We have a fairly high energy toddler and a 3yo son. Our daughter is usually friendly and high-energy, but could rarely self-entertain. We've slowly gotten to a place where she will fuss or cry 80% of the time when her mother is caring for her. When others care for her, she is much calmer. However, if her mom is even present, the fussiness factor goes way up.

The lead up: For the past several months she would often fuss until one of us picked her up. My wife would cater to her more than I would. I'd say I'd carry her around for 20 minutes out of an hour and my wife would carry our daughter 40 minutes in an hour. Her fussiness slowly grew until it got to this "crisis" point over the past two weeks.

My biggest concerns: It is really starting to affect our son. Whenever my wife watches both kids, our daughter gobbles up all the attention with her fussing/crying. My wife is also extremely stressed out and calls me crying from the stress. Our son is not getting the attention he needs.

Solutions? I keep coaching my wife to try to start weaning our child from carrying and let her cry a bit. (Update: Don't do the following) I believe we just need to teach her that crying is not the way to get the attention she wants. Unfortunately, when my wife starts to try this our daughter just cries her head off and clings to our feet. I think we just need to let her cry in an isolated place, but return to keep reassuring her. Or something like that.... ???

I'm very eager for other ideas or validation that this might be a good approach.

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    I sense your frustration. Letting a child cry isn't healthy, in my opinion, but then again, neither is a parental mental breakdown. In order to offer actual advice, I'd like to know... When she is being carried, what does she show interest in? Does she point to go places? Does she want to explore things? If your son isn't there, is there still fussiness? Oct 29, 2018 at 16:58
  • Is there some cause other than wanting attention? pain, discomfort, etc?
    – pojo-guy
    Oct 29, 2018 at 17:55
  • pojo-guy nothing we can detect. We're taking our daughter to the doctor tomorrow for a general check-up to confirm. @IanMacDonald She is carried almost all the time when at home. She is a curious child and likes to dismantle things, but quickly moves on. Rarely points to go places. She is slightly less fussy if our son is there, but I think that is just because of the additional stimulation he provides. Still, an interesting point we should pay more attention to. Oct 30, 2018 at 8:57

3 Answers 3


Is there any chance that you can afford to have a sitter come over for an hour or two once in a while? (I'm assuming that you work outside the home so you couldn't do this for her, though you might be able to on the weekends) Your wife could go out and either relax, or do errands without having to be dealing with a potentially fussy child.

It might also be a chance for her to go out and do something special with your son. I used to do that with my kids when they were younger. Every other weekend we would have Mommy-daughter or Mommy-son day (and my husband would be doing the complimentary Daddy-daughter or Daddy-son day). I'd take my children to the bouncy house or swimming pool, and then to their favorite restaurant. They really looked forward to it, and so did I. It was wonderful to be able to focus on just one child without having to balance the need to pay equal attention to both of them.

You also might want to consider a day-care. It doesn't have to be a full-time situation, maybe just one of those drop-ins that many parents use to grab a few hours of errand time during the day. I've used them a time or two, and it was very emotionally recharging. After a couple of hours away from the kids I found myself looking forward to getting them back :)


We would up consulting a specialist/child therapist. They gave us some really good advice that seems to be working.

Basically, she told us that our daughter craves security. Once she gets that security, she'll move on. If she doesn't get it, she will crave it more and become difficult. Due to their frequency, my wife had started resisting picking up our child when she cried. We're now doing the opposite.

Now, everytime our daughter cries, my wife picks her up and consoles her until she indicates she is ready to get done. Once done, she rarely needs to be picked up. It has only been a few weeks and the turn-around is astounding so far.

This might not work for others, but was a good approach for us.

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    For the past several months she would often fuss until one of us picked her up. … I'd carry her around for 20 minutes out of an hour and my wife would carry our daughter 40 minutes in an hour. — So what changed? Nov 23, 2018 at 0:27
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    It was waiting for her to indicate when she wanted to be put down, rather than initiating the put down. Nov 23, 2018 at 13:35

You might want to invest in a backpack child carrier. This will free mom's hands and attention to do what ever she needs to do while allowing the daughter to be close. Once the daughter realizes that it's boring to hang around like that, she will start asking to get down.

  • We actually have one. Mom often carries her around in a front carrier - it helps - but I might suggest the backpack one. Oct 30, 2018 at 8:58
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    Just my two cents: a learning tower might do the trick some of the times, for example in the kitchen. Mom can wheel it around (with your daughter in it) basically effortlessly, while your curious daughter will get to see what Mom does, maybe taste a thing or two Mom is chopping, and simply have a constant dialogue and stimulation without needing to carry her around
    – iulia
    Nov 17, 2018 at 21:30

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