My 6 month old cries everytime I put him down!

Ashley - posted on 11/27/2009 ( 34 moms have responded )

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What can I do? I'm going nuts! My son just turns 6 months next week and cries EVERY time I put him down! He stops as soon as you pick him up!





Edit: I sit with him singing and playing and nothing works, he just closes his eyes and wales! I don't mind letting him "cry it out" now... it's SO frustrating. How long do I let him lay there and cry before I pick him up? He gets to point where he holds his breath even!

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User - posted on 01/10/2012

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I am a mother grandmother, and greatgrandmother of 19 in all. I am also a retired therapist. I would never ever leave a baby to cry in distress. I can't imagine how any mother could actually bear to hear that distress. All my children and their children were picked up if they were distressed. They all grew out of it around the time they became mobile. Hearing about babies being manipulative and needing to be taught out of showing their distress makes my blood run cold ; Yes it is frustrating and wearying but it is such a few months of a baby's life. Once you see it that way rather than a battle of wills, it no longer feels like something you have to solve. When babies stop showing distress because their cries go ignored, then they are on the path to needing counselling as adults because it will affect them in how they are in close relationships with partners and sadly their own children.

Kaitlin - posted on 02/28/2012

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Hi Ashley. Are you talking about during the day or for sleeping? If he's fed and changed and rested, and just wants to be held, you can be firm without ignoring him (which I don't think that's what you're doing, but it sounds like others might think that). It sounds to me like he's looking for some undivided attention since he stops the instant you pick him up. You can try giving him lots of other types of attention and touch without picking him up. If he isn't sitting yet, you can let him lay on his back and pretend to sniff his toes and say EW loudly and push them towards his face. My boys thought this was hilarious. Or tickle their bellies, or baby massage. Giving them that attention and touch without picking them up.

Or maybe he just needs some outside stimulation. Think how boring it can be to not be able to move around and know how to play on your own. ;)

Try reading with him (or looking at a picture book, playing with something, etc) for a minute and then placing him on the floor next to you doing the same thing. Stay with him, talk to him the whole time, but don't pick him up.

You can also try sitting him in a high chair and put it RIGHT next to you (so he can almost touch you) while you do dishes, or sit at the table eating a snack or something like that, and talk to him the whole time.



It's hard to say when the right age to do cry it out is. It depends on the child most of the time. But 6 months sounds a bit young in my opinion. I know it's tiresome and frustrating, but gradually he'll start to play by himself in just a few short months! It's so crazy to think of the differences between a newborn and a six month old, and then a 12 month old.

Sara - posted on 12/04/2009

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This will be the hardest thing for you to do, but if your 6 month old cries when put down, let him cry. The fact that he stops when you pick him up should reassure you that he is not hurt. When you put him down, just talk to him and reassure him that you are there and that you love him. The wailing sounds horrible, but he most likely will cry himself to sleep. Good luck!

[deleted account]

Ashley, I have six kids, ages 14 to 27. I held my babies a lot. I used baby carriers on the front and baby backpacks to get things done like vacuuming etc.. There is nothing wrong with holding your baby. That is the way things were meant to be. Personally I could not let my babies cry. This early they are learning to trust. Your son knows that you are the one he can rely on.. the one whom he can trust. Answering his cries only solidifies that trust.

User - posted on 11/29/2009

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Why is it so wrong to pick up and hold your baby? At this age they do not cry to misbehave or annoy you. They genuinely need your closeness. Wearing your baby in a sling will free up both your hands to do whatever you need to do. Your baby will be happier, and so probably will you!

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User - posted on 02/28/2012

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letting the baby cry damages the relationship with you and your child bc they will learn that they cannot rely on you as much as they thought. yes -no one can pick their baby up every second of the day but try to get to the baby as quickly as possible and use tricks to keep them entertained while you get stuff done (example--while prepping/making dinner put them in a highchair and let them "help" by giving them wooden spoon and bowl or giving them different fun and safe objects. great question and answer (the first answer giving by the poster) : read if u need help finding ways to entertain your baby :http://www.babycenter.com/400_how-can-i-...

