Home » Uncategorized » Dumplin’: 4 Months Old- Are All Babies this Fussy?

Dumplin’: 4 Months Old- Are All Babies this Fussy?

I’m laying in bed right now, giving myself a time out, because I’ve just about had enough screaming for one day. Dumplin’s just a bit older than 4 months now, and it seems that we have a bit of a clusterfuck of unfortunate circumstances happening right now:

– Wonder Weeks Leap #4: shitty catnaps (previously was a better napper), nighttime sleep is less easy to go down for, bored super quick (so needs to be entertained more and more actively)

– definitely teething (lower front teeth- you can kinda see them trying to poke through): endless amounts of crying, chewing on fists, crying, crying, crying… We’ve been using Hyland’s teething gel, Camillia homeopathic drops, and when super desperate, infant Tylenol

– acid reflux: screaming and arching back after burps and feeds, hates lying on his back, hates sitting up, basically hates all positions, hates the omeprazole medication that was prescribed for him (spits it out and screams some more)

– still refuses to take a bottle for more than a few seconds, and hates his hypoallergenic formula that I’m trying out. Wants to be exclusively breastfed and on demand, which is fine except that we need to prepare for when Mochi comes and the fact that Dumplin’s gonna need to be babysat by grandma and grandpa during the birth and post birth recovery (ie. Needs to take a bottle and learn to sleep by himself in a crib- cue anxiety for me!)

I’m pretty much going deaf in my left ear from all of the screaming, and nothing soothes him…. Nothing. 
I can’t even microwave and eat my lunch without having to contend with leaving him in the swing screaming. 

I also tried to sleep train his naps using the Happy Sleeper method, and it took more than 12 sleep waves (ie. 12 x 5 minute intervals of crying) to get him to nap for 40 minutes. I had planned on sleep training naps for a few weeks, then training bedtime from bedsharing to crib sleeping in his own room… But then the teething pain got worse, and the acid reflux medication struggles, and I thought that maybe it would be too much for him, so I haven’t sleep trained him since that first time.

I’m obviously very excited that Mochi will be here in 10ish weeks (DW is 31 weeks today), but I’ve got all sorts of anxiety about what those days are going to look like for Dumplin’, and how we’re going to handle a newborn and a 6 month old. For example- Dumplin’ has strong sleep attachments to motion and nursing. He will only nap in the swing, or in his car seat while in motion. As soon as either is stopped, he wakes up and starts fussing. I’ve been worrying lately because the swing is becoming less reliable at helping him nap, and I’m so ready to give away the dogs because every single day, they bark at imaginary things and wake him up. It’s gotten so frustrating with the dogs that I’ve even started to get stressed about coming home because I know the dogs will bark and ruin whatever nap I’ve managed to get Dumplin’ to have during the course of a car ride. I am so frustrated and annoyed with them. 

At bedtime, Dumplin will only fall asleep on the boob. I sense he is wanting an earlier bedtime, so I’m pretty much rushing to get ready for bed after dinner. This means I’m in bed at around 8:30 with him, and tonight, it was 7:30 because he was fussing super badly. But of course, teeth! So he slept for 20 minutes, woke up and started screaming, and now DW is downstairs sitting in front of him in the swing, watching the Vampire Diaries. I know we need to break these sleep attachments, but I feel like with the Leap and the teething, it would just be too traumatic to go hardcore right now. I was shocked that it took 12+ sleep waves to get him to finally nap! 

Our plan is to sleep train him during March Break, when DW has the week off and can deal with a little bit of sleep deprivation. I want to sleep train him now, because I feel like our tricks just aren’t working anymore and like we’re doing everything short of a jig to get him to sleep. 

In other news, DW recently turned 40! We celebrated with a surprise birthday dinner with 14 of our close friends. 

And Dumplin’ is 4 months old and quite the chunky monkey still:


And I’m enjoying awesome strength gains at the gym, and starting to see my upper abs peeking through the loose postpregnancy belly skin. I’m still 7lbs above pre pregnancy weight, but my clothes fit loose and I’m ready to buy myself some smaller jeans soon.


