19 answers

10 Month Old Crying and Screaming Behavior

Hi, I've read the responses to someone else's previous request on a 10.5 month old crying and screaming. They were great and helpful to me! But I want to get a little deeper/more specific. So what if my 10 month old is screaming and crying in her high chair? Do I just ignore her, put her down, what? Sometimes it's because she simply wants down, but other times she does it in-between actual bites of her food, so I know she's hungry and eating what she wants, but what's with the screaming? I don't feel like I can ignore her in the high chair, even if I remove everything. Also, she'll cry to be picked up, and as soon as I do that she screams to be put down and tries to wriggle out of my arms. I can't seem to make her happy. We do baby signs but she doesn't produce them yet. I understand the ignoring concept, but is it okay to do this with such a young baby? It seems so hurtful because I'm not kidding, she will cry for an hour or more, I suspect. And trust me, my little girl knows how to work herself into such a state, it's scary. I'm not a stranger to ignoring or dealing with crying--we have done behavior modification with crying it out in the crib (successfully sleeping through the night since 4 months old, yay!) with nighttime and nap sleeping, for instance--but for some reason this behavior is making me feel very incompetent and alone and helpless. Am I the only one?!?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Honestly, I have never, nor will I, ignore my child's crying. It is their only form of communication, and I don't want to shut that down. Now, when my 16 month old son wants something he can't have, yeah, he's going to cry, and that's ok, but I still explain to him why he can't have it and I'm very gentle about it.

Kid's go through phases like that. There were days when I've felt like super mom, and days when I felt I couldn't do anything right. Just relax, go with the flow, and it will get better :). I've noticed if my son is teething, or starting to get sick, he's fussier like that, but it does always get better. So hang in there!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I also have a 10.5 month old. I would definitely not ignore her cries. That is her only way of communicating at this point! Clearly she is trying to tell you something. Maybe she's soo hungry by the time you feed her, she's starving and waiting for bites is upsetting her. have you tried putting finger foods out for her? Maybe the foods you're trying with her are upsetting her tummy (dairy is a common culprit -- my son can't tolerate it). I also just read that this is the age where they start to develop fears. So maybe something about the situation is scaring her. I would try altering the situation rather than the child till you find out what the problem is.

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Hello S.,

I thought a lot about whether of not to respond to your post. I am not one of those mothers who believes in behavior modification, so that might negate my response automatically. But, if you continue to read, here's my two cents: Ignoring the cries of a child is never the right thing to do-never. Okay, so babies fuss, and you can't always stop what you're doing right away and attend to every cry, but purposely allowing a baby to cry for 15 minutes to an hour to encourage sleep is mean and often counterproductive. Your baby slept through the night at 4 months, and short-term that probably served you well. But it is my opinion that we parents often try to control our children right out of the womb and that seems a shame to me. Our job is to respond to our children, not have them do what's right for us. If your little girl knows how to work herself into a state, I would consider that you allowed and encouraged her to do so. It might behoove you to try to respond to your daughter's cues at this point. If she's consistently crying when you put her down for a nap, why not let her stay up a few minutes more? Being a stay at home mom should allow you that luxury. If your intuition is not to ignore your child when she cries, then I think you should follow your intuition. Don't try to stop the crying, necessarily, but don't ignore it either. Follow her lead, speak to her softly, with love in your voice, and let her know you're concerned without seeming frustrated or frightened, and know that this will pass.

Good luck,


1 mom found this helpful

Honestly, I have never, nor will I, ignore my child's crying. It is their only form of communication, and I don't want to shut that down. Now, when my 16 month old son wants something he can't have, yeah, he's going to cry, and that's ok, but I still explain to him why he can't have it and I'm very gentle about it.

