R we spoiling our 4 month old?

Katherine - posted on 01/12/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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My baby girl just turned 4 months old. My husband and I tend to pass her back and forth in the evenings, so she is held by one of us most of the time. When we put her in her exersauser/bouncer/playmat, she is content for a little while. After 10 mins or so, if we aren't sitting with her she starts to wine and fuss. As soon as you sit by her and talk to her she is fine. Is this usual behavior? It seems like she knows how to get us to do what she wants, already. From what I have read she is still too young to know what she is doing, but it’s hard to believe that she is not manipulating us when she whines and cries and as soon as we pick her up she goes back to smiling and cooing. It's so difficult to get anything done around the house these days. I have resorted to wearing her in a Baby Bjorn while I do small chores. I can't imagine how a single parent copes. Are we catering to her too much? When should we draw a line and just let her fuss. I was told that you can't really spoil a baby. I am not so sure now.

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Rebekah - posted on 01/14/2010

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Oh yeah, totally normal. My daughter is 4 months old as well and does the same thing. However, we tend to let her whine and fuss while we get things done. 1) She will never remember it 2) It won't hurt her emotionally if she fusses 3) It's great exercise when they fuss and 4) They NEED to learn how to self sooth and entertain themselves. She is getting much better now actually! Now, if she SCREAMS for more than like, 15-20 mins, I will go in and pick her up and make sure nothing is wrong (i.e. not in pain, doesn't need a diaper change, etc). The truth is, I have to get things done, and I can't be with her at all moments... and i know she is fine, so it's ok if she fusses a little. But I understand how hard it is to just leave your baby there fussing. It's no fun! But I promise, it will get better if she gets used to entertaining herself a little bit! :)

Lia - posted on 01/13/2010

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my son was the same if you put him down or left the room he would scream so i just let him scream it out they soon get used to being put down or on their own. only problem is he has started doing it again because he is teething but i just do the same thing.i even put him in his cot now and let him scream it out in there and 9 times out of 10 he will go to sleep. don't know if this is any help

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From the beginning my boyfreind and I only held our daughter when feeding and burping her, she is doing the same thing as your baby girl, so I dont think its because you cater to her, I beleive it is just a stage! Babies love and need attention. I think you should give it to them as much as possible, the more they get, I think the better they learn =) good luck

Erin - posted on 01/16/2010

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My little man loves sponge bob the other boys watch it and as soon as Joey knows its on he is trying to watch it!

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What fabulous advice you have received from all these wise Mums. All babies are grisly at some stage. My husband certainly holds Ava more in the evenings, I need to get things done through the day. Don't worry too much about it, but if it is concerning you try leaving here a little longer each time before you pick her up. I rotate Ava's toys on her play mat, and pop her in the bouncer if she gets a little grizzly. It seems to work for her. But you are not alone, best xo

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Brie - posted on 01/24/2010

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you can spoil a baby... constant picking up and holding and coddling won't due her any good... its ok and good to let a baby cry sometimes (of course not for a long time) helps strengthen their lungs and trust me it will be hard just letting her cry but if something was seriously wrong you would know

Shannon - posted on 01/22/2010

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I have an almost 4 month old little boy who does the same thing :) I think its just a stage and it will get better soon!

[deleted account]

We are lucky I guess. Tay would rather be left alone most of the time. But I think it is pretty normal for them to whine like that when you leave them alone like that. But you have to let then some times so that they learn how to self soothe.

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They know how to manipulate from birth. Cry, get fed. Cry more, get fed more. Cry differently, get changed. Manipulation is merely changing conditions to achieve your desired goals - it's not malicious.

If you want to be able to leave her for longer periods of time, you can slowly push it. Put her where she is happy for a few minutes, and gradually extend the amount of time before you answer her cries. Like, wait a minute before you go running. Then, a couple days later, make her wait 3 minutes. Eventually, she'll extend the amount of time she plays happily without you. If your value is to keep her close to you (and some moms wear their babies until the baby refuses to be worn any longer), then go for it! It's great attachment for baby, but some moms like the separation time, especially if baby doesn't nap well!

