10 week old 'high needs' baby with bad gas & overwhelmed mum

(29 Posts)
cosmicdancer89 Wed 15-Jul-15 22:10:09

Hi everyone,

I'm writing this more for reassurance/the sake of ranting and getting it all out than actual concrete advice, as I think I've tried everything and now I just need to gather the strength to 'ride it out..'

I have a beautiful 10 week old boy, he was an unplanned baby that caught me off guard but my partner and I were still very excited about his arrival and obviously love him to bits.

My family don't live in the UK and neither do my partner's, so we've largely been alone. My mum came for a week but she can't do more as she herself has my teenage sister to look after, my dad works full time. My partner works very long shifts, averaging on 60+ hours a week, so I'm largely alone at home with my baby.

My LO has had pains with gas basically from week 1, the farty/tummy kind, we've tried gripe water/infacol/etc.etc. sometimes it helped, usually it's useless. Have been doing baby massage which seems to alleviate the discomfort but again, not always. I breastfeed on demand, and he's been growing wonderfully. He's recently started sleeping about 4-5 hour stretches at night which is great; except he gets gas pains in the early mornings sometimes and just screams in pain for about an hour, unconsolably. The day times are HARD. He is very, very difficult to settle to nap. Generally, he ONLY sleeps in the sling. Sometimes in the pram, but only if I'm power walking with him for miles, I can't trick him into rocking him in the pram. He'll sleep in his bedside cot at night but not during the day. So I end up having to wear him. Which is fine. Except he is 5.6 kg now and I'm 5'3 and quite little (and exhausted!) to carry that much weight on my shoulders for 6+ hours a day. My back is killing me and I just want some 'me' time (which means just literally to be able to take a 25 minute bath, I'm not asking to go out drinking with friends).

I've been struggling with coping with his cries. I love him, but when he cries I have begun to feel like I'm about to lose it. It wasn't this bad before. I think I was hoping things would get easier by this point, past the 6 week mark, but they haven't in my case. It's upsetting seeing the girls from my NCT course with their babies because they're all MUCH more settled and calmer than mine. We were over at one of the girls' houses the other day, they all managed to leave their babies on the play mat/bouncer/in pram and I was the only one with my baby attached to me... and it's not like I 'spoil' him, I just can't put him down or else he cries hysterically. I have tried putting him down and letting him cry but only lasted about 5 minutes because I don't really believe in controlled crying, at least not at this age.

I feel very alone and isolated, as my old friends are in a very different stage of their lives (starting careers, finishing uni, being single and partying) and without family support I feel like I'm starting to slip into PND zone. I feel like if I could at least put him down during the day to sleep for 45 min in his cot so that I would have the chance to not have to have him in the sling, get a moment to exercise (I find it helps relieve the stress), I'd be doing better. The worst is I'm starting to lash out at my partner because I'm resentful that he gets to not have to deal with our very difficult 'high needs' baby 24/7, and since he works in the pub/hospitality industry, he's always surrounded by a social atmosphere whilst I spend a lot of time alone, either going on super long walks in the sling or at home attempting to pass my day without feeling bored out of my mind and exhausted at the same time.

Everyone says "it gets better" and I can see a change in the babies from my NCT course. They're a lot quieter and easier to handle, but my little man seems to have stayed the same, if not gotten worse. I know half the time it's gas pain and isn't his fault, but the other half he's just being a very demanding baby who's only happy if held or cuddled. And sometimes even that won't help -- because he's so difficult to settle to sleep, he gets overtired, and then all hell break's loose and he is hysterical. That's what I find the hardest, I've had to leave him screaming whilst I make a cup of herbal tea and catch my breath because I've felt myself boil up with anger and distress when nothing I do consoles him..

