Development FAQ: 0-6 months – Behaviour

My 15 week daughter has begun to become very fussy and crying a lot over the past two weeks

I have been following the CLB routine from birth with my 15 week old daughter. I have had to adjust the 10.30pm feed to keep her up for an hour as you suggest which is working and now finally she is sleeping though for the last week. (I intend to follow your advice and cut the time down that she’s up)

But for the last two weeks she is very fussy and nearly crying all the time. I cannot put her down for five minutes which is not normally like her. I have tried to get her more interesting toys and a new door bouncer. I tried to change her formula (onto cow and gate Omneo Comfort in case she was getting tummy upset ) this didn’t work she ended up with almost water poo after two bottles so I put her back on SMA white. I’ ve changed her bottles to tommiee tippee health check to reduce any wind , she is teething and I am giving bonjela( the banana favored one only when I really need to ) but nothing has worked and she is becoming more and more wingy every day. I am coming to the end of my tether and got very upset today. She is eating and sleeping, I just don’t know what to do.

My daughter feeds at 7am 6ozs, 11am 6ozs, 2.00pm 6ozs, 6.00pm 5ozs, 7pm 3ozs, 10pm 4ozs, 11pm 2ozs. She takes 2ozs of pear juice at 4pm.

My daughter naps at 9-10am, 12-2.00pm. She settles to sleep at 7pm.

Although your daughter is eating and sleeping well it would be a good idea to have her checked over by your doctor for any signs of gastric problems. Changing formulas should really be done after asking a doctor’s or health visitor’s advice as it can cause slight digestive upset for a few days.

Once you have had your daughter checked over and are reassured that there are no clinical reasons for her clinginess then try to find ways to organize your day so that you have times when you are with her and short spells when you encourage her to play on her own. A baby needs to play on her own as well as spending time playing with you. Getting your daughter used to both will help her be able to amuse herself for short spells of time without becoming too clingy and whiney, trying to get you to pay her some attention.

A baby of this age is beginning to form attachments to her main carer, which is you. It can be difficult if you feel that your daughter wants to be picked up all the time, having been content to play on her mat when younger. This is why it is a good plan to split your day up into sections.

Have some time when she is with you while you work, some time when you actively play with her, and part of the day when she amuses herself for short periods of time. Try to take her with you from room to room, using her baby chair. She then can be near to you and see what you are doing. Talk to her as much as possible, even though she is only just beginning to make sounds herself. It may sound silly talking to a baby about what you are cooking, what you need to buy at the shops, what jobs you need to get done, but she is a willing listener. Look at her as you talk, and be quite expressive in your face. This will encourage her to “talk” back to you. Put on a CD of nursery songs and sing along to them, if you remember the words. You could have this playing whilst trying to get the household chores done and keep drawing her attention to it.

Your daughter depends on you to provide her with stimulation as she is unable to yet do much for herself. After a short time of being in her chair watching you, spend some time playing with your daughter on her mat or on your knee. Show her a toy and encourage her to reach out for it. She may be able to hold a toy by now, and will also be fascinated by her hands. Sit close to her and encourage her to grasp, grab and swat at toys on her play gym, as this will develop her hand-eye coordination. If she has not quite reached this stage of development some of her clinginess and whining could be through frustration. Once your daughter has become more dexterous with her hands, and can hold and manipulate her toys better, you may find this phase of clinginess and whining passes. If she has had a play gym for some time hang some different toys on it, or find some shiny paper you can cut into spirals and hang from the frame.

Once your daughter has become interested in her toys whilst you are sitting by her, stay nearby but don’t constantly interact with her. If she seems content to play alone move yourself to a nearby chair and see if she will continue playing. Don’t expect this to go on for very long to begin with. She may last 5-10minutes and then want to be held again. But by using this method every day, spending time with her and then leaving her to amuse herself whilst you stay within sight, she will gradually extend the time she is content to be on the floor.

Play plenty of singing or action games with her, such as “Round and round the garden” and “This little piggy went to market”, through the day as these involve physically touching her which will help reassure her. Also, spend time looking at books with her as she sits on your knee. Talk to her about what you see in the pictures. The sound of your voice will be reassuring to her.

Try to get out for a walk every day if you can. See if there are some local Mother and Baby groups near to you which you can drop into, even if just for half an hour. Talking to other mums will be good for you and your daughter will like to watch the other babies, even if from the safety of your lap.

You may like to look into starting massage or baby yoga classes. Both these activities encourage a lot of physical contact between you and your baby which you both will enjoy. If you have no classes near to you there are videos available to show you how to enjoy these activities with your baby.