13 answers

4 1/2 Month Old Has Screaming Fits


I am a mommy of a 4 1/2 month old baby girl who sleeps through the night. She sleeps from 8:45pm to 6:30 consistently for 2 months.

During the day she fights he naps though and she often has screaming fits where she will scream for 1 hour or so and nothing will make her happy. She will just cry and cry. I really can't figure out why she does this. Sometimes I think she is tired or maybe her tummy hurts or maybe even teething. A couple times we gave her the tylenol when she looked really miserable but I can't say it helped bc an hour later she was still crying.

This might happen once a day but then sometimes she just seems irritable like nothing makes her happy. She loves TV too but I try to limit the amount of time she watches. She will also arch her back and try to throw her self out of things like the swing, car seat and even my arms.

But then sometimes we will be playing and she is just smiling up a storm and all of a sudden she will just turn cranky.

Did anyone else go through this kind of time around this age? Any ideas as to what it could be?


What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I'm going thru this, too, with my 5 mos old daughter. I'd love to hear the responses you get! She does great with napping @ daycare, but doesn't want to do so @ home!

More Answers

i completely agree with mindy. all babies, and this is coming from someone whose daughter only took 20-45 min naps for monthd, need naps. it doesnt matter if she slleps great at night, as the stretch of awake time is only a few hours. she should have at least 2 or 3 naps depending how long they last.
from uyour description, it sounds like she is overstimulated and doesnt know how to wind down for a nap. the key is to get her nap before she is overtired. its harder to put an overtired baby to sleep than a baby who isnt tired. overtiredness is worse than even hunger.
now onto the most important thing, the tv. there is no reason at all a baby that age should be watching television. tv in general is a great stimulant and is most likely overstimulating your baby. the babies mind will just be jumping from image to image not able to process what she is seeing. children should not have any tv until 2 and even then, its a very tiny amount a day. also, remember what the tv may be on, she is still being stimulated.
some things experts worry about are adhd hyperactivity, lack of exercise, obesity, poor eating habits, poor language development, exposure to violence, ect. now most cant say 100% what the effects are, but all agree it is prefered children under 2 watch no television as there is nothing positive coming from it. besides, she will learn and enjoy interacting with you more than any television show.
just stop tv, and get her to take 2 naps in the day, and see if it helps at all. when the baby gets cranky in our house, that means it nappy time. also, everyone now suggests using motrin vs tylenol due to possible liver damage. motrin also usually works better. good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.. In addition to what other people have told you regarding colic and reflux, I'd like to suggest that your baby is over tired and over stimulated. While it's great to sleep 10 hours at night, babies this age need 13-14 hours of sleep in 24 hours. If she is fighting naps and then having crying fits, it could be that she is over tired. I would try getting her down for a nap before she appears tired - by then it may be too late.
You also mentioned t.v. There is no reason for a 4 month old infant to have that kind of stimulation. It doesn't benefit her at all, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no television until age 2 years. This could be adding to the overstimulation.
Good luck!

Hi! I have a 3 month old who isn't a big napper and also can get very cranky...it's bc she is tired. She will fight and fight a nap, and I end up holding her until she falls asleep then she is fine. She doesn't cry for hours but everything makes her "unhappy". I don't know if this is the case for your child, but if it's anything like my daughter, then try to get her to nap! Good luck!

Arching her back is a classic sign of reflux. She could be screaming because she's uncomfortable. (The Tylenol obviously wouldn't help this.) Does she spit up at all, cough, or look like she's swallowing funny?....all signs of reflux. Talk to your pediatrician. There could be other signs of reflux or a different problem that you don't realize could help make a diagnosis.

My daughter was like this and she had a bad case of acid reflux. She would constanly try to throw herself out of my arms or anyone else that was holding her and arched her back alot. She was put on medication to help and everything got better. She also had a hard time napping during the day because her tummy hurt. You should mention this to the doctor. Good luck to you.


I'm going thru this, too, with my 5 mos old daughter. I'd love to hear the responses you get! She does great with napping @ daycare, but doesn't want to do so @ home!

I'd say it's a tossup between colic and reflux. (Since the tylenol didn't help, it's probably not an ear infection...) Have you spoken with her doctor about it? Reflux can be so painful for babies, even if there's no evidence of spitting up. The arching of the back made me immediately think of that.

Definitely speak to your doctor soon! And if he/she doesn't think it's anything medical, I'd invest in a great sling or baby carrier. When my son was a mess around that age, carrying him everywhere made a big difference. Sometimes, it's just about needing the comfort of mama. And with a carrier, you can do regular stuff without putting her down.

Also, try to put her down to nap every 2 hours. If you wait longer, she'll be so overtired that she'll have trouble napping and settling down. And you can let her fuss a little, but I wouldn't let her cry hard for too long. She's still so little, and she might just need to be in your arms.

PS Definitely keep limiting that TV time for a baby this young! Most doctors say no TV before 1 year.

Haha, I think my six month old son and your daughter are kindred souls. He has been sleeping a little better during the day recently, he just cut a tooth and one more is almost thru so its a little better. He too sleeps well at night just not great during the day. I think it's probably the teeth though. That seems to be his problem I think.

Dear L.,
I experienced the same thing and my pediatrician told me my daughter was bored. It turned out he was right. She enjoyed being on the go constantly. At 4 months, I enrolled her in swimming at the YMCA. I took her to the mall, to friend's, and several walks a day; anything for stimulation. Staying home made her cranky. It was also difficult to get her to nap, but she would sleep in the car on our adventures. And the more stimulation she got, the better she napped. Once your daughter is physically active, it should get better.
Good luck, W.

HI L.,
Yup, went through that with my 2nd, my son. Was a rough first year, I feel your pain!!! He had reflux, but not the acid kind (ie medication did nothing, since all it does is ease any acid burn, doesn't reduce the spitting up). I tried removing all dairy from my diet (I was breastfeeding), tried the most sensitive formula out there, etc, nothing helped. Now he is almost 5 and he's a wonderful, sweet, sensitive, cheerful little boy but he definitely has a temper, and if something doesn't appeal to him he goes from 0 to 60 in a split second! Here are my suggestions for you... 1) read the book The Happiest Baby on the Block, this helped TREMENDOUSLY. 2) if you're breastfeeding, try removing dairy from your diet, and maybe wheat/gluten. 3) for naps, have her sleep face down. I know, big no-no but it was KEY for my son, I just checked on him often! 4) put a white noise maker or humidifier in her room during naptime/bedtime, very soothing 5) make sure you get enough Me Time for you!!!! 6) Take your daughter to a family chiropractor. Seriously. Good luck.

Yes my daughter was born in June and does something similiar. She sleeps through the night and during the day hates to nap. She hates to be put down, etc. I do own a website where I make/sell Baby Wraps and believe me, this is a life-saver. When she just won't nap I put her in the wrap and she is asleep. Email me, if you want more info!

She's probably tired and that makes her cranky. My son Connor would always calm down when I'd strip him down to his diaper and give him caresses. He LOVED it! As soon as I stopped caressing him, he'd start crying again, so I'd just keep doing it for a while. Hey, if it works, right?! Sometimes I would also just place him in the crib after making sure he was fed, bathed, dry, warm and all..... close the door and wait ten minutes, then go in, rock him, sing to him, etc. Try to be patient with your wee one. The only way she can tell you her woes is to cry. Good luck.

L., while I agree with the other moms about colic and reflux, have you checked if she is hungry? It is possible that she is going through a growth spurt and just wants to eat. If not then have you started her on solids? Is she able to poop regularly? If not, it might be gas ( a quick way to check is to tap her tummy, if it sounds like you're playing the drums of hitting a baloon, its gas).

I would also highly recommend gripe water- its a herbal solution for kids that helps with digestion and teething. Its a god send! Little remedies makes it- which ever brand you get you should make sure its without alchohol.

Having said that, a baby not taking a nap through the day is not good- they tire themselves out and become cranky etc... its not important how long they nap, as long as they do nap (alot of kids are power nappers). A couple of things that work with my daughter are:

1) Taking her to her room, removing all "stimulating things" toys, books, music etc. I just swaddle her and let her nurse herself to sleep. Incase she still doesn't want to sleep, i let her play for a few minutes (without toys etc- she just tosses around) and then I put her to sleep.

2) Putting a baby down for a nap is as important as when you put her down for a nap- Make sure you do it before she is overtired or overstimulated. Look for ques- tugging on the ears, rubbing her eyes, screaming, throwing things, general restlessness etc. Its best if you put her to bed before she comes to a stage where she is over tired.

3) Be consistent- try and create a routine for her naps. Put her down for a nap each day at the same time. My daughter takes a nap an hour after waking up in the morning (around 9:30ish), after her morning bath (around 11:00ish), about an hour after lunch (about 2:00ish) and then in th evening around 5:30-6:00.

4) Swaddle- it helps calm my daughter

5) Create a nap time routine- swaddle, feed, rock the baby, sing a song, whatever works.

It might take a few days to be successful, but keep trying.

Good luck!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.