Jazma - posted on 11/30/2009

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Play music for the baby. Turn on the mobile on the bed and close the bedroom door. If you continue to pick him up, it will last for the next 5 years. Then you won't be able to use the restroom by yourself. Just let him cry for a little while. No more than 10 minutes. Try it and see if it works. It is something that you will have to do more than once.

Whitney - posted on 11/29/2009

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My son was the same way, I bought a sling and a back carrier and it was all good.

Ashley - posted on 11/29/2009

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Sleeping isnt a problem... he sleeps 10 hours at night in his own bed. Its just duing the day that my 6 month old cries when put down...

Aadela - posted on 11/28/2009

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Hi there i know the feeling, i have been there, u shud try 2 calm him down before he sleeps,maybe try a nice warm bath or a good body rub before bedtime, Make sure that he is not hungry or wet, try and sit near him before you put him down, if all is well and he continues to moan then remember children as small as they are know how to get their way. Sometimes when little ones are over stimulateed and over tired they tend to trouble, I hope my suggestion works, good luck and do keep me posted.

Stephenie - posted on 11/28/2009

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Hearing your baby cry is so hard because as a mom you want to fix it and just make everything better. But, if you are a first time mom you are going to have to turn those mommy ears off and walk away if you know all of his needs are met and just let him cry. He is testing you and so far he is winning. I agree with the other moms totally and you need to provide outside stimulus for him so that he is entertained. I used black and white stimulus for my babies at this age and it worked wonders. Take little spurts of separation and make sure he knows you are there. It is good that you recognize this now because if you don't fix it he'll turn into a clingy todler and that is very frustrating. Good luck and many mommy patience.

Sky - posted on 11/28/2009

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My son used to do that too, he just did not want to go to sleep. We placed him in his high chair near the kitchen door to while I was in there. As far as sleepy time, I just had to let him cry until he realized that I was not going to come every time he cried. If you think there is a medical problem causing it, go to the Dr. He is your kid and all the advice in the world is not going to replace the instinct and connection with your own child. You be the judge and just love that little angel the way you want.

Amy - posted on 11/28/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

Ashley, I have six kids, ages 14 to 27. I held my babies a lot. I used baby carriers on the front and baby backpacks to get things done like vacuuming etc.. There is nothing wrong with holding your baby. That is the way things were meant to be. Personally I could not let my babies cry. This early they are learning to trust. Your son knows that you are the one he can rely on.. the one whom he can trust. Answering his cries only solidifies that trust.



Jennifer is right - there is nothing wrong with holding your baby.  (I too still use a carrier on errands/outings for my 20lb now walking daughter -thank you ErgoBaby and Kirby!!)  ...Unless it is a problem for you that your son can't get to sleep on his own.  It's a choice you'll have to make for yourself and your child:  Can you stand a few nights of your child crying before he goes to sleep if it will teach him to sooth himself earlier? 



----- Why I used a progressive waiting technique:  -----



Desperation.  I work outside the home and can't take naps during the day.  (Though maternity leave taught me that being a stay-at-home mom is even harder work and you don't always get naps even then!)  And if you're a breastfeeding mom like me you'll find that as your child starts eating more solids and less breastmilk your body doesn't produce as much of the hormones that make it easier to cope with less sleep!



I wasn't emotionally able to use a progressive waiting method at first because the technique I originally learned suggested that you should only come in and let your child see you (so that they know you're there) but not touch them or pick them up.  I could not at least touch my child when she was crying!!  But when a nurse told me that I could still cuddle and pet my daughter with the progressive waiting technique - I just couldn't pick her up - I was able to get through it and it worked after just two (tortuous)  nights.  You'll have to decide for yourself what you can handle.  Just know that it will NOT hurt your child** OR his trust in you to use such a technique as long as he' older than four months and you know he doesn't have another reason for crying besides wanting to be held. 



** If anybody disagrees with me on this I challenge them to find me one parent who actually used a progressive waiting technique (NOT just a cry-it-out method) until their child was falling asleep on their own and feels that it was a mistake. 



