What do you do with a crying/screaming 3-4 month old?

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Puritan Board Freshman
Remember, he cries, in part, because he cannot talk. Too bad, though, they don't stop crying when they start talking. It is far too early to discipline as he has no comprehension of cause and effect. In other words, "if I cry, then I am left in this crib, so I'll stop crying."

Our almost 4 year old daughter cried quite a bit after feedings. After discussions with our pediatrician we started her on acid reflux medicine. That helped tremendously and thankfully wasn't something she had to stay on.


Puritan Board Junior
I am another who has major issues with the Ezzo's. I am a poster child for everything they think will ruin your kids....and I have a houseful of very good kids, none of whom still want me to hold them, nurse them, rock them, or lay down with them when they need a nap. LOL! ;) They are all as respectful and obedient as I can expect for their ages. :) (They range from 18-4)

I have experienced the same as Jessica. True gastro issues, that when resolved, changed everything.

I *do* understand the fussy baby. My second was that way for several months. She was a very needy baby. We tried to meet those needs, but I want to reassure you that when YOU feel frustrated, if you *know* basic needs have been met....it is better for you to put them safely in the bed and walk out and calm yourself, than to continue to let frustration mount. Babies sense that and it just starts a vicious cycle. (I should add that at age 13, she is a very independant, pleasant young lady. My meeting her needs of being held and comforted by mom for those months did not in any way convince her that she ruled the house ;) )

I cannot say enough about prayer. God made THIS child and placed this child with YOU. There have been many times that I feel the Lord just gave us wisdom in how to deal with each individual child, at each age. There may be something medical behind it, there may not. Some kids are needier than others. I think it's wonderful that you are willing to sacrifice a few hours with your crying baby and let your wife get out. My husband was the same way and it helped me to be refreshed and renewed and keep my sanity during some tough months. It is the ultimate laying down your life for your wife and not many men are willing to do that because they feel they cannot do anything to *fix* this child. :)

-----Added 8/26/2009 at 09:10:45 EST-----

I want to add, there *is* a place for not allowing crying...when they are a bit older. When we started training for behavior...and some were around 6 months because they were mobile *quickly*...I began to *also* train them to not cry and cry in protest after correction. But 3 months is too early in my opinion.


Puritan Board Freshman
With my Son, I started doing the airplane (football position) with him when he was about 3 months. It actually calmed him down a lot. When I pretty much exhausted everything such as changing his diaper, feeding him, or just getting some attention etc and that doesn't work, I would just let him cry it out.

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Anthony mentioned something and this just struck me.

It's likely teething. With the need for feeding constantly and the sudden crying, I'm guessing that's it.

All of my kids had their first teeth around that age.

Try some infant Tylenol and Ambesol.


Puritan Board Junior
The football hold for nursing involves placing the baby at your side, under your arm and nursing them in a more *upright* position. It is hard to describe. I'm sure there are books and online sites where she can *see* the position. It helps with gastro issues.

Diet *is* a very real thing. Elimination is the only real way to discover if that is a factor. It is really a pain to work through! LOL!

-----Added 8/26/2009 at 10:48:10 EST-----

Oh, and sometimes, putting a soft quilt on the top of the dryer, and then lying baby on it on his/her belly and then running the dryer works WONDERS! The warmth and vibration and *white noise* can be soothing to them. Of course, don't leave them alone...and I don't recommend it with *stack* systems. (giggle)


Puritan Board Professor
Just wondering, since feeding consoles him....

Is he getting enough? Does mom have enough milk for him

(as father to 8, and husband to wife who often run dry after 3 months...)

that is my take....
Yes, he is getting plenty. He is a fat little bundle of crying joy! :)


Puritan Board Junior

How is his weight gain?

Babies that age can be fat little bundles, and still not be getting enough....


Staff member
My oldest Daniel was 14 lbs by the end of the first and couldn't get enough feeding from his mother. We had to move early to baby foods and other things than most kids do. He is 6'3" now and 200 lbs at age 18. He always was a head taller than his class mates.

