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Unhappy 4 month old - please help

(13 Posts)
Malbec Fri 09-Sep-11 19:11:12

Over the last few weeks my 4 month old DS seems to have become increasingly unhappy. We are now at the point where he is only happy for about 5 minutes at a time before he starts crying. He is generally consolable if I pick him up and bounce him but it's never long before he starts crying again, even if held. I'll then change his position and he'll be happy again for another five minutes etc. etc. I also use a Moby wrap sling, which will keep him happy for about 15 minutes as long as I am moving around preferably outside the house.

The only way he will stay happier for longer is if I have him in the sling AND give him the dummy AND bounce him up and down. However, I try only to use the dummy before he goes to sleep as I don't want to get to the point where he just has it in all the time.

He is particularly upset after feeding, which made me wonder if he had silent reflux. We have had two days on Infant Gaviscon at the GP's prescription but so far it doesn't seem to have made any difference.

I am just finding it so hard - I am in tears by the end of most days. I feel like such a failure that I can't keep him happier. Just spent the afternoon with some other Mums and babies and was just amazed at how calm the other babies were in comparison. He does sleep well at night, thank God - it's the only thing getting me through the day at the moment. In terms of day time naps, he has 3 naps of half an hour plus about an hour in the sling over lunch.

Does anyone have any ideas or coping strategies? Everyone said it would get easier at 4 months but it just seems to be getting harder and harder. I just want him to be happy.

PossetFeatures Fri 09-Sep-11 19:22:47

I so sympathise with you! My DS is now 7 months, but I found 4-5 month stage by far the hardest so far and the most tiring. DS is also a very demanding baby, and (still) always wants to be entertained, held, doing something etc. 5 months was tricky because I think now he was frustrated at being unable to roll properly to get to things, and generally with his own lack of movement, even if his brain was telling him to move IYSWIM?!

You are NOT a failure! It is tricky if you see other babies that appear calmer, quieter, and generally more chilled out, I used to feel exactly the same, "what have we done wrong?". Especially when DS would scream the place down at baby group/whilst in a coffee shop, so much that whole place would turn and stare, but now i'm getting used to it and (sort of) embrace it. It doesn't mean that you are making him unhappy, or that he's unhappy in general, just that he's got a lot going on right now and things probably aren't clicking into place for him!

Might sound obvious, but he's not still hungry is he? How much does he have to drink in a day?

I found a Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo the best 80 quid we ever spent, and worth every penny- DS could bounce and play in it all day if we let him, it really was/is a god send. If your DS can hold his head up okay and likes to bounce then I strongly advise you invest!

I found the below also very interesting reading (we had a lightbulb moment with DS), and whilst it doesn't change things, it helped us realise why he is the way he is- it may or may not apply to your little one!

DoctorX Fri 09-Sep-11 19:40:56

I think it's very likely your little one has some sort of pain. It's very unlikely he is expressing an emotion. For some good and sane advice on all matters see Ask Moxie, a really good blog. Good luck!

Balldroppingjuggler Fri 09-Sep-11 20:28:42

My LO was exactly the same, screamed for pretty much the first 6 months. He would also never switch off, it was a nightmare getting him to nap. He hated the pram, car, highchair and still pretty much does although he will now tolerate them for a short while. He got SO much better when he became mobile. He is still high needs, still demanding of attention and can't entertain himself for long (2 minutes maybe?) but at least he doesn't scream quite so much!

My LO was put on cows milk protein free and lactose free milk at 3 months (I was bfing until then) which seemed to help a little. He was prescribed an antacid which helped some more (lansoprazole) and he was also put on gaviscon but we didn't use it as it made him constipated.

Like the OP I read dr sears and it helped. I feel bad now for, at times, wishing my baby was more like the others. I didnt enjoy my mat leave if im honest. I went back to work full time when he was 5 and a half months old (which was always the plan) and he is in nursery full time which he loves as there is so much going on. He is so bright and fun (although still very challenging) and was rolling, sitting and crawling before all of his baby friends. I think he was and still is just far more aware of things than most other babies, so far more sensitive to them and far less passive...

Try to keep going, it does get better but it is gradual.

girliefriend Fri 09-Sep-11 20:36:24

My dd was also like this and remains a child (now 5yo) who is still very sensitive and cries eaisly. I found it helped when she was a baby to have a very established routine <whispers I based mine loosely on Gina Fords routines> and do things in the same order. Dd was very eaisly over whelmed so not doing too much in the day helped. She needed a fair amount of sleep and it came as a revelation to me that she would need to be back in bed only an hour after waking up in the morning!!! However once I started implementing a routine she was much more settled and everything felt eaiser. Good luck smile

KATC2010 Fri 09-Sep-11 20:41:55

Sorry to hear about your difficulties.

