No good at soothing newborn :-(

(34 Posts)
Smerlin Wed 20-Nov-13 13:25:47

Hi there

Just wanted some advice really. I am a first time parent to a 3 week old and she seems to cry a lot without me being able to soothe her.

When things are going well, she feeds, cries for 30-60 mins (in middle of investigation with GP/HV to find out if this is colic/reflux) and then falls asleep for 2-3 hrs.

However sometimes I can't get her to settle at all e.g. this morning I fed her at 9.30, winded her/comforted her for 40 mins while she cried and then took her for a walk to the local shop in the pram (she mostly slept during this). We were back by about 11.15 and she woke up immediately when we arrived home and cried. I offered her a feed but she didn't want much and then after some crying, she dozed off for half an hour. She then woke up again and was crying again. Again offered food, checked nappy but still crying.

I think she was really tired as she has finally fallen asleep on me at 1pm and seems deeply asleep but for all those hours she seemed regularly unhappy.

Sometimes I just seem unable to comfort her or know what is wrong and my friend said babies never cry for no reason but I just can't seem to work it out. I am terrified of taking her to the supermarket/to see family as I am not confident at being to work out what is wrong and comfort her. I only take her out in the pram to very nearby places in case she wakes up screaming.

Is this all normal for such a young baby? I don't like to see her miserable so often.

ThisIsMummyPig Wed 20-Nov-13 13:33:20

Poor you. My DD1 cried constantly too, and it's so distressing when you can't help them.

From what you have said it does sound like colic/reflux. I found Infocol good. It comes with a dropper, so you can put it in their mouth while they are screaming. DD1 used to be so surprised that she would stop, gulp, carry on. About a minute later she would calm down.

If you are doing bottles you can just put it in the mix.

I am quite sure that you have heard a crying baby at the supermarket, and not judged the mother. Don't let it put you off going out, there won't be a mother here who hasn't had a baby cry in public and not be able to stop them.

zaphod Wed 20-Nov-13 13:35:06

Your baby sounds like my first. Everyone told me it was colic and would improve in 3 to 4 months. They may as well have said 3 to 4 years it sounded like such a long time. Eventually I got used to the crying, there was nothing wrong with him medically, and we just got on with it. I can still remember the first timedh and I ate together after ds was born, because we had to take turns holding ds. He is 19 now, but after 4 months turned into a smiley baby, so don't despair. Once you establish there is nothing physically wrong, just try to comfort your baby as much as you can and look forward to better days.[smiley]

CuriosityCola Wed 20-Nov-13 13:36:47

It actually sounds like you are doing really well. Three weeks is still very early and every baby is different. Gp/hv check is good idea if your gut instinct makes you think something is wrong.

Otherwise, are you breast or bottle feeding? I aim for at least two hourly feeds in the first month as per Kelly's mom. Baby shouldn't be awake any longer than 90 mins if possible. This includes feeding, nappy change etc. With ds1 I fed him, changed him, had a little play and then bf him back to sleep. Ds2 is bottle fed and I had to rock him to sleep. He is awful at taking naps unless co sleeping or on the move, but sleeps like a dream at night now.

My little one (ds2) was really unsettled to begin with. I found the more upright I kept him during the day the better he was at night. Otherwise wind and lack of sleep would build up and he would be a mess around 7-8pm. So used baby swing, sling, walks in pushchair, car drives. Generally mixed these up to keep my sanity!

Sorry no specific advice. It's not easy, but just keeping trying different things and something will click into place.

MumofYuck Wed 20-Nov-13 13:39:44

Oh, babies cry for a reason - problem is that it is often to do with something like the precise alignment of the sun or the fact that it's tuesday! Mine used to start and then forget why they'd started and then just cry because they were crying hmm at that point, distraction was necessary and effective. I especially value TV for this.

Sympathy op - I spent the first month with DS1 nearly incandescent with rage because none of the 'sure-fire' tips my friends gave me would work. They did, eventually, just not then!

Also, if either of mine got properly tired then I HAD to put them down in their bed and go away. As in, if I stayed and tried to cuddle them then they got more distressed and screamed blue murder. If I went, then the crying peaked after approx 1 minute and they'd gone to sleep after 5. If you think she needs a sleep and you get desperate, try it. Sometimes they are so tired that noise or the mere presence of another human is torture.