He was a rounder but not getting enough when he was only 1 month. So don't necessarily eliminate that. If I remember correctly we started giving him rice and baby food from baby jars so young it amazed everyone. His stomach handled it also.

P.S. teething is usually accompanied by a slight fever.


Puritan Board Doctor
My pastor and his wife use the book "Train Up A Child" and they are having excellent success with their children!! They don't even have to "child proof" their home!!! Of course, there are some crazy parts to the book you have to overlook but the book deals with training a child so that you don't have to discipline the child as much. Much like how you would train a dog....sounds crude but when children are born they have a clean slate as it were and how you train the child is what kind of mannered child you will get. ALL children are trained....it's just a matter of "are you going to train them to be obedient or train them to get their own way". You can PM me if you're interested in getting the book.

Edit: and they start when the child is a few months old!!

-----Added 8/26/2009 at 06:04:56 EST-----

Actually my pastor's wife was just on FB and she gave me the info so here it is if you want it. Now, remember that there's some junk in the book (you can basically rip out chapter 2) that you should disregard but overall it's really good.

To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl. I think you can buy it on their website No Greater Joy Ministries - Family Magazine, Child Training Articles, Homeschooling Tips, Marriage Resources, Good & Evil Picture Bible, Bible Teaching audio and more from Michael and Debi Pearl for less than $4.

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
BTW, Andrew, thanks for being such a good sport about all the advice. Sometimes it can be a bit annoying. Nobody knows your kid like you do and so I hope you take my own experiences as a data point and not necessarily normative. I don't put the "Raising Kids God's Way" seal on any advice I offer.


Staff member
Someone mentioned teething, this came to my mind too -- and nursing will put pressure on the gums and offer some pain relief, so Mom's nursing might be a help in more ways that one.

There could be other physical problems too -- make sure Mom is getting rest (yeah, right!) and that her diet is really bolstered. The kiddo is growing fast and is getting more active and all that energy needs to come from somewhere.

And, sadly, this is often a common age for the onset of colic.

Even if it is teething, it's a good idea to be adapting the baby to a good schedule at this point, so try to stick to a routine, and try teething rings (the kind that can be refrigerated) and teething gel and even running your finger along the gums. (Would you have imagined a few months ago getting advice to stick your finger in someone else's mouth? Welcome to parenthood!)

Oh, and don't think you'll be visiting your kid in jail in 15 years if you make the wrong call on this one (or the next, or the one after that). Yes, we have an awesome responsibility before God in rearing our children, but often with babies a lot of patience and a good sense of humor will go a long way.

For colic, there is a "alternative" product on the market called GripeWater that has a loyal following. I'd check with your pediatrician first. And there were times I reached for the gas drops when I ran out of all other ideas (and in our case, I think it helped, due to the kids having some food sensitivities from my diet).


Puritan Board Graduate
I'm intrigued to see Gripe Water classified as "alternative". I'm sure in Britain it was a nursery standard in my mum's/grandma's day. Do you suppose it can have become alternative simply by pre-dating e-numbers and remaining in existence?


Puritan Board Junior
Check the kid's anus for pinworms. They are white lines, about 1/2 cm long, as thin as a fine needle. It could be that feeding consoles him because it distracts him.


Puritan Board Freshman
My advice as a mom of 3 - A baby that young will want mom, will want to nurse. Its very likely he's going through a growth spurt, or teething, or just needs mom. He's a baby - don't read manipulation into baby cries at this age. Trust me, you will KNOW it when he throws his first real fit (for my three its been around 10-12 months). At this age, babies don't relate to dad the same way. They often want to nurse more than the books say. You won't spoil him, you'll establish a strong relationship and a sense of security. Try to see behind his eyes. Everything is so new to a baby that age - its surely scary sometimes. My kids were nursed when they acted like they wanted to, held often, carried in a sling, and none of them are remotely spoiled. Real discipline should begin when they are old enough to understand and clearly disobey. If you start teaching obedience by around 1 year, you will not have a spoiled, manipulative child regardless of how much he's held or fed as a little baby.