----- An alternative to a progressive waiting technique: A bedtime routine. -----



One more piece of advice for your 6 month old that cries when put down: a bedtime ritual.  If your child knows that bedtime is coming because you use the same ritual every night it may make it easier for him to go to sleep on his own.  This was something I tried before I tried a progressive waiting technique and I still do it because our whole family enjoys it ...but it didn't work for us alone.  If you don't want to let your child cry you might try developing a routine that could include a bath, a massage, brushing teeth, story time, family prayer, singing lullabies and/or playing soft music. 

JAEN - posted on 11/28/2009

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Also do you have a cot mobile or even leave the radio on softly. Sit and look at your watch. I promise even if it takes ages, each time will be shorter til he goes quiet when you put him down. Learning to send himself to sleep is something he has to learn soon or you will soon be rocking him to sleep at 20!!!!! Good luck. ps breath holding will not hurt him, mine did it too (see other conversation with Christine who has a 2yr old breath holder.) Jaen. xx

Amanda - posted on 11/28/2009

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My 7 month old does that so I just play her some soothing music and lay her in her bed and she calmes down after about 5-10 minutes.

JAEN - posted on 11/28/2009

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If your 6 month old cries when put down you have to let him cry. It sounds rotten but babies learn very early that they cry-you pick up. Make certain he is not hungry, thirsty, dirty nappy, too cold/warm and try waiting out of sight because if he can see you he'll be worse. Is there someone else that could put him down for you or does he do it for everyone?

Amy - posted on 11/28/2009

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I want to add my support of the progressive waiting method suggested here by Stephanie Apicella (also known as a variant of the Ferber method). I've heard some parents refer to this as a harsh technique that will damage your child's bond with you. But kids do need to learn to self sooth eventually and sleep is very important for both you and your child. And I've *never* known any parent that actually used this technique say that they thought it damaged their relationship with their child in any way. It's a little easier if you use the same technique for naptimes since we're usually more rational when we're not tired at the end of the day or in the middle of the night and it is tortuous to just listen to your child cry and incredibly difficult to maintain your resolve.



But take comfort: I used this same technique with my daughter at the suggestion of a nurse: first to get her to go to sleep on her own at six months and then later to get her to sleep through the night (when I found out belatedly at nine months that she didn't actually *need* the middle of the night feeding and was just using it to sooth herself) . It was *really* hard but after just two nights it worked! Now when she's tired she practically dives into the crib and we are all much happier getting a good night's sleep.

Stacy - posted on 11/27/2009

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I use to let mine cry for 15-20 min.. Sooner or later he will relize he is okay, or he will take a nap. I know it is hard to let your child crry, but if you don't do something about it now, it could get worse as he gets older.

Cheryl - posted on 11/27/2009

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I used a front pack all the time w/ my daughter, then switched to a back pack when she got a little bigger. It's just a phase, sometimes a very loooooong phase.

[deleted account]

Let me guess - you rock him to sleep and he sleeps in your bed with you. I had this same problem with my 2 youngest girls. My husband could not stand the sound of a baby crying so I would constantly have to hold them, rock them, never leave their side when he was home. But here is what you NEED to do - for your own sanity and for the sake of that baby.



Ok this is going to sound harsh but if your 6 month old cries when put down you need to let that baby scream. It will take a few days maybe even a week but he will stop. Start off slowly let him scream for about 15 minutes but don't go back into him when he is screaming wait for a lull in the scream and then go in and cuddle him and let him know you love him and have not left him for long. Do this a couple times a day and everytime you put him down for a nap or nighttime. Then extend the time to 25 or 30 minutes. He will come to understand that you come to him when he is quiet and not screaming. What you are doing by running to him everytime he screams is training him that screaming is what gets your attention. You have to retrain him to know that scream does not bring you back. Listen for when he calms down and immediately go in (after the alloted time of course). It took my 5 year old (we did it when she was 18 months old) 10 days of screaming and my husband sleeping somewhere else for it to work but it is much better now.



If you have a chance pick up the book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Pediatrician Richard Ferber. I used a modified version of his. I put a chair in the room close to the bed and every night I would move it a few inches away from the crib until it was at the door then outside the door and finally not at all but the girls know I am right downstairs and can hear them.



