My once chilled out baby is now 11m.o and throwing tantrums already! HELP PLEASE(17 Posts)
Up to recently, we have had a very placid, happy baby. Only really cried if she was hurt or over-tired. She has just turned 11m.o and throws tantrums at everything! I'm talking screaming, arching her back when picked up, over little things like not being allowed to touch hot tea! She now doesnt fall asleep on my breast, and when tried to self settle in our bed (we co sleep) she just gets up crawls around and bites me! She is still a happy baby generally, but I just dont know what to do about these tantrums. I never react to them usually, sometimes just hug and talk calmly to her. It's actually depressing me, i'm in tears all the time, feel resentful, angry and lost.. I know she's picking up on this too, but is it just my vibe the reason why she's like this? Is this normal at this age? Any suggestions muchly appreciated.
I'm certainly no pro on the subject but I started to ignore DD when she had a tantrum and she seemed to calm down a lot. I think if I hugged her or picked her up she knew she had got my attention and I didn't want her to be able to get it that way or to learn that tantrums were the means to get something she wanted. I know it can be draining and embarrassing (she used to do it in shops etc) But eventually I think they start to realise there are other ways of communicating and try and suss out what might end up in a tantrum before it starts. Try and be firm and strong and eventually she will realise maybe it's not the right way to get to you. They start testing boundaries a lot earlier than we expect.
She sounds as though she is trying to be independant, so maybe let her help you with things like when you go shopping she can help put the items in the trolley or help carry a small bag.
I bet she'll be working on the 46 week developmental spurt - a big forward leap in mental / nervous system development. You can read about it in The Wonder Weeks. The authors describe it as feeling as if you've woken up to find yourself on a different planet where everything is unsettling. They describe children as 'clingy, cranky and crying' during this phase. It usually calms down again once they hit the spurt. Sleep problems are really common too before the developmental leaps, and the 8-11 months sleep regression is often a particularly bad one.
In the mean time, what babies need is extra reassurance and comfort rather than being ignored. The authors of the Wonder Weeks say that children are incapable of manipulation in this sense until after the 64 week (15 month) developmental spurt.
I tried to acknowledge DS's feelings, explain why I was doing what I was doing and distracting him. The tantrums are usually about frustration - she doesn't know that hot tea is hot, or that it's dangerous and she can't understand why you're stopping her exploring it.
I also found doing baby signing helped - DS still doesn't sign to me at 16 months, but it helped him focus on key words like 'dangerous' or 'hot'.
Sorry, dont have any advice but just wanted to say I'm going through a similar thing with DD (15 months) and you are not alone. She has tantrums loads and nips and bites me a lot (interestingly it's only me she does it with, with her dad and grandparents she's fine).
I've found ignoring her works best but it's hard to ignore her when she bites and if I tell her off she just laughs and does it again.
I will be watching your thread for any advice others have to offer!
My 11 month old DD is doing the back arching and screeching thing. I'm certain it's the frustration of not being able to communicate, and having no control over things (like me violating her human rights by lifting her off the swings!).
I use a mixture of distraction and trying to keep a soothing running commentary, talking about anything really, but keeping a kind of mantra going IYSWIM.
I second angeldog and misshonkover, it's all very frustrating for them. They need understanding and distraction. They have a massive in built drive to explore and learn. We love it when they do some things and freak out at them when they do others. No wonder they get upset! I try and minimise it by doing a few things...
firstly lower my standards! So what if they insist on picking up a crisp packet (carry wipes) or emptying the cupboard (put non breakables in it or lock it.
Compromise eg allow more time so ds can walk part of the way. I've put an long bit of ribbon on the car key as ds loves it and likes to carry it to the car. (it makes it easier to find if he drops it...but i don't park near a grate). He's always happier to get in his car seat if he
thinks he has opened the car...
Distract, especially really physical stuff ime, eg carry them on your shoulders, throw them in the air etc.
After all that there will still be times when they have to be frustrated but ime these are easierfor me to bare when i know i have tried to alleviate their frustration at others
Your hugs and calm talking round great to me. That's how i calm ds whe he freaks. That and a boob. At this tender age they need to feel secure in your love and are definatly not testing bounderies imo.
