What to Do with a 8-Month Old? Crying to Be Held All the Time?

Updated on December 19, 2010
G.L. asks from San Leandro, CA
13 answers

Hi fellow moms,

My 2nd son is turning 8 month today and I'm seeking help in what to do with him.

I've been staying at home since I was pregnant with him. My 3.5 year old is in preschool until 3. My baby has eczema and when he cries wanting to be held and we don't pick him up soon, he starts scratching himself madly and often would even bleed. He dislikes tummy time and barely rolls over lately and when I leave him to be on his tummy, he drops his face on the mat and starts scratching again. I would prefer not to let him cry it out but he stops crying the second I pick him up so I know he's just crying for attention. I do not get anything done during the day and don't know what to do. My older son feels neglect at times and has been acting up for attention also.

He just got over a cold and before this he was able to fall asleep on his own when we put him down at bedtime around 9:30. He could sleep until 5ish or 6am most of the nights but now he cries when we put him in his crib at bedtime. We had to rock him to sleep and even that it's so hard to put him down when he's asleep and he cries overnight too.

Not sure if it helps but he is breastfed exclusively. He would not take a bottle either so I have not been away from him for more than 4 hours since he was born...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Additional info -

My baby doesn't really like to be in baby carrier and he would push me hard on my chest when I carry him often time.
Yes we do use Desonide (after 2% hydrocortione would work) when needed.
The other problem I have is that I have oversupply of breastmilk so I have already had 4 plugged ducts in the last 8 months. For whatever reasons I can not pump any milk at all even I tried so he's my only solution. I thought about weaning also but without a good strategy I can't even do that. The lactation consultant I saw just said if I want to keep on nursing I just have to make sure my feedings are not too far apart otherwise the plugged ducts will come back yet again. So with that said, the best I can do is feed him one last time at 9:30 or 10 then hoping he'll sleep tight and feed him again around 6. That's as much as my body can tolerate.

What can I do next?

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answers from Boise on

What about a jumper set up near you. If I can keep eye contact with my daughter (7 months), she can go a bit longer.

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answers from San Diego on

Your arms are his secure, safe place. He's been sick, he itches and is in pain. My guess is he is miserable. He is looking for comfort and security to make him feel better. He is too young to understand why he feels so bad.
Have you tried wearing him in a sling or something so you can get things done? Or, leave things undone and just hold him and make him feel better for a while. It won't last forever.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

To me... he is feeling irked from his Eczema and the discomfort from it.... and so a baby, to communicate, they do this... because they don't feel well. When babies/kids don't feel well... they want Mommy.

Also, at this age, MANY things occurs developmentally.... teething, separation anxiety, object permanence development etc. AND he may just be having a hard time with all these things.... occurring at the SAME time.
Which is common. It is often MANY things going on at one time.

your baby seems to be in real discomfort. I think ANYONE would feel icky/junk/irked if they were itching all the time. How... stressful.

Ask your Doctor, for something that will ease his itches... due to Eczema. ALSO, have you found out what is TRIGGERING it???? Because, for each person, different things triggers it. My Mom for example, what triggers it is Oats and Citrus. ANYTHING with Oats in it, or citrus. So she avoids it and thus does not get Eczema outbreaks and no itching.

Also, you still need to feed him ON-demand. He is only 8 months old.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Hi G.,

I think some kiddos just go through a stage where they want to be held. A lot. Kudos to you for exclusivley breastfeeding him! ;-)

Has anything changed in your diet recently that might be upsetting him? change in soap, laundry detergent or fabric softener? just thinking about the eczema, sorry if you have been down this road already...

It sounds like maybe he is not quite over his cold, or is getting a new one. Is he teething? that can make babies irritable.

Can you "wear" him in a sling or carrier, so you could do more around the house and with your older son? Can your husband handle the baby for awhile in the evening so you can have some one on one time with your older son? or can hubby make sure to do something with the older one?

Don't know if any of this helps! hope so! Hugs to you!

K. Z.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

When I'm feeling generally miserable, I'd like to cry "for attention," too. I don't (usually) because I'm grown up. But I'd sure crave more soothing and cuddles if I were a baby. He doesn't have any way to meet his own needs, which include comforting. So he's asking you to help him.

Because he's got an itchy skin condition, is at an age where separation anxiety can set in, has recently had a cold, could have and ear infection or teething issues, I'd say you just have a very uncomfortable little boy who is desperate for some relief. He's also at a stage where many babies are stimulatede/excited by their own newly-developing abilities, which can make it harder for them to sleep for awhile.

Skin, stomach, and lung issues often have an emotional component. Even if his skin problem is not aggravated by emotional issues, he probably notices the itching more when his other hopes (being held by mommy) fall flat. And if he's crying/frustrated, he's likely heating up, which can also seriously aggravate an itch.

