Do you have a fussy 8-month-old baby? You might have had the happiest baby on the block. Then suddenly one day, it all changes. Your little sunshine is whining, crying, and constantly demanding your attention and your arms.
What on earth happened? What did I do wrong? And above all, what can I do to get my sunshine-baby back?
This post started as an answer to a mom with such a baby. After I answered, many parents have commented about dealing with the same situation. So you’ll find both tips to help your whining baby and lots of comments by other parents here!
I have a fussy 8-month-old baby that cries whenever I put him down. As soon as I pick him up he stops. He is cutting his second tooth but does not seem to be in any pain and he did not do this when he was cutting his first tooth.
I make sure he stays fed and his diaper is changed, but he still cries when he’s not being held. What am I doing wrong? Is there something I can do to make him happy again?
Easy Baby Life:
The Fussy 8-Month-Old Baby – Normal But Exhausting!
Separation anxiety in Babies
You’re not doing anything wrong; you’re just having a normal, fussy 8-month-old baby!
Separation anxiety, which is what your son is going through, is a normal development phase, so actually, you should be glad that it is happening. ;-) This happens when the baby starts to understand object permanence, i.e. that something still exists even if they can’t see it. This can mean that they looks for a toy if you hide it or that they become very unhappy if you leave the room.
I know it can be quite exhausting, but it will pass – and studies indicate that babies that are being held and carried a lot during this period actually get through the stage faster. I guess they simply get the security they need to take the next step.
6 Tips to Help a Fussy Baby with Separation Anxiety
So, to help him through this phase here’s what to do:
1. Carry him
Carry him and do all you can to give him the closeness that he needs right now. And take turns with your spouse, mom, sister, or whoever that he is safe with so that it doesn’t drive you insane!
If you can put him in a carrier or backpack and just let him tag along while you do your tasks; you will have a much happier child this way, and you will not lose your mind!
2. Play together
Try to get down on the floor and play with him as much as possible to help him feel comfortable also when not in your arms. You can find suggestions on games to play with an 8-month-old here.
In addition to making him feel safe, playing is important for children’s development, so a double win!
3. Responding is NOT Spoiling
Don’t ever think that you spoil him or make him a crybaby by carrying him. You can’t spoil a baby!
At this age, our babies start to realize that they are separate beings from their moms, and it can make them very scared and insecure. The more we continue to be there for them and help them get back to feeling secure, the faster will they be ready for new adventures. Before you know it, your son will want to wriggle out of your arms and off to try something new. :-)
4. Ignore Unhelpful Comments
If some friends or relatives tell you that you are spoiling your child by responding to his needs, just smile, thank them for their comment, and ignore them. :-D
These types of comments are quite common, especially from older relatives or friends that don’t have children. They are probably trying to help, but if you allow them to make you feel insecure or annoyed, your baby may sense your negative feelings and become even fussier. So take a deep breath, and rest assured that responding to your baby’s needs is the best you can do, no matter what other people think!
5. Reinforce Signs of Independence
Reinforce every sign of your baby being content when not in your arms.
If, for example, you can put him in his high chair for a little while to play with picking up peas, boiled rice, or some other interesting finger foods, and he is content, give him a lot of attention and smiles, so he feels really good while sitting there.
6. Manage Your Frustration
If you get annoyed when your baby cries or wants to be in your arms, he will sense it and it will only make him even more insecure.
I know it can be extremely exhausting to be the preferred or only parent to a baby with separation anxiety, but just accept it, do what you can to help your baby through the phase, and find ways to laugh together.
It really is a lot easier to go through tough phases if you accept them rather than fight them if you see what I mean.
Separation Anxiety on Video
In this video clip, you can see the typical reaction caused by separation anxiety in a baby or young toddler. No toys or hugs from strangers will do. But there are ways to help your baby overcome the anxiety. So you see, it is all a normal process of development and bonding.
Now, I hope this gave you some ideas and new energy to deal with your little fussy 8-month-old baby! This is a very normal and common situation. Good luck!
- Baby Crying A Lot When Seeing New Faces (How to Deal with Stranger Anxiety!)
- Screaming 9-Month-Old Baby – What’s Wrong? 3 Reasons to Know
- 8-Month-Old Baby Throws Tantrums If Not Held – What Do I Do?
References on Separation Anxiety in Infants
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