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DS cried for the first year, pg with DC2 and a bit anxious

(30 Posts)
LongTailedTit Fri 30-Aug-13 23:41:01

Apologies if this is long winded, but I never really understood what went on with DS (now 2.3) and am a bit wary of the whole thing repeating itself with DC2.
Only early days here, but I really didn't cope well last time, ended up dx with PND a year too late, and took a long time to sort myself out.

He cried so much during his first year, screamed until he was hoarse, but was almost always being held (was worse when he was put down).
I've read about the damaging effects of crying and CC/CIO, but he still cried whether he was held or not - I worry that his crying has affected him, and I worry that the same thing could happen with DC2.

Can anyone offer any insight please?

Reeeeeally long winded background blush :
DS arrived a month early, all ok, but I was shell shocked and felt like I was swimming in treacle from then on.
He had double tongue ties, colic, reflux, and was a real Velcro baby. He basically lived on my shoulder for the first year, crying & screaming seemingly non-stop whenever awake and not feeding.
BF was v painful for me for 4 months, his reflux was bad between 3mo-8mo, BF finally became lovely after 9 months (I then fed him til 2yo just in relief!). BFing was most certainly not a bonding experience for either of us in the early months!

We co-slept as he wouldn't sleep in either his Moses basket or cot.
No routine, he barely napped, and would cry or scream a LOT.
DS seemed to be sleep deprived, and was known as a 'difficult' baby in our NCT group, and by well, pretty much everyone. I was always the pram at the back of the group with the screamer.
Days would be judged good or bad depending on how much he'd screamed.
Eventually at 7mo, the HVs and everyone from my sister to the postman it seemed advised we do controlled crying to get him into his cot. By this point I was almost immune to his crying, so it wasn't as awful as I thought, and DS started sleeping through and was much happier.
He was still a crier, and basically I found the first year hellish.
Doc had no suggestions, and my (v nice) HV told me that he was just one of those babies that didn't like being a baby, which was true to an extent - he got happier when he could crawl, then happier when he walked, now he's more verbal he's happier still, and fingers crossed he can talk by the time DC2 arrives as I can tell that's what's frustrating him ATM. He always wants to be at the next stage.
He had night terrors between 1-2, which have stopped thank goodness, he'd scream for hours and be completely rigid, often half-asleep, I just had to hold him until he was exhausted enough to sleep.
He has been so much happier and easier since he turned 1, I actually enjoy his company these days, and for me having a toddler is a million times easier than a small baby! smile
That said, he's still more of a crier than most 2yos I know, and tantrums, bites, kicks, pinches, pulls hair etc. Still the 'difficult' one in the group, but fortunately my NCT lot are all lovely and accepting.

This is what really bothers me - I always struggled to settle him when he was small. Boob would work to a degree, but he couldn't stay on there all day.
He would cry and cry for hours, v often not due to reflux or hunger or anything I could fix - he just wouldn't stop, and I didn't know why.

When DS cries - properly upset or tantrum cries I mean - I feel utterly panicked. It takes me right back to the bad times, and I feel totally overwhelmed and incapable.

Added stress:
My FIL used to come stay every month or so, and last time he came (DSs 2nd birthday) he told us that we were "cruel and unloving and that DS was mentally damaged" - this was because due to the excitement of the day DS was taking ages to settle so we'd leave him in his bed crying for 20 mins in between going up to settle him (for an hour at a time). His crying that night was his complaining "Oi I don't want to sleep" cry, def not upset! He wanted all his birthday presents in bed
He hardly ever cries at bedtime these days, only when there's been massive disruption, but FIL was very upset by it. He refused to discuss it further, just landed that on us and I've been pondering it ever since.
He hasn't been to stay since, and DH is still a bit pissed off with him.

Any insight gratefully received, and apologies for the humongous post, but I'm a waffler!
thanks / cake

lorisparkle Sat 31-Aug-13 00:26:03

What a hard time you had. My ds1 was always a challenge and I found the Dr Sears website reassuring about high need babies and the baby whisper book was good as it described ds1 to a t so I knew it wasn't just me. Just wanted to say that ds2 and ds3 were completely different babies much easier in most ways but again were just like different descriptions in the baby Whisperer book. On a different note ds1 is still a challenge and I would not hesitate to push for more professional support if you are concerned. Good luck with it all.

mikkii Sat 31-Aug-13 00:37:39

DS also had reflux and rarely slept. He is still a child that struggles to relax, let go and go to seep.

