Irritable 4 Month Old

Updated on July 10, 2008
I.N. asks from Astoria, NY
12 answers

For the last two weeks, my four month old daughter seems uncomfortable, irritable, and wants to be carried constantly. She naps because she exhausts herself and sometimes wakes up crying. I explained to her doctor that she is typically very easygoing and rarely cries and he initially attributed her new behavior to teething or experiencing nightmares. When I pushed the issue he said that she is underweight and hungry- which I initially thought was ridiculous but now has me worried.

She is exclusively breastfed and her doctor recommends that I start her on solids even though she has gained six pounds since she was born (from 7 lbs, 13 oz, to 13 lbs, 14 oz). Though he claims to support breastfeeding, he never offers practical solutions to the challenges I face and compares her growth rate to the formula fed babies in his practice who tend to be bigger. He also doesn’t support me wanting to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months.

I tried bottle feeding her more breastmilk after she has finished nursing and she does not seem hungry. My intuition tells me that she is teething and having stomach problems. My concern is that starting her on solids will only compound the problem by causing gas and constipation.

My questions are:
1) Have other mothers faced similar symptoms in their children at this age? How have you remedied them?
2) Based on your experience is my daughter underweight? If so, how do I feed her without compromising her nutrition/my milk supply?

After putting my thoughts in writing I’ve realized that this is not the ideal doctor for my daughter. Please let me know if you recommend a pediatrician in Astoria who supports breastfeeding and a modified immunization schedule.

Thanks mamas!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

Try feedig her more frequently. Have some pre-pumped milk on hand if you can't produce enough.

I was goping to suggest looking for a new doctor. Try the physician referral at NY Hospital of Queens. It is in Flushing.

More Answers



answers from New York on

Hi! My son was like that around three months, it turned out he had acid reflux. He did not do projectile vomiting, he was just in a lot of pain - which was why it was more difficult to recognize. We didn't want to give him daily medication, but it actually was the only thing that worked. Asked your doctor. Good luck in finding a new doctor, sorry, can't help with any recommendation. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on


My son Matthew had an irritable bout at about the same age (4 mo.) He was also normally extremely easygoing, so it was a little bit of a surprise. We were also traveling to see family which probably compounded the issue.

But our relatives - some of whom were new moms - were highly encouraging that we start him on solids. I was a little lukewarm and probably would have waited another month, but my husband wanted to try it. And wouldn't you know, Matthew loves (!!) solids. It's been an absolute joy for him.

I've heard different things about when to start babies on solids and how long to exclusively breastfeed. I don't know, a lot of people seem to have very black/white view of things. Personally, I don't see a harm in offering solids to your baby.

Prior to solids, he was 95% breastfed. I did give him the occasional bottle of formula (I actually wanted him to be used to different tastes.)

In my experience, it won't interfere with breastfeeding because she should still be getting 24-30 oz of breastmilk per day.

No matter what you decide, perhaps you should pump a few times just to double check how much milk you are producing? And keep in mind that with the first food (rice cereal) you add breastmilk to it. We've added foods pretty quickly to his diet, but you can take your time. Maybe make his second food bananas with breastmilk. Or steam a few potatoes or carrots and add breastmilk.

Good luck in finding a new pediatrician.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on


I'm so sorry to hear that your Dr. is not supportive. I have a
6mth old baby girl. I know from my dr. visits they were against starting any soilds before now. And I can't believe he doesn't want you to breastfeed. I only breastfeed for 2mths, but I know they were not against it going on longer. I was also told when her habits changed that sometimes they go through growth spurts and their whole sch. changes and they can get fussy. Also at my 4mth check up she weighted 13lbs 16oz and they were happy with that. If it doesn't get any better maybe see another Dr. Good luck and always remember nobody will know your baby better then you no matter how long you have been a mother.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi I., I think you may be right about teething, some of mine started at 3-4 momths. I am a grandmother now but back in my day we did feed babies cereal and fruit and they did not have problems. You are right to want to breastfeed as long as possible. As far as your baby being underweight I do not know her birthweight. She may just be petite. They can double or triple their weight by 1 year. My daughter did not. You also may want to find another doctor. Best wishes, Mary

