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New Fears May Come With Brain Development: Sylvia Rimm on Raising Kids

By Sylvia Rimm

Q.I have a 9-month-old daughter, and she's an absolute joy! I'm a little worried because for the past week or so, if my husband or I walk up to her from behind, she screams as if the boogeyman is going to get her. She also seems frightened at night when I put her to bed. She used to sleep through the night without waking up, but now she wakes up four to five times a night screaming. Do you have any suggestions?

A.Your daughter's change may be related to brain development that takes place at about eight or nine months of age. This is also the time that babies often show stranger-anxiety. Changes in their brain make them better at recognizing people, so temporarily they may become more fearful. It's usually a brief stage. Comforting your daughter in her crib for a few minutes may solve the problem. Another possibility for your daughter's difficult nights could be allergies to new foods you may have introduced. A third less likely cause could be viewing television before bedtime. The imagery may stay with her and awaken her. Hopefully, she's back to sleeping peacefully by the time you receive my answer.

Dr. Sylvia B. Rimm is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, a clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the author of many books on parenting. More information on raising kids is available at www.sylviarimm.com.

Categories: Babies,

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