Dear Meg,

I have a four-month-old baby boy who seems to be very fussy during the day and does not sleep through at night yet.  There are nights where he wakes up on the hour. Why is this?  I am starting to introduce solids, as he seems hungry all the time.  (I’ve been breastfeeding exclusively and intend continuing.)  Sometimes he gets so irritated and fussy that I can only get him to fall asleep in my arms to music with a beat.  Other times he allows me to put him in his cot and he falls asleep by himself.  Am I over stimulating him?  How do I stimulate him without overdoing it?  I would like my child to develop sufficiently.  Also, when should he take daytime naps?

Meg’s response:

Every baby is different and each baby can deal with differing amounts of stimulation. From your letter, it sounds as if your baby is battling to cope with stimulation. He is obviously fussing a fair amount in that you say he is hungry all the time. Furthermore, you mention that he also gets irritable and fussy.

At four months old, your baby can only cope with a small amount of stimulation and his awake times are still quite short. You should try to put your baby to sleep an hour and a half after he wakes from a sleep. This will mean you will have time for a feed, a short playtime and then start to calm your baby in his room before putting him down.

As you are aware, stimulation is important but it is possible that if your little guy is alert he is finding his world quite stimulating anyway. Play games and stimulate him when he is happy, rested and fed and don’t forget to put him down to sleep regularly.