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hello:) I 've heard that growth charts are made to fit formula fed babies and that breastfed babies are naturally smaller(my 2 sons were on formula and they were always off the charts).I am surprised that he told you to start solids as nowdays they did the reserch and say at least wait till 6 months .4 months old does sound like that's when they start teathing and start get fussy a bit more(they have those great natural tablets that do wonders for teathing pain) If it's not teathing there might be something that you're eating that does not agree with baby's tummy(my friend had the same problem with her baby , so for a week she only ate oatmill to see if something would change , so when there was an amazing change she started adding foods one at a time till she found what was bothering the baby).I hope you find a doctor that is right for you( I chose not to breatfeed after 3 months and our doctor never made me feel guilty, and we also chose to modify immunizations) Even though with breasfeeding, hey it's your it as long as you want and who cares what anybody says(even the doctor:))

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Greetings Beloved,

I am in 100 percent agreement with you of how you choose to nurture your babies well being. Sometimes it can be challenging for Doctors as well, being that they have mininal experience in dealing with children in a holistic origin and sometimes as human being we have an Ego that does not allow us to admit that we do not know what is wrong, this could be your Doctors dilemna.

A little about me, I am an Holistic Daycare Provider and my experience has been tremendously awakening being with children and their parents and I have so much passion in making a difference in anyones life...

With my experience with most of my parents that have had that same concerns as you do, I reccommended that the breast milk comes from within us; The Mother and what ever we are eating could have an irritable effect on the baby. So, what ever we eat it gets broken down and transferred into the milk as well.

I know if you drink lots of water, especially now that you are working full time and it has been quite humid these days it easy for us to loose alot of water. If possible ozone water would be best because it is enhanced oygenated water.

Being that you are full time as well you could get your minerals, vitamin Bs and protein from a algea source called Chlorella A or spirulina and it causes babies to have a calm soothing effect as well as getting all the chlorohyll that they need and taking Acidophilus is a great way for baby to recieve that good bacteria that create a healthy flora in their intestinal system, that also helps them to be less irritable.

A great natural Supermarket you could go to is

Integral Yoga located in Manhattan on 13th street and 7 and 8 avenue..

Whole Foods on 24 street and 7 avenue as well... They have these products and Integral Yoga is a great space for parents to receive resources that gives parents guidance in maintaining an healthy and peacefull baby....

I hope this information makes a difference with you and your baby.. I also know of a Doctor in Westchester that is a licensed specialist with an holistic point of view...
I will give you the number his name is DR. Chandler 914*235*8385.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

hi I.;

first of all you have my applause and support for your commitment to breastfeeding, which all current research shows is BY FAR THE BEST NUTRITION for your baby. you are clearly a deeply involved, passionate, intelligent mother who is looking for up to date information and you are asking the right kinds of questions.

i am an avid breastfeeder and here's my proof; i'm just now weaning my son, who is 3, who i nursed right through my pregnancy with my daughter, who is 16 months, who is also still nursing and who i hope to nurse till 3 as well. neither of my children EVER had one drop of formula and they are beautiful and brilliant and rather large people, if i do say so myself.

so from that state of experience i would say these two urgent things to you; first of all, find a new pediatrician. ANY pediatrician who is backhanded about nursing support, or who tries to undermine a nursing mother in any way is behind the times, or getting some kind of financial or social affirmation by pushing formula. formula is not a second rate food, it's a 3rd rate excuse for food, and even the most mainstream sources now agree that breastmilk is the way to go.

and that leads to the second urgent thing i would say which go IMMEDIATELY to the Queens West chapter of La Leche League International. first of all, group leaders there such as Liz and Teba will direct you to a real pro-nursing pediatrician right away. secondly, they will have a lot of accurate information for you about weight, nutrition, and ideas about coping with your little girl's fussiness.

other than that i would offer this; fussiness might not only be food related, it could be sleep related, so think about how much sleep the baby is getting; most need 15 hours per 24 at that age. my kids both needed naps every 2-4 hours at that point; sometimes only cat naps but that often helped a lot. i would say try to keep yourself away from the bottle; that's not a good idea especially after a feeding. if she nurses till she's done, stuffing in more food will only piss her off or make her spit up.

