Shawna’s daughter Riley was one of those perfect, easy babies – she slept through the night, only cried when she needed something, and loved for grandma to read her The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Shawna thought she had this parenting thing figured out.
Then Riley turned 10 months old – and everything changed. Riley screamed at mealtime, naptime, and at the grocery store. She screamed when she was put in her high chair, stroller, or car seat. She screamed if mommy stepped into another room or – heaven forbid – if it was time for a diaper change. And worst of all, Riley screamed whenever grandma came to babysit.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. This notoriously difficult (but rarely discussed) stage causes a lot of head-scratching – and sleepless nights – among parents.
Was Riley coming down with a cold? Teething, perhaps? Nope – her pediatrician gave her a clean bill of health. Strangely enough, the cause of all the fussing was simply that Riley started crawling.
Crawling is the first in a series of major brain developments that morph babies into toddlers in just a few short months. These physical changes are accompanied by a huge overhaul in babies’ thoughts, feelings, and relationships. When Riley learned how to crawl away from her mom, she was both thrilled – and terrified. Thrilled, because finally, SHE could decide where she wanted to go. Freedom! But terrified, too – because of all the new trouble she found in her expanded – and scary – world. Cue the screaming.
If you’ve got a fantastically fussy baby who’s trying desperately to become a toddler, remember that 8 – 18 months can be a difficult time. After making sure she’s healthy, try these tips for coping:
Here are some more tips for getting through any challenging stage in your child’s development. Then, come share YOUR ideas for dealing with fussy babies and toddlers on our Facebook page!