Advice Needed: Crying 5 Month Old.

Updated on April 24, 2008
J.L. asks from Millington, NJ
31 answers

My 5 month old cries when either my husband or I leave the room. We are not sure how to deal with her behavior. If we let her cry for a bit she gets hysterical any suggestions.

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K.H.

answers from Houston on

My little one just went through the same thing a few weeks ago. Her fits passed pretty quickly, but I understand how heart-wrenching it can be to hear those cries. I tend to agree with the ladies who suggest not coming back immediately when she starts crying. You might try talking to her from the other room, telling her what you're doing and that you'll be right back. It will pass!

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D.G.

answers from Austin on

First off I'm from the old school "a 5 mo.old should not be left alone in a room by themselves' unless the baby is asleep.But she may be frightened by the room,being alone,in my opinion babies feelings should be considered just as any other!Don't leave the room until she goes to sleep or try a musical toy.That sometimes helped with my grandchildren.Sorry if this sounds harsh ,but its that I never left mine alone.

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H.F.

answers from San Angelo on

Desensitize her. Sometimes when you get out of smelling range or sight, babies think you are gone completely. Try some desensitization exercises to let her know you are still there. Put her down and look at her, smile and talk to her. Back away and keep talking. Get farther and farther, but keep talking in a happy soothing voice. "Hey there little girl, Mama is here, I'm right here, I'm right here...etc" Back out and call to her from the other room. If she cries, come back in and get close enough for her to see you, but don't pick her up, just say again, "Mama's here, I am right here" and do a lot of smiling at her. She will get to know that you will come back and that she isn't alone. Worked for my kids! Good luck.

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G.S.

answers from Austin on

We wear our four month old in a sling if he's having trouble falling asleep. Usually once around the block and he's asleep and then we can lay him down. If he starts to wake when I lay him down then I just do some side-laying nursing and he goes right back to sleep. There are lots of slings and you can sometimes find them used on craigs list. My little one likes the mei tai style and for an older baby ergos are really nice. There is a sling library where you can check out different slings and use them for a month. Check out the austin babywearers yahoogroup for more info on that. Good luck!

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G.M.

answers from Houston on

Hi J.,

it wasn't clear if you meant you are leaving her alone and she cries, or you mean when one parent is around (or other people) but the other parent leaves, then she cries?

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N.F.

answers from Albuquerque on

My suggestion is to take it a little at a time. Park her in a room where she can see you in the next room. Say, plant her in the living room where she can see you in the kitchen. Never leave her sight and reassure her the whole time. Do a small task while she cries and watches and then return to her. Casually tell her mommy always comes back, etc, but without 'rewarding' her crying with too much cuddling. Progressively make the task a little longer, and then move up to getting just out of her sight for a second letting her hear your reassuring voice the whole time. Take baby steps, if you will

It is normal for her to worry that mommy is not coming back. In the beginning, babies feel like mommy is an extension of themselves and feel frightened if you get to far away. She just needs to learn that you are not GONE FOREVER when you leave her sight.

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

Let her wail. It is called manipulation. As long as she is clean/fed/not in harms way... let her wail.

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P.H.

answers from Austin on

A 5 month old crying is not a "behavior" issue. It's communication! She's starting to realize things around her are changing and noticing that you are coming and going. (or going and maybe never coming back?! in her mind, at least!) Use your voice to soothe her and remind her you'll be right back, and then don't leave for long. Bring her with you and talk about where you are going as you walk through the house and what you are doing. Wear her in a sling or back pack so she feels secure and close to you. Little by little she'll be ok with your short absinces (like to the bathroom or to grab a drink of water)if you tell her where you are going and that you'll be right back, and then when you return say "Mommy's back! Mommy always comes back!" in a happy voice. May feel strange at first but it's a very normal developmental phase and she's telling you to help her through it with her crying. Instead of "fixing a behaviour" think of it as exploring a new time of discovery with your baby! Enjoy!

P. (mom of 3 boys ages 7,5,& 2)
p.s. I saw someone mention she's manipulating you and babies are not capable of that until age 18 months. You can't spoil a child with too much love or closeness, only with too much stuff like toys or sweets on demand!

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M.B.

answers from Houston on

It is just something she will have to go through. We have always used a white noise maker (Conair $14 at Walmart) to sooth our baby. He has always slept really good with it and it may help just to sooth her when she is awake. Sorry, I don't really have any other suggestions because we have never really had to deal with this situation. Best of luck to you and hopefully some other moms out there have a solution.

