what exactly am i supposed to be doing with a four/five month old? please help! feel like im going crazy
bmlloo · 18/03/2023 11:52
Dc isn’t particularly difficult I don’t think. They’re my first so I can’t compare.
But what am I supposed to do with them?! We read ten mins in the morning and ten mins at night. Sits on play mat for ten mins in the morning. Watch tv (yep I know…not good). But then they cry and im out of ideas?! I walk round the house and show them things like some crazy woman. Bath time is like a day off as they are fully calm and predictably so.
they half heartedly play with expensive toys for five mins and then Bam! Like right now… sat almost crying but not quite, squirming around, flailing arms, and nothing is actually wrong, they’re fed, they’ve slept.
ive heard this baby bouncer is good when they are old enough but will that be another five minute wonder? Had enough!
NuffSaidSam · 18/03/2023 12:00
Turn the TV off.
As long as they're not actively crying, there's nothing wrong with a bit of arm flapping, squirming and moaning. They're just finding their voice.
Bath time can be any time. If they love water then stick them in a couple of times a day. Or go swimming.
You can read several times a day for short spells. Tummy time. Back time. Sitting time. Sing action songs (row the boat etc.). Peek-a-boo.
You don't need expensive toys, use stuff around the house, give them a saucepan and a wooden spoon to bang on it. Make a shaker with a plastic bottle filled with rice. Let them rustle the wipes packet. Just let them explore. Google treasure baskets.
But most importantly, babies of this age are extremely boring and so it's vitally important that you get out of the house, see people and do stuff that you want to do. The baby will be fine if it's close to you and has something to look at (and literally everything is new and exciting at this age). Baby activities/classes can be good if that's your thing, can be a good place to meet other people in the same boat.
shuddupayaface · 18/03/2023 12:02
I spend a lot of time baby-wearing while doing housework, going for walks etc. I’m not an expert or anything but Im pretty sure at this age they don’t need a huge amount of stimulation, they mostly just like being held and fed.
If I get lucky and they’re happy to be put down for a bit then I might do some singing/dancing and funny faces for them, and they’ll have a bit of a laugh until their patience runs out and I have to hold/feed them again.
DragonbornMum · 18/03/2023 12:18
5 min is a perfectly normal attention span! It sounds like you're doing lots of learning with your baby. Not every min has to be filled with "an activity".
What are your hobbies? I enjoy music, so at that age I was singing and playing the guitar. My son sat in his bouncy chair and watched. That's it. That's the activity. He loved it.
It's all about mixing up the activities - some you're going to feel like a crazy person but if you can splash some things that you enjoy then the days aren't quite so long and mindnumbing!!!
Don't forget to let baby play with toys between interactions. it's good for building independent play and it lets them decompress from all the learning they're doing. You wouldn't like to be sitting in back to back lectures all day - babies also need space between learning sessions!
Vintagecreamandcottagepie · 18/03/2023 12:19
I remember feeling exactly like this, every minute felt like an hour!
Hang in there, if you're like me, you'll prefer it when they're a bit older and come into your own in another few months when they can crawl, and enjoy it more and more with every new thing they can do.
Nimbostratus100 · 18/03/2023 12:24
singing, nursery rhymes, repetitive games, like peek a boo, going for walks, tactile food like mashed banana, kept mine occupied for ages! cuddles, tickles, wearing in a sling, go and meet a friend, have a cup of coffee in a caff, tummy time, crawling encouragement! rattles on wrists, light show, bath time,
mostly just let them kick about on the floor with things to look at, and you in eye range, chatting to them
They will be more responsive later on, but if they smile and laugh a bit, kick around, look around, gurgle, wiggle, cry occasionally, its all good xx
Harping0n · 18/03/2023 12:30
I used to go out a lot - walks, shopping etc.
Do you have any friend with babies? You can go to each others houses, walk together, have coffee (budget depending) and hopefully baby groups (again budget depending)
Baby just needs you. Looking at the world, interacting with you. That’s enough. Mine liked wooden spoons.
Tiredmummaoftwo · 18/03/2023 12:34
Best suggestion is to get out of the house. I had two under two and it kept me sane. Baby play is only fun for both of you for so long. See friends, go to a stay and play mum group, Tesco, soft play, swimming, anything to get out.
I also plan my week in advance so I know what I'm doing each day and don't usually end up stuck with nothing to do.
The rest of the time at home is taken up by naps & meals. Then it doesn't leave a huge amount of time for needing to entertain them (a good old bottle with some pasta in it is great though!)
They get much better at playing by themselves at about 1year so hang on in there x
Tiredmummaoftwo · 18/03/2023 12:36
Oh yeah and once you start weaning give them foods which take an age to eat!
MaverickSnoopy · 18/03/2023 12:42
With my first I remember it just as you describe. I used to rotate her her between a large blow up ring, her bouncy chair, a play mat and a door bouncer (once she had neck strength). It did become to feel monotonous and because she was my first the day felt long.
With my second the school run broke things up and time seemed more focused on getting sleep into her. We did a lot of looking at books, going for walks and generally playing.
With my third I used to get a selection of toys out each day and she had a jumperoo that she sat in so her sisters didn't kill her when they were catapulting themselves around!
I'm very much a routine person but I'd suggest a loose routine of what YOU want to achieve each week, ie read a book, have a long soak etc and then an out time around that. Children at that age love noisy things and feels of different textures. A treasure basket or old bag full of age appropriate bits in are great for them at that age.
katsue · 18/03/2023 12:55
Leave the house! I try to go out with my 4.5 month old every morning and then it matters less if we sit around feeding in the afternoon watching MAFS Oz
I have a bit of an automatic routine as I have older kids but I would say getting out is key.
Also, it's brilliant to read with the baby but most of their learning comes from interacting and being with you so I wouldn't worry too much about interacting with toys. I've chosen exercise classes that the baby can come to rather than baby focused classes at this age. He's also quite happy to sit in a bouncy chair and chat to me while I hang out washing or be in the baby carrier. He will often sit and hold a toy too but I'm not trying to get him to engage with it IYSWIM.
LapinR0se · 18/03/2023 12:59
The fisher price jumperoo is absolutely fantastic at this age
ChildminderMum · 18/03/2023 13:00
Go for a walk every day
Find some local baby groups or rhyme times at the library to get out of the house
Alternate between play mat, bouncy chair and jumperoo
Don't bother with expensive toys, wooden spoons, foil blankets, soft balls, blocks etc are just as good.
yikesanotherbooboo · 18/03/2023 13:21
I would do normal jobs around the house while baby watched me and then go for a walk and perhaps go to the shops . Fit in a sleep for the baby and a few feeds and nappy changes and the day is over.
Purple89 · 19/03/2023 03:51
I could have written your post OP! FTM here and I've been wondering the exact same thing.
Everyone's advice has been really good. I don't know about you but I've felt top guilty to do something for me like read a book (I love reading!) whilst she's awake. But I'm going to follow the advice above and incorporate some me time onto our day. Hope you do too!
MGee123 · 19/03/2023 06:29
Just crack on with your day and take them with you at this age. No need for baby specific activities. Get on doing jobs, go out, do whatever you fancy. In a few months you won't be able to as they won't tolerate it so definitely make the most of it now!
wibblewobbleball · 19/03/2023 06:38
At this age just do the things you like to do, and take them with you - it's all stimulation for them and it's a good idea to get them used to napping while out and about. I've a 4 month old and on a typical day they would come about the house with me while I do my jobs and sit in the bouncer/swing chair/baby gym/a blanket on the floor with toys. When they start to grumble we move on to another place or have a cuddle for 5 mins! They come on the dog walk, for coffee with friends, to the supermarket/doctors/post office etc, and also to any place I take the toddler on her at home days. I don't do any specific classes with her as in my experience it's a waste of money as they fall asleep or need a feed at this age and it's a waste of money!
Rachaelrachael · 19/03/2023 06:39
Go out! With my 1st we did a different activity most mornings such as mum & baby fitness, sing & sign, baby sensory or just meeting friends. Then we went into lockdown and it was horrendous, exactly as you describe. Having a routine and getting out every day is key.
MintJulia · 19/03/2023 06:55
Go out and about. Does he like his buggy?
At that age I put DS in a sling and that summer we walked the ridgeway, I ate sandwiches in little village pubs, ds got used to having his nappy changed in sunshine.
I think he found the walking motion calming, and he looked at combine harvesters and stuff.
Slightly different in March but put the rain cover on the buggy and take him for walks. Canals, parks, national trust. They all have tea rooms 😊
CaptainMum · 19/03/2023 06:56
It's a pretty boring age. Get out as much as possible and do life as you would but with a little sidekick. It is so much more fun when sociable and has adult oriented times.
OhThatChicken · 19/03/2023 08:21
I signed up for baby swimming one day a week - it was only half an hour but it gave us both structure, something to do and it was the most fun thing we did together (plus the nap afterwards was her biggest nap of the week!). Literally started her at three months and her smiles were epic - it also ended up being a thing grandparents/DH wanted to come and watch - nice for a lunch/coffee afterwards too!
Otherwise, definitely try and get out with the buggy every day. Walk round the park / down the high street etc. Seeing the world is exciting and it's all stimulation. If you have money stop and get yourself a coffee/tea/cake too. Self care and a moment for you is important as well!
It's a boring time definitely. But the changes in how interactive your baby is will come incrementally every day. In the meantime it's as much about stimulating yourself as the baby!
neverendinglauaundry · 19/03/2023 08:29
When mine was that age I just took him around with me to wherever I was going and chatted to him a bit. I think peekaboo was popular and he could just about sit in a baby swing in the park. I did a lot of reading (mostly me just quietly reading while he had a feed, but we did look at baby books together). I also went to a buggy fit class which was quite fun. Really, at that age once you've fed washed and napped them you can suit yourself.
Lcb123 · 19/03/2023 08:40
You really don’t have to entertain them constantly in fact best not to. The reading sounds good. Honestly Id get on with whatever - house work, gardening, walks, shopping, out for lunch / coffe / pub, art galleries- and baby comes along. They’ll learn by being out and about and good to get used to different scenarios
bussteward · 19/03/2023 08:46
Just do what you want to do, with them in a sling/pram, and they sleep through some of it and when they’re awake, narrate to them what’s going on/let them look. That’s it. With my first I went for lots of walks on the seafront and South Downs, baby cinema during nap time, cafes for cake and a book, lunch with friends, museums and galleries, bus rides, whatever. Just leave the house and be a tourist in your own town, really.
bussteward · 19/03/2023 08:49
I think it’s actually the best age as they’re not yet weaning so you don’t have to bother with snacks, they’re still small enough to nap out and about, the world is still exciting so you don’t have to confront the horrors of soft play or playgrounds, and hopefully you’ve recovered a bit from birth and they’ve stopped feeding non-stop, and the random colic bouts have stopped. I found that stage like a nice cafe and walking holiday where I happened to have a small, fat companion.
Singleandproud · 19/03/2023 08:53
When DD was little we had a fantastic provision of sure start centres. I was/am a single parent so just viewed DD as my full time job. I went through all of the activities available from the Sure start centre, library, local theatre, baby groups held at churches and made a routine from that. Unfortunately sure start centres aren't around anymore but there are hopefully library groups to go to and you'll get ideas from that.
From 6 months (or when they can clap) you can start to teach them sign language - this is super useful, DD could sign in sentences way before she could talk properly. She could tell me if she wanted water, milk, home, more, finished, food by a year and it reduced crying and frustration massively. We learnt at a Tiny Talk class but you could learn through Something Special, YouTube or just make up your own.
I love to read and found having an audio book playing throughout the day a good middle ground.
DD loved water so I'd often put a couple of inches in the bottom of the bath and let her splash around.
Also children's attention spans are roughly their age + 3 minutes so be prepared for lots of short activities.
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