When do babies start ‘wanting’ and not just ‘needing’ - and when do I start to control that?

(12 Posts)
123456kent Wed 28-Feb-18 10:28:57

I’m a FTM of 4 month old baby. Until now everything she has wanted I have treated that she has needed; feeding, sleeping, cuddles etc. I read up on 4th trimester and subscribed whole heartedly to it. I am baby led with everything.
I’m wondering when that time is over though and it’s time to start installing some rules. For example the past few nights she has grizled and whined in her jumperoo the whole time I’ve made dinner - she is fed, napped and winded so there’s nothing wrong except she wants cuddles. She stops the second I pick her up. I picked her up because I don’t like to hear her unhappy (she wasn’t crying, just moaning a lot) and dinner had to wait until OH came home and held her.
She is also doing the same when out in the pram, she wants carrying around.
At what point do I stand firm and not pick her up, teaching her she doesn’t get everything she moans for? Is it far too early? I would never leave her crying at any time for a second, but is she learning how to get attention from me? I don’t want to spoil her, or neglect her.

OP’s posts: |
Liverpoolmumof1 Wed 28-Feb-18 11:21:45

I might get a lot of flack for this but it’s absolutely not too early.

I don’t believe in crying it out but I also don’t believe in letting a baby become a tyrant either. I don’t necessarily think ‘rules’ are appropriate but more about teaching them age appropriate independence.

My daughter is 19 weeks and had a lot of health problems so we fell into the trap of giving her everything she wanted in terms of attention. I absolutely believe that was the right thing to do because babies NEED extra comfort when unwell. The problem is, she got used to it. Her health problems are starting to settle and now I can see when she’s crying because she NEEDS something and crying when she WANTS something. She only wants it because she doesn’t know any other way because we haven’t taught her any other way.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been gradually getting her used to being in her chair or her gym by putting her in it for short spells at a time before picking her up, crying or not. I’ve gradually tried to increase the time. If she grumbles, I ignore it. If she cries, I pick her up and comfort her but she goes straight back. The idea is that she’ll get used to the idea that I’ll come back. I also think they understand more than we give them credit for - I tell her “you need to stay in your gym while mummy ...... but I’ll be back soon”. It’s been very slow and gradual but it is working.

It’s horrible knowing the line but just remember, if your baby is fed, clean, changed, we’ll rested and gets plenty of cuddles anyway, you’re not neglecting her. If she can see you and hear your voice, she knows she hadn’t been abandoned.

Now let all the other users call me cruel 😂😂 ...... xx

amelie427 Wed 28-Feb-18 19:38:52

Physical closeness and comfort at this age is a need, not a want. Your four month old baby is not capable of manipulating you, nor understanding any rules.

I'm not saying you should be physically attached at all times, but if she cries she needs something - and that might just be a cuddle. If she's happy to sit in a bouncer or lie on a floor - great! Relax and enjoy those moments.

I know it can be suffocating, but it zips by so fast so just do what feels natural and right for you.

A sling can be helpful if you need to get on with housework etc and she's being a bit grizzly.

buckyou Wed 28-Feb-18 21:40:52

Well my kids are 2.5 years and 12 months and I still try and give them what they want in terms of attention. Within reason of course but I wouldn’t expect either of them to just sit quietly doing something I’d told them to do while I cook dinner. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong!!

Personally I think they become independent in their own time and it’s not something that should be forced.

To be fair the 2yo doesn’t normally keep herself entertained nowadays. The 1yo, depends if he’s in a moany mood or a happy mood. In the instance you’ve given I would try and mix it up to find something he is happy doing while I got on with the cooking.

user1495739076 Wed 28-Feb-18 21:44:46

If she's getting upset when she's in the jumperoo perhaps let her play on the floor with toys/treasure basket so she can actively occupy herself and when she's in the pram give her something to hold or play with when I take my son to the supermarket he's 19 months he has to hold a bit or veg or a crinkly packet otherwise he will get bored and winge.
I noticed that when my son was younger if I left him in a walker or bouncer when I was trying to do housework he would get grumpy because he was just watching me waiting for me to finish.
She's not to young to play by herself for ten or so mins so don't feel bad

user1495739076 Wed 28-Feb-18 21:50:37

I didn't leave him to cry though
If he winged I would go over and distract him with something new like a wooden spoon or a empty yogurt pot and have a little chat then once he was happy walked away

Arapaima Thu 01-Mar-18 04:14:29

I’d say it’s a balance really. I wouldn’t get too hung up between need and want as they really are the same thing at this age, but I also agree you can’t be completely tied to her needs/wants/whatever! Maybe she finds the jumperoo a bit restricting? Have you tried a door bouncer, or just popping her on a mat on the floor with some toys? Or a sling as another poster suggested? Or just hold her and carry on making dinner one handed?!

How long are we talking here? Personally I wouldn’t listen to my baby feeling sad for longer than a few minutes without doing something about it - either picking her up or trying out an alternative position as above.

The time when you’re making dinner is often a whingy time of day for babies as they’re getting tired towards the end of the day, so another option is to make dinner earlier (when she’s more likely to be content for a longer stretch of time) and heat it up in the evening.

Basically, I wouldn’t worry too much if you haven’t managed to get everything done because she’s been crying. That’s just how it is at this age really. It won’t last forever!

123456kent Sat 03-Mar-18 10:04:20

Thanks for your replies.
The last few nights I put her on the floor rather than the jumperoo, nearer to me, and it made a big difference - perhaps she is just too young for the jumperoo. She was more content lying there, and rolled for the first time.
Generally though, this week has been like living with a whining dog (bless her), we’ve been trapped in the house and she hasn’t really want to be put down much. She’s also started whimpering when I leave the room. I constantly talk to her to reassure her with my voice. She also doesn’t really like anyone else at the mo except me and (thankfully OH) which is intense, as I used to be able to go to my parents and let them dote on her, but now she cries if it’s not me talking to her or holding her. It’s quite suffocating! I love her with all my heart and I will do what I need to do to make her happy and safe, I just worry I’m creating a clingy baby, and when I go back to work when she is a year old she will have severe separation issues. I love that she loves me... I just want to do the right thing by her!

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123456kent Sat 03-Mar-18 10:05:43

Re the ‘play’ ideas - not sure if this is normal, but she’s not much of a player yet, she absolutely loves being talked to and sung to and held and kissed, but give her a toy and she has very limited interest. A few seconds really at best

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corythatwas Mon 05-Mar-18 10:57:07

absolutely normal for her age; their attention span grows as they grow older

I wouldn't worry too much about this whole "making a rod for your back" stuff; the truth is that children change all the time, anyway, and your approach has to keep changing

I found whether I picked ds up when he was 4 months or not had absolutely no effect on my ability to refuse him a bottle of vodka for his friend's party when he was 15 (though I would still have given the cuddle if he'd only let me [sob[)

it's a constant flow of adaptation and you won't get it right every single moment of the time but it will almost certainly be fine anyway

Arapaima Mon 05-Mar-18 13:28:11

Honestly OP, don’t worry about creating a clingy baby. Most 4 month olds go through phases like this. Keep giving her to your parents cuddle, soon enough she’ll be happy to be held by them. They change so quickly at this age!

123456kent Mon 05-Mar-18 14:33:17

That’s what I want to do, keep passing her to my dad but she cries instantly and it stresses him and hurts his feelings so he passes her straight back. I love my clingy baby but I feel so tired and overwhelmed right now with feeding/sleeping/neediness issues!

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