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To not know if I'm doing this wrong

(47 Posts)
MTB1003 Sun 01-Jan-17 15:36:14

My DS is 4 months old and This is my first baby. I love him to bits and I'm trying my best but I'm just feeling so overwhelmed at times. He needs constant attention and I'm just feeling so backed into a corner where
I don't have a minute to myself.

We've been fortunate in that dh has been able to work from home since he was born but the job has changed and he needs to be office based so I will be alone with DS this week. I sound so terrible for feeling down about that sad

He wakes up at about 5am and that's it. He's napping about 20 minutes here and there but the rest of the time he just cannot be occupied by anything without dh or I doing it with him and him on our laps. Is this how it usually is? I feel embarrassed to ask friends, when they tell me their babies can be left on a playmat with a few toys and occupied for hours.

I think we've probably created this problem as we both have always picked him up and carried him at the slightest sound and now he can only be occupied while being carried.

Can I please ask what a 4 month old's day should be like, activities for them to do or how to get them used to being occupied without mum and dad just for a little while?

SquedgieBeckenheim Sun 01-Jan-17 15:49:19

Sounds about right! My DD was the same at this age. Some babies are just more clingy than others. At 4 months old, just being awake is an activity, they learn by interaction with other people. He will get there, and be able to entertain himself when he gets older. Right now just do what you can. Do you have a sling you can carry him in while doing other jobs?

MTB1003 Sun 01-Jan-17 16:07:48

Thanks Squedgie, i do have a sling which he hates so I can't use that.
This may sound stupid but what do people do with their babies? Do they spend every minute doing activities? I can just about brush my teeth only if dh carries him. How do you get things done.

We've created a play area for him, just a play mat with some soft toys around, the tummy time pillow, sometimes play some nice calming music. He just can't be there unless dh or I are sitting with him and him on our laps. confused

I felt really bad last week when friends visited with their 5 month old DS and we left him in the play area with us all around, and the baby happily played with his feet for about 45 mins whilst my DS had to be walked about, rocked in his chair, then he cried for the phone blushwhich then kept him busy for a little while. I'm also not sure what he's trying to do, but if left on his back he does this think where he's trying to sit up by trying to grab his feet with hands and feet stretched out. He obviously can't so this frustrates him and he screams and cries.

Sorry for the essays but just feeling out of my depth here.

DorotheaHomeAlone Sun 01-Jan-17 16:14:46

Sounds totally normal to me. I just carried mundxwuth me at that stage and worked to get them napping a bit longer so I could get to the toilet/ eat something. They get a lot easier after 5months once they can hold things for themselves. Then easier still at 6m when they start sitting up.

Loulou0 Sun 01-Jan-17 16:24:06

Op that sounds exhausting! Have you tried a Jumperoo or similar?

SquedgieBeckenheim Sun 01-Jan-17 16:36:43

At 4 months I did everything with DD on my hip! She'd go on her play mat for about 20 minutes if we were lucky. Even when she was 6 months old and just about tall enough for a jumperoo she wouldn't be in it for more than 5 minutes.
Got easier when she could sit in a bumbo and watch me do stuff.
Every baby is different, so please don't compare your DS to your friends baby. It's difficult not to, I know. But that road only leads to disappointment.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Sun 01-Jan-17 16:38:26

All babies are different. Some are just more demanding and vocal. It's also entirely normal to feel a bit overwhelmed but you'll cope fine without your husband there I'm sure.

Just in case you haven't tried them already(!) here are a few ideas/tips I've used as a mum and nanny for babies;

-Don't just lie him on his back, try him on his front for a while on a mat. Some babies love this and it's good for wind and strengthening their necks.

-If he's determined to try and sit up and frustrated, he might prefer sitting in a soft bouncy chair or being propped up with cushions.

-Musical light up toys may entertain for short periods, also the tv will amuse him for a while. 4 month olds do have short attention spans though!

-At 4-6 months most babies can go into a Jumparoo which keeps them entertained.

-He will like the sound of your voice so if you sing or talk to him while getting on with other things, that should comfort him.

-Finally, don't feel guilty about leaving him to do things around the house. As long as he's safe and comfortable. You can't devote all your attention to him, all the time. If he cries when you're brushing your teeth then that's not the end of the world. It's likely to just a grizzly bored cry.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be a perfect mum. Just muddling through in the first few months is normal smile

allowlsthinkalot Sun 01-Jan-17 17:43:17

Four month olds don't need activities! The answer is, you don't get anything done!! I carried mine about in a sling or sat there feeding them, or took them out in sling or pushchair.

AmeliaJack Sun 01-Jan-17 17:50:56

He "cried for the phone"? You're giving your phone to your 4 month old? That's not a great habit to get into.

Some babies are just more clingy, but leaving him to cry for a minute while you brush your teeth won't do him any harm.

