Simple Strategies to Survive Your Baby's Fussy Periods

by Frans Plooij

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When you apply for your mommy card, you're told about the "terrible twos" and other commonly anticipated trying times. These conversations are usually mixed in with the effusive, glowing stories of how wonderful motherhood is.

What you don't learn is WHY, and this lack of information often leads to feelings of inadequacy, aggravation and guilt, not to mention worry and fatigue. But, before you let your frustrations get the best of you, keep in mind that as frustrating as it all can be, it's also a sign of healthy mental development.

From time-to-time, an inconsolable baby plagues all parents all around the world. In fact, through our many years of worldwide research, we have found that healthy babies are more tearful, troublesome, demanding and fussy at the same ages.

Think about it - have you ever wondered why your normally sweet and well-tempered baby is suddenly difficult and demanding? And then, out of the blue, he is doing things he could not do the day before. Amazing, really.

Our research as shown that babies make 10 major predictable, age-linked changes - or leaps - during the first 20 months of their lives. During this time, they will learn more than in any other time. With each leap comes a drastic change in your baby's mental development, which affects not only his mood, but also his health, intelligence, sleeping patterns and the "three C's" (crying, clinging and crankiness). So, it is important to learn how to recognize these times and harness what is happening inside your baby's head.

As difficult as it may seem, there are ways to deal with your baby's fussy phases. Here are a few simple strategies:

Forewarned is Forearmed: If you understand the developmental phase your baby is going through during these magical leaps, then you are not only better prepared to ride the tide of fussy behavior, but also better able to incorporate specific playtime activities that will help you increase your baby's awareness and satisfaction.

Encouraging Discovery: Bring her into contact with situations, games and toys that help her to discover the possibilities her expanding brain possesses. The sooner she discovers her new abilities, the sooner the puzzle pieces in her brain will fall together!

Love is All Around: Comfort him whenever he wants to be comforted. You can never spoil a baby with too much love!

To Sleep; To Dream: Be sure to give him the time and rest required to get used to his new brain capacity. It's important not to start incorporating major changes to his sleep schedules and other routines during this phase.

Talk, Talk: This goes for mommy and baby. If you are having a difficult time, talk about your frustrations with your husband, partner, or friends. Be sure to take some time for you - you'll be amazed by the benefits you'll reap from just an hour or two of "me" time! And, you will be equally surprised at how much your baby will learn from spending quality time with someone else.

Last, but certainly not least, remember with each new leap forward, your baby's brain is like a super sponge absorbing as much new information as possible...and then some! Your baby is working hard to make this new and scary world that comes with each new leap familiar again. So, as a parent, take a deep breath, find your patience and remember that these fussy periods will pass.

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