Q&A: Cry baby...
My nine-month old baby has suddenly gone from a happy-go-lucky chap who smiled sll the time, to a clingy baby who cries a lot. He refuses to go to my husband or anyone but me- I can't even go to the loo! What is happening here?

Robyn-Leigh Smith (counselling psychologist) answers:

Remember that this period coincides with your baby’s increased mobility, as he starts crawling
around now. Besides the greater exploration and independence mobility allows, the realisation that your baby is his own, separate, person can cause him to feel much anxiety and fear. Babies at this age do not understand that their caregiver will return when, for example, they leave the room. Time can also seem endless and moments apart may feel like they will never end. Your baby also has to deal with the realisation that at times he will be left out – in other words, that the people he loves have relationships that exclude him, like your relationship with your partner.

Separation anxiety, or the upset response which arises when separated from the primary caregiver (normally the mother), is a normal stage of development and tends to be seen in babies between the ages of six and 15 months. It usually goes away on its own.

As much as a nine-month-old baby has to battle with having to be alone or separate from his mom, parents also battle to manage this – both in terms of their own separation from their baby as well as having to hold the pain of separation on behalf of their baby. It may bring up feelings of unbearable loss that parents have experienced, rejections or traumatic separations. Moms may also not want to give up the exclusive relationship they have with their baby or allow dad to take on
a greater role.

Never forget that just like any relationship, the relationship between you and your baby will have its ups and downs. Sometimes you will understand what is going on with your baby, but other times you will feel quite lost and may feel like you are getting it all wrong. As so nicely put by Sophie Boswell in her book Understanding Your Baby, when things go wrong it does not mean things will be “broken beyond repair: recovering from diffi culties and misunderstandings, for both baby and parents, is an essential part of getting to know and love each other”. So understand that this too shall pass as it’s a normal phase of babyhood.

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
What is flat head syndrome?


Want to know what your baby looks like and what you can expect at this stage?




Balance routine and creativity

Little people need routine, but creative play is also essential. Try these activities with them to balance the two.

See more >


Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.