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K.C.

answers from Houston on

the peekaboo suggestion was a good thing, all based on the idea that at her age, she doesn't comprehend that leaving the room does NOT mean falling off the face of the earth never to return. (when they finally realize that is not the case, it's called "object permanence," in case you hear of/read about that somewhere else.)

it can be hard and heartbreaking, but just be as patient as you can, and give her lots of love when you get back in the room. :-)

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D.B.

answers from Houston on

Get a sling or baby-carrying front pack and both of you carry her with you for several weeks---all the time you're with her that you're awake. She is not securely attached to you for some reason and feels scared when you leave. Letting her cry to the point of hysteria only reinforces she cannot trust the world to meet her needs. Trust can be re-established. It takes attaching her to you and speaking soothingly when she fusses, responding to her needs immediately and lovingly. She is not manipulating you.

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T.M.

answers from Dallas on

All 3 of my little ones went through this stage. It's best to tell them firmly, Mommy or Daddy is going to ....whatever....and I'll be right back. Then leave the room. They will stop crying. It may take a few times for them to realize that you really will return as you say, and their discomfort will dissipate. It's very common at this stage as they develop their awareness of "present" and "absent".

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I.L.

answers from Killeen on

I don't know about you but sometimes it can be impossible to get stuff done with your baby attached to you 24/7. I like the idea of playing peek a boo, or gradually helping her learn that when you leave, you'll come back. I know they say you can't spoil a baby, but you sure can train them to be demmanding, spoiled children, so don't feel bad if she cries if you're gone for a few minutes. She'll figure it out, and the rest of the time you are giving her lots of love will make up for little bits of crying. My 6 month old once cried in his swing while I was attending to my daughter, and he sounded so pittiful. As soon as I could get back to him it was hillarious how fast he started smiling at me. He was obviously traumatized from me leaving him huh? :)

R.D.

answers from College Station on

You might want to try baby wearing...she sounds a little insecure for one reason or another. Some babies just need a lot of reasurance that they are safe and loved and everything is ok. If you carried her on your back or stomach a lot she would be with you enough to not feel that worry when you leave the room for a moment. Just an idea.

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J.H.

answers from San Antonio on

Babies are incapable of consciously manipulating others! Babies always cry for a reason (hungry, wet, dirty, tired, scared, etc.). Children need to feel safe and secure. If you respond to her crying right away and attempt to figure out why she's crying she will begin to trust you more. Trust is key in any relationship. I agree with the other mothers that this is a phase all babies go through and that hide and seek will help as well as responding quickly to and even trying to anticipate her needs (physical and emotional).

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K.H.

answers from Killeen on

Play peek-a-boo, (have you or your husband hold her and cover her eyes at first, and the other step back)start up close so she knows you are there and when she gets going, step back every few times. After she learns to cover her own eyes you can play the game with her one on one. That way she knows you are still there and that you will come back. No need to traumatize your angel. make it a fun time for both of you.Hope this helps.

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K.K.

answers from Portland on

Your daughter is exhibiting normal fear that you or your husband will not return. At this age they do not understand that just because we walk away means we will come back.

Play peek-a-boo with her a lot.

Play hide-and-seek by putting a blanket ovr her for a few seconds and saying where did (insert name) go and then get excited over finding her.

Then have your husband hold and comfort her while you leave the room for a few moments and vice versa...saying where did mommy go...making sure to make it a game.. then you return saying there is mommy... and do it for progressively longer periods of time...till she sees that just because you leave the room doesn't mean you are abandoning her..

I hope this helps..

Good Luck!!

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J.W.

answers from Houston on

J., I know this can be trying, but it is a stage that your baby is going through. It's called separation anxiety and all it means is that she has become aware when she is left alone.
At this age, a baby wants to be with it's mother or father ALL the time.
The best thing to do, is to place your baby in her stroller or baby chair and take her with you as you move around the home. She wants to be in on the action and be able to see you all the time. You are her security.
All the best - Jewel

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B.P.

answers from Houston on

My 3 youngest are 1 month, 13 months and 28 months. The 28 month old went thru that too. We let her cry until she stopped. We;d talk to her from the other room and peak our head in every now and then so she could see we were around. She stopped the screaming fast. The 13 month old has been screaming for 7 months. She reminds me of one of my older kids - she is just stubborn and hard headed. She will quit - eventually. It may take a year but she'll quit.

My advice, let him scream it out. Talk to him sohe knows your are there. Let him see you every 10 or 15 minutes but let him cry it out.

That worked for my older 5, I am sure it will work for this 3. At least I hope so. Good luck.

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K.O.

answers from Austin on

I'm guessing this is your first because that's very normal behavior for a five month old. She was literally attached to you for 9 months just a short time ago and is so young she still needs to feel you close. It might feel mighty annoying but in your overall life span it's a tiny blip and if you force separation you'll simply show her that she has noone to rely on. If she feels secure then she'll grow out of it in time. Don't worry, in a few years she'll have a no trespassing sign on her bedroom door and you'll forget all about this!