I just need to know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I've never felt so isolated, helpless, overwhelmed and physically exhausted sad

wifeofdoom Wed 15-Jul-15 22:19:07

I have a 12 week old ds who sounds similar - but have more support than you (which is how I cope). He has been diagnosed with silent reflux and gaviscon has made loads of difference. Also in the last week he has got easier just be growing up. A baby swing helps, I use the sling loads and keep him upright as much as I can. This will pass... By the way I have an older dd who was much easier - some babies are tough to deal with. Big hugs

Roseybee10 Wed 15-Jul-15 22:20:56

Oh dear. That sounds all too familiar.
Dd2 has silent reflux and I've had a hell of a time with her tbh since about 2 weeks old.
She pretty much screamed and refused to feed until about 12 weeks then things got much better but then her jags at 16 weeks threw everything out of whack again argh

She's finally feeding better and more content with feeding but she's still a very demanding and grumpy baby ah times. She's MUCH easier than she was at 10 weeks (I think from experience that it peaks at 10 weeks and then eases, it did with both mine) and she's mostly desperate to get down and explore now and roll around. She's much more sociable and smiles lots and interacts.

I've spent the past five months feeling like an awful mum because it's really affected my bond with her. With dd1 I felt like I was born to be a mum but I've struggled so much more with dd2 and bonding due to the reflux. She goes through phases where she's great and quite content and then really grumpy phases but that's fairly normal.

It must be really hard to cope with this without a lot of support from family. X

AnythingNotEverything Wed 15-Jul-15 22:27:07

No experience tons free really, but infacol has a cumulative effect and needs to be used for a few days to get results - I assume you did this? Also, have you tried colief?

Mainly though, get a better sling. We carried our 91st verily 10 month old around Munich last summer in a SSC. Your local sling library could show you a Connecta or a Tula which would be more comfy and better for your back.

Babies are tough. Stop comparing yourself to others - you only see what they want you to see. Good luck. I promise it won't always be this relentless.

MrsL2012 Wed 15-Jul-15 22:30:47

Oh you sound exhausted you poor thing. Sending lots of hugs your way.

Your situation sounds a lot like mine did! DH working long hours, with a colicky unsettled baby who refused to nap! Luckily mine was a decent night sleeper but the days were hard, really hard. He'd never just go to sleep nicely, he'd take hours in the pram to nod off for half an hour - it was driving me insane! I couldn't get a bath or even a cuppa.

My DS was formula fed and we were advised to change to comfort milk - something about less lactose - and that really calmed him down. I could leave him on his bouncy chair or on his playmat while I had 10 mins to have a cuppa which was bliss!

Now at 9.5 months he still won't nap during the day unless I take him for walks. I've just learned to accept it and hope when he drops to one nap a day I'll either just have one fight a day or I'll try something else.

We've recently had problems again and we've put him on lactose free milk which has settled him again.

I don't know much about it, but maybe watch what you're eating/drinking in terms of dairy, lactose etc and see if cutting stuff out in your diet will help him while your breast feeding?

I don't know, just an idea as that's what settle DS down.

You will get through it, i know everyone will say that and you'll feel like you can't see the end but you will, and you can enjoy your little one. I found by learning to accept he wasn't one for chilling out then I've become much happier.

Hope someone comes along with some more useful advice!

orangefive Wed 15-Jul-15 22:41:22

My son was very colicky. Terrible sleeper/ napper too. He grew out of the screaming arching back phase at about 3m ish. Hour long walks in the pushchair for naps. Or sleeping on me. He is much better now at 15mo. Walking, starting to talk, no sense of danger and opposite of clingy. Still gets bad wind at night time so not sleeping through yet. We have to be careful what he eats after lunchtime... Not sure what the answer is but it does get better. It sounds twee when ur going through this but they are only this tiny and helpless for a short time. I can barely remember his newborn stage now. (I might be sleep deprived though). Cycling his legs worked for us or massage his tummy. Constant winding.

epuclake Thu 16-Jul-15 12:50:52

I was in pretty much the same situation a year ago with my ds. Also had silent reflux diagnosed, like some of the other posters, at about 8 weeks, and reflux medication helped a lot with his general mood, clearly took away a lot of his discomfort. Didn't much improve his ability to sleep though, and he was still unsettled a lot of the time, I think it's just how he was, so I wouldn't jump to suspecting reflux unless there are other pointers.