DD1, by comparison, was a dram. At 6 weeks she spent 12-6 and by three months was doing 7-7

Each chid is different

Goldmandra Sat 31-Aug-13 01:05:37

DD1 was a velcro baby who screamed for hours every day and slept for about ten minutes in every 24 very little.

I was on my knees trying to cope with her. DH worked very long hours and my parents were very critical of my every move so I had very little respite.

I used to look at my friends babies lying in prams and on playmats cooing and gurgling and wonder what the hell I was doing wrong. I am sure my PND was greatly attributable to DD1's characteristics.

It took me five years to be brave enough to get pregnant again and I spent the whole pregnancy gearing myself up for two years of screaming and no sleep.

DD2 was completely the opposite of her big sister. She wanted to be asleep at night from day one and was very happy left to play/look around while I got on with jobs so my fears were completely unfounded.

I hope you have a similar experience to me second time around. You deserve it smile

LazyMonkeyButler Sat 31-Aug-13 01:19:33

Oh dear, your DC1 sounds like my DS1! It's amazing I had any more children really grin.

He had to be held in the "right" position to sleep, never ever slept in his cot - as soon as you put him in he woke up screaming - and was just incredibly hard work in general.

I was expecting the same with DS2, four years later. It didn't happen. DS2 was the calmest, easiest going baby ever. He slept through the night at 4 weeks old & went into his cot at 12 weeks and didn't even cry when he woke up in the morning! I'd go into his room to check him at 7am (after being woken by a then 5 year old DS1) to find him merrily gurgling away to himself. Not even teething or illness disturbed his sleep much.

DD is now 2 years old and was somewhere between the two as a baby. Nowhere near as challenging as DS1, but nowhere near as relaxed as DS2.

Moral of the story - all babies are different. Congratulations, don't worry until it happens grin.

LongTailedTit Sat 31-Aug-13 01:22:47

thanks thanks thanks Thank you for replying ladies!

It's one of those 'Can't see the wood for the trees' things, I can't tell if DS was unhappy because I wasn't coping, or I wasn't coping because he was genuinely a very high need baby. Gah.

Everyone tells me that second babies are generally v different to their big siblings, but still, we decided not to TTC until I reckoned I could cope with another year like that again.

I've been off the ADs for about 4/5 months, and DH and I figured it was best to have our last DC before we get used to good sleep!

rowrowrowtheboat Sat 31-Aug-13 09:25:42

Congratulations LTT.

I have little experience of what you had, it sounds exhausting, terrifying and isolating.

One thing stood out to me in your post - hs crying now panics you now and brings that those feelings. People who know you in real life have said it was him not liking being a baby can you try, so try and accept that, and stop looking for other reasons. Talk to your nice HV about your worries. She will have heard it before.

Last thing, second babies are different, and you go through the stages differently. You know waking our times in the night doesn't last forever, you know generally what you are doing. And it sames like you still see your NCT friends, they will flock around and support you.

Congratulations again.

Ps, I have had neighbours (same age as my parents) and some bloke I can't remember both say they didn't like their DC doing controlled crying or time out with their grandchildren, but now their children are slightly older, can see it worked. They didn't like seeing it, and it wasn't what they did. Hopefully your FIL will come round soon enough.

jessieagain Sat 31-Aug-13 12:14:19

Op flowers congratulations on your pregnancy. Your story of your ds first year sounds very stressful!!

My dp and I have started ttc. Our ds is 26 months and I also found his baby days very difficult. Mostly due to sleep issues, feeding issues and just a general self-doubt of my mothering skills. So much of it is a blur, a very tired blur. He did grow into a lovely toddler so I'm very blessed now. Funnily enough he sleeps more now than he did when he was a newborn! So much for a sleepy newborn!

I wanted to wait until ds was more independent before ttc as I didn't want to have a toddler and a baby to deal with, if baby number 2 was as difficult as ds was. And I am optimistic now. So many people have told me of how their second child helps to heal their own self doubts about their mothering.

