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Why is my 4 mo baby so bloody miserable??

(27 Posts)
ReshapeWhileDamp Sun 01-May-11 17:37:06

sad for him. And me. I know it shouldn't be All About Me but this is really getting to me and I'm becoming depressed about it, because very little I do seems to make any improvement
.
DS2 is 20 weeks old and has never been all that cheery. I think he had a bit of reflux early on and certainly a lot of tummy pain - he used to fart for Britain and double up screaming sad - and couldn't be laid down after a feed because of acid (I assume). Now he's older, he seems to have got past the reflux stage but he is still so grumpy. He has his smiley moments, but is mostly characterised by grumpily screaming at the drop of a hat. He even grumbles and moans when he's on the breast, sometimes!

Now, I know he's tiny still and that he needs constant reassurance and contact - but he gets it! We have co-slept since night one, he is carried around in a selection of slings (has been in the buggy three times and is not best pleased with it), he's breastfed on demand. I just don't know what else I'm meant to be doing.

Is he bored?? He can't sit unaided yet and reacts unpredictably to being propped up in front of me, ditto being put on his tummy, though sometimes he likes that. He's been at his happiest the last few days laid on a rug in the shade, gurgling at the trees outside, but that doesn't always work to make him happy either. The other thing that he loves is to have the adoring face of either parent hung over him the entire time he's awake, talking animatedly and making him giggle, but if I did that the whole time, DS1 and I would both starve! The very instant you take your face away from DS2, he roars. sad He is more or less unputdownable.

He's been dribbling since he was 2 months and though teeth aren't at all evident, I presume they're on the move, so maybe he's just a miserable teether? At 4 months? I also think his tummy still troubles him, but how on earth do I know?? confused He's not a great breastfeeder either - has always been very finicky about having his boob held at exactly the right angle for him, and he loses focus easily and comes off several times a feed. At the moment, he's feeding for a few minutes and then coming off and roaring in anger/pain. confused Could be sore gums, could be tummy, could be let-down not fast/slow enough - I just don't know.

DS1 was entirely different (a breeze, compared) and I know I'm just going to have to stop comparing them because it's not fair to DS2 - he is his own man and clearly has a different attitude to life! grin

Did anyone else have a mostly grumpy little so and so baby in the early months, with no apparent cause, who cheered up? I just don't know what to do to improve things.

BigCook Sun 01-May-11 17:42:20

It could still be the reflux. Make sure he's not still in pain.

on the other hand... some babies are just like this and are just on default mardy bum mode. He will grow out of it I can guarantee he won't be like this in a year but it feels like it will never change. hang in there, some of the most foul tempered little babies become little charmers when they can interact and communicate better.

ReshapeWhileDamp Sun 01-May-11 18:14:42

I did wonder if he still has tummy pain or acid, but not sure how I can check - Calpol never made much difference once he was old enough to take it. He's upright a lot of the time in slings or being carried.

I suspect this is just his charming personality at the moment! I think he's more frustrated at the stuff he can't do yet than his older brother was, because he has his older brother blatantly Doing Things right in front of him!

Galena Sun 01-May-11 20:03:16

Was he on any meds for the reflux?

DD was a grumpy little madam but domperidone and ranitidine helped and after a few months on them we were able to wean her off and she was much more cheery. Perhaps go back to the Dr?

Chundle Sun 01-May-11 20:39:46

My dd2 still has reflux and she is 21 months! Make sure it's not still that as could be silent reflux. Dd was nightmare until she went on meds for it

Again Sun 01-May-11 21:19:03

My dd is 5 months and has always been quite cheery - never had any tummy troubles, unlike ds, but in the last few weeks she's definitely more difficult to please. I really think that she wants to move on - be able to keep hold of things and to crawl or sit up, but she's not quite ready. I think she's also teething. I do seem to remember and still find with ds (nearly 4 years), that they get very grumpy and clingy right before some developmental leap.

familyfun Sun 01-May-11 21:23:21

hi, my dd is 5 months and has always been a smiley easy baby but the last 2 weeks she doesnt want to be put down, not sure if she got used to it over easter or its the age when they get more clingy as she now cries when i leave the room. she also has teeth coming and trying very hard to move so its a frustrating age for them i think smile

valiumbandwitch Sun 01-May-11 21:27:12

My son was like this, he really was the most miserable baby. He literally was NOT happy unless I was holding him and it got worse before it got better. Just ask the hv to get somebody to look at him when he's about ten months old to check for autism. Does he 'flail' his arms up and down and up and down? My son seemed to be in pain as well, had to take him to hospital a few times and they scanned his intestines (I think that's what htey were doing, they thought he might have a block).

Obviously this is just one possibility. I don't want to alarm you. It's almost certainly not autism but if it did turn out to be that, early intervention is key.
(my son is MUCH cheerier now he is five)

ReshapeWhileDamp Sun 01-May-11 22:14:01

DS2 never had silent reflux diagnosed - GP wasn't concerned as he was putting on weight ok. Said it might well be reflux but that it clearly wasn't that bad and didn't want to prescribe drugs. So I'm not sure really. Can I take DS2 back and say - well, he's ok really, still gaining but miserable and clingy a lot of the time??