In my case, ds didn't much like a sling either, I had to just carry him on my shoulder, for hours sometimes, to get him to sleep. He was also big, between 91st and 98th since birth, and it was the most physically and mentally exhausting few months of my life! We got a baby beanbag, and I would lay a comfy blanket on that, and if I was lucky, after getting him to sleep on my shoulder, and timing it right, I could transfer him to that. We eventually got a swing, which I was dubious about, but I would now highly recommend. Cut out the backbreaking carrying to sleep, and also the tricky transfer. He would nap well in it, but when he started to nap for longer I worried it wasn't the best place for him to have long naps, so would still try to carry him when I had the energy - possibly madness!

At about 4 months, with reflux totally under control, he would reliably fall asleep breastfeeding, and I would then try and transfer him to the beanbag - very difficult and mostly didn't work. Eventually after a few weeks of attempting that, I gave up and just let him sleep on me after a feed. Frustrating at times when I wanted to get stuff done, lovely at other times.

From about 6 months he started to sleep much easier in his pushchair, and so the preferred method was to take him out for a walk a couple of times a day, then park him up in the hallway.

Now, at 15 months, he still either naps on me after a feed or will fall asleep quite easily in his pushchair. So I can often work it depending on whether I want to get stuff done in the house (pushchair) or take a break and do internety things (lap). It works for me, now, eventually.

Sorry for excessively long history of my ds sleep, your situation just sounds so similar to mine that I hope it might help somehow. I have every sympathy for you, it's insanely exhausting, frustrating, upsetting. I found it so tough the feeling of not being able to comfort my baby to sleep, never mind the physical strain. It's very, very hard. It will certainly get better though. I think, if you haven't tried one already, and you have the space and the cash, try a swing. We got a cheap second hand one from Gumtree and it made such a huge difference. I think my son hit the weight limit within a few months, being a big baby, but we'd found other methods by then, and if it works it gives you the break you're needing, and no doubt you will happen upon other methods and your son will find sleep easier as he grows too.

PosterEh Thu 16-Jul-15 12:54:58

My ds was like this and I pretty much didn't put him down for the first three months. He has a tongue tie which in hindsight I probably should have had snipped like his sister's. I think it made him swallow a lot of air when he fed. The situation improved a lot after 12 weeks and he turned into a pretty good sleeper once he wasn't in pain.

Playthegameout Thu 16-Jul-15 15:37:37

I promise this will pass op. My ds (21 months) was a very colicky baby. We were eventually given Ranitadine for reflux at 16 weeks, though things seemed to be settling themselves at that stage so it's hard to say.

Take one day at a time. If you can ask a friend or another relative to help, even for half an hour, do. Ds also got over tired so I looked into sleep times and tried a very loose routine to try to catch him just right.
Could your do look into using some holiday time? My dh worked 3 days a week for the toughest bits, it was a godsend. By 17 weeks he was a different baby all together.

Pantspants Thu 16-Jul-15 17:20:03

I formula fed DS but the rest of your post is very familiar. we found the dentinox drops worked best-everything else was useless. Also there were periods that he would only sleep upright in his bouncer. It went against everything in the baby books but he (and I) needed sleep. It got slightly better after 16 weeks and then a lot better once we started weaning.

It gets better. Now at almost 18 months DS is such an easy toddler compared to some of my friends.

Ask for help where you can and try and keep going to groups if you can. I found they really helped in the early days as I felt very isolated too (DH also works long hours running his own business). Look for gyms/ exercise classes with a crèche. Mine takes babies from 12 weeks and I found going a couple of times a week really helped give me some me time. Sometimes I wouldn't even go to a class, just have a coffee in the cafe blush but whatever it takes to get you through the day.

Chickz Thu 16-Jul-15 18:16:14

I have a high needs one too. Mine is a toddler now and still high needs but slowly slowly growing out of it. It's so exhausting and I spent hours googling to find out what I was doing wrong. Some babies are just like this.it sounds tough for you with your DH doing long hours. You are doing brilliantly. If you feel it's getting too much you could make a gp appt or talk to your hv. They are not for everyone but antidepressants helped me get through.

broomy123 Thu 16-Jul-15 18:34:30

I hope the posts helps reassure you you're not alone. Mine was like this and it turned out she had reflux and allergies to dairy and soy so I eliminated them from my diet hot ranitidine from GP and she stopped crying all day /night smile have you got a swing chair? I could put her in it for 15 mins whilst I had a shower or made something to eat. It was a godsend. If I were you I'd go the GP as babies all cry but as you've pointed out yours is doing more than others which suggests there is something else going on. Good luck and it does get easier, promise. X

Booboostoo Thu 16-Jul-15 19:12:39

Another one with a high needs baby. I didn't fully realize how difficult DD was until I had DS three years later. Like your DS, DD was unputdownable, she would scream blue murder if separated from me, would not go to anyone else even for five minutes, could not sleep anywhere but on me.

All I can say is this too shall pass. It does pass and DD was an easy toddler because she was so shy she was always attached to me rather than running away or messing about. Is there any chance your DH can give you some time off even if it is one hour a week? It would be something to look forward to and he could power walk round the block ten times while you had some quiet time. Infacol did help my DD but it took a few days to see a difference.

feezap Thu 16-Jul-15 19:13:28

At 10 weeks my DS was very similar, I had to have him in the sling and be moving for him to sleep in the day and so I could just eat. DH was working away, my parents couldn't help as my Dad had just had major heart surgery and my MIL tried but DS just screamed for the short time she had him so I could put the bins out!

I did end up with PND and anxiety, in fact I had a hv visit that week and she insisted I go to the GP and get referred for CBT.

I also took DS to the Dr as he was so unsettled, it turns out he had an ear and throat infection on top of colic.

If you haven't already, try and get some advice from your GP, for you and for your baby, even if they just do a check over you will feel less stressed.

I remember getting to 6 weeks and thinking it was getting harder not easier and seeing the other NCT babies seemingly being much more settled. The first months are hard, I would say it was around 4 months when I noticed a big change in DS and since then be has become more and more fun. I won't lie, he enjoys a lot of interaction still but he is also so brilliant and funny and sociable for it.

Get whatever help you can, GP, HV, if you have a local surestart centre or any local groups they can be a real help. I did a new Mum's group with one local centre, it was free but I had to book on, it really helped. if you can get on all mailing lists you can find something similar might come along.

FWIW, all of my NCT friends have been through tough times with their babies and now it all seems like we've had a similar ride. They are just all different. I hope yours is like mine and just gets better thanks

yorksliz Thu 16-Jul-15 19:15:24

Cranial osteopathy helped my daughter a lot in terms of her night time wind.
Napping in the car saves my days. I keep a book in there and aim to get places early, she carries on sleeping and I read. Good lucksmile

BurningGubbins Thu 16-Jul-15 19:28:54

Another vote for eliminating dairy. Made a huge difference for us and actually much easier to do than you might think. And we coslept to just get some sleep and survive. Dreadful at the time but once he was in his cot I did kind of miss waking up with his warm little body next to me. It gets better.

dairyfreequeen Thu 16-Jul-15 19:58:12

my ds was similar to this but he has a dairy, egg and soy allergy.. what are nappies like? Any skin issues? id definitely get to your gp, it does sound like theres some reflux there, its so horrible when theyre in pain and it feels like you cant fix it!! can your dh take any annual leave? hth, you will get through this! co sleeping helped me too, he still woke as often but i slept longer in between

ODog Thu 16-Jul-15 20:08:31

Oh I remember looking on at the other NCT babies in wonderment as they quietly slept in their prams through our lunches while DS fed constantly or insisted on being held/in sling. It does get much much easier but I have found that my high needs newborn is now a high needs 13mo. That's not always a bad thing though. He is very loving and cuddly and can be fiercely independent. But sometimes the world gets a not too much and he needs a carry/sling time etc. I found that I got to know my DS more and more as time went on and am better able to pre-empt situations where he might struggle. If it helps my nct friends with 'easy' newborns now say that they are finder Hingis much harder now, whereas I'm finding toddlerhood a doddle by comparison!

karigan Thu 16-Jul-15 20:48:21

My baby was very similar at this age. I can't give you advice on the colic as she never had that but she was very high needs and almost impossible to put down.