Good luck and stick it out. It will get worse before it gets better but it will be worth all of the tears you will shed in the process. I know mine were.

Laureen - posted on 11/27/2009

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When my youngest who is now three did this I found wrapping him tight like the hospital did helped alot. He needed to feel the warmth so wrapping him up tight helped him feel the warmth he was feeling when I hold him except it was his own heat he felt. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Shel - posted on 11/27/2009

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I had this same problem when my daughter was about that age. People told me to let her cry and if after 15 mintues she didn't stop, then pick her up. It was hard but I tried it and after a few times, she was okay.

Joy - posted on 11/27/2009

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Put him down and stay in eyesight. You keep picking him up, he will never stop.

Diane - posted on 11/27/2009

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Dear Ashley

I only have experience with breaking a nearly two year old of this behavior. This child was not my own baby. She was the daughter of one of the women in the dance company that I was stage manager for. This child would cry every time her mom put her down, or when she was not being held by someone. I was the one who was enlisted to watch the baby when the mother was in rehearsal with the dance company. I gently put the baby down on a blanket right next to me, with her toys nearby, and as soon as she started to cry, I told her that I cared about her, in adult language, and that I would pick her up when she stopped crying. I kept in eye contact with her, stayed very close to her, and spoke to her in loving tones as she was crying. As soon as she would stop crying, which she did from time to time, I would reward the behavior I wanted by picking her up, saying thank you and encouraging her. Then I would put her down again to see if she could handle being on her blanket and not crying without being held. It took a good two hours of repeatedly rewarding the behavior I wanted, and not rewarding the behavior I didn't want. But when the dance company returned from their rehearsal, here was this contented baby playing quietly on her own on her blanket, and the mother was astounded by what she saw. I told her what I had done, and the mother was able to continue the same practice of rewarding the behavior she wanted and not the behavior she didn't want. Diane Ippel

Lori - posted on 11/27/2009

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ask about colic there things you can do get him into the light that helps too

Brittany - posted on 11/27/2009

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get him off it slowly by putting him down little by little until it doesnt happen anymore as annoying as it is you have to let him cry it out or it wont stop

Renae - posted on 11/27/2009

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Your 6 month old crying when put down definately sounds like separation anxiety. Or could also be teething, or both. There is not much you can do about separation anxiety. It is a normal part of psychological developmental usually lasting 2-3 months. It occurs when a baby figures out that he and you are two separate things and you can can separate yourself from him (put him down) and walk away. He doesn't yet understand that just because you walk away you are still there and will always come back. For boys separation anxiety peaks at about 8 months (girls are a bit earlier). Encouraging independant play might help a bit. Leave him to play with some toys while you sit close to him and do something else, fold laundry or something, then over about a week gradually move further and further away until you can put him down and leave the room for a while. My little boy is also at the peak of his separation anxiety but because we have always done daily independant play I can at least put him down and go off and do something for 20 minutes, so it has worked for me. Whatever you do, do not try to get "tough" with him, this will only make it worse for him and take longer for the phase to pass. It often passes just before they start crawling.

Jodi - posted on 11/27/2009

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I used to use either a sling or a bouncer when my kids were that age (depending on what I was doing). The bouncer was great, because I could attach toys to it with bright colours, but also carry it to whichever room I was in getting things done, and my kids were always quite happy as long as I was in the same room and talking to them....



DO you mean your 6 month old cries when put down during the day only, or is it also happening at night?

[deleted account]

It is hard for a mom to hear her baby cry. It is hard to belive that at 6 months they can manipulate you as well. While it is separation anxiety it is manipulation. You need to let him cry and it is hard to do but he needs to learn to self sooth himself. You start with putting him down and letting him cry for 5 mins and then go in and stand near him, don't touch him and tell him it is ok, mommy is right here. I love you and walk out. then you let it go for 10 mins and do the same thing. It could take a couple of hours or nothing at all. I had to do it with my kid and it was the worse experience but she needed to learn to self sooth. We ran 20 mins the first night and then we never had another problem.