47 thoughts on “Dumplin’: 4 Months Old- Are All Babies this Fussy?

  1. Your post really resonated with me because my son around 4 months really went through a hard time. Everything went wrong all at once. I had to start sleep training. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that others are with you. Oh, and I’m so impressed with your physique 4 months post c-section. I’m struggling in that area. Anywhoo, everyone says it gets easier. I’m sending my good vibes your way!

      • My son is almost 6 months. From 3.5 to 5 months was really bad for us. I then had to start sleep training. I kept putting it off for so many reasons. I tried everything. I mean everything and failed. Finally I settled on the extinction method from Weissbluth (basically CIO with love). I modified it for my baby. We had some set backs because he learned to roll over and then had a cough in the middle of it. But now after 1 month of training things have really improved. Down to 1 waking at night and naps are a lot more manageable. But that being said, I’m sure more road blocks will emerge. Just when you think you’re okay, they pull you back in!

  2. Firstly, I really hope that this will soon pass and that your little guy will calm down his fussiness so you can regain some rest & sanity. I know it’s hard not to, but truly don’t worry about whether or not he likes taking the bottle, as long as the grandparents are prepared for a little fight – when he is with them, and he’s hungry, chances are that he’ll know it’s his only option and he’ll take it just fine. 4 months is a really hard age, I’m guessing for all kiddos. I know we resorted to CIO in all its messy glory when we got closer to 5-6 months, because we didn’t have any success with the gentler methods. It sucks no matter what you try. Everyone ends up crying. I know I did. A lot. And wtf you’re a ridiculously hot mama. Wow. I’m totally not posting my progress photos tomorrow! Lol

    • Aww you’re too sweet with the compliments. I’ve just been lifting weights consistently (no cardio to keep my calories up). I’m sure that you’re making gains too, and have been enjoying following your ECBL.

      You’re right though- the worst case scenario for Mochi Day isn’t that bad- if Dumplin’s super hungry, and I’m not around, he’ll take a bottle. I guess I should start a BM stash though… 5-6 months for DD1 would be probably about 4 months adjusted, so that sounds about right. Yeah, I think some CIO is in my future…

  3. Four months was the worst for us, I don’t know if that’shelpful. But… Combine the teeth (Darwin’s first two popped in at 4 months 20/21 days), the hardest vaccines, developmental stuff, and the reduction we had in support as we exited the newborn phase – everything you’re talking about resonates so much. If you have any, now is the time to call in favors from friends, and when you can, cut yourself any breaks that you haven’t yet (order in, send the dogs to a kennel for a weekend, that kind of thing). I really hope things turn around for you soon, thinking good things your way.

    • Thank you for sharing. It is definitely helpful to know we’re not alone here. You’re right too- it’s time to call the grandparents maybe for some quality time with Dumplin 😉 I need a break.

  4. Btw I never thought to mention it because I assumed you probably had already read it, but there’s a book called “the happiest baby on the block” that’s basically all about soothing & calming… It may have some good tips.

  5. Dang, that is really a rough time you’re going through. I hope sleep gets a bit better and you’ll find ways to make it easier for all of you. I remember my son having the 4 month sleep regression as well, he just wouldn’t stop nursing. 10 weeks is a really long time in Dumplins life, so there is a good chance that things change a lot by then. If you’re interested in reading advice about sleep attachments, I can recommend the Pantley book.
    Is there a chance you could get some regular support, like a babysitter? In my experience it really helps to have even just a couple of hours regularly to look forward to even if it is just time for eating and showers. Is it any comfort to you that those very aware, high-need, little sleep babies often turn out as kids with above average intelligence, very empathetic, social and curious about the world?

