When Nothing Works

What do you do when nothing makes your baby happy?

My 8-month-old son is going through a phase right now that has me desperately trying to find the answer to that question. He seems generally miserable, and has been for the past few weeks. He’s not crying like he’s hungry or in pain, he’s just restless and difficult to please.

He doesn’t want to be around other people. Adults or babies, if he gets a look at anyone other than me or his dad, he starts crying. I know that stranger anxiety can start to set in around now, but I’m struggling with how to handle it. The easiest thing to do would be to just stay at home and avoid social situations. That definitely wouldn’t be good for me, and I’m not sure it would be good for him either. I try to be reassuring and ease him into social situations, but it can seem pointless to try to visit with friends and family when I spend the entire time trying to calm him down.

He doesn’t really want to play. Things that used to make him happy, like his bouncer and exersaucer, now hold no appeal for him. He just starts whining as soon as I put him in them. I’ve bought countless different types of toys and nothing holds his attention for more than a minute or two. I’ve tried playing with him and leaving him to play by himself, but both result in him looking at me with a sad face and a pout, and whining.

He hates it when I read to him. I’ve been slowly amassing what I can only describe as the most kick-ass library of kid’s books ever. I’m hoping that one day he and I can sit together and enjoy a story. Right now, sitting on my lap with a book in front of him results in squirming and screaming.

He doesn’t like being in his stroller or carrier. A sure-fire way to make him happy used to be to plop him in his stroller and go out for a walk. Now, that keeps him content for about five or ten minutes. Then he’s whining and crying to get out. A couple of months ago, I could take him to the store with me. Now, if I have to run out to get something, I usually end up carrying him with one hand and pushing the stroller with the other while trying to do my shopping.

I feel like I spend most of my day trying to keep him from being upset. It’s really exhausting, especially on the days when he cries unless I’m sitting directly next to him. Sometimes it’s like I’m back to the newborn days, when it was impossible for me to eat or shower or do anything other than try to figure out what’s making the little guy so sad.

I know that everything is a phase, and that one day he’ll wake up and be in a good mood and all of this will be over. I think it’s probably a combination of a few different things: stranger and separation anxiety, frustration over not being able to crawl or move, frustration over not being able to communicate, and tiredness (he hasn’t been sleeping particularly well either). In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my best to make him happy.

Did you go through a phase like this with your baby? What did you do to get through it?


6 thoughts on “When Nothing Works

  1. Ugh. This is awful. I’ve been there. The best thing for me was to practice meditating in the midst of tears. Just chanting phrases to remind myself it isn’t that I’m a bad parent. Hang in there!

    • Thank you! That’s along the lines of what I’ve been doing…trying to remind myself that I’m not a bad mom and to not take it personally. It helps to know that other people have been through it though 🙂

  2. I remember when my nephew was going through this phase. Since he lives with us with his parents, he went through a phase where nothing would satisfy him. My sister and my family tried everything to make him happy, but we found out one thing he absolutely LOVES: being outside and just roaming around. At first, we were all nervous about this; however, now he’s used to being outside and that helps him be happy and be more accepting of other things to do for fun.

    • Thank you for the suggestion! You’re right, I think I need to come up with some new ideas, even if it’s things that might make me a bit uncomfortable, because he’s growing out of the things that used to make him happy.

  3. Pingback: When Nothing Works | The Bloppy Bloggers Gazett...

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