Fussy Baby Network By: Gabby Ognar & Nicole Grames

If you’re struggling to care for a baby who is fussy, crying excessively, or has difficulties with sleeping or feeding, we’re here to help inform you. For example, we will explain the typical emotional and social timeline, bonding and attachment, and way to help cope with crying.

Emotional Development Timeline:

It is important to remember that the development is different for each child. For example, the timeline below is a typical timeline for an infant, however, a baby might express disgust at 4 months or at 6 months. Development depends on the child.

Birth/The First Days of Life:

Distress: (unpleasant emotion) Very young babies express any discomfort or unhappiness by crying.

3 Months:

Delight: (pleasant emotion) Babies show delight by smiling, perhaps in response to an adult who is making funny faces at them.

5 Months:

Disgust: (unpleasant emotion) Babies begin to show their dislikes very clearly.

8 Months:

Anger: (unpleasant emotion) Babies first show their anger when they don’t get their own way. Older babies show anger at objects as well as people.

Elation: (pleasant emotion) Babies show high spirits with their whole body.

8-12 Months:

Fear: (unpleasant emotion) Babies begin to show fear of strangers at about.

11 Months:

Affection: (pleasant emotion) Babies first show affection for caregivers. Affection for other children comes later.

Social Development Timeline:

Birth/The First Days of Life: From birth, babies respond to human voices. A calm, soothing voice will quiet a baby, a harsh or loud voice will upset a baby.

1 Month: Most babies stop crying when lifted or touched. A baby’s face brightens when he or she sees a familiar person such as a parent.

2 Months: By two months, babies smile at people since their eyes can follow moving objects. Babies start to enjoy watching people move around the room.

3 Months: At this point, babies turn their head in response to a voice. Now they want companionship as well as physical care.

4 Months: Babies laugh out loud. They look for others for entertainment.

5 Months: Babies show an increased interest in family members other than parents. They may cry when they are left alone in a room. At this age, babies babble- to their toys, dolls, stuffed animals, or themselves.

6 Months: Babies love company and attention. They delight in playing games such as peekaboo.

7 Months: Babies prefer parents over other family members or strangers.

8 Months: Babies prefer to be in a room with other people. Babies who can crawl by this age may move from room to room looking for company.

9 & 10 Months: Now active socially, babies creep after their parents and are often underfoot. Babies love attention. They enjoy being chased and playing games in which they throw toys again and again with someone else picking them up each time.

11& 12 Months: Babies are most often friendly and happy at this emotions- and know how to influence and adjust to the emotions of people around them. Babies like to be the center of attention, therefore, by this time, they are usually tolerant of strangers.

Bonding and Attachment:

Emotional and social development are connected to each other. A child’s feelings about himself or herself and behavior toward others depend on one another. Both emotional and social development start at birth and continue throughout life. There are many things influence how the child develops.

One influence is the bond between parents and their child. Attachment, the bond built between the caregiver and child through physical contact, is necessary for the child to develop normal social relationships later in life. Holding, cuddling, rocking, or even just being near your baby can help to strengthen the bond between you and your baby. Providing positive attention and encouragement is also important, especially for emotional development. If babies don’t receive love and attention they may develop failure to thrive, a condition where a baby does not grow and develop properly With this condition, they won’t be able to develop meaningful relationships later in life.

Another influence is the emotional climate of the home. Long before babies can speak, they can pick up on their parents’ feelings. Although every family has their ups and downs, it’s essential for the baby to feel love, care, and affection the majority of the time.

The last influence is the baby’s own temperament or way of reacting to the world and relating to others. For example if something near the baby falls and makes a loud sound, one baby may scream and wail while another baby may fuss for a minute, but then calm down. Researchers have found nine different types of temperament. Every baby has different degrees of each type.

For example, your baby could show a higher amount of intensity but a lower amount of persistence. Your friend’s baby could have the exact opposite. Neither one of them are bad or unusual, it’s just how that specific baby was created.

Intensity: Intensity is how strong or weak a baby’s cry is. A highly intense baby has deep and powerful responses. They often have heartily cries and are generally very loud. Babies with a lower intensity may be quieter and have a weak cry.

Persistence: A highly persistent child is very determined will not give up once they’ve set a goal for themselves. They won’t take “no” for an answer. Babies with lower persistence will accept “no” as an answer and don’t have a problem moving on to another activity.

Sensitivity: A highly sensitive child has strong reactions to their emotions. They may be easily bothered by the things around them. For example, a child may not like how their food tastes, so they complain and fuss about it. A child who is less sensitive is more likely to go with the flow.

Perceptiveness: A highly perceptive child is very aware of their surroundings. They can get easily distracted and may have a hard time following directions with a lot of different steps or tasks because of this. A less perceptive child don’t get distracted as easily. They don’t notice things around them as much and are better at following directions with many tasks than highly perceptive children.

Adaptability: A highly adaptive child finds change easy. They tend to not be bothered by surprises or unexpected issues. A child with less adaptability doesn’t like change and surprises. They like to keep doing what they’re doing at the time. They like to know what’s coming.

Regularity: A highly regular child likes patterns and schedules. A child with less regularity doesn’t need as much structure, so the time to do activities such as eating and sleeping can vary every day.

Energy: A highly energized child loves physical activity. Even when they’re sitting, they usually squirm or move around. A child who isn’t as energized can sit in one spot for a longer period of time without squirming.

First Reaction: Some children may see a new activity and dive right in without a worry. Others may hold back and observe before participating. Some children are more comfortable in new situations than others.

Mood: Some children tend to be more cheerful and positive, while others can be crabby and look at the negatives more often.

Coping With Crying- Strategies For Parents to Manage Stress

  • Keep a positive attitude to reduce stress. Ask your friends for help with this.
  • Exercise every day even if you're tired because it will keep you physically and healthy.
  • Eat a balanced diet. For example, if you eat junk food, you're undermining your health and making yourself more vulnerable to stress.
  • Take time to relax. For example, listen to music, take a warm bath, or, learn some relaxation techniques.
  • Develop a network or supportive friends.

Again, we are here to help and support you if you are having difficulties with caring for a very fussy baby, If the information above didn't answer all your questions and you still want to talk to one of our infant-parent specialists, call us at 1.888.431.BABY (2229).

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