Author Topic: 4 months. Great sleeper... but cries his heart out when I hold him to sleep :(  (Read 591 times)

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Offline saramgc

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My son is 4 months. He is a really good baby, and Angel with a touch of Spirited (is that even possible?). He adapts really great to whatever we throw his way, and started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks! (Still with the dreamfeed at 10-11pm)

But the moment he notices I'm hugging him to go to sleep, he starts desperately crying. With a paci and patting his bottom (he is a reflux baby so we don't pat his back) he sometimes calms down, but other times he doesn't, so after a few minutes trying to calm him down on my arms I lay him down in his crib and keep reassuring him and patting his bottom if he is still crying until I feel he is settling down. Should I keep hugging him until he calms down, even if it takes a long time? I fear holding him too long will make him cry even longer the next day...

Why is he doing this? It breaks my heart every single time and makes me wonder if I'm doing something wrong. We've been doing EASY since coming home from the hospital.

Thank you in advance!

Offline becj86

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Hi, first off, yes - angel/spirited is a possible combination - I have one though he is more of a spirited with a touch of angel.

Sounds like your routine might be a bit off - babies who cry when they can tell you're trying to get them to sleep are usually telling you something. Could be reflux is bothering him (meds need adjusting?), could be he's undertired. If you can write out your EASY, we are in a better position to help.

Offline saramgc

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Right now, we're in the middle of adjusting him to 4 hour-EASY, but he has done this for a long time now. I think it started when he was diagnosed with reflux, but I don't think that's the problem now, he is doing great and we have started doing a lot of activities on his back without him crying (which is an achievement!).

I'm really at lost. I know I have to be missing something or not reading his cues properly, and I hate this feeling of not understanding my own son...

Also, I must add that my husband believes his cries are his ways of telling us to put him to bed already.

Anyways our routine was like this (now it's a bit all over the place as we adjust his routine but since he has done this for a while maybe our old routine serves you well):
8AM - wake up and feed
9:15/9:30 - down for nap
11AM - feed
12:15/12:30 - second nap
2PM - feed
3:15/3:30 - nap
5PM - feed
6:15/6:30 - catnap (this is a nap he sometimes sleeps and other times doesn't)
7 or 7:30 (depending if he has slept the catnap or not) - Feed, bath time and down for the night
11PM - dreamfeed
(And he sleeps until 8 the next morning)

*I know there's only a 2-hour gap in the evening feeds, but feeding him at 8PM means he goes to bed very late, so this works for us.

I have just put him to bed for his first nap, he was crying in my arms and calmed down as soon as I put him down... I'm really confused, he was showing tiredness cues...

Offline becj86

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Ok, so I think a combination of increasing your A times by 15mins and moving shush/pat to him lying down in bed and patting him there may serve you well. Definitely the A times are too short for a 4mo and I suspect your husband might be right that LO just wants to be put down for his nap.

Offline creations

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I suspect your husband might be right that LO just wants to be put down for his nap.
Mine did this too, it's so confusing isn't it?  I eventually understood and things went more smoothly. There were still times like when he was teething when he'd scream blue murder in the night and I knew I had to pick him up to comfort him...but then he'd continue to scream blue murder and after a certain amount of time I sort of knew I needed to put him back in bed. There was no change in his cry, my DP asked me how I knew the difference, I didn't really it was more of a guess, he needs comfort and now he needs sleep (and if he continued to scream in his cot I'd just pick up again). Mine would also put his hand over my mouth to stop me singing his wind down song - I thought he was saying something about my singing ha ha, but he just did it to tell me to get him in the cot quickly as he needed sleep more than winding down.


Offline saramgc

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Ok, so I think a combination of increasing your A times by 15mins and moving shush/pat to him lying down in bed and patting him there may serve you well. Definitely the A times are too short for a 4mo and I suspect your husband might be right that LO just wants to be put down for his nap.

This was our old routine, right now, his awake time is closely getting to 1:45-2 hours! But some days he still seems hungry after 3:30 hours and since he is not a very big baby I feed him, so we alternate feeds every 4 and every 3:30 hours now... it's a little crazy!!

Thank you!!!

I'll let you know how this goes... I hate hearing him crying and screaming but maybe my husband is right and it's what our baby needs :(

Offline saramgc

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I suspect your husband might be right that LO just wants to be put down for his nap.
Mine did this too, it's so confusing isn't it?  I eventually understood and things went more smoothly. There were still times like when he was teething when he'd scream blue murder in the night and I knew I had to pick him up to comfort him...but then he'd continue to scream blue murder and after a certain amount of time I sort of knew I needed to put him back in bed. There was no change in his cry, my DP asked me how I knew the difference, I didn't really it was more of a guess, he needs comfort and now he needs sleep (and if he continued to scream in his cot I'd just pick up again). Mine would also put his hand over my mouth to stop me singing his wind down song - I thought he was saying something about my singing ha ha, but he just did it to tell me to get him in the cot quickly as he needed sleep more than winding down.

Why do they have to do this? It breaks my heart... and I've started wondering and questioning myself... maybe he is hungry? Not tired enough? Too tired? Doesn't love me? I don't understand that he doesn't find comfort in my arms... and it makes me sad :( #hormones

Offline becj86

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This was our old routine, right now, his awake time is closely getting to 1:45-2 hours!
At 4 months, 2hr A time is average. As a spirited, he could need a touch more.

Some BF babies do need to eat more frequently than 4hrly, so what you can do it to feed when they wake, then again an hour later give a topup. That means they're only having to go 3hr without a feed, still not feeding to sleep and still having enough time between feeds to get properly hungry without snacking.

I've started wondering and questioning myself... maybe he is hungry? Not tired enough? Too tired? Doesn't love me? I don't understand that he doesn't find comfort in my arms... and it makes me sad
Hugs for this. It really can be very difficult. The idea of EAS routine is that the major things (food, sleep) are catered for before baby *NEEDS* them.

Offline creations

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Why do they have to do this? It breaks my heart... and I've started wondering and questioning myself... maybe he is hungry? Not tired enough? Too tired? Doesn't love me?
Maybe you can switch your thinking on this?  I know I also felt confused and upset when I felt like I couldn't comfort my LO and why did he continue to cry in my arms, why couldn't I comfort him? But, I was able to change my thinking.  When babies want to tell us something, no matter what it is, it comes out as a cry.  Try to think of it as his way of communicating that he is ready to get in his bed and that he has so much confidence in you (that you love him, that he is cared for, that he is responded to when he needs you) that he is happy and ready to be put down and doesn't need more wind down or more cuddles - he's just ready and telling you.
When mine was older and could speak well, one day he said to me that when he was a baby he was trying over and over to say "Mummy I love you" but it only came out as crying and crying.  Now I'm not sure I really believe he could possibly remember a time when he was pre-verbal or that this happened, but as a toddler this was what he said, and maybe even as an older child this is how he feels at times, that there are times his feelings only come out as cries.
Certainly for me, for my emotional response, it helped a lot to switch my thinking and not take all the crying personally.  We need to respond to our LOs cries for help when they need us but we don't have to join them in crying xxx


Offline saramgc

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Thank you for your help, encouragement  and advice!!

I've been busy moving him to a 4-hour routine.

These weeks I've tried everything: topping him up (he still cries - so definitely not hungry), putting him to bed at the first yawn (too early - undertired), putting him to bed when he was rubbing his eyes and even started shouting... no matter what I do, he cries when going to bed! So I have assumed it's his way of winding down. It breaks my heart when he cries, but I've come to accept the fact that it's his way of winding down.

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Sorry that your LO appears to be a crier before sleep time. That's hard. It could be a phase, he may pass through this.  I hope so for your sake as I know it can be so frustrating and heartbreaking.

For info - yawns and eye rubs at this age can be boredom and need to change the scene or activity, it can be very misleading.  If he is yawning or eye rubbing or shouting and it doesn't appear to be time to sleep try moving to a different room, chaning toy, looking out the window together etc.
hope this helps