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My 13-month-old daughter was very well behaved up until about 11.5 months. I guess it's separation anxiety but I've come to a point where I don't know what to do. It's making me miserable, exhausted, and, to be honest, resentful. I am also 16 weeks pregnant which is why I further need help in not allowing her to equate crying 24-7 equals getting whatever she wants. Or is she still too young to understand this?

She pretty much won't even let me use the bathroom without a fuss/whine/cry. About two weeks ago my family started noticing her change also. It took me by surprise that my then perfectly behaved baby has become this needy, clingy toddler without much warning. Like she started off only doing it to and around me, and not so much around my parents or my aunt when they babysit her for 1.5-3 hours.

She's started becoming more vocal to my parents recently, but even then it's not as bad as how she cries hysterically for like an hour or more when it's just us. I don't know if she's throwing a tantrum and I need to/should ignore her or if she's still too young and just wants my attention?

I'm honestly scared to death of it getting worse rather than progressively better by the time #2 arrives. This is my dilemma otherwise I'd spoil her and not blink because it would only be her to deal with, but it's not. I need more than just "it's just a phase. It'll pass..." so if you have specific examples, that'd be great.

  • Thank you very much, everyone, esp SomeShinyObject. Your response was very informative & appreciated. She did have some reactions to her MMR vaccine but her behavior now should just be her. I will however, check again on the teeth bc it crossed my mind. Today was better, too, bc I took her out & kept her busy, but that's only bc I wasn't exhausted. I'm not sure how long I can feasible keep that up, but at least it was a better day. Thank you, again. – Lucy Wong-Paul Feb 27 '18 at 4:34
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Unfortunately this is most likely just a phase. If it is, how long it lasts all depends on your reaction to it.

I've experienced new baby jitters in two very different situations. In my first marriage, my daughter was about two when we found out that we were having a new baby. In my marriage now, our son was six when we found out about having a new baby.

Children are just that, children. They need to know and be shown - more than told - that they are loved, appreciated, and irreplaceable. I'm an adult and even I need that every now and then.

With your situation, it sounds like how both of my older children acted. Maybe she fears a little replacement and abandonment might occur, so she's just giving an extra little boost to let you know "Hey! I'm still here."

It's OK for her to feel this way. It's perfectly natural. How she expresses it however is different.

Don't give in to tantrums

This will most assuredly encourage the cycle to continue. Giving in to her tantrums gets her two things.

  • The ability to control you whenever she wants something
  • The knowledge that she always has your undivided attention

Do what you need to do

She may be trying to disrupt your activities but as soon as it goes full tantrum, tell her calmly that you have X to do and you are going to go do it. Tell her you're sorry she's feeling the way she feels but that doesn't stop you from needing to complete your tasks. Don't ignore her. Make sure she's safe. But at the same time show her that her outbursts aren't going to disrupt you.

Spend a little extra time with her when you can

Life's busy. Give her the extra attention while you can. Even after new baby arrives, take time with just you and her when you can. You actively trying to do fun and interesting things or even just lounging together watching her favorite TV program together is a great way to show her you still love her and appreciate her company.

Stay calm

If you can't stay calm, she can't become calm. It's difficult in the face of hysterical crying and outbursts but do your best. I guarantee that you are a whole lot better at managing your emotions than she is.


Update

As some others have commented and something I completely forgot about, it could be time for teething also. If that is the case, my kids had a rubber teething ring that they chewed on to help alleviate the pain. Also, soft, cold foods help (despite my complete hatred of it, yogurt comes to mind).

  • It is a phase. With mine around that age the specific thing turned out to be the teeth coming in. Check for that front and back. – TBTparenting Feb 26 '18 at 7:26
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    Yep - teething can cause exactly this, but in any case, SomeShinyObject is absolutely right with the communication. In addition to telling her what you will do, keep reinforcing that you'll be back with her afterwards. And when you are done, make it obvious to her that you are back as expected. – Rory Alsop Feb 26 '18 at 8:37
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I did have some clingy experience from my son at some point around 18 months but it didn't last too long. Teething is definitely something that can make a child whine a lot but so can other factors like temperature, skin irritation, upset stomach, tiredness and general frustration at not being able to communicate.

It's tough for little ones to express themselves. If you tried to go a day without using words you might find yourself getting frustrated! Imagine trying to order in a restaurant or ask directions without the ability to talk. Think about how many adults who verbally "whine" when feeling ill in some way ...

All kids are different and it's almost impossible to give the correct solution to any problem but just take what you can from as broad advice as possible and see which seems to fit your situation.

Feeling resentful and exhausted is pretty normal, so don't be thinking you're alone in feeling that way and don't let it get you down.

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