Kid's go through phases like that. There were days when I've felt like super mom, and days when I felt I couldn't do anything right. Just relax, go with the flow, and it will get better :). I've noticed if my son is teething, or starting to get sick, he's fussier like that, but it does always get better. So hang in there!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with some of these moms in that babies have no other way to communicate at this point. You will learn the difference between a temper tantrum and real need. It sounds to me that your kid is trying to communicate a need. I often find that my daughter (1 year) is thirsty (especially), tired, or wants to play and explore (ie her freedom). I do not let my daughter cry herself to sleep. She does cry and I comfort her. I learned a lot from the Sears Parenting book. It has a lot of really practical advice as it was written by doctors with 8 kids. My advice? Read about different symptoms and coping mechanisms, fill basic needs and listen to your gut. Tend to the crying before she gets so worked up. Ignore the screaming. That's just a phase where they're finding their voice and like the noise. Also, she's probably teething which hurts a lot. This will pass and then happen again. I feed our baby while we are eating so she feels included. Also, you can try to find out which music she likes and sing along and dance for/with her. Oddly enough, we found that our kid loves Bob Marley and ZZ Top (not my favourites but whatever makes her happy). I hope this was some of the "practical" advice you were looking for. good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like she is just trying out her power. It isn't so difficult to pick her up/put her down. Think of it as exercise!
A child this young doesn't understand "discipline" or punishment. A good book on that for the future are Wolf's book "Secret of Parenting."

As for the crying it out part - well the following is a post I borrowed from another mama who says it much better than me. Please do read. It is meant to educate...
Well, I am more of an "information geek" than a "try it out" mom. I think the evidence and studies speak for themselves.
Before I list a very few of them, I want to say that every family must do what works for them and there is no perfect way to raise a child.
I also want to urge every mother to do her own research. Be a critical reader! When reading, be aware of who wrote the information you are reading, what their credentials and motives are, and how the author is viewed by his/her peers. There is great information out there, but there are a lot of really bad books, too. Many written by people with little or no training, education, or experience. Anyone can write a book...
I also believe that a mother who mothers by her gut will usually do what is best. Any information that causes a mother to go against her natural mothering instinct is the wrong information for her. Any regrets that I have come from times when I didn't follow my gut.
Here is some of the research that I find helpful:
The studies on cortisol levels in babies while they are crying alone vs. crying in arms are astounding. The levels of cortisol measured in babies crying alone are high enough to cause damage to brain tissue and permanently alter a child's mental function. Clearly, babies are not meant to be left alone to cry.
The research in the fields of sociology, psychology, and anthropology show us that families around the world as far back as history dates have shared a family bed, breastfed on demand for and average of 4 years (still the current world average), and carried babies or strapped them on during their babyhood.
This body of research also tells us that a child who has his needs met by a single care giver (most optimally the mother) is a more independent, confident child than those who spend time fearing that their needs won't be met or those who are forced to be independent before they are ready.
Be sure and check out the sitations on this and any article your read.
Further, this attachment extends to the later parenting, making it easier to parent the child...
Nils Bergman on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcaMsZrElnE (he has several videos you can watch!)
His book, Hold On To Your Kids is a MUST READ!!!
The Discipline Book by Dr. William Sears
Here is some really compelling research:
Biology gives us a whole body of research on human milk composition which shows us that out of all mammal species, human milk has the lowest amount of fat and protein when compared to other mammal species, here is what that says:
Cache care - These animals must hid their babies and only feed them every 12 hours. They have the highest amount of fat and protien in thier milk. Rabbits, mice
Nest care - These animals have less fat and protien and feed their babies every 4 hours or so. dog, cat
Follow care - These animals have even less fat and protien than cache and nest animals. They feed every 2 hours or so. Zebra, cow, elk.
Carry care - These animals have the lowest amount of fat and protien and feed their infants every 30 to 90 minutes. Primates.
Humans have the lowest amount of fat and protien! What does this say about how our babies should be cared for? How often they should be fed, and what we should expect from them at night?
BTW, new research is now linking colic to babies not being fed often enough and being left alone too often.
Dr. Sears recommends feeding your baby twice as often and half as much when colic seems to be the trouble. He also recommends holding your baby http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051300.asp
It is interesting to see the societal influences we have here compared to the rest of the world. We want our babies to be convenient, yet their very make up makes that impossible.
Again, mothers must do what their gut tells them and use information to supplement that wisdom. Don't choose sides, choose your child!
Happy Mothering!! Enjoy your babies

