when they are happy, her belly gets all warm. Mom should always check-in to see how she feels, and to reach out if she feels she is not connecting to her baby.
16 Attached: Can’t Put Them To Sleep…
Chances are the longest amount of time you are going to be physically away from your baby is when they are sleeping. Of course, you are not too far away and are likely just in the next room, but the baby doesn’t know that. The baby is pretty sure that once you close that door, then you are gone and never coming back.
This can be a problem for a baby who is too attached and needs to go to sleep. They are frightened of you leaving because they are unsure of when, or if you are ever, coming back. This means it may be difficult to put them to sleep for the night.
15 Neglected: Needs Are Not Being Met
We don’t always just love and watch out for our own children, we care about the children we see around us. They always say that it takes a village, and it really does. When we go out in public, we are always watching to make sure that everyone’s child is safe. Sometimes, we may think that we see something not quite right, but we can not be sure.
When teachers and other professionals want to make sure that the children in their care are not being forgotten at home, they look for certain things. One of the signs they look for is if their basic needs are being met. Are they wearing clean clothes that are weather appropriate? Do they have a lunch packed today? Do they look like they need a bath? These are all signs something could be wrong.
14 Attached: They Wake Up All The Time
This also means that the baby may be waking up all through the night. If the baby is so attached to mom that they have created some sleep association with mom. That means that if the baby falls asleep being rocked by mom, smelling her skin and feeling her warmth, when they wake up in the night it is a surprise
They need mom to come back and hold and rock them again so that they can fall back asleep. This could mean the baby may be up almost every hour at night for some mom cuddle time. We all love our babies and we want to hold them all we can, but we need to sleep too.
13 Neglected: All In A Smile And Eye Contact
A lot of the time, you only need to look at mom to see if the baby is getting all the care they need. This one relates to the one where we talked about how mom reacts to her baby’s emotions. Mom may be forgetting her baby if she doesn’t smile a lot and avoids eye contact. This is especially true if they don’t smile or make eye contact with their baby.
Now, it is important to note that a lot of these situations occur due to postpartum depression, and not intentionally done by the mom. That is why it is so important for moms to check in with their doctor or even their family and friends and make sure that they are doing okay.
12 Attached: Stranger Danger
There is always a period of stranger danger in young children, and it is not a bad thing. We want our children to be friendly, but wary of those that they don’t know. However, this normally comes into place when babies turn into toddlers. Babies are generally safe and want to see new people and experience new things.
It is normal for a baby to not want to go into the arms of a complete stranger, but they should want grandma or an aunt. A family member who has regularly been in the baby’s life should be recognizable by the time they are 10 months old. Babies shouldn’t mind going to these people. If they refuse each and every time, there may be an attachment concern.
11 Neglected: Who Does The Baby Go To?
This is a big one, and it is normally a sign when the baby has been ignored for a while. A baby who is often left to feel ignored will often not turn to their parents when they are upset. When they need to be comforted, they will turn to someone else and try their luck. This is the sad truth, but babies learn when their needs are routinely not being met.
They will be lost trust in their primary caregiver and look for someone else to comfort them when they are upset. Babies need to be comforted, and they need to try and find it anywhere they can get it. A baby not wanting its mother isn't always a bad thing, but it may be something to dig deep about.
10 Attached: When Dad Won’t Do
Now, we think it would be safe to assume that next to mom, dad would be the next best thing. Well, this is not true for a baby who is attached to mom. It also can work the other way, though it is more likely going to be a baby attached to mom. Babies are biologically programmed to be attached to mom — it is how they survive.
However, there should come a time when they are content to hang out with dad for a bit at the very least. If this does not happen, and the baby acts like dad is a stranger, then it may be time that the two of them spend some time together. To help the baby learn to know and trust dad.
9 Neglected: Flinching At A Touch
This one is along the same lines as the previous one, and that is to watch out for a baby who flinches when it is being touched. This is not because they don’t like germs or strange people, it could be because they are not used to being touched. A baby who is not constantly held and touched will find this a strange sensation.
So, when someone touches or attempts to touch the baby, they may flinch or turn away because they are unsure of what is happening. They haven’t been taught that touches are comforting things — things we should all want. They may actually think that a hug is a dangerous thing.
