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Lately, whenever I put my baby (5 months old) down, she fusses and wants to be held all the time. I want to to work on breaking this habit but need advice on the best method to use. Thank you


Trish Booth, MA Replied: Your daughter has reached the developmental stage of becoming aware of strangers and shows her preference for you by wanting to always be with you. In time she will want to explore the world beyond your arms. Here are some things you can try to create a little space between you now. At playtime, sit her in a bouncy seat. As you transfer her from your arms to the seat, talk to her and direct her attention to a toy. As soon as she is safely in the seat, give her the toy. Keep talking to her as you look at the toy, not into her face. Although she may start to fuss, focus on making the toy interesting to her so that she starts to play with it. At first you will need to stay very close by. Soon, though, you will be able to move about in the room as you stay in her sight. If she starts to fuss, come back to her, talk to softly and redirect her to an object she can hold and explore. You might also be able to get her to play while she is lying on her back on the floor. However, in this position it is harder for her to keep you in her sight. Some babies like to swing and will spend time in a baby swing. If she doesn't yet sit well, tilt the seat back a bit so that she doesn't slump forward. However, if you don't have a swing, you don't need to buy one. A baby swing's usefulness is relatively short. She might also enjoy being in a jumper seat that attaches to a doorway. This allows her to use her legs and takes advantage of her drive to stand and move. At sleep time, it is a good idea to start using a routine that helps her self-soothe and settle. After a short cuddle time, slip her into her crib on her back. Talk to her softly and rhythmically stroke or pat her but do not look at her. If she uses a pacifier or thumb, the sucking is self-soothing. Other babies have "lovies," a small, soft object they use for comfort. If your baby has one, make sure that it is in keeping with safe sleep. It should not be a large stuffed toy or a puffy blanket or covering. After a few minutes, tell her good night and leave. If she starts crying and you feel a need to return to her, try to settle her without picking her up. As your daughter learns to self-settle, the time you need to be with her will dramatically decrease.
Posted On 2009-01-16 11:52:04
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