Sherri - posted on 01/15/2010

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Jackson does the same thing. But really when you leave, and he/she starts to fuss and get loud is because (what we've come to realize) you're gone and he/she doesn't want to be alone. Danny and I are smokers (we never smoke around him) and we go outside to smoke. If he's chillin on the bed or in his bouncy and we step outside and there isnt anything going and it's just quiet, then he starts fussin and gettin loud. Try next time getting her attention by putting something on the tv. Jackson, for some reason, loves seeing things on the tv so we keep that going and he's content. I'm not saying to use the tv as a babysitter, but if you're stepping out for just a few minutes, that should work as an attention getter just for the time being. Good luck!

Erin - posted on 01/15/2010

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I just took a class in child psychology and they specifically tell you before the age of 6 months you cannot spoil an infant! It is very important to comfort your baby when she cries. I try not to let my son cry for more than a min or two. If I am in the middle of doing something I will try to finish up then go get him. At the early stages infants are in letting them cry it out will cause problems later on the children will not look to their parents for comforting when they are older. These children can have many issues when they get older and be violent and not be able to be calmed. WHen infants cry it is because there is something wrong even if they are lonely. It is hard sometimes I have two step sons who require alot of attention on top of my baby but I want to make sure my son knows I will always be there. The middle child who is 3's mother let him sit and cry when he was an infant he is violent and continuously throws tantrums.

Sarah - posted on 01/14/2010

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My son did the same thing after he was born. He got so used to someone holding him that he wouldn't even sleep in his own cradle, or anything else. I am a single mother, and I had to find ways to get him to be content alone for longer periods of time. I gave him tummy time while I was in the same room, but not watching him directly. I would answer him every so often when he cooed so he didn't have to look to know I was there. If he gets bored with tummy time, I'll flip him onto his back and put his gym over him to play with that. Depending on what I am in the middle of, I'd sometimes put him in the swing or bouncer. If I leave the room, it's for five minutes or less, or I'm in the next room where he can see and hear me (kitchen's right next to the living room). Before I got him adjusted to playing by himself, I carried him in a sling as well, or just ignored what I had to do. He now goes up to an hour in one position, then I will pick him up and give him some attention. It took a lot of time and patience and ignoring many chores, but I think we have it covered for now. Oh, he turned four months on the 7th.

Michelle - posted on 01/14/2010

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thanks, i was just having this argument with my mother. my daughter is usually really really fussy from 7pm to about 1030 pm, but its only started in the last week and a bit. she used to be very calm and content to just sit in her chair and watch tv at night while i was trying to get stuff done, but now she just screams her head off and it doesnt matter who holds her she wont calm down. when iot comes to doing dishes or tidying the kitchen, i put her either in her bouncy seat on my counter(very wide counters, seat sat side ways beside sink) or in her bumbo on my island where she wont fall and she'll chat while i do dishes, or clean out fridge/cupboards, so housework isnt an issue. just those few hours of the evening shes miserable. nice to know other moms have the same issue.

Marcie - posted on 01/13/2010

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Katherine, I am going through the same thing with my 4 month old son. I do believe he knows how to manipulate me. My husband is a lot stronger than I am but I ignore his requests to just let our son cry it out. I have heard that you can't spoil a baby as well, but I too am beginning to wonder. At what point do they get used to being on their own for a little while? In my situation, our son will sleep in his crib at night, but he will not let me put him down when he naps during the day. I end up holding him all day and playing with him all day. I get nothing done. Our doctor told us to let him cry in his crib, but he will cry for over an hour and its torture for me. So I go in and try to soothe him and when that doesn't work, I end up rocking him to sleep. My husband is having a hard time getting him down because he won't rock him, he thinks he should go down on his own. It is really hard. Anyway, I don't have any answers but I wanted you to know you aren't alone!

Caitrin - posted on 01/13/2010

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I'm really glad you posted this. I was wondering to myself the exact same thing. He's happy when we're holding him and fusses when we're not. I just try to be there for him... unless he's being unreasonable. When he's in his jumper, he'll be fine for 10 minutes and then start to "whine". Then it turns into a whimper but if you look at him he is actually smiling while whining. I think he knows the cause- cry and the effect- attention. I think they're smarter than we give them credit for.