LongTailedTit Sat 31-Aug-13 12:28:35

Morning rowrowrow <waves>
It's the not knowing why that bothers me, I always wonder if there was some underlying reason, and if the research and anti-CC lot are to be believed, all that crying must had had an affect on him. confused

I have my fingers very firmly crossed that DC2 will be a different creature!

LongTailedTit Sat 31-Aug-13 12:32:25

Jessie - that sounds so familiar! I guess I need to try to put it all behind me and be optimistic, but to do that I need to understand what happened, which is where I'm stuck.

Good luck TTC! smile

DeWe Sat 31-Aug-13 15:00:13

They are all different.
Dd1 would play for short periods alone from about 6 months.
Dd2 wouldn't be put down at all until she was over 1yo unless I was playing with her. She was permanently in a sling.
Ds happily played for hours under his gym from birth-when he'd had enough he'd issue one or two wails, then go to sleep as likely as not.

yawningbear Sat 31-Aug-13 17:25:53

Your DS sounds very similiar to my DD, who is now nearly 5. We very nearly didn't have another as I didn't think I could go through it all again but as everyone will tell you they are all different and DS couldn't have been more different, just spent the first three months sleeping, we barely heard him cry, whereas the whole street had heard DD.

I'm sure there will be some along to say they had two similar babies but I think even if DS had been more difficult I might have approached it differently, I really had been pretty clueless with DD at the very beginning but now having had endless experience of trying to stop her crying for the first year or so, settling a cranky baby is something I feel quite confident about. You will have a ton of skills and trick up your sleeves that you didn't have first time round, you also have first hand knowledge that it really does pass and will eventually get better.

Goldmandra Sun 01-Sep-13 08:08:57

You need to stop worrying that you were doing something wrong.

I was lucky enough to take my maternity leave at the same time as a very, very good friend whose baby was born very close to mine. She saw what I went through while hers was incredibly laid back and relaxed. We were together for hours every day for months. She saw my parenting and provided constant reassurance that this was not me. My baby was just very clingy and fretful and a very poor sleeper.

At sixteen, that baby is now the most civilised, polite, cooperative, helpful, caring teenager you could ever hope to meet while her sister, who was a wonderful baby, is a PITA ten year old.

My mother got the laid back baby (me) first and the screaming, non-sleeping nightmare (my sister) second. She had been very smug when I was a baby but my sister soon wiped the smile off her face.

Babies are all different and their personalities aren't easily influenced.

When DS cries - properly upset or tantrum cries I mean - I feel utterly panicked. It takes me right back to the bad times, and I feel totally overwhelmed and incapable.

I think you should speak to your HV about getting some counselling to help with this. Responding in a calm but sensitive manner to a screaming, tantruming toddler is hard enough without having all those overwheming emotions to deal with. Chances are you will have a bit of a backlash to deal with when the new baby arrives and the last thing you need is it putting you into a spin and making you question your parenting every time.

You are clearly a lovely, caring mother who is doing a really good job and has got through some very tough times. Maybe you need someone else to help you believe that.

Parmarella Sun 01-Sep-13 08:26:12

Sorry you have beenthrough this, I had thesame experience, with colicky baby 1 who just cried and screamed and did not want to be held but neither wanted to be put down. The guilt ( for feeling I wanted to run away) and stress wore me down and ended up with PND and anxiety, bloody hell what a difficult time.

But was already pregnant with DS2 so just had to carry on.

I had the same fears as you.

DS2 was a happy baby who never cried, a contented cherub. Who then became a koalatoddler (severe separation anxiety).....pfffff, but still an easy ridecompared to DS1.

They are 10 and 8 now, both happy easygoing children, the anger and frustration left DS1 as he grew and changed.

DH still feels guilty about our negative feelings towards him in the early years ( we just felt like crap parents).

How he was as a baby was not a reflection of his true personality AT ALL ( he is my sweet sensitive loving happy 10 yr old).

Good luck, it is hard but gets better. You havedonenothing wrong as a parent, just the luck of the draw snd it is unlikely you would have the same experience twice!

working9while5 Sun 01-Sep-13 08:36:28

You had PND. That, as my mother would say, is the holy all of it.