1 mom found this helpful

I would not let a baby this young just cry it out. You should never ignore your child-good behavior or bad, it ALL needs to be dealt with on the spot. If she cries to be picked up, but then cries to be put down, maybe she is tired. Maybe she needs a change of scenery (going out on the porch to play with you?)
I have an 11 month old girl, and she is very difficult like this also. It's hard I know. I usually will get a break by going to a friends house and letting her play with other kids.
From my experience, they are usually bored and trying to control a change in situation.
The crying in the high chair I dont know about...Maybe try to make eating more of a game, or with singing, something that keeps her mind off becoming angry or upset.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My first babie had colic. I remember how it would make me feel. I felt so helpless. Maybe she has food alergies. I went to the health food store and bought (brand name) Hylands homeopathic colic pills. They saved our life. Does she quit crying when you pick her up? If so, it's not colic. Are you still breast feeding? It may also be very simple as teething? Bites may be hurting her little gums.
Try giving her an ice cube on her platter with her food. If she's more interested in that, she could be teething.
I hope this helps. Good luck.

N. White

You are not the only one! I am having some of these "getting more manipulative" moments myself that make me feel incompetant lately. My one yr old boy wants to be held and interacted with 24/7--throws food from the highchair, screams for attention, has begun tantrums, and now cries for hrs going into his crib where he used to go down easily around 6 mos old???? what am i doing wrong????? I do know that at this stage, they are testing their boundaries with us. They have the energy to cry and put up a stink for-ever! It wears us so thin, and they are testing which buttons they can push to get what they want and to establish rules. One thing that has helped me is to get audio and book materials at the library that give advice on dealing with these situations. Even if i'm already doing these things, it keeps me motivated to keep going, even though it feels useless. It's so hard to know when to start "time-outs", how to execute disipline when they barely understand, etc. Do I let him cry until he has a seizure? I feel your pain. I have to keep reminding myself that my child IS smarter than a pet, and is absorbing more of my example and parenting rules than I think he is. I am learning that the practice of these small discipline measures, even though my son laughs in my face at them, will at least plant a small seed and get me into the practice of standing by what I will or will not put up with. This early, at just 10 mos, you can start one min. time-outs and count to 3 when they are doing something bad. It is good to speak in a serious tone and let them know their behavior makes you sad. Keep your words to her simple. She may not understand your words, but will understand your serious, sad tone of voice. It is hard to do... stick by your rules. When she screams, show her how to talk in a whisper, and reward good behaviour only (kids seek attention any way it comes--positive or negative). It will get better for you--it is obvious you are a good mom-you are being so proactive and diligent by seeking advice. I have heard this is the hardest time to get through, so pat yourself on the back everyday for not just abdandoning ship! Also keep in mind--many moms don't like their child to ever cry or express frustration. What if YOU were never allowed a moment to express those emotions?? If we weren't so time pressed, we would cry for hrs on end too.

Ever tried highland's teething tablets? Try giving a few of those to your child before feeding in the highchair. Maybe your baby is super hungry but their mouth hurts. And if that isn't what is wrong then the tablets wont hurt anyway.
good luck!

It sounds to me like your baby is trying to assert her independence. My son had similar behaviors at that age. He would cry and wiggle out of my arms, but he was happy once I put him down...apparently he wanted to have some independence and freedom to explore. After all, that is a kid's job (learning by exploring the world) and it's our job to provide a safe place for them to do that. He also would cry while I was feeding him, and I soon discovered that he wanted to be involved in the feeding process. You might try giving her some finger foods to eat while you feed her the rest of her dinner. That worked for us! Now I give my son a small bowl of oatmeal and a spoon. He tries to get some of it in his mouth while I feed him the rest! :) Good luck!

