I keep saying I don't think these things are the cause of the current challenges having her be held or cared for by other caretakers. But might she be right?
My DD is a lot like this, and I do the same things you do, however I do feel it's pretty normal to behave this way. Right about when my DD turned 4 months, she started to really realize when someone that was not me was holding her. She even gets cranky sometimes with her daddy. How often does she see your MIL? When we go to my MIL's house to visit (at least once a week), I hold DD in my lap with MIL talking to her until DD seems very warmed up to her, then MIL can hold her for a good bit until she gets fussy. However when dropping DD off at MIL's house for date night, we find it works best if I drop DD in MIL's arms and take off as quickly as possible.
Happy Wife Since '05 and NEW MOM! in '12
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I'm sure it is hard for MIL as she loves her granddaughter and wants to cuddle her but it won't last forever. Is your LO happy to interact with MIL from the safely of your lap? Maybe you could go out of your way to encourage that sort of play.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
DD2 is very different from DD1 in this way -- DD1 was perfectly happy to be held and cared for by a wide variety of people, and was since I work part-time and when she was a baby, I cobbled together childcare from many relatives and neighbors. On the other hand, nearly from birth, DD2 has protested strongly when she's held by people other than her parents. She's gradually broadened her "acceptable" category, so that by 3-5 months she's often been willing to be held by friends and relatives she's never met before, even for long periods of time. But MIL, who she sees frequently and is held by regularly, continues to be in the category of people she won't tolerate for long. MIL thinks this is because I wore DD2 more hours per day than I wore DD1, and because when she was little she slept closer to me in bed (I co-slept with DD1, too, but not "snuggled").
DD2 is perfectly willing to sit in my lap and look at MIL. We do that for a long time every week. But it doesn't seem to be helping her be ready to be cared for by MIL. I guess we all thought that after doing that every week for almost 6 months, we'd have made more progress.
And it's a problem because I do work, and I do need childcare, and MIL is our primary childcare provider, and DD2 has a harder time with her than with most people, and MIL blames me.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
When my dd was around 4-7 months, she was very clingy and attached to me. She would fuss a lot if I left her with my mother or sister, and my family always said it was because I wear her too much and co-sleep with her. Now she is almost 12 months old, and is comfortable with all familiar faces of my family. I could easily leave her with them for 3 hours. We still babywear and co-sleep. Maybe it's just a stage?
single mama to dd (June 2011)
#2 due December 2014!
I hope you're right that it's a stage! Hearing that it changed by around 12 months offers hope -- most others who had a similar challenge (I posted a related thread on a slightly different topic) said it wasn't until age 2 or beyond. Although if it's "just a stage," it's been her entire life so far, birth to 5 1/2 months!
I don't think MIL wears any strong perfumes or scents, and I don't think it's an uncomfortable jewelry/clothing issue, either.
Are there people who co-sleep and babywear a lot whose babies are still happy to be cared for by others?
And DS can't get enough of other people. I took him to a bunch of parties on our local election night in may and he was reaching out of my arms to any person who interacted with him. He was content being held by strangers (to him; I knew them and stayed with him while others held him). Today, at my little brother's graduation party, he was clingy for the first hour or so (but had just woken up) then spent the next SIX hours basically socializing with my extended family (whom he's met once or twice--we flew in for this). He checked in with me pretty regularly but was happy to play with aunts and uncles and grandparents.
That's just his personality. He's always been super social and independent. He has yet to bat an eye or get remotely upset when I drop him at school in the morning.
It sounds to me like this is more about your DD's personality than the way she is parented. Everyone is different and adapts to situations differently. Would your MIL be open to using one of DD's favorite carriers to wear her?
Pam Cliff Malachi 5/08 Judah 5/10 Eden 8/12 Asher 8/12
You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~CS Lewis
The day I left for work, I had to be gone for 3 hours, in the evening. We set up MIL up to wear DD most of the time I was away, thinking she'd sleep. Instead, it seems she cried nearly the whole 3 hours -- cry, fall asleep, wake up, cry some more, repeat. MIL was proud that "she didn't cry the whole time!" but it turns out when I asked clarifying questions that pretty much the only time she wasn't crying was when she was asleep. Oh dear.
We could certainly experiment more with shorter errands where I "disappear" and then re-appear in 15 minutes or an hour. But given the experiences so far, it doesn't seem like the data suggest that would help.
@AmyPDX, I highly recommend the pick-up/put-down technique taught in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems -- it helped both my kids learn to go to sleep in their cribs without being worn/nursed to sleep. I used it at 5-6 months in both cases and it was amazing. You can and should, of course, modify it so it feels right for you. The theory is similar to Ferber (babies can learn skills to be able to fall asleep), but it's MUCH gentler because you never leave the room, you pick the baby up when she cries, etc.
Sorry to sidetrack the thread...
I don't think it's the babywearing/co-sleeping that does it. We've parented all five of our children pretty much the same way; some of them have been ok with other people taking care of them as babies and some of them haven't.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds