Fussy 4-1/2 Mo... What's Wrong?

Updated on June 22, 2009
N.S. asks from Torrance, CA
28 answers

I have a wonderful 4-1/2 month old daughter. I recently had to go back to work full-time... very sad about this, but I am very lucky to have my mother and mother-in-law take turns during the week taking care of her. Unfortunately, when I call my "mom's" to check in on her, they report that they are unable to put her down without her crying. My daughter does suffer from reflux, but she is on medication for this. The only thing that will stop the crying is to carry her and walk around. It's not just them though, my daughter is like that with me too. I guess my question is just this: Is it normal??? I worry she is sick or is she just needy? I feel like she is just frustrated she can't move around by herself. We bought her an "Exer-saucer" but her neck isn't quite strong enough yet. Does anyone have any tips/advice other than to carry her all the time? Thanks in advance!

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N.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

2 things:

She could be very advanced or prodigy level and not stimulated the way she wants. You may want to go to amazon.com and look for books on prodigy and advanced children, indigo & crystal children.

Second: she could have alleries - NAET.com for allergy elimination.

be well.

N.

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A.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I wish I had something to tell you, but my son was the same way. He hated being in a car seat, swing, bouncy, floor, anything you can think of. He wouldn't even sleep by himself you had to hold him the whole time. I finally had to buy one of those expensive sling holders and ware it all the time. IE.. cleaning, cooking, watching tv, etc...He has finally outgrown this at 12 months and loves being down on the floor and in his stroller going on walks and finally sleeps by himself. Don't worry she will outgrow this but in the meantime, exahustion. Sorry I don't have better news.

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M.B.

answers from Honolulu on

Niki,

Do you have a baby swing? My son loved his & I used it for his naps occasionally. The rocking motion lulls them to sleep. It should keep her somewhat upright also & help with the reflux.

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M.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello N.,
My son had very, very bad reflux during his first year. The position that relieved him the most was upright in someone's arms. The walking around part is simply a bonus: even more soothing. There is nothing wrong with your baby, reflux is extremely unpleasant. She's not being fussy, she is uncomfortable. Medicines help a bit, but don't really solve the problem. I know it may be hard, but be patient; it will take a couple of months. It will pass, I promise.

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K.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Have you check the dosage on the reflux meds? They usually need to be upped as babies gain weight. My daughter had reflux, but she screamed even when we held her.

It also may just be the transition of you going back to work. I would highly recommend getting a Moby wrap so that you can wear her when you get home and free up your hands!

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V.C.

answers from San Diego on

Totally normal, in a lot of societies, the baby's feet never even touch the ground until they start to walk. Get a sling & a backpack & alternate them...your moms can do a lot of stuff while still holding her. She will enjoy watching everything from her "perch"..most backpacks can be slipped off unto the table if she falls asleep & then just let her sleep. Same with the sling, lean over the bed & undo the rings & let her sleep.

She is not "needy"! Babies were meant to be held...not stuffed into a car seat or stroller 24/7 while mom does her work.

BTW, my oldest was "fussy" until I started wearing her, then it stopped...once she could crawl & walk, she was off like a shot..of course, by then I had baby #2, who never was "fussy", because I started "wearing" her day one. Baby #3 wasn't fussy, either. My 2nd girl spent her 7th day in a sling, at the Zoo, for a playdate for her 2 year old sister. My 3rd girl, day 8, Field Trip Day with the Mommy & Me class through Ralph's Grocery for her older sisters. As they get bigger, you can adjust the sling, to wear them on your hip & still have your hands free.

I actually feel really uncomfortable when I see a mom or dad just carrying a baby without it being in a sling...what if someone runs into them & they loosen their grip?..okay, I digress..good luck to with your baby & enjoy...it won't be long before you have to beg for a hug!!

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S.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

It makes sense that given the changes in her caregiver, from you to your mother-in-law to your mother, that she is a bit more in need of snuggles. She is feeling a bit out of sorts with the juggling, because her little world as she knows it, being you home with her all day, has changed and she is still acclimating.

It would help her if you sat down with your mothers and decided exactly how you wanted to do her nap. Consistency is key in baby's world.

If you decide to put her down and wait for five minutes before comforting her without picking her up and then trying to go longer until she learns how to sleep again just make sure your moms are doing the same thing so baby isn't confused.

Tummy time is also great for little ones. When my daughter was four months old I would lay a blanket on the floor and place her on her tummy with a few toys around her and encourage her to reach for and scoot toward the toys.

I hope this helps! Good luck Mama!

S. M

Stork's Best Friend
www.storksbestfriend.com

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P.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

try a swing with a cradle that may work or if they still have the stuffed animan that sounds like the womb that could help also. For redfulx try heating olive oil and then rubbing on tummy

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B.B.

answers from San Diego on

I just wanted to mention that maybe she needs different medication. My DD suffered from severe reflux and was miserable for the first 8 months of her life. Zantac did nothing for us, but once we switched her to prevacid, it worked wonders (but warning, it took nearly 2 weeks for it to really kick in). I know it can be hard dealing with a baby with reflux, it breaks your heart to see them in pain or uncomfortable. My daughter is now 17 months and in perfect health and outgrew all of her tummy issues by 13 months. It does get easier!

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D.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

meds really don't work for this..the only thing that helped my son was putting a little oatmeal in w/ his breast milk or formula..i used both..and i used Good Start Supreme Comfort Proteins if you aren't using that one and want to switch ..introduce it slowly..don't use rice it constipates..also put a pillow under her mattress to elevate her head or nap her in a swing or in the stroller..i used to push the stroller back and forth on the porch facing a boring wall for up to 30 minutes at nap time til my son would fall asleep..keep that head elevated..or they could nap her in a bjorn or whatever carrier u use
have u tasted the meds? i was told to use Zantac..it is gross and it didnt' work..i tasted it and wanted to gag
..try the oatmeal ..just a little you'll see..it works

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C.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Have you tried putting her in a swing?

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M.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Could she be teething? Maybe try something that helps teething and see if that helps.

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S.T.

answers from San Diego on

Hi N.. This sounds a lot like my son who is now 2.5 and totally fun and normal, though with some serious energy. All my mom friends had their babies in strollers all the time and I couldn't ever take him out of the Baby Bjorn or my arms. Even then he often screamed a lot and I mean, a lot. He had reflux too though not too badly (just used over the counter stuff). I often worried that there was something wrong with him, but the doctors always said he was healthy, just a hard one. I remember that up until my son was over a year old, he screamed his head off on every single car ride, which I swear gave me the gray hairs I have now. Strollers were absolutely out of the question for us. Likely your daughter is fine, just a screamer too. I am sorry- this is so hard!

L.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

She is stil sooooo young. Are your moms adverse to wearing her in a Baby Bjorn backpack or sling? That worked wonders for us. Baby still gets the gentle movement, is right next to a comforting body, and can sleep at will. Also, our baby swing was unbelievably helpful at this time, too, and our daughter would sleep/nap for hours in it during the day. Sometimes it's the only thing that worked.

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C.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Your 4 and a half month old is perfectly fine.

I have had 4 children and all of them get to a point around 3.5 months where they realize that it is more fun to be carried and snuggled. Suddenly they know you and they want to be with you and they want to be part of whatever you do.

I recommend to get yourself ( and your caregivers ) an ergo carrier. They are awesome! I love mine! You can put baby on the front now and save your arm strength or in a couple of months she will be able to be put on your back. This way your daughter can ride along and get all the snuggly body closeness she needs. The way this carrier is made it carries all weight on your hips, the straps are soft and highly adjustable. It is very comfortable. I still carry my 2 year old in it sometimes when she just needs to be held and I have stuff I need to do...

I know there is different thoughts on this, but You must carry her. The truth is Babies are not convenient. And it gets tiring to hold your child all the time. But trust me, once she turns one year old she will not want to be carried all the time anymore. And once she is 2 she will be almost able to play on her own all the time. Now is the time to hold and cuddle her and through this you are showing her that she is worth your time and effort. Only through this will she develop a healthy self image and the independence you are craving right now.

http://www.ergobabycarrier.com/

good luck!
Please enjoy the time with your tiny baby, trust me it goes by so fast!!!

-C.

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D.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello N.-
One thing that I would recommend from experience ... is make sure that both moms have the same schedule (with everything) that you had while you were able to stay at home, )eating, sleeping, bath time, snacks, reading to them). When my baby boy was 3 months, I went back to work part time. I had 3 family members watch him (which I was very thankful) , but they all a different way. Children need routine, especially at this age. He was very fussy and clingy, until I sent him to one person and one person only, he learned the same schedule and things got alot better! I learned the hard way.
Good Luck!

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S.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is seven months old and I am unable to get her to sleep without nursing her or rocking her. It will take a while to sleep train your little one. Your mums need try a schedule and maybe a routine. Like giving her a bath before one of her naps or a massage. Your little one does not know how to get herself to sleep yet.. and with reflux it may take a little more work..She also maybe be missing your soothing voice. Just be patient and this will get easier. .. This is just the beginning and some days maybe worse than others. But normal. You can also have them try an Ergo baby. SO AMAZING!! It is like the baby is not even there..SO COMFORTABLE! And baby just falls asleep. AND, your baby is way too young for Exersaucer! I was just able to put mine in one. Try a vibrating chair.

Good luck,
Steff

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C.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Normal! Not needy. Really a survival mechanism- imagine how easy it would have been for our ancestors to neglect or lose a baby that didn't cry if it was being put down!

But you are right, carrying can be exhausting. What saved me was a ring sling (i used the maya wrap brand) and other baby wearing- i was able to keep baby close and secure but still get things done.

I wore and carried my daughter for the first year - she is now a year and a half and never wants to be held anymore. I miss it so much! She wants to be on her own all the time. So no worries about her becoming dependent or clingy. Every baby is different and has her own pace but too soon she'll want to be on her own.

Actually I think that's why a lot of mom's start wanting their 2nd baby- they actually miss the dependence!

Best wishes.

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R.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter did this from the day she was born till she became mobile. She is a very active child and required constant movement. We could never just sit down and hold her in our lap. It was a very long 8 months (she started scooting on her butt all over the house before crawling) but I can finally say life has gotten a lot easier. Nothing worked for us so I'm sorry I can't pass on any advice.
Good luck and know that you're not alone (although I've never found anyone else with the same experiences as me).
R.

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T.

answers from Las Vegas on

Nicky,

My now 2.5 year old was like that. He had reflux, was basically fussy. I was breastfeeding. I tried an elimination diet (dairy, soy, eggs, caffeine, chocolate, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts, tomatoes and citrus). Within a week he was dramatically better, within a month he was like an entirely new, happy, sleeping baby. (If he hadn't improved I would have eliminated corn and gluten next). I started adding stuff back into my diet one thing at a time. I was able to add back everything but dairy, soy and eggs. Within a couple of weeks we were able to cut his Prevacid dose in half and within 6 months (it took a while for his GI tract to heal) we were able to eliminate it entirely. By the time he was 1 he was able to tolerate eggs but he's still allergic to dairy and soy. When I weaned him, I switched him to hypoallergenic formula. He still drinks Similac Alimentum - you can get it in the grocery store or you can buy it online by the case - buying it by the case is much cheaper (which is the first level of hypoallergenic- the "more" hypoallergenic stuff is Elecare or Neocate and you have to special order it through a pharmacy or order it online). If you are breastfeeding, I'd recommend trying the elimination diet. If you are formula feeding, I'd recommend trying Alimentum and if that doesn't work, try Neocate to see if it helps. Keep in mind that it takes several weeks for dairy proteins to leave your system. If it is a food allergy issue, you should see at least the begining of improvement in a week or so. So make sure you keep up the elimination diet or hypoallergenic formula for at least 2 weeks before you decide if it is working or not. Keep in mind that I had to eliminate dairy and soy that is hidden in other foods too. No bread made with milk, etc... An elimination diet is kind of a pain in the butt but it was SO worth it to have a happy, healthy, content, sleeping baby.

T.

P.S. Don't be too surprised if your pediatrician doesn't believe in food allergies in infants. Mine didn't. Even out pediatric GI doctor was skeptical. But after seeing the improvement in my son and after seeing his allergy persist for more than 2 years, I'm a believer.

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

At that age, I am guessing it is a dairy intolerance. If you are breastfeeding, eliminat all dairy for a while. If you are using formula, but Nutramigen or Neocate(ordered from your pharmacy). They are more expensive but well worth the price if they help her tummy. "Fussy" isnt' just a personality, it is usually a food intolerance/allergy. Do you have any asthma or allergies in your family? I would also hold off or stop vaccinating her for quite awhile. You do not have to do all 36 vaccines before the age of two or at all for that matter. Use Gripe Water, swaddle her if you still can and keep her upright after eating. Also, read the "Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp. There is a method called "jello head jiggle" to help calm crying and it totally works! Changing formulas and getting rid of dairy will really really help though, in my opinion. Hang in there!

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C.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Your daughter is probably overtired. How much does she sleep during the day and at night? She should never be awake for more than 2 hours at a time and probably less. When do you feed her?

Answer these questions and then I can get back to you with more help.

C., mother of 3, sleep consultant, sleep blog writer www.lullabyluna.com

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L.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi N.,

Have you tried using techniques from The Happiest Baby on the Block to calm your daughter?

The Happiest Baby DVD is the most watched parenting video in history! Dr. Karp reveals a treasure sought by new parents for centuries... the "calming reflex" (the “off-switch” for crying all babies are born with). He teaches how to transport your baby from screaming into serenity...in minutes and add 1-3 hours to his nighttime sleep.

According to Dr. Karp, “Even loving parents sometimes feel pushed to the breaking point by their infant’s crying.” Coming to the rescue, however, Dr. Karp places in the hands of all parents, grandparents and childcare givers the tools they need to be able to calm their babies almost as easily as…turning off a light.

The Happiest Baby on the Block Book/DVD is filled with sage advice, commonly asked questions, and parent testimonials, and will fascinate everyone who wants to know how babies experience the world and how to answer their cries lovingly and effectively.

You can find more information on the website, www.thehappiestbaby.com and if you have any questions feel free to e-mail us or give us a call! We wish the best of luck to you, your daughter & the rest of your family.

Kindest regards,
Kristen Terry
The Happiest Baby, Inc.
[email protected]____.com

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

OMG. I've seen soo many questions for 4 month olds. I'm surprised that by now, the question is still being askd. At 4 months, it's a GROWTH SPURT.. a hungry child need to be fed more, therefore can't nap long because she's hungry. very common at 4 months.

same for both my kids. please read about growth spurt and you will see.

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D.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Nicky First of all congratulations on your girl, there is nothing wrong with your daughter! It's normal for some babies to cry to settle down. You may see it as frustration, or some other adult thought or desire, but it's not. It's called being a baby.
Her system is barely working and if she has some issues with reflux or colic, it may take time to heal the area.
Babies are all different, and you need to work through these issues by using patience and become a zombie from lack of sleep, like all the rest of us did raising our children...the wearing idea makes sense,you're lucky to have the "Moms" for peace of mind. Gird your loins, it's just started!!!As you can see by the answers it's up to you to find the one that works for your family.
Dad's are great at holding babies too!! Share the duty with him. Grandpa ended up being the best one!! D.

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B.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

I take care of my baby grand daughter on a regular basis. I think babies used to be easier when they could sleep on their tummies. Walking around the house in a stroller/car seat in a frame helps a lot and usually puts our little one to sleep. This started early (I discovered it not the parents) and now at seven months I am often walking around the house. It is good for me (saves my back) and seems to work seems to work well.
B. v. O.

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A.N.

answers from Las Vegas on

You, or your mother or MIL, might try wearing her in a mei tai or other baby carrier. That way she has the physical contact and is being held, but you can still do things.

Babies go through phases, and this is just one of them. My son was like that for quite a while, I always held him when he needed it (which was A LOT), and now at 9 months, he is perfectly content to be put down. It could be teething, the need for contact, being tired, wanting to move and not being able to as you said, or just being bored and wanting to see new things. That was the biggest problem for my son, he was really happy whenever we were somewhere with things to see, but would get fussy just sitting around staring at his toys. Maybe they could try taking her outside, going to the park and watching kids (she could lay or sit on a blanket), anything that allows her to see new stuff.

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L.S.

answers from Reno on

My daughter is 3 1/2 mos and also like this. I am pretty sure she is just "bored" with laying or being propped up. It seems as if she gets frusterated because she can't do things on her own, and she watches her big sister playing. I know it would bug me, LOL. My 1st daughter went through this stage, and it passed, and now I don't remember and that was only 3 years ago. The best thing is an infant carrier so she can observe while I do things, she loves taking walks (but not if it's too hot, she hates the heat), she likes going to stores and be strolled, and I keep a stroller in the house. She doesn't like her swing or bouncy anymore, and I certainly can't carry her all day like she'd like to be. And she does get enough sleep, at least 11 hrs at night and 2 naps per day. They aren't long naps, but she likes to be awake and watch the world. I hope you get it figured out, I just think to myself that these stages do pass and we'll forget all about them. Time will fly by and she'll be a teenager, won't want a hug, and I'll wish she was a baby so I can carry her all day :)

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