Rebecca - posted on 11/27/2009

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When your 6 month old cries when put down let him cry it out. If you don't he will enevr learn to be independant and cry and he will learn thats how he gets what he wants. My son did the same thing at that age and we had to let him cry it out and learn on his own. At first we would put him down and stay in the room and then if i had to get a drink or a bottle for him i would leav him and he learned i would come back. Reassure him you will be back also. My husband did the same thing.

Laura - posted on 11/27/2009

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those are both great pieces of advise, I have started doing the "mommys here" and "you're okay big girl, mommy is right here" and so far it's been working for us when she fuses.

Angela - posted on 11/27/2009

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when you put him down tell him i am right here...mommy is here. make sure there is something else to distract him or sit down with him first and then get up after you are getting him involved with a toy, playing etc...tell him mommy will be right back. if you leave and he cries, just pop your head in at him and play peek a poo. it will take time but he will get the jest you arent leaving him for good...but if you run each time he cries then it supports his fear. laugh and clap in delight and make it seem very safe for him.

Michelle - posted on 11/27/2009

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As hard as it is to do sometimes you just gotta let them cry. If there is absolutely nothing wrong with him and you need to do something that requires both hads set him down on the floor on a blanket in the same room that you need to be in and play with him for 5-10 minutes to get him used to the area and when he is playing well stand up and do what you need to do. If he whimpers or fusses and cries talk to him letting him know he is fine and that you are there but leave him where he is at and continue doing your chore or whatever. As soon as you are done pick him and and tell him see your okay . It may take a few days to a week or so but soon he will learn that you have things to do but will always be there for him. Believe me if you break the habit before it fully develop it will make it easier when he gets older and you want to Pee alone

Laura - posted on 11/27/2009

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I was just reading about this, its seperation anxeity and it starts around 6 months. I would google effective ways to deal with it maybe? Or try the babycenter website, I am a member and get emails from them weekly and that was this weeks topic. I am just starting to get into that phase ( 5month old daughter) so let me know what works for you!

Ashley - posted on 11/29/2009

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Sleeping isnt a problem... he sleeps 10 hours at night in his own bed. Its just duing the day that my 6 month old cries when put down...

Amy - posted on 11/28/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

Ashley, I have six kids, ages 14 to 27. I held my babies a lot. I used baby carriers on the front and baby backpacks to get things done like vacuuming etc.. There is nothing wrong with holding your baby. That is the way things were meant to be. Personally I could not let my babies cry. This early they are learning to trust. Your son knows that you are the one he can rely on.. the one whom he can trust. Answering his cries only solidifies that trust.



Jennifer is right - there is nothing wrong with holding your baby.  (I too still use a carrier on errands/outings for my 20lb now walking daughter -thank you ErgoBaby and Kirby!!)  ...Unless it is a problem for you that your son can't get to sleep on his own.  It's a choice you'll have to make for yourself and your child:  Can you stand a few nights of your child crying before he goes to sleep if it will teach him to sooth himself earlier? 



----- Why I used a progressive waiting technique:  -----



Desperation.  I work outside the home and can't take naps during the day.  (Though maternity leave taught me that being a stay-at-home mom is even harder work and you don't always get naps even then!)  And if you're a breastfeeding mom like me you'll find that as your child starts eating more solids and less breastmilk your body doesn't produce as much of the hormones that make it easier to cope with less sleep!



I wasn't emotionally able to use a progressive waiting method at first because the technique I originally learned suggested that you should only come in and let your child see you (so that they know you're there) but not touch them or pick them up.  I could not at least touch my child when she was crying!!  But when a nurse told me that I could still cuddle and pet my daughter with the progressive waiting technique - I just couldn't pick her up - I was able to get through it and it worked after just two (tortuous)  nights.  You'll have to decide for yourself what you can handle.  Just know that it will NOT hurt your child** OR his trust in you to use such a technique as long as he' older than four months and you know he doesn't have another reason for crying besides wanting to be held. 



** If anybody disagrees with me on this I challenge them to find me one parent who actually used a progressive waiting technique (NOT just a cry-it-out method) until their child was falling asleep on their own and feels that it was a mistake. 