I find that if my little ones seem that they want to nurse all the time, they may have a greater need to suck, and I offer them a pacifier. If they don't want that, I'll put them in a sling and walk around doing other stuff for a while - often they'll go to sleep.


Puritan Board Freshman
I completely agree with Catherine.

My third baby went through this at about that age too. She is 5 months now and let me just say that there is a huge difference in her understanding in just those two months. But, even at this age I would not discipline her. I do shush her and do some training.

The absolute best parenting advice I have seen is at Raising Godly Tomatoes Start at the very top left hand link that says Square One. That will give you the basic premise of her advice (which I believe is just biblical principles fleshed out). She even has a link titled Proverbs Parenting to show that the Bible does give plenty of parenting advice.

HERE is the direct link that deals with training infants.

BTW, almost all of the info that is in the book is available on her website for free. You will see the links underneath the title "The Book". And you can even join the message board. It's not just for women, she really appreciates the few men who are on the board.

I think this is the second time I have recommended this site on here but it is just such a great resource. :)


Puritan Board Doctor
Sometimes crying is just a kid's sinful nature coming out, and some are lots worse than others. One of ours would cry for no reason and not stop. Following the advice we got at one of those big Reformed churches where everyone has a dozen kids, we (at three months) took turns blowing into his nose from a few inches away, which would stop the crying and when he started up again we'd lightly slap his leg with a wooden spoon, so he would associate the pain with his crying. It took three days, but that was it. The first day it took about 20 minutes, the next about 5 and the next just a few minutes. He totally stopped with the colicky stuff. He was the only one we had to do it with.
No, you didn't "stop the colicky stuff" by slapping the kid's leg with a wooden spoon. Colic is a physical condition. When a kid has colic, he needs to see a pediatrician.

You may have stopped something, but it wasn't colic.

-----Added 10/4/2009 at 01:34:45 EST-----

Kid crying all the time? Probably gonna be a Democrat...:lol:


Puritan Board Graduate
We tried a variety of things with our children. Each one went through a period from about six weeks until around 5 months where they seemed to scream for no reason. With my oldest it was gas, we used the drops, they didn't help. One thing we did was boil carraway seed, then strained the seeds out and gave her the juice, that helped. Another thing we did was used a thermometer rectally to help relieve the gas, put a little vaseline on the tip and sometimes that will trigger a bowel movement which elminates the gas problem.

Some of our babies just needed to cry. My third baby just needed to cry. Feeding, holding, and changing diapers didn't work. If I fed her the crying just went on longer. She is my happiest child. I didn't abuse her in anyway. My last baby needed me and only wanted me for the first year of her life. I ended up holding her a lot more than the others. She had a different need from the others, she needed to be held, she still does. I held her and fed her and comforted her. She is the most confident child I have. I met her needs when she was young and she still wants me and comes to me, but she isn't afraid of much. I found she let me know when she didn't want to nurse, not every cry is a cry for food. I did let her cry herself out at bedtimes and nap times. I think every child is different and what worked on one won't usually work on the other.

My GP told me that growth spurts can be very painful and that sometimes I should give a small dose of infant tylenol to see if that helped. I massaged my babies legs and arms a lot when they were little and gave warm baths. All of those things seemeds to help. They grow a lot in the first few months. It was my first thought when I read your post.


Puritan Board Doctor

How are things w/ the baby? Have they improved?

you said he had a dr's appt. last month, what did they say?

Something you need to be wary of is passing the baby to mom whenever they cry, it can build resentment in you and her, and may cause feelings and thoughts that you are inadequate and incapable as a father (in either you or your wife) that you can't do anything right, where the attitude becomes 'just let mom handle it, because it's easier, than listening to the baby cry..or easier than the child getting used to dad to comforting them when they need it..because there will be times when mom isn't around and dad will need to handle those things..and you don't want to have to call her home every time, because your not sure what to do..I've seen that happen time and again with new parents.

and as others have said..Letting a baby cry, is NOT abuse, it really does help to build their lungs..
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