Pop him in a bouncy chair so he can see you. Sing to him while you're in the shower so he knows you are there.

Play interesting music (not just the soothing kind!)

My twins didn't sleep during the day for more than 10 minutes at time until they were much older than your DS so I understand how hard it is.

i used to take long walks with the pram, lots of fresh air and things to look at helped with tiring them out.

At 4 months we also started some classes which helped as well.

acquiescence Sun 01-Jan-17 17:58:13

It's hard. My DS was like this and I found it so difficult. Do you have many friends with little ones? I would suggest taking advantage of this time when he can't move to go for coffees and hang out at people's houses, as long as you can drink with him on your lap. How about groups? More for your benefit than his at this stage. You might find something that fascinates him, such as a music group.

My DS is over a year now and most of the time I can leave him to okay with his toys for short periods while I make lunch etc. Some days, when he is unwell, teething etc, he wants to be picked up all the time. It does get easier. He is now sleeping until 7 most days instead of 5/5.30 which makes a big difference (not sleeping through by any means though).

You can get quite good toy phones with flashing lights etc.

You sound like you are doing it right, you have a high needs baby who needs a lot of your time.

DirtyDancing Sun 01-Jan-17 18:20:14

My DS was the same. I used to feel ridiculous saying to my DH, when he got home from work, that I hadn't managed to even unload the dishwasher! It was all consuming. He would only sleep on me, he hated his bouncy chair & I didn't like the pressure jumperoos put on babies backs so didn't have one of those.

In the end, I did a few things, to try and keep my sanity!

I had a few different play places to put him in different rooms. So play mat upstairs and downstairs. E.g. I used to pop play mat outside the bathroom with the door open. i took it around the house with me. We got a second hand Stokke seat and attached it to the trip trapp chair and kept it in the kitchen, so I could do bits in there. He built up from doing couple of minutes to 10/20 at a time. I would talk / sing to him as I did the washing etc. I talked to him constantly actually! grin

I got him into a routine around 4 months. It was tough and took 2 weeks!! But gosh it was a relief. So I had shower and breakie before DH left for work. I would then go for a walk AM and found the fresh air helped him sleep. It mde me feel better too. We worked on his sleep a lot. Back for some tummy time, play, then second nap when I would have lunch. The PM was books and music, may be a class, and last nap before bed.

I did a small load of washing every evening to keep on top of things, rather than let it build up. Set out my breakie stuff the night before and sometimes made mysled a 'packed lunch' the night before too

Good luck. It is tough, but everything is just a phase.

Abraiid2 Sun 01-Jan-17 18:23:25

Take him for a long walk every day unless the weather is wet. It will help him relax and sleep better. And it will help you break up the day.

OhWotIsItThisTime Sun 01-Jan-17 18:26:57

Ds1 was like this. You know that you can get him used to the sling? Just stick him in it and walk. He will cry at first, but will fall asleep. It will make trips out easier once he adjusts.

If he's not napping, he may be tired and grumpy. At some point, you may need to do controlled crying. For now, time buggy trips with nap time. If you're lucky, he will nod off and you can grab a coffee and a sit down.

Sing. It gives you brain space and helps cope with the crying.

Ds1 is now a very intelligent, gorgeous boy. Still needs lots of attention, though smile

Areyoufree Sun 01-Jan-17 18:29:03

Nothing you have done. My son was permanently attached to me - even slept next to me at night, and he was very content by himself and napped during the day. It's the luck of the draw, I'm afraid. All babies are different, and just when you think you have got it sussed, they go through another bloody growth spurt. I have a friend with a baby like yours - little sleep, easily bored, no napping. It's very hard, and you have my sympathy. But it's not anything that you are doing wrong!

Lazyafternoon Sun 01-Jan-17 18:32:21

4 months is still very young for activities as such. But my DS was very clingy as baby - from about 3-9 months. But once he could crawl got more independent.

I was always in amazement at friends who could just put their babies down on a mat and they'd be happy. DS wasn't like that. But a few things did help:
- A bouncy chair. He'd sit in it for long enough to make lunch or while I had a shower. Some of my friends little ones loved the jumperoo, I got one and DS never really took to it.
- A sling was invaluable. I tried loads of different slings and eventually found one he liked. He hated the baby Bjorn type, but got on well with a ring sling which is much softer and less structured. I'd recommend trying to find a Sling meet/ library to look at different options.
- Play mat with arch over the top, and added extra toys!
- Getting out the house regularly! I had an activity most days - Baby sensory, swimming, bumps and babes group, Rhyme time at the library, meeting friends etc. I was lucky that he loved his carrycot on his buggy so would go for lots of walks.
- Having a stash of interesting toys I'd only get out when I needed a few minutes to answer phone, pop to loo etc to keep them novel. A waterbottle with glitter in, glittery rattle, things with mirrors, bells, sparkly scarf etc. I got some good ideas from baby sensory and the play leaders at bumps and babes groups.
- Establishing a routine. It made managing the day much easier. He'd get much more irritable when tired or hungry. I read the Baby Whisperer and it gave me lots of ideas. I didn't follow it to the letter, but following an eat, activity, sleep pattern made my life easier and more predictable and therefore it didn't feel like I just had a whole day with a grizzly baby a head of me. I implemented a strict routine for a while, then relaxed it when I felt I'd got back control and less overwhelmed.

