7 month old keeps screaming/shrieking, how can I discipline him?

(35 Posts)
mbnh2010 Thu 27-Feb-14 10:09:44

Hi all, my 7 month old boy is generally a lovely happy chap but is going through a phase of screaming whenever he is bored/cross/unhappy. Obviously I try to avoid these situations occurring by keeping him entertained and he gets plenty of sleep, but sometimes it cant be helped. This morning he screamed repeatedly in his high chair whilst I prepared his breakfast, tried to feed him and then cleared up afterwards. He isn't crying with it, it is just repeated single angry screams. He had things to play with, munch on, I knew he wasn't tired and I was singing to try to keep him happy but nothing worked. If he was a few years older I would be angry with this behaviour as it is not acceptable to scream at the top of your lungs to get attention, but I don't know how to convey this to a 7 month old. I know he isn't doing it to be naughty and that it is my responsibility to keep him happy but at the same time it is important to me that I don't send mixed messages so that he thinks it is OK to do it now, but in a years time I suddenly start telling him he is not to do it any more. He went through a phase of it a couple of months ago but it stopped so I thought he was over it, but it has started again in the last week. I have not noticed other babies (which I see a lot of) doing this type of screaming, and whilst I know you cant do much at this age it is loud and therefore embarrassing when in public, and I know it makes for an unpleasant experience for other diners/shoppers so I am keen to do what I can to gently teach him it is not ok!
Any advice from those with a similar experience would be hugely appreciated!

Tiredemma Thu 27-Feb-14 19:46:07

Ha ha. DD does this- it makes us all laugh. She is six months old.

Bumbershoot Thu 27-Feb-14 19:51:09

It's a phase. He's just experimenting with a new noise and it'll be a different one soon. In the meantime I'd ignore it so he doesn't learn that it's something that gets a reaction but you absolutely can't discipline a 7 month old and there's no point being angry about it - though I know it can wear a bit thin!

Discipline a 7 month old shock good luck with that.

He's a baby, he's discovered a new noise. It's a phase that will soon be a distant memory, don't stress about it.

confuddledDOTcom Thu 27-Feb-14 20:03:40

Sorry hang on - so you're not supposed to deal with a baby until they're distressed??? shock

Just like you babies make noise to communicate, how would you feel if you were on bedrest and your OH left you until you were in distress before coming to you?

mbnh2010 Mon 03-Mar-14 08:23:25

Thanks for your replies . I do feel that people have got a bit lots from my original question though! Lady MetroLand, I have not said I want to "tell him off", I am well aware that he is learning, but just like if he was biting or hitting you need to manage these things, not just accept it. The reason it is such an issue is not simply that it drives me mad (and yes, I wear earplugs) but that when around other babies the scream wakes them up and often makes them cry as it frightens them. I can't avoid doing everything where there are others around as that isn't fair on my son as it is important for him to socialise, however I also don't want others to avoid us because of it so would like to manage it properly. I know he isn't in pain and also know I am not the only one who finds it a hideous sound- I have witnessed others wincing and scowling when it happens! I love my son dearly and obviously don't want to stunt his development, far from it, but at what point do you stop using "he's just a baby" as a reason to let them do what they like and begin GENTLY teaching them things they should not do? I am genuinely looking for advice from others, not judgement, as it is important t me to raise my son as a happy, friendly individual and not a child whose parents think he can do no wrong- there are far too many kids like that around!

ExBrightonBell Mon 03-Mar-14 11:01:26

I think you are a good few months away from the point where you will be able to attempt to stop the screaming by behavioural approaches. My 19 month old still doesn't really understand too much about what's acceptable/not acceptable and so I need to constantly enforce boundaries.

The only thing you can do at the moment is carry on doing what you are doing - looking for ways to minimise the situations where he will scream. And also carry on as normal if the screaming happens, without making a big fuss of it. My friend's baby went through a phase of doing this, and she grew out of it after a couple of months.

As hard as it is, you should keep going to things you want to go to. Screaming babies are not unusual, so don't worry about it disturbing other babies. Try and ignore any one who pulls faces too, and don't let it put you off. There will always be someone who pulls a face whatever you do! You shouldn't shut yourself away just because your baby is going through a common phase.

insancerre Mon 03-Mar-14 12:47:53

that screaming he is doing is his only form of communication
he is relying on you to work out what he is trying to tell you
he is trying to communicate with you as one or more of his needs are not being met
it's as simple as that
he doesn't need disciplining, just understanding

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 03-Mar-14 12:50:21

It's a developmental phase and his way of communicating at this stage.

It won't last forever. Stay tuned into him and he won't need to scream so much.

minipie Mon 03-Mar-14 15:20:29

I know where you are coming from OP as I also had a very shouty/screamy baby who wanted constant stimulation. It's embarrassing when out, and it's a lot harder work than having a placid content baby, but there really isn't much you can do about it.

He may well stop doing it as he gets older anyway. My DD was much less shouty after she got mobile (and to some extent once she was able to sit up) since she could get what she wanted more easily and didn't get bored so much. So don't worry about avoiding bad habits for the future, as it may disappear anyway.

In the meantime, some ideas: Don't put him in his highchair while you prep food/clear up, if he is clearly bored there. A Jumperoo is brilliant if you have an easily bored baby, I used to use the Jumperoo 3x per day when prepping DD's meals. Leave the clearing up until his naps. Or carry him with you while you prep food/clear up - it's harder to do things one handed but not impossible and he will learn a lot that way.

If he gets shouty when you are out - try to entertain him so he cheers up, but failing that, accept you may have to leave. Socialising isn't all that important at 7 months.

On the plus side - IME babies like this turn into fun, sociable toddlers who are usually quite advanced communicators...

confuddledDOTcom Thu 06-Mar-14 00:15:36

Even biting and hitting you can't do much about at 7 months! Although I don't know any 7 month olds that do hit, and anything going near a 7 month olds mouth is fair game wink

As for people who don't like the noise disturbing their baby, they should stay at home I'd they don't want their baby disturbed! That's life and a baby squealing is hardly the loudest noise out.

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