We really have to be careful with what terms we use, when we refer to our children. Even if not spoken aloud, the labels that we put on our children in our own minds can influence the way we interact with them and consequently how they grow up thinking of themselves.
Recently, a woman told me that she’s glad that she held her babies when they were younger and coslept with them and breastfed them on demand, even though they were clingy, because it was only for short time that they are that small and want to be that close to Mom around the clock. Another woman in my position might have smiled and nodded, knowingly, or if she disagreed, might have rolled her eyes. Instead, I smiled and told her that her babies weren’t clingy: They were normal!
Biologically normal babies—babies who are developmentally right on track—want to be held all the time, they want to be breastfed on demand, they want to sleep in Mom’s room at night, they want to learn from the world from Mom’s physical and emotional safety. Clingy is a term that is only used for babies when their normal child development isn’t taken into consideration.