Jillian - posted on 01/13/2010

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I do the same thing with my daughter. I hate when people say I am spoiling her because to me its showing her that im here when she needs/wants me.. I love love love the cuddles. I did it with my first daughter who is now 5 and now with my 4 month old.. The dishes and laundry can wait, babies grow too fast :)

Casandra - posted on 01/13/2010

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my son is almost 4 months old and for a while acted the same way, he still has his fits every now and then but no one else could hold him but me, not even his father, which kind of whomped because i do have things to do around the house during the day while daddy is at work but after watching him cry/drool/bite his fist/chomp on everything and see the little white spots in his gums, I realized he is teething, and the bf'ing doesn't help much because as of right now I am his everything right now.

Now though once I pick him up and calm him down, I can put him in his bouncer and clean while he sits and plays with the toys on the bouncer. He is also starting to fall asleep on his own...sometimes

Ashley - posted on 01/13/2010

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i have 4mo twins and because there are two of them i cant hold them all the time. they have learned to fall asleep on their own with just a blanket and a binky. and i will sometimes leave them in their playroom and i can hear them cooing for up to 45 mins. it may be different for mine because they have their sibling to keep them company i dont know... but my point is try not to hold her all the time. and one thing i learned quick, having two babies, is its ok for them to cry. if you know there is nothing wrong then its ok. crying wont hurt them. i hope this helps... good luck

Cheri - posted on 01/13/2010

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She is definatly spoiled! Our 3 month old is the exact same way. Due to her acid reflux I dont let her sleep in her crib, she sleeps in my room with me in her bouncy seat. One night I let her sleep in her room in her bouncy seat and she screamed the whole time until I went and got her! Im trying to break her of it so I dont hold her as much and will leave her in a room alone for a short period of time. Its working!

Sarah - posted on 01/13/2010

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Babies at 4 months aren't capable of manipulating- they are asking for your attention because they need you. SOME babies are able to go long periods of time without being held- my current baby is one of them- but I also know that other babies need to be held the whole time to feel secure- and my first 2 babies were like that. I would pop her in the Bjorn and get as much done as you can. My older 2 are almost 6 and almost 8, and the baby years pass so so quickly. Give her the security while you can and enjoy the cuddles- you won't spoil her at all.

Channa - posted on 01/13/2010

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I have two sons...one is fourteen and my other is four months old...just keep in mind that babies need a lot of attention at that age..i don't know anyone who has had a little one that could get much done around the house.10 mins is usually the longest my little one can handle without my attention unless he is sleeping. thats about the only time i can get anything done,unless i decide to nap also.

Carrie - posted on 01/12/2010

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My baby is the same way. Other people have criticized me for "catering to" him, but my education concentrated on child development. That plus every nurse and expert says that you can't spoil a child under the age of one. This is when they are building their sense of security, so it's a good thing to reinforce that. They'll be off exploring on their own soon enough!

Megan - posted on 01/12/2010

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You and your husband are the center of her universe right now. A baby this young does not manipulate. They don't know how! She simply feels comfort when you are around. There is nothing wrong with that! You aren't catering to her, you are fulfilling her need to feel safe and secure. Keep up with it! Your baby will be very well adjusted for your efforts!

Teresa - posted on 01/12/2010

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Mommy and Daddy are the two most important people in her life! It is natural that she wants to play with you and be held by you. My daughter is the same way in the evenings because my husband LOVES to hold her (I do too, but I need to do housework during the day). She loves her swing and her bouncer during the day, but enjoys the extra attention in the evening.

Noreen - posted on 01/12/2010

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It's completley normal. She isn't manipulating you. It's natural for babies to want to be held and carried. I do the same thing. I either carry her in the ergo to get things done, or put her in her swing for 10 minutes and go as fast as I can to get something done.

Kellie - posted on 01/12/2010

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We have the SAME problem, you're not alone. I think it's just a stage at this point...well at least I hope. :)

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