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Infants » Newborn Development

Five Month Old Cries Often

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Dear Dr. Turben:

My son is five months old. He was a very easy newborn. He rarely cried if ever and at times we wondered if he actually new how to cry. When he turned three months old he suddenly woke up. When we are home he fusses ALL the time. It is very hard to keep him happy. He needs constant hands on stimulation. Just handing him a toy or rattling it in front of him is not enough. He likes us to jiggle him and throw his legs around an swing him around etc. and he is very happy when he is in a baby carrier. If we take him to the grocery store of the mall he is usually happy. People in public think I have the sweetest, easiest baby (he is pretty sweet).

He started sitting up the other day. He wanted to do it so badly and he was so frustrated that he couldn’t. We thought that would be the answer but it didn’t help. Now he sits up and whines instead of laying down and whining. He has rolled over once belly to back, but has not done it again and makes no attempt. The doctor told us he still has his infant reflex that is preventing him from rolling over. He hates belly time so that ends after 30 seconds to a minute and we just try to encourage it several times a day.

Today we were in the elevator in a department store and there were two women not paying him any mind. He started making all kinds of noise to get their attention including kicking his arms and legs, when they finally looked over at him he gave the a huge smile. Yesterday in the bath he was sucking on a wash cloth and when I took it away from him he cried. Friends have told me these are milestones he should reach later on. Is he advanced and frustrated because of this? (can you see me pulling at straws?)

I can’t stand the whining. The doctors told us he needs to nap more but even when gets the required amount of naps he is still fussy. Putting him to bed is no problem. We follow our bedtime routine and he goes in his crib wake and falls asleep and sleeps till morning. He almost always has gas but the doctor told us all babies are gassy. Hi seems to me to excessive, but again I don’t know this is my first child.

We are at our wits end – we don’t know what to do. Is this a phase? Do you have any suggestions for us? Do you think we should try a different pediatrician? Please, your advice is greatly appreciated.


Dear Celine:

Thanks you for writing, you and your baby are entering an exciting stage. Your son is an infant who now is keenly aware of his movements. He took his early months easily! He was a sleeper, cuddler and nourished himself. Now he is awake for sure. He is showing you his personality and awareness of being in constant motion. He’s restless because he has no language except his motor skills, whining and crying. He needs to do this to make sure you know how he feels and thinks.

Infants like yours are early sitters, early grabbers and early self-feeders. He will make up for those early first moths by his high level of activity, energy and whining so you need to help him do as much as he can for himself. Infants like yours are charming and attention seeking. This is where I can be helpful if you can be patient just a little longer until I can send you practical ideas for helping him get throught this. Thanks again for writing.

Susan Turben 

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