    As far as taking the bottle. I disagree on trying to force him to drink from it with the grandparents by waiting it out. I read up quite a bit on babies like that and talked to a couple of lactation consultants, because I went back to work and needed a way to feed our bottle-refusing kid. What I learned is, that the physical motion required to drink from a bottle are very different for the tongue and cheek muscles. Sucking vs. massaging the milk out with the tongue (I hope I am translating this right in my head).
    So even if some kids have no trouble at all switching from boob to bottle, there actually are a number of kids who are unable to drink like that and forcing them will only make them starve. Often those who also won’t take a paci. Our kid still can’t drink from sippy cups that are spill proof and require sucking. We used tiny little cups to feed him expressed milk (there are youtube videos that show how to do that). It helped if I had left the house for that, he wasn’t fooled into taking a cup if the original source was right in front of him. At Dumplins age I would also probably try solids a bit earlier than 6 months and hope that he can be fed those in addition to milk.
    Your body is looking extremely good, that requires work and you can be proud.

    • Lots of good advice. I have the Pantley book, and have been slowly making progress with breaking the nursing attachment (unlatching him shortly after falling asleep instead of letting him sleep with my nipple in his mouth all night). Maybe I will try him with cup feeding. It makes sense about the sucking vs. Massaging the milk out. He doesn’t seem to know how to use a pacifier either. He tries… But can’t keep it in his mouth, despite the many different types we’ve tried. When did you start the Little Viking on solids? I’m desperately waiting for Dumplin to start sitting up so that we can get it started too. And thank you for the compliments 🙂

      • 5 months we started with mashed avocado, potatoes and white carrots, feeding him and gave him some bits from the dinner table to gnaw on and keep him occupied (bread), however that stuff wasn’t really a meal. We didn’t wait until he could sit up by himself (which was at 7 months). But he was interested in foods and holding himself up well well with a bit of support on our laps or in his highchair.

  6. Wow, it sounds like you guys are really having a rough time. I’m sorry I don’t have any real advice, but I’m sending some happy and sleepy thoughts your way! 😉 Dumplin is so cute and such a big baby boy!

  7. Oh man, at 18 weeks, I DREAM about those postpartum gym days when I feel like I can really make some progress and the scale will be going DOWN instead of UP. Good for you – you look fantastic!

  8. 3.5 to 5 months was HELL for us. Letting him get used to sleeping in his crib and learning to fall asleep on his own was the best thing we ever did. Sometimes they just need to figure things out themselves with you there to support them along the way. It’s tough at first, but a miracle in the long run! Good luck! Also, Dumplin is so damn cute and you look amazing!

  9. Whew, hoping you guys catch a break before Mochi arrives. Sounds like 4 months is a hugely transitional time for sleep – I have been reading and following other folks progress for a few years now and that 4 month mark is seared in my brain!

    I do have a tiny tip that may help re: dogs, but you may be a step ahead so maybe not! We have 2 barky chihuahua types. They will bark at a fucking curtain moving….

    When I had severe nausea in my first trimester I could not deal with being home and listening to them bark all damn day. I bought 3 used noise machines (we already had gates) and basically created zones. In our bedroom I leave the noise machine on, 24/7 by the window since I like to leave it open year round for fresh air. We’re currently have huge municipal sewer work done on our street and since I keep the curtains closed and machine on, the little dummies have no idea.

    I like to keep the livingroom as is so I gate the entrance and they’re not allowed in there.

    In the combined dining room/kitchen I have another noise machine by the window – the trigger for them there is our tenants coming and going. With the machine on, they have no idea.

    I also moved our mailbox off our porch and onto the bottom of our porch stairs – so they don’t go ballistic re: mailmen and tenants checking mail.

    It started as a way to help with 1 tri nausea the I evolved it based on knowing Smoochie is coming and how pissed I’d be if they woke him.

    (The 3rd machine is in Smoochies room, which is where they hang out.)

    I thought having a low constant him of white noise would irritate me or that is notice it. I don’t! It truly does not bother me. And the weirdness is worth it to shut the little asshats up!

      • I second the noise machines! We have four dogs and most of the time they don’t like to shut the hell up. Like now, I’m with Simon napping and he didn’t wake up to the HOWLING from the living room because of the noise machine. It’s a life (sleep) saver for sure! Also, helps so we don’t have to be super quiet at night while he’s sleeping!