BUT, you may need to nurse more often when you are home. some only-nursers never take a bottle and if the mother has to be away, they will basically nurse her into exhaustion when she comes back, and that's ok, for the baby; it will suck for you, but it's better to try to work with that than to force bottles.

also, most doctors, and La Leche, will say adamantly NO food before 6 months, but that's not always true for everyone. both my kids enjoyed slurping on fruit, gumming a bit of sweet potato, licking and pressing thier gums on chunks of cold broiled chicken, at about 4.5 months. i would not say they were exactly eating it, but they were definitely getting some nutrients into thier systems that way. i never gave them baby food, ever. i never pureed anything. by the time they were 6 months they were investigating and enjoying many kinds of foods in whatever forms they could manage with supervision; obviously i wasn't giving them hard crackers or bony fish or anything else rediculous. but my point is, even though they nursed a lot, they were able to be away from me for 4 hours if i wanted to, because they could enjoy enough food to satisfy them. i didn't go back to work and i wasn't away a lot, but this system might work for you.

you could also try a sippy cup, a straw, or teaspoon feeding of breastmilk. i never did that but for some people that works.

lastly i say to you this; it is FANTASTIC that you are committed to breastfeeding and i think you should just walk away from any 'professional' or other influence that tries to sway you. look at the websites and really check out La Leche, your area is great for it. and let your baby lead the way; look to her diapers and her tears for confirmation that she is getting enough, not her weight. does she look plump, happy, pink in the cheeks, peaceful? does she sleep? can she cry tears? does she have plenty of wet and poopy diapers? if so, then she's getting enough. is she big? is she small? i bet she's just the size she's supposed to be!

hang in there, you'er doing great!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

This sounds pretty similar to what I went/still go through with my almost seven month old. At exactly four months, he started fussing a lot, refusing to nurse, etc. Turns out he was teething and ever since then, it can be a daily struggle to get him to nurse or take a bottle. Some days he nurses really well, other days, it's a miracle if he stays on for two minutes. He had breastmilk exclusively until he was five and a half months, then I started him on oatmeal cereal mixed with breastmilk. I waited to start him on solids until he showed interest and could sit up. I was worried he wasn't getting enough fluids, but my doc said that as long as he wets three diapers in 24 hours, he's fine and that he will drink whenever he's hungry/thirsty. So my advice to you is this: just keep nursing your daughter whenever you can. She'll take it when she needs it, as my son did. He kind of "grazes," e.g., when I'm at work, he typically drinks 2 to 4 oz of breastmilk every two or three hours. When I'm home, I nurse him every two hours for a few minutes, depending on how hungry he is. A lot of his same-age cousins will drink 6oz or more of breastmilk per feeding and they are bigger, but not by much. As long as he's growing and developing consistently, I don't worry and I would say the same of your daughter. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am not in your area but La Leche is a great resource and if you talk to a leader or go to a meeting you will probably be able to get some names for supportive pediatricians near you.



answers from New York on

Sorry I can't recommend anyone, but your doctor sounds horrible! Get her to another one asap !



answers from New York on

I have a 4 month old--breast and formula fed. I cried buckets of tears when at 2 months I had to start giving him much more formula because I wasn't producing enough milk and he wasn't gaining enough weight--he is very long and very hungry. He is going in and out of being fussy and it is definitely from teething and the side effects from the teething. If she is drooling a lot or congested or knawing on her hands or all of the above and more it is probably teething. Give her homeopathic remedies such as Boiron Camilla or Hyland's teething tablets. Also change doctors! I go to Dr. Kligler at the Beth Israel Health and Healing center--he is wonderful and open to modified immunization (so important!) and is holistic in a lot of his treatment. Good Luck and trust your intuition!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches