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Is my 5 month old normal, high needs or is this just a phase?
6

kaonyx · 15/05/2022 21:08

Hi, so I’m a late 30’s FTM, who was the youngest in my family and have had no experience with babies whatsoever. My baby is actually only the 5th baby I’ve held in my life, and the other 4 only for about 10 mins max each! My point is, I really don’t know what I’m doing. To make things worse, I’m currently living abroad with no family or support group around me, and the pandemic has meant face to face mother and baby groups haven’t been happening where I live. So I’m here asking for advice!

My baby son, who I love to bits, is almost 5 months old. He had colic from about 1-3 months, which was really hard. My mum visited during this time and agreed it wasn’t normal and was likely colic, so at least I know I wasn’t just imagining that. Anyway, things finally got better. But by better, I suppose I mean the constant crying evolved into ongoing fussing, which in my eyes at the time was an improvement, so I was happier. But now I’m noticing the ongoing fussing can sometimes be relentless, and I’m wondering whether this is normal?

Some of his behaviours that result in this fussing involve:

  1. He always wants to move and can’t sit in the same place for longer than a few minutes, whether that be on a lap, high chair, play mat, bouncy chair etc.
  2. He can rarely entertain himself for more than a few minutes, he always needs someone playing with his toys with him
  3. He gets incredibly frustrated with toys, like he’s unable to get them to do what he wants them to do (i.e. to put them in his mouth), and so he has mini meltdowns until I take him away from the toys.
  4. He cries incessantly and ridiculously loudly if he wants something specific i.e. to get out of the car seat (even while driving), to get out of the pram while on walks, or to be fed the moment he wakes from a nap etc
  5. He still feeds at least every 2hrs during the day

    So I don’t know whether this is just totally normal for a 5 month old baby, whether he’s a high needs baby that I will need to learn to live with, or whether he’s just going through some kind of developmental phase that he’ll grow out of. So I would really like your collective opinion.

    On an additional point, I did think it could be teething issues, but he had both his two bottom front teeth come through last week, but the fussing hasn’t stopped.

    I would also love some advice on how to deal with it. I’ve read so many books and articles all saying that how we treat babies at this age affects their behaviour for the rest of their lives, and it terrifies me that I could be screwing him up mentally because I’m not reacting to him in the way that I should.

    I mean, I always try to remain calm and talk to him through the fussing, but I’m naturally quite a reserved person, and I often retreat into myself when in situations I find stressful. Although I'm always there for him physically, I sometimes worry that I don’t give him the correct emotional attention he needs.

    TIA!
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Pitstop1986 · 16/05/2022 19:49

In reply to the feeding, my DD feeds about once an hour, occasionally she'll go 2 hours, but she is a snacker and likes to feed regularly. She does sleep 8 hours solid without a feed though, so I don't mind lots of feeds during the day if I can get a bit of uninterrupted sleep.

My mum (mother of 5) told me it gets less frequent once they start on solids

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skkyelark · 17/05/2022 16:26

He certainly doesn't sound like an 'easy' baby, but nothing you've said sounds out of the range of normal to me. Some babies just are not particularly keen on being babies and want to be able to do everything, and right now, so it might be that, in which case it will improve a lot as he gets mobile, gets better control of his hands, and so on. My first was certainly prone to nonstop whinging when she'd set her heart on a particularly skill but couldn't quite manage it yet.

What he like out and about, with lots of stuff to see, people perhaps interacting with him, etc.? Both of mine have had a fairly high need for stimulation, and were /are easier to keep entertained out and about than a quiet day at home. Even a trip round the supermarket – different lights, lots of colours, people, great fun! The best I could do at home was to try to do fairly active chores when they were awake and narrate what I was doing or sing to them at the same time.

For soothing the fussing, when I need to be there for them but also need a bit of space, I also withdraw a bit mentally, but repeat the same couple phrases over and over in a soothing tone. For babies, I figure what matters is the tone of voice and physical comfort – calm, soothing, and present are what count, not anything more complex emotionally.

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Inthesky42 · 17/05/2022 19:05

Sounds like both of my babies so normal as far as I'm aware! It's hard! Gets easier when they're 1

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kaonyx · 19/05/2022 21:01

Thanks for all your replies!

@skkyelark , thats really interesting what you say about him not wanting to be a baby! I myself get quite frustrated when I can't learn something quick enough, so another option I was thinking is whether it's a personality trait that he's inherited from me! I hope it does improve as he starts to master the abilities.

When we go out, he's only really now content when he's in a forward facing carrier which we only started using recently (before that was the carrycot or car seat, but he gradually liked both of those less and less). Which does agree with what you say about him liking more stimulation. I normally have my OH wear him when we're out as I find him quite heavy for walking very far (he's quite a big baby!) I'm looking forward to using the seat unit of the pushchair in the coming weeks so that he can have a better view of the world. I'll try to make more of an effort to get out and about with him, and hope that quenches some of his need for more stimulation.

But like you, I try to use chores as a form of entertainment! Somtimes it works better than his toys as he just observes what I'm doing, rather than getting frustrated with toys that don't act in the way he wants. Other times, he gets really upset at having to sit in the same spot for too long, so I can't get much done.

But I do try to always be calm, soothing and present during the fussing, so its reassuring to know this is enough.

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JLQ1020 · 20/05/2022 04:09

Babies tend to go through lots of development leaps that can cause fussiness etc
Highly recommend reading wonder weeks it explains so much 😊
Your baby sounds very normal and I think parents who have babies who never cry etc are unicorn babies.
Some babies are naturally curious about the world and hate not being able to see.
Sounds like you are doing an amazing job keep it up!

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Helenknowsbest · 21/05/2022 14:46

Sounds like he's hungry. Maybe time to wean onto solids? I weaned my son around same age as he just wasn't satisfied with milk anymore. He loved food.

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