The happier you can keep him for the next couple of weeks, the more peace all of you are likely to experience. It's really inconvenient, but it's part of the package when we have kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

My son has eczema- and has since he was about 2 mos old. It's my understanding that eczema can be alleviated by determining what the baby is allergic to. Have you cut out all allergens from your diet (egg, wheat, dairy, etc)? My son is allergic to eggs and nuts, and breastfeeding cause all kinds of rashes and screaming, due to allergens in my diet. Also, eczema does itch. See the pediatrician about what you can put on his rash. We were given hydrocortisone ointment that we still have to use to this day. That is about the only thing that helps my son with flare ups.
Also, 9:30 is VERY late of a bedtime for a baby this age. My 4 yo doesn't even stay up this late! I would aim for 7 or 7:30. You might be surprised to find that he will sleep longer and more soundly at night with an earlier bedtime. He is probably extremely overtired, which makes him cranky and clingy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

If 'that's all your body can tolerate' then maybe your latch hasn't been correct this whole time. Breastfeeding should NEVER hurt. Clogged ducts can be removed, by the baby suckling, in the position called the cow maneuver. You are above the baby on all fours, baby is on their back on the floor. You allow them to nurse from that position. The suction and gravity will force the clog out.

Nurse on demand and offer often. Infants need a lot of caloric and fat intake, you can never overfeed your child on breastmilk like you can on formula!

Babies, especially under 16 months, cannot really 'manipulate' you. Maybe you should take out the Dr. Sears book from the library. He mentioned high needs children often. This is something they need NOW but will grow out of as they learn to cope and mature when they are ready.

Instead of a baby carrier - which prohibits skin to skin, why not get a moby wrap?

I exclusively nursed until 10 months AND worked full time as a Nanny. The more resentment you put into having to be there for your infant, the more it will fester. You have to remember babies are biologically programmed to need Mommy for the first 3 years. Please remember your child is an infant and not a smaller version of an adult.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would check for an ear infection or sinus infection before assuming that it's just crying for attention. ESPECIALLY since he just had a cold. Being flat with either of those things is *miserable* painful.

The #1 tell of an ear infection is "happy baby" when held vertically or at an angle, and screaming like mad when laid down. They don't always rub their ears, often they're so discombobulated that they just do the full body rage/scratch/hit/kick/bite/scream thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with D.P.
You may want to check your diet and see if you can eliminate any allergens that your son may be sensitive to.
You can check with a dermatologist to see if you can use any non-steroidal ointment for your baby. I think it is better for a baby to use as little as possible even low-dose hydrocortisone



answers from Sacramento on

Sounds like you all have a lot going on, you have my sympathy.

I can't make any suggestions for the eczema, it may be time to go back to your doctor.


Re: screaming in the carrier - do you face him in or out? My son hated facing in until he was about a year old (so much for children want to see your face), he was far too interested in the world and we had to use a bjorn. Fortunately, he decided facing in was ok around the time he got too heavy for it and we were able to transition to the Ergo.

Like another poster said, I would also check for ear infections if he is screaming a lot at night and his sleep suddenly got bad after a cold. My son had three months of chronic ear infections and was up crying every 45 minutes - 2 hours at night because of the pain. We'd have to rock or nurse him back to sleep and then when we'd put him in the crib (horizontal) he'd wake up screaming and crying.

Re: tummy time - we also went through the hating-tummy time period. I got him a boppy so he wasn't always face down on the mat.

Lastly, I would see a different certified lactation consultant - one that can help you either with the oversupply (in theory your body's supply should have adjusted to your baby's demand by now), or help you figure out how to pump. I had to see two different ones before we got everything ironed out. Also, at 8 months your son probably won't take a bottle but should be able to manage a sippy cup, so if you could master the pump you might be able to let dad take a feeding so you could spend some time with your other kiddo.

Lastly, oh wait, I already said that, well, truly lastly, this is a time of separation anxiety. He likely is crying to get your attention, but that's because he is too young to say, 'hey mom, come here please, I'd like to spend time with you' (and by the time he can say that, he probably won't).

As somebody else said, he's not manipulating you, he's just making his needs known in the only way he knows how. It's so hard when you can't get anything done, if he still doesn't like being worn, can you keep him near you in an exersaucer or playpen that can move from room to room?

Hope some of my suggestions and/or those from the other moms help!



answers from Chicago on

Wonder week. It will pass.



answers from Redding on

My oldest daughter had really bad eczema until we eliminated all of the caustic chemicals in our home. Even the Free & Clear type laundry detergents have chemicals in them that can be harmful to baby's skin. I suggest trying Melaleuca Melapower laundry detergent and Renew lotion, it really helped my daughter.

My little one, however, want's to be held all the time! She is almost 6 months old and she screams if I put her down. The Moby wrap has been a God send but she is getting kind of big for it so I'm thinking about trying the Ergo.

Good Luck!

H. M.



answers from San Francisco on

G., as the mom of 5 with 2 plus myself with skin problems and having wet nursed I can really feel for your problem.
Unless the fabric your baby is on is very soft and easy on the skin it will itch and you must know what it feels like to have an itch that just has to be scratched! being a baby he doesn't know better. I suggest that you keep lots of lotion ,cream or oil on his skin at all times and this will help in several ways. It is relaxing as you massage, it elps the skin to remain soft and it gives you special time to talk to your baby. With the air changes that are taking place right now the baby's skin as well as your own must be drieer than in warmer months.

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