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  • Your Baby Is Irritable or Inconsolable These Days. It Doesn't Mean You're a Bad Parent

    Researchers say every parent will go through a rough couple of weeks with their baby.
    by Rachel Perez .
Your Baby Is Irritable or Inconsolable These Days. It Doesn't Mean You're a Bad Parent
PHOTO BY Image by joffi from Pixabay
  • Some babies are just easy. They only cry — or more like a whimper — when they're hungry or need a diaper change. And once they get some attention, they reciprocate with adorable cooing and toothless smiles that make you put your hand over your heart (make sure you drop the used diaper in the proper trash bin first!). But some babies, well, they can be cranky, and everything you do seems to irritate them.

    Filipinos of a certain age have a term for babies who they think are irritable and ill-tempered all the time: "pinaglihi sa sama ng loob." It's a phrase most moms don't hear anymore, which is good because it's a judgmental comment on the mom, rather than on the child. It's best you ignore when you hear it, and take this into the heart: your baby's mood or personality is adjusting as he goes through his milestones — it may have nothing to do with your parenting skills.

    At the Gesell Institute of Child Development, the researchers discovered a pattern in a child's development: they go through a period of equilibrium and dis-equilibrium cycles (or "cycles of peace and chaos") in six different stages from infancy to 16 years old. (The Gesell Institute of Child Development is a research and program development and training center that uses clinical psychologist and pediatrician Dr. Arnold Gesell's work as its core foundation. Dr. Gesell is also the founder of Yale Child Study Center.)

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    The so-called chaotic moments are the stages of development when children's brains make substantial leaps as they take in more information from their environment and adjust. The Gesell researchers suggest these cycles of growth begin in infancy.


    "In early infancy, salient changes are very rapid and show up clearly at weekly intervals. As growth progresses, these changes are clearer at two-week intervals," writes psychologist and art teacher Susan Laing on Conscious Creative Courageous Living with Children.

    Dis-equilibrium starts from week cycles in infanthood and expands to monthly periods and then yearly increments of developmental leaps going to the child's teenage years. 

    The next "troublesome" period that you should look at as wonder weeks is a child's so-called "terrible twos" stage. The following developmental leap happens around the time your child enters kindergarten at age 5, another period of adjustment. Puberty is yet another round of wonder years.

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    These "wonder weeks" or developmental leaps are good to think about during those moments when nothing seems to work to improve your baby's "bad mood" or he's inconsolable when you know he's not in pain. Your baby's brain is going through a considerable deal of growth and development at such a short time. Is it any wonder if he's clingy, sensitive or tricky to please? 

    And, as parents, we actually grow with our babies during these times. Studies have found that parents (although moms more than dads — research backs it up!) are hard-wired to respond to their babies cries and do everything to calm their baby. Eventually, if he isn't hungry, doesn't need a nappy change, or is not sick, we realize he just wants mommy (or daddy) and needs a cuddle.

    Yes, these cranky days will be exhausting, but you really just got to hang in there and wait it out. It's how our kids teach us patience and learn to be more forgiving of our mistakes. The best part? You  get to know your child even more.

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