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6 month old having temper tantrums!

(6 Posts)
milkyjo Tue 14-Jun-11 08:18:26

This has been going on for a while, my 6 month old screams like I'm torturing him whenever he is not happy about something. He screams when I get him dressed, put him in his car seat or pushchair, take him out of his car seat or pushchair, put him down to play, put him in his chair for solids, not being fast enough with feeding, not getting my boobs out quick enough, having his face wiped (this is a big one!). You name it he screams about it! The only thing he will let me do is change his nappy, but scream when I get him dressed again, or pick him up and hold him. He takes 15 minutes to breastfeed and then will be awake for another hour and 15 minutes and I have had to spend this time just walking around the house with him - EVERY sleep/feed/play cycle, EVERY day!!!! And he only has 30 minute naps so this happens a lot!

Once you do something he protests and will not stop until he is picked up. The screams are quite clearly anger cries but then it starts to turn into proper crying with tears if he doesn't get what he wants. I have tried just letting him calm himself down but this has just made it worse. If I leave the room he stops but as soon as he sees me again it'll start again. He won't play, I have bought him so many different toys/ play gym/ mat/ jumperoo but will immediately scream when I put him down and won't stop, I just can't distract him from the screaming.

Does anybody have any tips to try and make him learn that he doesn't get picked up all the time. He definitely knows cause and effect!

Thanks x

matana Tue 14-Jun-11 10:21:22

Hi, sorry you're having such an awful time. You say it's been going on for a while. How long is a 'while'? My DS (7.5 mo) is very placid and easy going but went through a phase for several weeks from 5 months when he was very difficult to please. He complained if i didn't pick him up, he complained when i did. He wasn't interested in toys but yet seemed bored easily. He rarely smiled any more and he too got very grumpy about things like getting dressed (he still does with that one!) His sleep cycles changed (they shortened) and he just wasn't my happy little boy for a while. Just after that phase he began doing loads of things i'd never seen him do before - rolling from back to front, passing toys from one hand to the other, using his fingers to try to pincer things rather than grasp with his fist, trying to sit up etc etc. and he was happy again. Could your LO be working up to some developmental milestones? Or has he always been grumpy? What's his sleep like and can you rule out over-tiredness?

IDrinkFromTheirSkulls Tue 14-Jun-11 10:55:44

My ds is 10 months old now and pretty much the same as yours (except he screams and fights even more during nappy changes so I'm envious of you with that one!)

I have found that if it's something that has to be done (dressing him or for example putting him down to make his dinner/ bottle) then he just has to wait and I leave him to cry...more often than not he finds something to distract him with.

I have also found that by sitting on the floor while I still hold him, he then decides he wants to go and play and gets off my knee himself whereas if I pit him down he would scream blue murder.

I also spend most of the day on the floor with him (not always playing with him sometimes mumsnetting reading etc but just me being there for him to drive cars over or hit with spoons makes him happy. I also have a safe cupboard in the kitchen that he can open and take things out of to keep him quiet when I'm cooking.

And if all else fails I bung him in the sling or mei tai on my back!

milkyjo Tue 14-Jun-11 12:20:38

When I say a while I think it was about 6 weeks ago he started this and panicking thought there was something seriously wrong with him! He has always screamed when getting dressed or getting in/out of his car seat. But he used to play on the floor for a good half an hour, I was always with him. I worry that I've done this myself - MIL calls him a 'spoily boy' and I know she is being affectionate and this is is no way a derogatory term to use against my parenting skills (or lack of!), but I already feel like I'm up the proverbial creek and god knows where my self esteem disappeared to (think it was left with dignity at the hospital doors!) so terms like that don't really help! My husband and his brother were angel children obviously!

matana Tue 14-Jun-11 14:08:42

If he's been content to play on the floor before then perhaps it's just a phase that will pass? While i don't agree with dropping everything the second your LO even wimpers, i do believe that babies should be responded to - it's how they form relationships, communicate with and trust in the one or two people they spend most of their time with. I think this is healthy.

There are times i let my DS cry for a bit - such as if he's hungry but he can see i'm busy preparing HIS dinner. Also, if i think he's crying out of frustration because he can't reach a toy, i don't respond immediately. But i have to say that most of the time if he cries, i pick him up. But that's probably because he is such a happy boy who can play on his own for ages, so i know there's probably something wrong if he cries - even if it's just needing a cuddle for whatever reason.

You say you worry you've done this yourself, but i really don't believe you are in any way unusual to respond to your child's cries by picking him up. Google 'Why Love Matters' and you might be reassured that you're not doing wrong by your DS and you're actually laying foundations for a good, strong relationship with him in the future. Having said that, it's tiring and there are times i don't think it hurts to let them cry for a bit. But I really think he's just going through a grumpy phase if he hasn't always been like this. Did anything happen/ change 6 weeks ago that might have caused a change in his behaviour?

Another thought though, everything you describe seems touch sensory. Have you thought about mentioning it to your GP or HV just in case he is actually in some kind of discomfort?

Davsmum Tue 14-Jun-11 16:29:58

The more worked up or panicky you get the more he will scream. I know its difficult but you have to try to stay calm and not let his crying wind you up. You seem to have got into a cycle with this and appear to be trying hard to stop him screaming which seems to be making things worse.
So long as he has been checked out to make sure there is nothing physically wrong/hurting him it may be best to ignore the anger crying and do whatever it is you have to do with him whether he screams or not.

I remember my son getting very angry when he wanted a feed and I know that feeling of not getting my boobs out quick enough and panicking to be quicker so he could start feeding until I realised it was ridiculous and my getting worked up was making it worse. Once I decided to relax and take my time whether he screamed or not he got better over a period of a few days.

WJatever you are doing - just keep talking to him calmly as if he is not screaming and I am sure he will give it up !

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