What Is "Mamitis" And How Can You Handle It?
If your child is around two years of age, they probably don’t want to be away from you for even a minute. Every time you can’t be together becomes a drama. If you’re experiencing this situation, your baby is going through a phase called “mamitis” in Spanish. Do you know what it is?
What is mamitis?
We can say a child has mamitis when they have the sufficient degree of physical autonomy to be able to move around, yet t hey constantly look for mom and can’t tolerate separation from her.
They do this even though they can stay with other people they trust.
Babies cannot fend for themselves and they need protection from their parents, especially in the first few moths. Mothers become their babies’ world, their attachment figure.
However, as the baby grows and acquires new skills, they should need less help and become more independent.
When does mamitis occur?
The peak of mamitis is usually between 10-18 months. During this phase, children become more self-aware and autonomous.
This means they can already walk, run and move around. Their main objective is to explore the world around them, always accompanied by their mother.
The next phase occurs a little later, specifically between the age of 2-3. Babies start to interact both with their world and the people who live in it. This entails meeting many new people. They will feel comfortable if their mom is nearby to give them security.
Finally, the third stage of mamitis occurs between 4-5. During this phase, they want to do absolutely everything with mom. Go shopping with mom, cook with mom… it is a kind of “crush” on mom.
Psychoanalytic theory have named the phenomenon mamitis.
In addition to these phases of mamitis which all children go through, there are certain moments when they can even experience a relapse after exiting the mamitis period.
This occurs in moments of insecurity in which they cling to mom in order to try to recover their internal stability.
There are many factors that can lead to situations of excessive attachment. Some are due to the growth cycle they are going through; others are for external reasons such as illness or jealousy of the arrival of a new sibling.
The good news is that this is usually temporary and the episodes are easy to solve.
What can we do to deal with acute mamitis?
The solution is simple: patience and lots of common sense.
We should help them regain self-confidence. This will allow them to feel comfortable with others.
It is also very important that they learn to be alone with dad or with their grandparents, so we should allow them time to be with other people.
First they can try to do pleasant things like playing or reading stories, and after a few days they will feel comfortable doing other routine activities as well.
The best way to build your child’s independence at young age is through playing.
We can start playing with our children with colored balls, puzzles or anything we know they like. When they are entertained, we can get up and move a few centimeters away. Later we can move a meter away.
The whole while we should continue talking to them, so they know that we are still nearby. It is simply a question of love and a lot of patience.
What we should never do…
During this phase, fathers also suffer. It is tough for them that the child only wants to be with their mother. We must understand that at this age, the little ones are still not aware that refusing to be with their fathers might hurt their feelings.
They still haven’t developed empathy. In other words they can’t put themselves in another person’s shoes. It is only with mom that everything is easier.
We should not think that our children are consciously rejecting other people when they are going though these phases. We should be understanding of family members, grandmothers and grandfathers that might feel hurt by the situation.
Finally, we have to be clear about the fact that the establishment of a strong, comfortable and affective bond between mother and child favors the optimal development of the child for the rest of their life.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- UNICEF. Guia de pautas de crianza de niños y niñas entre 0 y 5 años. https://www.unicef.org/paraguay/spanish/unicef-guiaagentesformadores.pdf
- Days Placeres Monaco. (2017). Universidad República Uruguay. 2017. Vínculo temprano, apego. https://sifp.psico.edu.uy/sites/default/files/Trabajos%20finales/%20Archivos/days_placeres_tfg.pdf
- M. Guerra-Ramíreza, y L. Muñoz-de Rodríguez. (2013). Enfermería Universitaria, 2013. Expresiones y comportamientos de apego madre-recién nacido. http://www.scielo.org.mx/pdf/eu/v10n3/v10n3a3.pdf