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A.P.

answers from Austin on

It sounds like she really wants to be with you.
Check out the attatchment Parenting websites.
Good Luck-Angela

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J.S.

answers from Killeen on

The peek-a-boo suggestion is not a bad idea at all! I can also say that white noise/sound machines are a WONDERFUL distraction. I think responding to the crying is setting you up for parenting failure later down the road, and personally carrying around your baby all the time sounds like no fun to me. Children and babies learn through trials and this is one. Remember: Give an inch and they take a mile.

The crying when you leave the room is a trained response. Although babies can't communicate like adults, they do have their own world figured out. You've responded to her many different cries many times, as every parent would, and now she knows if she cries you will come to the rescue. If you are sure she is crying for no reason other than you leaving the room, wait it out. Let her work her way through hysterics. If you keep responding to her cries, when you know it's just because you left the room, she will continue to do this and the habit will never be broken. I really do think it may go better with one of those white-noise/sound machines though.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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L.C.

answers from Corpus Christi on

I remember that. :-) It was sometimes overwhelming for me, but I just always had the baby with me. Either in a Snugli or in his bassinet or playpen nearby. Good luck! :-)

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J.S.

answers from San Antonio on

Fortunatly it is probably just a phase. She doesn't understand where Mommy and Daddy have gone to. Peekaboo is a great idea as well as continuing to talk to her and poking your head in the room. At first you will want to poke your head in more often then gradually make it longer intervals before you peek in. Also, once your baby can start crawling it will be better because she can follow you from room to room if she wants too.

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M.M.

answers from Houston on

My grandson is 8 months old. He started doing that when he was about five months old too. When any of us leave the room and he gets upset, we will talk to him from the other room so he will know that we are still there. For the most part it seemed to help. It could be due to us playing peek-a-boo so much that he knows we are still there even if he can't see us because he can hear us.

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S.W.

answers from Houston on

At 5 months your baby still thinks mom and me (your baby) are one person. She is having normal seperation anxiety. If this is happening at night, then you could move the crib to your bedroom. If it is happening during the daytime, try moving her closer to you so she can see you and be reassured that you are there.

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S.D.

answers from El Paso on

My 9 mos old started doing that since I started going back to the gym plus he's teething and wants to be comforted all the time. I let him cry for 10-15 minutes before I take a peek to make sure he's alright. But I also can tell the difference when he just wants attention and when he really needs me. He'll make a louder more high pitched cry when he's being whiny but a longer deeper cry when he really needs me.Only you, the mom, can tell the difference in the kind of cries your baby makes. I also read that at a certain age children/babies go through a "clingy" phase. Hope this helps.

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L.S.

answers from Sherman on

My daughter is 13 months and when she was your daughter's age, I probably would have let her cry for a while too. However, I'm come to realize that's it's natural and normal for her to do so. Really, she's just scared. She doesn't know where you are and honestly doesn't know if you're coming back. She'll soon be mobile and then can follow you but for now, maybe it's worth it to appease and comfort her. She just loves and trusts you so much that she wants to be near you! :-)

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S.T.

answers from Houston on

At that age they don't understand object permanence, meaning "Mommy and Daddy disappeared!" You can play games like put a toy under a blanket "Where's the bunny rabbit?" Then pull the blanket up "There it is!" keep doing this until he figures out he can look under the blanket, and then put the blanket over your head "Where's mommy?"

When you leave the room, talk to him or sing to him so he knows where you are. I have things all over the house to put my baby in- a playsaucer in the living room, a Johnny jump up in the laundry room, a bouncy seat in the bathroom and of course a highchair in the kitchen. I just move her around with me. I also have a sling I carry her in. Now that my daughter is 12 months she understands that I am coming back but when she was younger she spent a lot of time where I was. And that's ok!!

When they get to be about 1 they start learning some independence but when they near 15 months is when they start getting attached to things. So that means that 1 is the best age to wean from the bottle, pacifier, being carried all the time, ect. Anything you don't want them to carry with them at 2, 3, 4 years old. But if you wait until 18 months it's extremely difficult to wean them from things!

But at this age, if you want to keep him with you all the time that is perfectly acceptable!!!

S., mom to four girls ages 12 months, 3, 4, 5.

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S.E.

answers from Austin on

Your child will be more secure later in life if you DO NOT let her cry it out! Babies are not rational in the way a 10 year old child is. She needs to know that when she needs you, you will be there for her and pick her up. She will learn to trust you later in life. She may stop crying for you if you leave her but what youve taught her is you dont respond to her needs. This is too big a leson for a 5 month old.
Sam E.
Wholistic Midwifery

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S.M.

answers from Austin on

I was told you could not spoil them by holding htem until they are at least 9 months old. I would get a sling and wear her all of the time. Too quickly she will grow up and this time will be over.

S.

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