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Infants » Discipline and Guidance

Eleven Month Old Wants Things Immediately

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I have an 11 month baby that when he sees anything he wants it, and if I do not give it to him he screams loudly until we do. What we can do to change this, and is it normal for all babies to act like this?

NOTE: He is very active, and he notices everything around and reacts to it. (from Jordan)

Your baby is at a stage of development when he is starting to pull himself up to a standing position and crawling so that he can get where he wants to go. Babies have good communication at this age - they yell, they point, they say syllables and words, and they get very stubborn if they can't have what they want. Babies are very smart, aren't they?

In some countries and cultures, babies are held and carried for many months and they don't actively explore their surroundings physically until they walk. They are loved and fed, but are restrained from using large motor movements, and from crawling around on the ground and on floors to satisfy their curiosity. All babies want to play with objects so they can learn how their household and their little world "operates."

Perhaps your baby is telling you he wants to move around and show you by his movements what he wants. Encourage him to "talk to you." It is very normal for babies to be demanding, but in the country where you live, babies are not given as much freedom to explore, to move, to handle many toys, as Western babies are. Follow your own common sense, but do not restrain your baby all the time.

You need to understand your baby has a definite personality. If he is demanding to move and to find things on his own, try not holding him so much, and letting him explore. Try not to do everything for him, but let him feed himself food with his fingers, and let him have some freedom to choose what toys to play with.

Your traditional ways of caring for babies are wonderful ways, so this is not criticism; but all babies deserve to be treated according to their personalities and temperament and their needs. Some babies really need to be physically active or they cry too much and become depressed or sad, or they withdraw and are not secure. Babies need to be secure to learn.

Babies in Kosovo and in Palestine who live in orphanages are not allowed to be out of their cribs. Look at pictures of them, they are sad and act as if they are mentally "slow". The also scream and don't eat well. That's because they are not moving and exploring with their bodies.

Write me more about your child. These are just a few ideas. I very much admire your country. I hope you will be encouraged by my remarks, and will understand a bit more about infant development.

Dr. Susan

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