PND has this nasty habit of making you feel you are responsible foe everything that goes wrong or is difficult and if you had been more adequate/perfect/[insert other self-condemnatory impossibly high standard here] your life with a baby would have been like something out of a soft-focus Pampers ad.

There is a 50% rate of recurrence for PND. I started off like you in pregnancy with dc2... eventually I decided that it was his birth (Kielland' s forceps) and that I had to at all cost avoid this so I became obsessed with natural birth yet distressed as I knew I couldn't guarantee it. By the end of the pregnancy I was ridiculously stressed and of course I did get PND again, much worse than before (stress with two was higher).

So.... What can you do? Spend the time in pregnancy focusing on what you CAN deal with e.g. your stress and worry and not second-guessing the temperament of a baby you haven't met. No amount of reassurance will reduce your worry because you will still have a 'what if?' Going on.

The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook Amy Wenzel etc
What am I thinking? Pregnancy after Post Partum Depression Karen Kleiman
Mindful Motherhood: Practical Tools for Staying Sane in Pregnancy and the First year of your child's life (roughly the right title) Cassandra Vieten
Mindful Birthing, Nancy Bardacke

Getting out for walks, pursuing hobbies to distract you, meeting people, doing pregnancy yoga etc are all good plans too. Work out your support system and have a plan.

What you need is to focus your worry productively on things you can change (your ability to cope with stress) rather than putting this energy into unproductive worry you can do nothing about.

Good luck! I am on pregnancy three now!

working9while5 Sun 01-Sep-13 08:43:21

Sorry I meant to say my ds1 was a clingy screamy Velcro baby who had failure to thrive, major bfing issues, tongue tie, colic, wouldn't nap wouldn't sleep, wouldn't be comforted by anyone but me, hated his pram, wasn't very interested in lots of baby toys, very serious and dour etc. I still think it was his birth (which also affected me badly physically) but the anxiety and PND is taking responsibility for this. It just was what it was and it was always going be hard in that situation. So you need to plan thr right support/breaks away even if bfing/naps for you/head space for you not how to change the baby who might not be for changing but is probably going to be a million times easier. You can only sort your own stress responses, nothing else.

FamilyNapPlease Sun 01-Sep-13 09:33:25

Op I think you are awesome and strong for having another bubs. I wish I had your courage. But also it is REALLY likely to be easier with dc2.

If I were younger I'd think more seriously about another but ds1 was such bloody hard work as a baby (at nearly 3 we can see the light flickering at the end of the tunnel finally!) that I think all my useful baby/toddler parenting energy is Deane now.

Similar story to you, crying, hard to settle, possible tongue tie, reflux, feeding problems that didn't really straighten out till after 6 months. Fed him till just after 2 yrs partly because we'd had such a crap start! Ended up co sleeping when that was something I was never going to do. Only way to feed / sleep in any reasonable way. And actually I am so glad we did co sleep now, great for bonding with unhappy dour non smiley screamy babes who are always the one having a meltdown while all the others at playgroup or wherever are playing or feeding happily... Sigh.

We have had lovely times too but for a long long time they seemed so rare. We photoed every smile because it was so amazing when they did happen!

Age and development are fantastic. We get many tantrums now and the hitting and non compliance are staggering, but he and we are just generally so much happier at the toddler stage than we were during the baby stage.

I got PND that didn't get treated for a few months. We started out so relaxed - we are pretty calm and cruisy, or used to be! - but the reality of an unhappy non sleeping baby for months on end is actually an enormous stressor. I think the amount of crying and screaming we have had to listen to, at close quarters as we didn't CIO, could even count as causing PTSD. When it is relentless no matter what you do, hearing your loved baby constantly in distress is extremely upsetting. I feel traumatised by it, definitely!

But if we had dc2 I know it would almost definitely be a much easier ride - we know more and have handled a really rough ride already. Lots of coping skills we had to develop for ds would already be there for number 2. If I were 5 years younger we'd go for it.

Good on you for going for it now! Kids are all so different and I think you'll find it heaps easier than you expect. And amazing and enriching and joyful and all that good stuff that you still get even when you have a really difficult one!