You have done behavior modification...teaching your daughter that help/comfort does not come at night. (I do not believe kids really learn to self-sooth...they learn to give up... to not produce so much cortisol.) There is a lot of research on this...I imagine you have seen at least some of it...and made your choice about what you would like to believe. With so much information out there, we all have to do this.
I might suggest you look at more information on attachment...your inability to make your daughter happy (with her getting picked up...then her resisting) sounds like she might have some issues with her attachment to you. This can make much more hardship in the long run if you can not soothe her and have her trust...in all situations.
The world is a strange, unpredictable, scary place to our little ones...they need our reassurance a lot, to feel safe to explore, and only then, start to become independent.
I am a special educator...and have extensive training and experience with behavior mod. I am telling you, it only goes so far, when it is just used in this or that situation. It can backfire too. Badly...had this happen with 1-2-3 Magic as Well.
We, in education, have only started to realize (officially) the importance of the trusting relationship between teacher (or parent) and student in adaptation and learning. Emotion is a huge part of learning. (See brain research as well as psych/child development)
I would do the most I can, as a parent, to have a calm, stable, loving relationship with my child. Most of the rest of development will fall into place without a lot of pin point effort.
Oh...Great work with the baby signs! Be patient...not all kids just sign at first....she may just understand them when you do them right now.
Maybe this is just a phase...and your daughter will change yet again to be a happy baby soon...but look at the attachment info available. It can only give you more power to successfully parent later.

I know what you mean girl.. I have a 10 month old too. Sometimes I think she gets really scared, for example, I put her down on the concrete for a second and she was really afriad becuase she has never been on it before( she just started walking this week yay!)!So I picked her up and let her know it was okay and we tried again accept I had my hands with her hands and led her across.

Other times it just seems like she is really fussy, and I pic her up then she wants down. Usually when this happens she is either really hungry or tired. I know I have had to up her food intake, she eats a ton (more than my 3 year old!). Since she has been walking she has been a lot more fussy. I know this is normal though becuase things are changing, shes more tired from walking, more hungry and may be teething, along with new rules of walking and what not to touch. I think you know what's best for your daughter, you just have to search it out. You know when she is crying to be crying or crying becuase she is scared, tired, hungry, or changes.
I hope this helps, if not, I at least understand how you feel, you are NOT ALONE in this.

SAHM of a 3 1/2 year old and a 10 month old

If she is only crying in the highchair I think you should talk to your doctor about acid reflux. My son used to do some weird movement in the high chair and I thought he was having seizures. When I explained it to the pediatrician she focused on the "highchair only" detail and had some tests run for acid reflux and to rule out other possibilities. The doctor said he was probably in a good deal of discomfort. A good prescription for a few months and he was all better. Good luck!!

It has been my experience with my 4 children that when they scream & cry to be picked up and them almost immediately scream and cry tbe put down, that they are either getting sick or teething. They think that having you hold them will make them feel better and then it doesn't. Check her gums really well, even if they don't look bad, try giving her an ice cube in one of thoses mesh feeders or an otter pop or such. We use the teeething tablets as well. Also, get her ears checked if it continues,as sometimes they can have an ear infection with no other symptoms besides pain for a while. Good luck!

I so know how you feel. You're not alone and there is definitely hope. One truth that helps me on days like this is to remember to not just look forward to the day when this trial is over, but to find the good things to be thankful for and enjoy in today. If I focus on the trial and poor me who has to suffer through it, I am robbed of literally days, weeks or months of my life.
By appearances it seems like she is throwing fits, in that case I would recommend a play pen (only used for this) for leaving her to calm down. If she's tired, she will have a safe place to fall asleep. When she's older I would say using a timeout bench only for time outs.
I noticed with my last two children this same behavior. The first time was when he was sick with some kind of flu (fever and probably some body aches). The second child was definitely teething. The teething thing might fit your child since she is starting to scream while she's eating. She might be in pain, just from something so simple as the spoon. My son was so sensitive he didn't even want me to touch his gums. We had this going on for several weeks straight. The thing I think to watch out for is that these fits can become a regular behavior if you don't discourage it. With the first child I mentioned above continued for over a year I think. Ugh! So, I think it's definitely worth it to try everything to stop it. I think that I would try distracting her. Maybe going for a walk in the stroller, just pick her up an take her outside to walk around.
Another thing that I finally realized with my kids is that a time comes when they want to feed themselves. If that's what they want they can refuse to let you feed them and throw a fit.
One great book that saved me was Babywise by Gary Ezzo. They also have one called Toddlerwise, which you are getting close to.
Hang in there. Don't be so hard on yourself. Give up being frustrated. Just love her. Parenting is hard. I find it to be an on the job, never ending, very humbling lesson.
With my first I wanted to be a perfect mom, do everything by the book. Now with my fourth, I just want to enjoy every minute with him. They definitely need routine in their day, but don't let the routine come before love and relationships. I can get so frustrated when things don't go the way I want or when everybody else doesn't take care of them the way I want. But all of that, if I let it can hurt everyone that I love.
I think you're doing great. The sleep thing is a huge hurdle that some don't get over for years. And you are wise enough to ask for advice. I hope that everything goes well for you. Keep on keeping on.