----- An alternative to a progressive waiting technique: A bedtime routine. -----



One more piece of advice for your 6 month old that cries when put down: a bedtime ritual.  If your child knows that bedtime is coming because you use the same ritual every night it may make it easier for him to go to sleep on his own.  This was something I tried before I tried a progressive waiting technique and I still do it because our whole family enjoys it ...but it didn't work for us alone.  If you don't want to let your child cry you might try developing a routine that could include a bath, a massage, brushing teeth, story time, family prayer, singing lullabies and/or playing soft music. 

JAEN - posted on 11/28/2009

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If your 6 month old cries when put down you have to let him cry. It sounds rotten but babies learn very early that they cry-you pick up. Make certain he is not hungry, thirsty, dirty nappy, too cold/warm and try waiting out of sight because if he can see you he'll be worse. Is there someone else that could put him down for you or does he do it for everyone?

[deleted account]

Let me guess - you rock him to sleep and he sleeps in your bed with you. I had this same problem with my 2 youngest girls. My husband could not stand the sound of a baby crying so I would constantly have to hold them, rock them, never leave their side when he was home. But here is what you NEED to do - for your own sanity and for the sake of that baby.



Ok this is going to sound harsh but if your 6 month old cries when put down you need to let that baby scream. It will take a few days maybe even a week but he will stop. Start off slowly let him scream for about 15 minutes but don't go back into him when he is screaming wait for a lull in the scream and then go in and cuddle him and let him know you love him and have not left him for long. Do this a couple times a day and everytime you put him down for a nap or nighttime. Then extend the time to 25 or 30 minutes. He will come to understand that you come to him when he is quiet and not screaming. What you are doing by running to him everytime he screams is training him that screaming is what gets your attention. You have to retrain him to know that scream does not bring you back. Listen for when he calms down and immediately go in (after the alloted time of course). It took my 5 year old (we did it when she was 18 months old) 10 days of screaming and my husband sleeping somewhere else for it to work but it is much better now.



If you have a chance pick up the book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Pediatrician Richard Ferber. I used a modified version of his. I put a chair in the room close to the bed and every night I would move it a few inches away from the crib until it was at the door then outside the door and finally not at all but the girls know I am right downstairs and can hear them.



Good luck and stick it out. It will get worse before it gets better but it will be worth all of the tears you will shed in the process. I know mine were.

Renae - posted on 11/27/2009

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Your 6 month old crying when put down definately sounds like separation anxiety. Or could also be teething, or both. There is not much you can do about separation anxiety. It is a normal part of psychological developmental usually lasting 2-3 months. It occurs when a baby figures out that he and you are two separate things and you can can separate yourself from him (put him down) and walk away. He doesn't yet understand that just because you walk away you are still there and will always come back. For boys separation anxiety peaks at about 8 months (girls are a bit earlier). Encouraging independant play might help a bit. Leave him to play with some toys while you sit close to him and do something else, fold laundry or something, then over about a week gradually move further and further away until you can put him down and leave the room for a while. My little boy is also at the peak of his separation anxiety but because we have always done daily independant play I can at least put him down and go off and do something for 20 minutes, so it has worked for me. Whatever you do, do not try to get "tough" with him, this will only make it worse for him and take longer for the phase to pass. It often passes just before they start crawling.

Jodi - posted on 11/27/2009

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I used to use either a sling or a bouncer when my kids were that age (depending on what I was doing). The bouncer was great, because I could attach toys to it with bright colours, but also carry it to whichever room I was in getting things done, and my kids were always quite happy as long as I was in the same room and talking to them....



DO you mean your 6 month old cries when put down during the day only, or is it also happening at night?

Rebecca - posted on 11/27/2009

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When your 6 month old cries when put down let him cry it out. If you don't he will enevr learn to be independant and cry and he will learn thats how he gets what he wants. My son did the same thing at that age and we had to let him cry it out and learn on his own. At first we would put him down and stay in the room and then if i had to get a drink or a bottle for him i would leav him and he learned i would come back. Reassure him you will be back also. My husband did the same thing.

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