8 Attached: Not An Independent Baby
It is great to see our babies grow and develop, and while it may make us a little sad, we are so happy when we see that they are asserting their own independence. This occurs differently for each baby and in different ways, but it should happen. There should come a point when mom can place her baby down with some toys and they are able to entertain themselves.
This doesn’t mean that they will play alone for hours, but they should be able to give mom enough time to go to the bathroom or grab a bite to eat. If there are concerns about your baby’s ability to do this, then maybe it is time to see if they may be too attached to you.
7 Neglected: Offputting Emotions
Babies and toddlers are unique creatures, and they are born a blank slate. They don’t know how to regulate or even handle their emotions and it all comes out in crying or tantrums. By comforting your baby, you are teaching them how to regulate their emotions and show them that it is okay to be upset.
A baby who has been ignored may show some 'off' emotions at times. That means that they don’t show the emotion in a situation one might think they would. For example, if they get hurt and instead of crying, they laugh, or if they see a fun toy and they cry rather than laugh. These are all signs that the baby doesn’t understand how their emotions work.
6 Attached: Calms Down The Moment Mom Walks In
It is always sweet when we see our babies react to seeing us. When they smile, laugh and light up at the sight of us it makes us feel special, loved and needed. However, if the baby is absolutely losing their mind and only calms down when mom enters the room, then there is a dependency issue.
This can mean that the baby cannot regulate their emotions and they rely on mom there to make them feel better. They are unable to self-soothe themselves and rely on mom to soothe them. Self-soothing is a tricky topic, and some believe that it is a developmental milestone and others believe that there are things mom can do to help them.
5 Neglected: Does The Baby Smile?
We talked about how important it is to see mom smiling at least sometimes. We know motherhood is hard. We also have to look at if the baby smiles. Now, all babies are different, and it is important that we mention this now. Some babies are generally not as ‘smiley’ as others. They tend to be more serious, while other babies will smile at everything.
It is really important to know your baby and then you can know if they are acting unusual and need some more cuddles, or if this is just their personality. It is also important with signs like this that mom looks for more than one sign.
4 Attached: They Get Up Extra Early
I don't want to say this, but sleeping is about to get even worse for a baby who is super attached to mom. They are likely to be early risers. So, the nights may look like this; you fought for some time to get them to fall asleep. Then they woke up every few hours to have you come back in. Now it is the early morning, and they are up and ready for the day.
The problem is, they are not really ready for the day and they are going to be still tired. A tired baby is not a happy baby, and it makes them even more clingy to mom. This is a vicious cycle that will go on with every baby that is too attached to mom.
3 Neglected: Look At All The Toys!
No one has more things that a baby, especially if they are an only child. They will have tons of friends and family members who have just been waiting to spoil a little baby with toys galore. These toys will normally fascinate a little baby who is just learning about the world around them and they will want to explore all the shiny and noisy things.
A baby who has been ignored for just a little too long may not show much, if any, interest in the toys around them. No matter what you do they won’t try and play or explore the objects around them.
2 Attached: Is Not Easily Distracted
Babies are easily distracted. All it takes is a loud noise or bright lights and they are changing where they look. Everything is so new and interesting to them and they always want to be doing something more. An attached baby is not so easily distracted by anything other than mom.
A lot of the times, when mom needs to leave the room, dad can show the baby a shiny toy and catch their attention for a bit so mom can sneak out. In a baby with normal separation anxiety, this will work. A baby who is too attached to mom won’t be buying it at all and will not be distracted from the sight of mom leaving.
1 Neglected: Is There Such A Thing As Too Friendly?
Babies who have been ignored are not always withdrawn and shy. They can turn out to be the exact opposite. They can be a little bit too friendly and grow up to have a problem with personal boundaries. This is because they crave attention. They are looking for anyone who will give them an ounce of love and interaction.
This could be with daycare teachers, friends, extended family members, or even other babies at the local playgroup. Feeling wanted and loved is a human need much like food and water, and this need has to be filled somewhere. If babies do not get it at home with mom, they will look other places for it.
References: patient.info, nanit.com, motherandbaby.co.uk, mother.ly