I understand how hard it is to let your children cry. When it comes to discipline issues and dealing with sickness, raising a child is very challenging. However, it is called "tough love." Kids will cry and scream to try out how it would take before us parents will give in to what they want. If they are fed, clean, rested, and not well, they can cry. There are times when they have colic pains, and there is medication for that. We make sure they are fine in every aspect mentioned above.

I'm concerned about your comments, "I can't make her happy." I'm glad you are aware that kids are smart and can identify that your baby is manipulating you. When my baby was that age, a friend of mine asked my husband, "who is training who?" That made me think! Years later, I found out of an emotional disorder called "RAD" (Reactive Attachment Disorder) with my 12-year-old. At the beginning I did not see how RAD could apply to my son, but later on, (per my own experience) I have found that RAD can be developed too by lack of discipline and, as any other situation, it is better when it is addressed sooner rather than later.

Kids need both love and discipline. Kids will push their parents to the limit but remember that parents are the ones in charge. If your baby cries and screams because she does not want to eat, I would move away everything around her space so that she would not brake it, and I would leave her there until she is willing to eat. Eating is important! If she does not eat when she needs to, she'll be hungry all the time, therefore, if this need is not taken care of, she'll cry all the time to fulfill this need.

This is part of what creates RAD. The primary care giver does not address the right need in the baby. This creates black holes in the baby's brain that don't allow neurons to connect to each other and deliver the message. These neuropaths are broken and the message drops and never gets delivered.

As the baby grows up, the learn not to trust adults and think they have to survive on their own and start the power to control. This seems to be the case with your daughter. You are still on time to control this. I found out when my son was 10-years old and I will struggle with this issue the rest of my life. Please do not let this happen to you.

When you feed her bottle, you may want to make sure that you look at her eyes with every single drop of love that you have for her, cherish her cheeks, and talk to her, sing to her, and make sure that she looks into your eyes while do you all of these. While she sucks the bottle, this sucking motion also helps create neuropaths in the brain.

Dr. Kathy Jarvis has helped me a lot with my son. You may want to give her a call. Her phone # is ###-###-####.
I wish someone had told me about this LOOOONG TIME AGO!!!

Good luck!

when you said that she screams between bites of food, it made me think of my youngest. he has a dairy allergy and was constantly in pain from it. he did the same thing, he'd start eating, then start screaming. i'd strongly urge you to pay attention to her diet. the food allergy tests the doctor does isn't always accurate, either, so your mother's intuition and observation is priceless in this case.

Hi my name is L. and i was woundering if i can babysit for u sometime please u can pay 1030 if u want to ok i am a gooding baby siter

I also have a 10.5 month old. I would definitely not ignore her cries. That is her only way of communicating at this point! Clearly she is trying to tell you something. Maybe she's soo hungry by the time you feed her, she's starving and waiting for bites is upsetting her. have you tried putting finger foods out for her? Maybe the foods you're trying with her are upsetting her tummy (dairy is a common culprit -- my son can't tolerate it). I also just read that this is the age where they start to develop fears. So maybe something about the situation is scaring her. I would try altering the situation rather than the child till you find out what the problem is.

Hi S.,

Your Daughter is still young and needs to be comforted. I think she is either trying to communicate with you or there is something that is making her uncomfortable like teething, a food allergy or something else. I don't think you should let her cry it out. There is something bothering her and she needs you.

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