I think there are some good advice/support above.

Re the ? on silent reflux, my DD (now 9 months) had this and she was a nightmare! She cried constantly unless she was feeding, which becomes a viscious circle as it makes the SR worse. I am not saying it is this but its worth looking up other symptoms to see if she fits the bill and perhaps keep a bit of a diary of her day to see if there is a pattern.

Infant Gaviscon worked my LO, but I know that for lots of others they need to try something else.

Good luck, and you are doing an amazing job - I know just how hard those times are when LO is crying constantly and so I hope you get whatever help you need to help you through this and enjoy your baby smile

Malbec Fri 09-Sep-11 22:45:40

Thanks so much for your replies. Just read the Dr Sears article and it definitely resonates! It's good to hear that there have been others in the same boat. It does just feel that the whole day is spent trying to find ways to prevent/stop DS from crying! We do have a loose routine (like you, girliefriend, loosely based on Gina Ford, although also very non-GF in that half his lunch time nap is in the sling!)

PossetFeatures - I don't think he is hungry as he usually takes 6 or 7 ounces at a feed. I will definitely look into the jumperoo - at least it will give us something else to try!

I wish we were still breastfeeding (stopped at 5 weeks due to absolute agony!) - at least I could offer him the boob if he cried. Am going to keep on with the gaviscon and go back to the GP if there is no improvement.

Balldroppingjuggler - does normal formula contain cow's milk protein and lactose? I wonder if we should ask about changing to a different formula.

Fingers crossed something works and I do realise that I just have to appreciate him for who he is - it is so great when he does grin and even laugh sometimes!

Frommfollower Fri 09-Sep-11 22:58:43

My DS is 3 months and I'm finding it tough. He's a proper velcro baby. My DD who is now 3yrs was entirely different, I could put her in the pram and go anywhere, she only cried to be fed, really independent to this day.

Is it a boy thing? I can't put him down for 5mins before he starts crying to be picked up again and hardly naps in the day though, thank god, he sleeps well at night. I just can't get anything done. I'm still BFing him which is no trouble really, though its not a cure for everything!

My DD was bottlefed which I think sends them into a good nap during the day so at least you can have a break. But hey-ho, hopefully when he starts on solids, things may get easier, its not forever is it?

Albrecht Sat 10-Sep-11 10:21:04

ds was like this, often seemed upset no matter what and we worried he was in pain (saw a paed and various breastfeeding counsellors who agreed it was behaviour). I so remember thinking it was getting harder not easier around 4/5 months and taking him out and people saying "What is wrong with him?"sad.

It really did get a bit better when he could sit and play with a pile of stuff and a lot better when he could crawl and pull up and get what he wanted. Looking back we do think it was frustration with being a baby. He used to clench his fists and teeth together and go riged. He is 14 months now and a lot happier. No more screaming thank you, thank you!

He is still pretty exhausting to look after (never slept well in his life) as he is in to everything every second he is awake. But its so much better than feeling like a crap parent for not having a content little baby.

Malbec Sat 10-Sep-11 22:05:40

Albrecht - your DS sounds exactly like mine. When I meet up with other Mums or we are out and about and he gets really upset, I really feel like people are thinking that I'm doing something wrong! Glad to hear it got a bit better. Fingers crossed it does for us too. I think we are going to take him to see a paed just to check that there isn't anything else we can do.

fiveisanawfullybignumber Sun 11-Sep-11 07:15:58

DD was like this but with copious vomiting too, her reflux was not silent! Gaviscon did nothing, ask your GP to try Ranitidine or Omeprazole if after 7 days there is no change. How does he sleep? DD would never stay asleep for longer than 10m unless proped up, then about 30m untill her meds were sorted. If your GP is reluctant to prescribe ask for an urgent paed referal.

Balldroppingjuggler Sun 11-Sep-11 21:18:01

Yes, normal formula has both cows milk protein and lactose in it. My LO has Nutramigen on prescription (you can buy it if you ask a pharmacy to order it in for you but it is about £13 for a tub that lasts 3-4 days). there are other brands too like Neocate, you could ask to try one maybe and see how it goes? You probably need to try it for 2 weeks to see if it helps, if your LO is intolerant then his digestive system will have been stripped (by a tummy bug or something, or maybe he's just not developed them yet) of the enzymes that break down lactose/cmp. It will take a while to repair itself.

monkeypuzzeltree Sun 11-Sep-11 22:22:50

Before anyone in the 6 months and not a moment before bashes me, I'm just going to tell you that I had a similar issue at this age with my DD until I gave into my mothers view that she was hungry. A little baby rice later and hey presto - happier baby because she slept better and so was less grumpy pants.

Just a thought. You are doing a good job, this is not something you are not doing, it is a stage ... and this too shall pass. Even though it is blinking hard work!

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