We have all been there, don't worry smile

Slacktacular Wed 20-Nov-13 13:46:58

you must be exhausted and worried, OP, but you are doing really well. The first few weeks are bonkers even if things are 'straightforward'. I had a refluxy baby and found a sling invaluable. The upright position helps with the reflux and DD found it really comforting. It allowed her to sleep and me to do bits and bobs. Apparently helps your milk supply (if BFing) to have baby plastered to you at all times too! Ditching my pram for and getting over the 'but it was so expensive, I must get my money's worth' guilt was well worth it. When she was a bit older she was happier in the pram. Slight raise of pram bassinet mattress and Moses basket mattress helped too (about 20-30 degrees). Best of luck!

Shockingundercrackers Wed 20-Nov-13 13:54:27

Oh op, I feel for you I really do. I think you're doing a great job, those first few months are so so hard. I can't offer much more than the pps above (currently bfing ds2, 4 months) but rest assured its all totally normal. Please don't worry about taking your baby out, he needs to see the world and so do you. No one else will even notice the crying - it always sound so much loader to a mother's ears.

Both my dc's were like this. A combination of tongue tie (do get that checked ASAP if you haven't already - it's so simple to solve if that's the culprit) and wind. The former is surprisingly common (although misunderstood. Pm me if this is your problem, I've been through it twice and I've learned a thing or two). The matter practically ubiquitous but will get better in time. Meanwhile keep him as upright as possible (slings are invaluable), perfect the art of a hefty slap on the back for getting burps up and if your bfing make sure he's got a good latch and has drained a breast totally before moving on to the next one. Too much fore milk and not enough of the heavier stuff they get later can give them terrible tummy cramps.

Also, remember: this will pass. My boys were both sunny and utterly content by 4 months. I expect yours will be too smile

Shockingundercrackers Wed 20-Nov-13 13:55:48

Aghghgh SHE not he. Sorry OP I'm
On my phone and befuddled! It's a bit early for gender realignment!

Smerlin Wed 20-Nov-13 14:37:15

Thanks for the reassurance-I feel like other people I know just have babies who sleep for hours immediately after feeding so you can sitt in a cafe for two hours and although I love her to bits, that just isn't her!

I am exclusively pumping and bottle feeding ebm on demand as couldn't directly breastfeed (loooong story) so hope it isn't a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. She doesn't have green poos, the milk seems to be quite fatty and she acted the same for the week I had to feed her mostly formula before I had a high enough supply so I hope it isn't that.

3-4 months does seem like a long time- that's what the midwife said to me too. Mind you she also said that newborns sleep as and when they need to and that doesn't seem to be the case- she definitely needs to be rocked/shushed/held in the right position first!

CuriosityCola Wed 20-Nov-13 14:57:23

It won't be an imbalance if you are pumping. How often is she feeding?

My hv told me discontentment is a sign of intelligence wink. Ds1 never allowed me to just sit. My friends babies slept and then just sat happy on their knees. I hated them for it. Ds2 at 5 months is now one of those babies. It's just personality. Also, people don't want to be seen as failing and they lie/exaggerate about how much sleep they are getting! My friends baby slept through the night from two weeks old. Except her husband complained to me that he had needed to put the babies dummy back in ten times 'last night'.

Smerlin Wed 20-Nov-13 15:12:41

Ha ha I'm liking the theory about it being a sign of intelligence!

I read something by dr sears (?) about 'high needs babies' who know what they want, when they want it and get furious if you don't respond appropriately straightaway and first time. I must admit it did resonate with me...

Smerlin Wed 20-Nov-13 15:13:58

Oh she feeds when she wants- after 2 to 3.5 hrs generally.

Petcat Wed 20-Nov-13 16:28:27

You must be exhausted if you are exclusively expressing and dealing with a colicky baby. I hope you have people in RL to look after you.

My DD cried a lot in the early months. Hours and hours of wailing. Turns out she had reflux and tongue tie, and today she's finally been diagnosed with an allergy to cows milk. She's also just a high needs kind of baby.

My life improved immeasurably when I started carrying her in a sling. Nearly all babies feel better when they're cuddled close to you. It's scientifically proven to reduce the number of hours a baby will spend crying each day. Now I can sit and drink coffee with friends while DD snuggles in her sling.

It will get better, promise. DD still needs me to keep her happy day and night, but she's generally a smiley little girl and only cries if she's tired or I try to walk out of her sight

Petcat Wed 20-Nov-13 16:31:10

Also try googling the 4th trimester, helped me understand what my baby was going through at the time. Life is tough when you've just been born!

Smerlin Wed 20-Nov-13 17:36:51

Thanks petcat. Fortunately my husband is very supportive so looks after her a lot when he's not at work, gets up to help in the night etc. I had a pretty awful delivery with a major PPH so he's had to help a lot!

Those who replied to say that you had similar experiences in the first 3 months, how did you cope when out? Did you still go to cafés, restaurants etc even knowing your baby could have an inconsolable wailing session while there?

