My 5 1/2 month old used to be able to play on his own with his toys on the floor, sit under his activity centre or in his swing and be amused.

The past week, however, he's taken to extreme whining and eventual crying whenever I try to put him down somewhere. He is only quiet and/or happy when he's directly on me.

Is this a phase? Why can't he amuse himself any more? Is he trying to see if the whining will result in me picking up? Or is this just the start of his personality developing (oh no!)?

asked 28 Jan '10, 14:16

DazedandConfused's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%


As brandstaetter said, it could be teething. Try sticking a carrot in the freezer and giving it to him to gnaw on. Plus, it'll give him some practice with food.

(28 Jan '10, 16:02) Scottie T

Is he beginning to feel the teeth? We noticed that our son started to get more clingy the more the annoying itching in his mouth was going on.

Maybe you could try some different toys, maybe something to chew on?


answered 28 Jan '10, 14:49

brandstaetter's gravatar image

accept rate: 24%

I think brandstaetter makes a very valid point. You could try running your little finger along his gums to see whether there are any developments in that area.

Additionally I recall my daughter whining too... it also started at around 5 months. I remember thinking and feeling that this could be a way of her trying to communicate with me... Sometimes it used to go on for quite long stretches at the end of which sometimes she would be feeling tired and fall asleep.

So to answer your question, in my opinion, I don't think it is his personality developing in the whining sense but that he is developing and getting bored quicker, and may require more or different stimulation.

Do you think he is showing interest for crawling? Does he make any attempts to move forward or back while under his activity mat??


answered 28 Jan '10, 15:20

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

It is possible that your son has started to develop object permanence. As you can see from this article, this milestone can mark the beginning of separation anxiety.

Here's a quote from an article from

Sometime between 4-7 months, babies develop a sense of object permanence and begin to learn that things and people exist even when they're out of sight. This is when babies start playing the "dropsy" game — dropping things over the side of the high chair and expecting an adult to retrieve it (which, once retrieved, get dropped again!).

The same thing occurs with a parent. Babies realize that there's only mom or dad, and when they can't see you, that means you've gone away. And most don't yet yet understand the concept of time so do not know if or when you'll come back.

Whether you're in the kitchen, in the next bedroom, or at the office, it's all the same to your baby. You've disappeared, and your child will do whatever he or she can to prevent this from happening.

Our daughter certainly went through this around that age. I would describe her as being at the more sensitive and anxious end of the spectrum. So for her it appeared to begin early (around 4 months) was quite intense (it was difficult to put her down for first 15-20 minutes if we were in a group setting) and it lasted for awhile (probably until about 14 months). From my observations or other babies not all of them will experience the "clingy-ness" with the same intensity.


answered 30 Jan '10, 18:12

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

I call this the "Peek-a-boo phase", if they like playing peek-a-boo with you, they hate you leaving their line of sight.

(31 Jan '10, 07:19) Neen

I have heard and observed that the 5 month mark is when babies stop being interested in Baby toys, and just want to do what you are doing, or watch what you are doing. Also, I think they want to start to see things from the upright perspective. Try a Bumbo chair, or start practicing sitting up.


answered 28 Jan '10, 16:59

DarwinsMom's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

I don't know whether it's a phase or not, but I would try wearing him in a sling or wrap when he's especially clingy. It will allow him the closeness he desires, but will also enable you to get things done that you would normally do when he plays independently.


answered 29 Jan '10, 23:18

Fun2Dream's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

My nephew is 5 months, and it is like a switch was flipped - he used to be happy to self-amuse with his activity mat, toys, Aquarium bouncer, Exersaucer etc. - now, forget it! He wants to be held and stimulated all the time!

I think it's just a phase, likely signifying a new stage of development.


answered 30 Jan '10, 04:27

YMCbuzz's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%

Oops - ha ha I answered this a little late in the day. Didn't see this was my sister's question and she WAS talking about my nephew :-D

(30 Jan '10, 14:43) YMCbuzz
Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 28 Jan '10, 14:16

Seen: 32,744 times

Last updated: 30 Jan '10, 18:12