When Baby's Love is a Little Too Much
There will come a time, usually between six and eighteen months of age, when your baby will steadfastly refuse to have anyone else attend to their needs. Babies going through this period of separation anxiety will cry whenever you're not within reach or in sight, and may make it difficult for you to take care of yourself as well as your baby.
Thankfully, this is a passing phase and it can be helped. If you don't have children but your friends do, there's a wide selection of helpful baby shower gifts you can give to ease their family through this time period.
What Did I Do?
It's natural for parents to worry they've caused this clingy behavior in their babies, perhaps by over-indulging them - but it's entirely baseless. All children go through this phase, and all of them are better for it when they're through. This is an important time for your child to learn lessons about object permanence, trust, and respect for boundaries.
Luckily, you can use toys you've received as baby shower gifts to enhance these learning experiences. Your baby may or may not be old enough to play with these baby shower gifts, but you should try them out with her anyways.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Babies in this age range don't yet understand that when a thing disappears, it isn't gone forever. Most parents are given blankets and small baby toys as baby shower gifts; get a blanket and a few small toys, and try this playful experiment with your baby.
Arrange the baby shower gifts on the floor or on a table where your baby can see them. Let her pick her favorite of the baby shower gifts and maybe play with it for a little while, while you talk to her about what sort of toy it is. Then use the blanket to cover one or more of the baby shower gifts. What does your baby do?
A baby just learning about object permanence might appear surprised or confused, may look elsewhere for the baby shower gifts, or might lose interest and turn away. Some babies might even start crying. Remove the blanket to reveal the baby shower gifts hidden beneath, and laugh with her about the discovery. Continue playing this game until she tries to remove the cloth while it's covering the baby shower gifts; this shows that she understands the baby shower gifts are beneath it, and she's trying to find them.
Other key strategies to teach trust and object permanence are the game of peek-a-boo and frequently talking or singing to your baby while you're in a different room. Whenever you're going to leave her, tell her where you're going and when you'll be back; like the game with the baby shower gifts, she may not understand at first, but she'll learn quickly.
This is a great way to use baby shower gifts for which you don't otherwise have a purpose. Because these baby shower gifts are new, they'll receive much more attention than using toys with which your baby is already familiar. Those familiar gifts can come in just as handy as unused baby shower gifts, though; you can hide them behind table and chair legs, doors, and other toys, and then help your baby find them. All of these exercises will teach your baby to trust that you'll always be there when she needs you.