CuriosityCola Wed 20-Nov-13 18:11:49

Dr Sears, high needs, attachment parenting, 4th trimester, slings, lentil weaving grin. All things ds1 introduced me to. There was also a high needs support thread on here. Probably still running.

I always went out as both dc are better when they can see things going on. I used to walk ds1 to cafe while he slept. Feed him and rock him while I knocked back a cuppa and then walk another hour home while he slept again. Walked the bus route incase he woke up and anarchy followed. By the time I read up on everything and came up with some strategies the 'this too shall pass' happened. Ds1 was ok once he could move, so needed a cafe with floor space. Ds2 outgrew it.

Try and home in on people with similar babies. I had one friend who loved sharing horror stories over who had the worst child. Much better than competitive parenting. We always made sure we got out every day.

Oh, have you tried baby massage? Ds1 loved it. Sod's law also meant he often slept through it and I just chilled for half and hour smile

waterrat Wed 20-Nov-13 18:35:21

Gosh op at 3 weeks old I don't think you should start assuming you have a high needs baby or a baby who will always cry a lot - all babies cry a lot and I think it's normal for tiny babies to need rocking etc to sleep - try evolve that way to make sure they don't fall asleep on their own and get eaten by wolves !

You don't see all the crying other babies do - your baby is tiny you are doing amazingly please don't start looking months ahead - things change so rapidly at this age

I do recommend a sling though if you aren't already using one ...

Trooperslane Thu 21-Nov-13 07:23:38

Week 3 was hell for us too. 14 weeks today and she's a wee star.

Growth spurt maybe?

Trooperslane Thu 21-Nov-13 07:30:37

Ooh - nearly forgot. White noise or putting her in her pram beside the dryer worked wonders for us in those early weeks - a lifesaver when she just wouldn't be comforted and was then massively over tired.

I also find that I need to get out of the house every day for a really good walk. Fresh air helps get some perspective and even a screaming baby seems easier to deal with (less claustrophobic) out than in.

SteamWisher Thu 21-Nov-13 07:34:51

You need the high needs baby kit:

- decent sling (neither of mine liked lying flat do prams were out. I had a horrifying experience with 3 week olds screaming in the park once!)
- white noise and blackout blinds
- a dummy (I had to put aside my judging pre- baby)

It feels like an age but it will pass!

My whole antenatal class friends had those babies who would just lie there happily for hours in a cafe. I would always be the one frantically jiggiling a pram trying to get DD to sleep. She'd sleep in a sling but only if I was walking, so I used to stand in the cafe bouncing up and down with her in it to try & recreate the movement! I used to think such evil thoughts towards my friends - I was very jealous!

All I can say is that it passes - I know the days and nights are long at the moment but things will improve. My highly-strung baby turned into a very chilled toddler, so don't panic.

I'd second 3 week growth spurt as mentioned above. I was ebf and was exhausted by the constant feeding. I found it hard to believe such a small baby could be that hungry, that often, but she was. I don't think I could have managed pumping during growth spurt weeks as she was latched on more than she wasn't.

The early weeks are tough though, and I think only a minority of people have babies who will sit quietly in cafes. Mine certainly wouldn't have. I had to wear her in a sling all day as she cried if I put her in the moses basket or cot. I found the only way I could have a peaceful cup of tea, or meal was to latch her on at the same time, so any cafes I went to were ones where I felt comfortable bf-ing.

My friend summed it up when she confided in me 'the first two weeks are hell. Why does no one tell you?!' I didn't personally find it hell, but I think my expectations were lower.

waterrat Thu 21-Nov-13 09:20:12

agree about a dummy. no idea why people avoid them, such a relief when I put one in DS mouth and he stopped crying at once.

CuriosityCola Thu 21-Nov-13 10:46:34

I just came back to mention growth spurt, but see other people have beaten me to it. I used a dummy to get ds2 to sleep. He didn't have it when awake or whilst sleeping. He used it for a couple of weeks as a transition between falling asleep on the boob and switching to formula. Then he lost interest in it and it's back to rocking during the day.

Hemlock2013 Thu 21-Nov-13 11:58:29

Yes to nearly all suggestions so far. At three weeks my dd started crying and didn't stop!! I also cried a lot... It's so stressful it's hard to put into words but you have my sympathy. All my other friends babies seemed to settle and sleep too so I also thought I was doing something wrong.

For us it was tongue tie and reflux and she had gaviscon in the end which helped. I also walked with her for hours in the pram, used white noise and a sling. Try everything and use whatever works to keep yourself sane. Its so hard but it does end. My dd is now an absolute joy! X x

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