Cheby Sun 01-Jan-17 18:34:33

Are you going out every day? That was a lifesaver for me. Baby group, Tesco, walk round the park or whatever. Getting out of the house makes things so much easier.

I would really persevere with the sling too; if he doesn't like the one you have, why not try a local sling library and try out some other ones? I found going to the sling library a really nice experience, i guarantee you will find at least one other Mum there who is looking for a sling because she has a Velcro baby! (Mine was too, decent sling changed my life, I could suddenly make lunch, vaguely tidy up and brush my teeth without leaving a screaming bab).

Pollyanna9 Sun 01-Jan-17 18:39:33

I used to put DS in his bouncy chair and using a beanbag as a bolster, put his plastic vtech light and sound walker right in front of him. He'd pound that thing with his feet for ages!

Also try the bouncy chair under the baby gym so more upright.

What did help was the days when I got together with my friend at the time and we just went to one or the other's house. Just having someone there was enough to reduce my stress levels way back down. It is really tough at home on your own - by my DS would sleep for like 3 hours straight at a time so it must be really hard for you, really hard.

Read Your Self Confident Child by Madga Gerba. It kinda totally changed my mindest. Before reading it I would literally respond to every little whimper or slight grimace - this made me step back and not over involve myself (when it wasn't necessary). Some of it is a bit far fetched (like she says your child 'should never go to sleep anywhere other than their crib'! but a lot of it is actually really good especially if you have a child like this and also additionally if you have anxiety (which I did only I didn't realise it at the time). Unknowingly you can over-react so that your child doesn't get the opportunity to get chance to learn to wait a minute or entertain themselves etc. Although I am a 100% believe in 'they'll do it when they're ready' this book honours that but enables you to step back a bit and give them those chances when you can.

formerbabe Sun 01-Jan-17 18:40:46

The answer is, you don't get anything done!!

What rubbish! What do you think mothers with more than one DC do? Their other children still need to eat, to be bathed, dressed, helped with homework, taken to school etc! If you don't have a choice, then you just get on with it. If your baby is fed, clean and in a safe place, I think it's fine to spend five minutes having a quick shower or doing a few bits of housework.

NerrSnerr Sun 01-Jan-17 18:47:55

At 4 months my daughter was pretty much constantly on the boob still. I tried to go to some kind of baby group (children's centre, library and toddler groups) or meet up with someone every day. Just so I could feed in a different environment with people to chat to!

Ohyesiam Sun 01-Jan-17 18:49:13

Op, my heart for out to you, my eldest was Just like this. I can promise it's not the way you have treated him, ( my next was the opposite, I did nothing different).
Being a baby just was not exciting enough for her, and really did not suit her. She got happier with each stage, and seemed to push herself to meet all her mile stones early just because that gave her more of a foot hold in the world, and it just continues to get better.
So all I can say is, hang on in there, it's nothing you've done. I think that if I has my eldest again, I would let her cry more when I needed to shower, etc( and I say this as someonec who would never do controlled crying), but if they can see you and are physically safe, maybe they Just need to such it up for 15 minutes while you wash your hair. .....
Sorry writing this in a hurry, hope I'm making sense!

CocktailQueen Sun 01-Jan-17 18:53:40

You give her your phone?? She's a baby. She doesn't need a phone!

GimmeeMoore Sun 01-Jan-17 18:54:30

4 month old baby doesn't need activities.its another stick to beat new parents with
4mth needs to be fed,changed,burped,spoken to,cuddled,loved,walks in pram
I'd say go out, go to baby groups if that's your interest.i found them stultifying

cookieswirls Sun 01-Jan-17 18:58:04

My twins were exactly the same only now at 11 months do they play for a bit by themselves. It will get better

FannyCradock Sun 01-Jan-17 19:01:47

Have you tried a swing?

BendydickCuminsnatch Sun 01-Jan-17 19:09:48

*The answer is, you don't get anything done!!

^What rubbish!^*

Agree. If you don't have time to do the basics i.e. look after yourself - eat, shower, then you're doing something wrong. Lots of great advice above! It is tough but you've just got to find your own routine/rhythm/system/tricks. You can do it OP flowers

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