Help needed to handle the active little emperor!

Yes, the little emperor is baby Alex, who also has other nicknames like the most commonly used ‘Buddy’, and the less commonly used ‘cute-thing’ and ‘monkey Kia’ (or monkey child though he doesn’t look like a monkey), all given by my husband. Alex still can’t recognize his name yet. But with so many strangers saying ‘so cute!’ to him, my husband wonders if Alex might think that is his name. In fact we think he may be confused with what his name is, given we have been addressing him by different names, so we decided to only call him ‘Alexander’ to get him used to his own name.

Anyway the 4-month old baby emperor has almost out-grown his throne aka the rocker. In fact he doesn’t like to nap or sleep on it. He will only take it when he can play with the mobile arch, something he couldn’t do when he was younger. I put him on the rocker for him to play while I get some needed snooze on the couch next to him in the early morning. He will play by himself for about 30 minutes while he watches me asleep. Without the arch, he wouldn’t want to sit on it for more than 5 minutes. I wonder if he finds the rocker unstable because his legs are extending out of it.

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The play mat is also getting a little too small for him. He is now at the 4-month wakeful period when he is at a developmental milestone, trying to turn on his sides. He tried turning on the play mat, but unsuccessful. He also tried turning in the cot, and recently I found him sleeping almost on his tummy and 3/4 of his face on the mattress. I quickly turned him over to lie on his back. My husband then placed bolsters by his sides, under his outstretched arms, to pin him down so that he can’t turn on his sides when he is sleeping or napping. I know the advice is not to have any soft objects in the baby cot, but we have to stop Alex from turning in his sleep and ends up with his face on the mattress. He is able to hold his head up when he is lying on his tummy though.

So we got a play rug from Ikea for Alex. My husband thinks it is better than the play mat since it is bigger and more comfortable. The downside is that it doesn’t have a mobile arch, so my husband suggested putting the play mat on it so that Alex can play. He can’t sit up yet and not able to pick up the toys by his sides. Now with more space, he finally was able to make a turn all by himself on the rug a few days ago!

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Did I mention earlier that he is more wakeful? It has been a challenge to get him to nap now. The sure-fire way is to push him around in the stroller, or take him out in the car seat. For a few nights last week, he didn’t want to return to sleep after having his feed in the middle of the night. After a couple of nights of having to rock him to sleep at 4.30am for an hour, again I was tempted to put up a ‘baby for adoption’ ad. After that, we decided to give him a large feed during the dream feed period (which is the 11pm-12am period when parents wake up a sleeping baby to feed so that the baby will sleep through the night). We don’t have to wake Alex, he naturally cries for a feed around this time. With a 180ml feed, 30ml more than the usual, he is able to last for 6 hours in the night. It worked until tonight when he was wide awake after the feed and refused to return to sleep. He kept crying when we put the pacifier in his mouth. My husband ended up taking him out in the stroller around our condo estate, and the naughty boy smiled when we put him in the car seat!

Alex is still chubby, though not a tubby like before. So we try to put him on a strict diet, he is given 150ml of feed every 5 hours and if not, 4.5 hours. In this way, he is only taking 5 and occasionally 6 feeds a day. Yes, the total amount is less than 900ml but Alex has a lot of reserves on him and he needs to burn some fat. The good thing is he is rather active, he gets bored lying down on the play mat after 10 minutes. He wants to be sitting or standing up so that he is able to look around him. He also likes to walk while assisted. We find it difficult to keep him interested because he gets bored easily. So I googled for ways to occupy a 4-month old baby. Many parents recommended getting a Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo, with a couple of them saying their babies like the jumperoo so much that they can spend an hour at least on it. So we took him to ToysRUs to try it out to see if he will like it, and he took to it very well.

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But we did not get it from ToysRUs here which costs S$280 (US$227.53), when we can get it on Amazon for US$79.99. Even with priority shipping, about US$36, it is still cheaper! Amazon also offers other jumpers from Fisher-Price and Baby Einstein. My husband researched on the Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper and decided that this is better built because it has 4 harnesses and so provides better support. It is slightly more expensive at US$88.70 in Amazon and after adding in the priority shipping cost, it is still less than US$125. So much cheaper than what we have to pay here!

The jumper is a little too high for Alex even at the lowest height; his feet can’t touch the floor. This is something other parents of 4-month old babies faced too; and so I followed their advice and placed a couple of thick hardcover books for Alex to stand on them. He seems to like the jumper, though he hasn’t spent an hour on it yet. So we shall see. Otherwise we have run out of ideas on entertaining Alex. We will have to wait it out when he is older and able to sit up and play on his own. Any suggestions on getting Alex back to sleep or occupying him are welcome.

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