She's now 9 months and since she learnt to crawl and then stand and cruise at 7 months and then 8 months repectively she's been far more independent- she now is so facinated by that radiator she needs to go and bang toys on or following our long suffering cats that she only really gets clingy to me when she's tired. She is like a completely different child to the screaming, whinging 2 month old that I couldn't even hand to anyone else.

Also as a firm believer in 'me' time (I think the clinging in the first few months bothered me most because I am not a hugely touchy feely person, I don't really like hugs generally so this other person who was holding onto me for nearly 19 hours a day really pushed me nearly to the edge of my sanity.) I found THE best thing for my daughter was an automatic rocking swing- it had the same sleep inducing effect on her that walking around with her on my shoulder/in the sling seemed to have and suddenly I got at least 30 minutes every morning and afternoon where I could go and have a shower/sit on the couch/have a brew and know that she was happy and safe. It probably was the one thing that stopped me from snapping.

It will definately pass. Just hang in there. smile

LongLankyLegs Thu 16-Jul-15 21:23:16

Hi OP
Much sympathy here as I too was waiting for things to get easier. Instead I've got a 1 year old high needs toddler who is exhausting ( and exhausted as she will not sleep!!)
I've wondered and asked myself what we are doing wrong but I think it's just how my dd is. I go back to work soon, quite a stressful job, and I cannot fucking wait to get a break by being at work.
Hang in there, you're doing great. Having a high needs baby teaches us so much about how to be patient and calm. I used to blow my top loads as I couldn't cope, and I still have shitty days. Lots of them actually, but you get good at keeping it together.
Try and get time to yourself away from the baby, it's so important for your sanity flowers

Raspberryberet1 Fri 17-Jul-15 12:31:09

You poor soul-I remember those early months well and they are hell.

For the first 10 weeks of DS's life he never slept more than 45m at a time due to reflux and incredibly bad trapped wind/gas. Feeding was a nightmare and I was going demented by the lack of sleep and constant crying/whinging/his refusals to sleep.

We tried EVERYTHING to try and make him more comfortable, but the usual medicines for dealing with wind, such as gaviscon and infacol didn't suit DS as they were too acidic and making his reflux worse. Started on ranitidine at 11 weeks and he was a different baby; he smiled for the first time and slept for 3 straight hours.

Unfortunately, the ranitidine lost its effectiveness and DS ended up on a high dosage of omeprazole from his consultant. It made a huge difference.

It's a properly shit time. I never went to baby groups because I was sleeping while DS was 'napping'. I went once and DS was going bananas while all the other babies looked lovingly into their mums eyes and snuggled in-makes you feel like the worst mum ever.

I know it's difficult to see from where you are right now, but it does get markedly better. DS is now 18 months and-while exceptionally hard work and verging on the right side of mental-he is great fun. We still have issues with food/feeding as the reflux really set him back, but the difference is incredible. He finally started sleeping through a few months ago and it's made all the difference. Before that, he would go 5-6 hours without a wake up (from about 8 months).

Right now, it's just about survival. I had severe PND with DS, largely because I was not prepared for the reality of having such a complicated baby. Please see your GP and discuss how you're feeling; they may want to put you on a low dose of AD to level you out. It's better now than 3ontha down the line when you can't function through the fog.

Invest in a jumparoo. They are technically for babies 6+ months but we had DS in his from 14 weeks (he could support his own head and would 'walk' with help). We needed to put a cushion underneath his feet as he was too little to reach the floor. DS literally spent hours every day just bouncing and it was the only thing that genuinely made him happy. Take the bouncer into the bathroom so you are visible to him while having bath/shower. It may take a few tries at this before it works but it'll buy you some time away from the sling.

Call in favours. I know it's hard to ask for help as you don't want to be judged, but that's what friends are for. Ask them to come round and look after/play with Your DS for an hour or two. Have a shower, wash your hair and close your bedroom door. Read a book and take some you time. If my DS was being quiet, my friend would stay in the house to play; if he was crying, she would take him out for a walk so I didn't have to listen/get involved. People WANT to help, so let them.

My DH works long hours too, but he would do his best to chip in when he could. I never expected it during his work week but we came to an arrangement that suited us; I would get up in the night for feeds all week as long as I could have a few hours to catch up on sleep at the weekends. A few hours here and there makes a big difference.

Stay positive. You're doing great.

cosmicdancer89 Sat 18-Jul-15 13:05:13

Thanks everyone for the kind words of encouragement that I'm not alone. It's easy to forget babies are different and some will be much more independent at an earlier age than others..

I've tried cutting out dairy without any real difference. I'm not really sure about silent reflux -- what are the symptoms aside from not wanting to be put down? He spits up sometimes but not every day. Even his bad gas issues aren't daily -- they've gone from being an every day problem to happening around 4-5x a week. Which means about 2 times a week, I'll get a 'good' day -- when he doesn't strain in gas pain and is happy to sleep in his pram (albeit still only when being pushed around outside). He's started to enjoy his cot mobile and I can put him down for about 10-15 minutes whilst he coos at it (usually gives me a moment to shower or make myself some cereal, haha). Basically, there ARE moments where he's a happy, not-intensely-clingy baby, but they're still currently overwhelmed by days when I spend an hour just trying to get his farts out, consoling him to sleep because he gets overstimulated and overtired easily, and rocking him/carrying him in the sling all day. He unfortunately hates his automatic swing and lasts about 3 minutes in it. The one thing he likes is the bouncer -- my friend has the Bjorn one at home and he sat in it for about 30 minutes without whinging -- it's just so freaking expensive but we'll have to invest if it means I get some peace of mind.

The only baby class he's ok in is baby massage.. all the other ones we've tried so far have resulted in me leaving early because he'd cry as soon as I took him out the sling! Baby and mum yoga was a nightmare experience. He's also little so I'm just trying to ride it out.. I find now that he's at least a little bit interested in things around him, distraction sometimes works best. Trying to hang in there! Thanks again for the support.

crazytyke Sat 18-Jul-15 18:55:33

Have u tried colief drops? Well worth a go if you haven't.

myluckystars Sat 18-Jul-15 18:59:14

Ok first off it is normal to feel as overwhelmed as you do with a baby who doesn't settle, it's normal. Try an upright sling so his back is straight and the wind can travel up rather than stay stuck and keep him upright when you hold him. Have warm baths with him with a candle and remember how much you love him, he will feel this and it's important to have times you can enjoy. Feed while reclining incase the flow is too strong and that's causing him to gasp air. It will pass, you are doing great and you do know some of those nct girls aren't telling the truth don't you?

peltata Sat 18-Jul-15 19:11:44

Gastro oesophageal reflux is common in young babies because the sphincter between their stomachs and oesophageal is still quite loose so easy for the acidic stomach contents to be refuxed into the gullet and cause pain. As often it's only a small amount you may not see any vomit and it quickly flows back into the stomach. For the majority of babies the sphincter strength increases within a few months and the reflux stops usually around 6 months. If it is reflux your GP can give certain medications to help the most common being infant gaviscon which weighs down the stomach contents making it harder for the contents to be re fluxed and it also contains a antacid.
Cows milk protein intolerance or allergy can give similar symptoms to reflux and as cows milk protein is such a common ingredient in foods and drinks you should see a dietitian to give you some advice on your diet and if you need calcium and vitamin d supplements.

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