I'm a bit worried about you though. Is it just the crying etc getting you down? Do you know similar mums in rl? I found the bit between 9m and 1y a bit daunting. I hardly knew anyone else "still" bf and cosleeping. I followed the trail of the one mum i did know who had done these things and now know lots of like minded parents. It makes a huge differance to your confidence ime to know others who parent in a similar way. That said mn was great too. I guess i'm just wondering if there is something else going on that is depressing you too? Maybe it's worth speaking to a gp?
I very much agree with those who've said 'it's not manipulation' - at 11 months they still don't understand that you're a separate person from them (self-consciousness doesn't come until about 18-20 months). The hugs and the calming will help (even if it feels like it's not at this point) because you are letting her know that you love her and you'll help her manage the way she feels until she can manage it herself better.
catswhiskers, there's a developmental spurt at around 15 months too (64 weeks IIRC), then another at 17 months (75 weeks). Often the worst behaviour is reseved for the main carer (usually the mother) becuase they feel safest with you.
OP, I agree with MoonFaceMama on the benefit of knowing others in RL who do things in a similar way. I've recently joined a group who do attachment-type parenting & it's been great for my confidence.
Wow thank you lovely mummys. Really wise words and great advice given, this has really helped me. Angeldog, VERY interesting theory which explains a lot. Although can i ask, do you think whilst my dd is going through this spurt, with the extra need for reassurance etc, that i should try to encourage her to self settle? The only other option is to put her in the sling and walk round the block for half an hour.. Moonfacemamma- i know a few mums but but none who bfs and co sleeps. I feel very isolated sometimes and argue with my dp a lot, sadly I wonder if there is an attachment parenting group in leeds? Anyway thanks again everyone xx
I am in leeds and would love to meet you. pm me!
Yes i'd love to meet up! I'm only accessing mn on my phone which wont let me scroll over your name and pm you, but i will next time i'm on computer x
yes i mn on my phone too so have the same prob but if which ever one of us gets to a computer first pm's t'other we'll get there in the end!
You see? The power of MN!
Angeldog, you're fantastically well-informed! I always rather hope you'll crop up on sleep threads that I'm on/browsing to tell us the science behind why our babies are driving us bonkers. It makes me feel better!
MissHonker - sign of a wasted maternity leave
Sorry, I've been avoiding the sleep board a bit for the last little while or MN takes over my life...
I agree, though, it does feel a lot better when you know there's a reason behind it. You can sign up to a 'leap alert' on the Wonder Weeks website - they e-mail to warn you that a fussy stage / sleep regression is coming up.
mammainlove, I personally take the path of least resistance so I'd probably go with the sling thing and then worry about re-teaching self-settling afterwards. But I don't think there's a wrong or a right thing to do - you could encourage her to self-settle, then sling her if it doesn't work on any given day.
You can read more about the effect of developmental spurts on sleep here, here and here.
This is so reassuring! My DD will be 15mths on Thursday and is definitely going through a massive phase of tantrums, which seem to be reserved just for me! In fact she can be in the middle of a calm, happy time with daddy, then as soon as I appear she starts screaming - it's hard sometimes not to take it personally! It often happens around mealtimes when she'll refuse to get in her high chair, and once in it will often just scream and scream until I get her out and hold her for about 30mins before she will get off my lap and investigate toys, with no food being eaten. Same thing also happens after her lunchtime sleep - you'd think after 1 - 2hrs of sleep she'd be well rested and happy, but no, today I needed to hold her for about 40mins before she would free herself from me. Sometimes she tries to get off my lap, but as soon as her feet touch the ground she will start screaming again and need to be cuddled until she gets her mojo back.
I have wondered if she gets growing pains in her legs or something? Or it could be teeth as I think I can see two more emerging. As always I seem to be constantly coming up with ridiculous little theories on what could be troubling her, then as soon as I think I have worked it out, she gets over herself! Well, usually she gets over herself.....
I love the idea of these Wonder Weeks though, so thanks angel dog for the link.
Now I'm bracing myself for the 17week 'spurt'!
Hmm, all these development spurts, is there ever a good time to encourage them to 'self settle'? I have resulted to putting my dd in a sling every night to get her to sleep, until i'm very clear on how i will put her down, and when i'm not as stressed out (if ever (hmm) ) the worst thing is not being able to make a decision!
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