  10. Oh friend, I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time. You’ve had some great ideas posted here. I think white noise may really help the dogs. It never occurred to me. I think I may try it with ours! There have been days I have really had to keep myself in check with Twix & Rolo. Nothing is more frustrating than having the dogs wake up a baby you just struggled to get to sleep. I totally feel you on that. I think the cup idea for breastmilk is brilliant, too. C LOVES sipping from cups. Does Dumplin’ like gripe water? Could you try masking the reflux meds in some gripe water?

      • That really sucks that it’s so bitter! Gripe water is sweet–if you could do a few syringes of 50/50 it might work. Even if you had to wait a while in between syringes, it may be a start. Charlotte LOVES gripe water. We don’t even have to push the syringe–she just sucks it right out!

  11. Awwww…..I read this with all too much familiarity. I know what those days were like. Super painful and there is not a whole lot to do except do your best and wait it out. Thinking of you both!!!

  12. I’m not going to offer any sleep advice but heaps and heaps of empathy. We have one bad sleeper too (apart from me I mean) and it’s a challenge even when they’re older. Wishing you both all the best with whatever you decide to try and high hopes that something works.

  13. We ended up hiring a sleep consultant when Moose was 4.5 months old because we were absolutely desperate. She was an awful sleeper at that age – would only nap if I wore her and only in 20 minute chunks, up every hour all night. Ugh. For what it’s worth, she’s a fantastic sleeper now and her temperament evened out a lot as she grew. She’s always going to have what we like to call “a large personality” but she became much less fussy when she could sit up/play with toys/start wriggling around on her own.

  14. Wow. And I was hoping for respite at four months, lol! Sorry you’re having such a hard time – I totally get the screaming. F is a TERRIBLE daytime napper most days and the evenings are still dreadful. Sigh. You are looking brilliant though – well done!

  15. I’m sorry you’re having a rough time with sleep and feeding and fussiness. The sleep thing sounds so hard, especially with a ‘must sleep better’ deadline. I recently re-read what I wrote about Junie at 5 months and it made me realize how quickly things can change – we are in a totally different place with her sleep a month later, and feel less frayed at the edges (it still isn’t great, but we also haven’t done proper sleep training like you will). So 11 weeks is hopefully a good chunk of time for Dumplin’ to change and for you guys to do sleep training – it’s a significant amount of time relative to his life so far, even if it sounds right around the corner.
    White noise seems to help for us. For a while our cat kept meowing and waking Junie up and I had unprecedented cat rage – finally, Junie will sleep through it mostly (obviously not quite as loud as a bark, though).
    Hang in there. You guys are doing great.

    • You’re so right- things can change so quickly with them. I hope things improve soon. They seem to have taken a turn for the worse though, since I think he is showing signs of not being ready for sleep training (I’ve been trying to train naps right now, but it’s not going well).

      • Oh no! That must be so crappy, putting in the effort to sleep train without getting the pay off. I really hope things get better for you guys soon.

  16. Dylan hasn’t gotten any better really. She screams so much, she fights sleep and the amount of work to get her to sleep is absurd. While it is terrible and I still take time outs from her once the personality comes out it gets easier to handle. You will work things out and find a way to not lose your minds. He will go through better sleep periods…and potentially worse but overall you will enjoy him more.

    As for the dogs…my dog doesn’t bark and i still feel tapped out with her.

    • I’m sorry to hear that Dylan’s sleep is so challenging too. I agree that time outs are necessary to stay sane too. I try to get to the gym daily on weekdays where there’s a daycare, so that I have some me time during the day…. And also to break up the now-monotonous screaming lol.

  17. Sleep struggles are real! Austin has reflux too and it is such a completely different. I gut with him than it was with the boys, he cries incessantly and I’m loosing my damn mind, but I just have to keep reminding myself that all this shit is temporary. He won’t be doing this when he’s 18, or 7, and hopefully at 3, so there is absolutely a light at the end of the tunnel, just kinda far far away. Hang in there friend. Hope it’s gotten better!

    • Thank you friend. The reflux has improved a lot actually. His poops are unpredictable still, but I’m just happy he’s not barfing everywhere lol. I hope Austin’s improves quickly. The fussiness is a constant though, sadly. I think Dumplin’s just bored easily and is very good at communicating that haha. Hugs to you all!!

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