I only have him weighed monthly but I might take him in this week and talk to the HV. Valium - no, he doesn't flail his arms, but isn't 4 mo a bit early for that sort of autism marker? confused I don't really have any reason to think he's autistic, tbh.

Casserole Sun 01-May-11 22:45:03

I'd take him back to the GP and ask to do a 2 week trial of reflux meds. See what difference it makes.

Okonomiyaki Sun 01-May-11 22:58:12

My ds was an unspeakably grumpy bugger until about 4.5 months. Honestly, I was so down - the magical 3 months came and went and he was no better. We have also co-slept from day one, breast-fed on demand, lots of slinging etc. He hated the pram too!

Now at 6 months he is a totally different baby, I really noticed a difference from just before 5 months. He is all smiles, friendly and very happy. However he is still sensitive and needs a lot of active parenting (eg v frequent bf'ing to keep him on an even keel, feeding to sleep etc)

I think that some babies are just more sensitive and are very upset and discombobulated by their entry into the world. For some, settling down takes a little bit longer. It is horrendous and you have my sympathy but if there is nothing physically wrong then he may just be like my little beauty.

Who unfortunately still hates the pram (will tolerate for about 20 minutes now though)...but you can't have everything wink

Okonomiyaki Sun 01-May-11 23:01:11

Gawd, mine flails his arms, don't all babies?

Meh, my health visitor used to call his smiles diamonds because they were so rare. Now you'd think he is having a closing down sale!

InvaderZim Sun 01-May-11 23:01:57

I have a baby who is either very grumpy or very happy... Happy us when out of the house and doing different things. She has always flailed up and down when happy though, I've never heard if this as a concern before?

bethylou Sun 01-May-11 23:06:17

I'm typing in the dark with a poorly DS2 but this screams reflux to me and as a mum of two refluxers I'm quite good at picking it up! Have a good read through our thread in the breast and bottle feeding section about reflux support. Lots of us have been through it and have offered every strategy going. Do go back to the GP (or try another) and shout more loudly. You may need to work through several different meds to find one that suits your DS but I'd bet my bottom dollar that reflux is at the root if this. PM me if you like.

peppaandgeorge Sun 01-May-11 23:08:48

You may not want to hear this, but my DS was like this for the first YEAR sad.
He was checked out for reflux and every matter under the sun but I do believe it was just frustration and that he hated being a baby. Have a look at High Needs babies - see link www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t050400.asp
I have changed my name since I first used to post about this but if you want to know any more about it, please mail me. I'm not saying your DS is like this, but it sounds very familiar.
On a very positive note, he is now 3 and the most adorable, switched-on, empathetic little boy. He is very much ahead of his peers in all areas - a very early talker and has always seemed older because of this. He walked before his 1st birthday and started talking at the same time and he changed completely, very dramatically so.
We thought we wouldn't have any more children after a very very challenging (ahem!) year but have gone on to have a DD (now 8 months) who couldn't be more different and he absolutely adores her!
However bad it is now, it will pass, you know that!

GnomeDePlume Sun 01-May-11 23:22:30

DD1 was a total colic monster. She wasnt diagnosed with reflux (didnt exist when DD was a baby plus colic was only barely acknowledged).

The one thing we were told (by midwife who wanted to sedate DD1 because of the ferocity of the colic) which did stick was that after colic, teething would be a breeze. She was so right, we didnt know DD1 had a tooth until I noticed a tooth mark in a piece of banana.

DD1 is now 15 and has the sunniest disposition imaginable. She has never slammed a door in her life.

As others have said, this will pass. I have often felt that DD1 got rid of a lifetime of bad moods in the first few months.

2ddornot2dd Sun 01-May-11 23:29:02

DD1 was like that until I was advised to introduce solids at 4.5 months. It was like someone flicked a switch. She cheered up immediately. By six months she was pleasant, by about 9 months she was delightful.

Good luck

ReshapeWhileDamp Mon 02-May-11 21:32:09

sad I do hope this passes soon and he doesn't have another 8 months of this! Okonomiyaki, yes, he needs an awful lot of 'active parenting'! grin He is fine as long as you are talking animatedly to him and maintain eye contact throughout. Take your eyes off his for more than a few seconds to scan the laptop and chances are, he will howl in indignation. DS1 just wasn't like this - I spent his first few months happily BFing away with him on my lap, laptop on table in front, eating, talking on phone - I still try this with DS2 but my god, he gets cross with me!

Ok, I will try GP again and see what we can do. I don't want you to think he's bloody miserable ALL the time - he has his moments. He loves gurgling at me or DH or GPs. He loves looking at his brother playing, though I think he's getting v frustrated at stuff he can't do yet. He cried a lot today while trying to balance on his tummy AND grasp at a bunny toy. I imagine all his little synapses popping like mad - he is suddenly becoming aware of a big world out there with important stuff to do in it! But it's interesting that so many people have suggested it rings the reflux bell. How can I phrase this to the GP without saying 'Well, lots of other mothers on MN said it sounded like reflux to them'? grin

As for autism, really not something I'm worried about! He is 4 months - no theory of mind and no language yet grin so I think a psychologist would have a hard time determining whether he did or didn't score on the spectrum! grin

narmada Mon 02-May-11 22:02:39

Is he getting enough daytime sleep OP? I found mine was a right grumpy little bugger darling until I realised he needed to sleep every 1.5 horus.

narmada Mon 02-May-11 22:02:53

or hours even

SupersonicDave Mon 02-May-11 22:27:07

Hello OP.

Similar to others here, my first DC was a cheery little thing, quiet, content and so easy. DC2 quite honestly has been bloody hard work. The first 3m were ok, he had lots of growth spurts, but was easy to settle as long as he could go on the boob, which he did a lot. Every evening for about 6 wks (wk7 -13) he would have colic though and i could cope with that. What i found hard was that weaning did't really make any difference to him, and he was still feeding every 2hrs day and night, wouldn't take a bottle and was bloody grumpy any time he wasn't either asleep or feeding. Between the ages of 4-8m i really struggled, it was like his default setting was grumpy. He was spending more time awake not feeding, but just grizzling and nothing i could do would cheer him up for longer than about 30secs, unless it was full on 1-1 attention which is just not possible 24hrs a day.

We have found the things that have helped are, making sure he goes down for 2 naps a day (in the buggy/car/cot/whatever) even if he fights it, letting him cry a bit when he is getting frustrated (i know this sounds bad, but we found he was better if you gave him a minute or two to give him a chance to figure something out for himself) and Duplo! He will happily spend ages rummaging in the Duplo box, it was somthing we kept moving out of his reach until we realised that actually all the bits are too big to be swallowed.

He is 8m now and i am back to enjoying being a mum again most days and feel the hardest bit is now over. He is sleeping better at night, he has just started crawling and is altogether just a jollier baby.

It is only a phase, that will pass. Good luck smile

milkyjo Wed 04-May-11 11:40:12

You could be talking about my DS! Exactly the same and also 20 weeks! He can only manage about 1.5 hours of awake time and always cries before a nap, he'll do about 20 minutes of full on giggling happy playtime (with me - hardly any solitary play) before he needs to be picked up. We spend most of the time walking around the house just talking and looking at stuff with him over my shoulder or now he's bigger on my hip. His naps are only 30 minutes long (having one now), so feeding is usually every 2-2.5 hours, he is breastfed. I have now come to the conclusion this is what he does and I feel much better now I am able to realise this and cope with it. DH jokes that he has got ADHD though!

Whyriskit Thu 05-May-11 16:59:33

Just wanted to reassure you - DS1 was exactly the same and as a previous poster said, the magic 3 months came and went and made no difference. He's now 3 and until the tantrums started has been a lovely boy for ages. He's very empathic, was an early talker and is great fun to be with.

He was a very very challenging baby, and I hated the first 8 or so months of his babyhood because he was so difficult and needed so much stimulation. Remember the mantra "this too shall pass"!

MummyLittleMonster Mon 17-Oct-11 20:02:38

It's so good to learn that some of you have the same problems. I started to think that I'm the worst mother in the world and that my baby is The most grumpy and unhappy thing in the world! She sleeps through the night (bottle fed), wakes up around 6-7 am, and has probably the most joyful time of the day. After about 2 hours she began winning. So, ok I've put her to sleep - in my arms, no other way. But for the rest of the day she will be more or less grumpy. She hates being put down, even for nappy change - she stops crying when she realises that I'm not leaving her or forcing to sleep. Any other time, beware. Someone still has to be near, preferably hold her, but holding hand almost never is enough, she will try to get up (she's 2.5 m). So, we have to carry her around the flat (or wherever we are - pram isn't good any more), so she can look at things, but not to long, and you can't sit or she'll start crying almost immediately. She won't be held normaly, it has to be face to the room. It's so depressing, and I feel sometimes as a failure. Can't do anything at home, and feel awful again. She won't settle herself to sleep in her cot, unless she's drop-dead-tired. She does sometimes settles when she's on the sofa - we put her everywhere, or leave her wherever she'll fall asleep, coz once moved, she's wide awake!
Her day naps are often 10-30 min long, but sometimes she sleeps 3 hours on-off. Luckily she sleeps through the nigh, otherwise I don't know how could I cope. The worst and most painful thing is that she seems to be so unhappy to see me. Sometimes she's barely acknowledging my presence, even when I look directly at her she's avoiding me. And she only seams to be able to see me or smile when she lies down. Is that normal? Please, someone tell they have similar problems, otherwise I'll just get more and more depressed...

MummyLittleMonster Mon 17-Oct-11 20:08:36

Oh, and she fall asleep in our arms only. You put her down, she's awake , take her again, 2min she's asleep again, put her down - awake, and so on. I have to hold her untill my arms fell of, make sure she's in deep sleep and than put her down. Luckily she sleeps quite good in my arms but than there is not much I can do around the house...I know my mum will say it's our fault, because she trained us and we let her do it. Are such a small babies that smart to "train" parents?

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