FamilyNapPlease Sun 01-Sep-13 09:34:10

Deane now? Damn keypad! I meant the energy is gone now!

Cheeka Sun 01-Sep-13 10:34:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

galwaygirl Sun 01-Sep-13 10:53:57

Hi, haven't read the replies but your DS sounds exactly how everyone describes my sister, she spent all day every day crying for the first 6 months of her life. She was never left to cry, always held. No one would even call to our house. Anyway, when my younger brother came along and was diagnosed with CMPI and lactose intolerance after displaying very different physical symptoms my mum was convinced this was what was wrong with my sister. My sisters two kids both have this themselves.
Just a thought in case your DS was never checked for this as my sisters paediatrician said its strongly genetic - if your DC2 was affected is treatable if you know about it.

My DD was never out of arms and still cried quite a bit, my DC2 is a classic easy second baby x

galwaygirl Sun 01-Sep-13 10:55:46

Oh and I had PND first time round but not this time, had a traumatic birth first time but ELCS this time which helped.

rowrowrowtheboat Sun 01-Sep-13 20:46:25

<waves too>

It is hard not knowing for sure what went on, but it sounds very much like you are not alone in your experience. It must ave been tough.

Can you set yourself a date, and until that date, you can mull over it, research it, and try and understand, but after that, work on what working9while5 says so well - focus on what you can influence - your responses, and focus on your resilience, you are always more resilient with more sleep, good food in your belly, and some good friends near you. Make sure you focus on that. And enjoy your pregnancy.

LongTailedTit Sun 01-Sep-13 21:46:15

Thank you all for such lovely warm messages, I really appreciate it! thanks

It's very reassuring to hear of 2nd babies being sooo different.
I know it's often true, and have to remind myself of my big sister - she was a v quiet easy baby, so my mum thought it a brilliant idea to have another baby quickly... Ha - big mistake! There are only 15 months between us, and I was a screamer. This being the 70s, she parked me at the end of the garden and left me to it! My nickname was Squashed Cat. grin

I just remembered, I'm pretty good at settling other people's babies, so maybe I really have picked up some baby whisperer skills along the way!

It's v comforting to read about some of your tricky babies who have grown up into lovely chilled out children, I've had so many comments from my mum suggesting DS 'isn't quite right' that I think it's worn me down. I shall rebel! smile

working9 thank you for the list, will check some of those out. You're right, second-guessing won't get me anywhere, and there is plenty of positive change i can be getting on with while I await his/her arrival! I did CBT when dealing with my PND, there's plenty on my productive to-do list still.

galwaygirl I don't think he had/has CMPI, I cut out dairy for a month when he was tiny and it didn't help, tried it again for a month when he was 8/9mo and it again made no difference. It was worth a shot tho!

lorisparkle Mon 02-Sep-13 08:04:02

You sound a lot more positive so hold onto that. When I had ds2 as a baby and DS 1 as a tricky toddler I spent a lot of time at baby and Toddler type groups. They were a life saver. There were often people who had been through similar and people would often occupy toddler or hold baby. It also helped with routine. Although ds1 has his challenges he settled down considerably at 3.

meandtheboys Mon 02-Sep-13 09:05:39

My DS1 was the same. Such hard work. Very VERY high needs. Never content to just sit in a pushchair playing with toys. He hated his highchair, screamed whenever I stopped walking around with him on my chest facing over my shoulder. He couldn't stand it if I sat down and cudddled him, never let me cradle him or sit him on my lap. He'd back arch and throw himself around screaming. It really was so so hard for at least the first 18-20 months. He gradually got happier like your DS, he improved from being about 12 months but wasn't really content until he was 2 and could talk well. Even then he was VERY short tempered and had a very low threshold for frustration. Everything annoyed him and caused at least 10 tantrums a day. It wasn't until he was 3 when he mellowed fully and we finally felt ready to try again for another baby.

Anyway, everyone told me it would be so different this time around....<hollow laugh>. Hmmmm, sorry to say that DS2 was every bit as hard work. He screamed and was inconsolable as a little baby. Got slightly happier once he could move around on his own. We went down every medical route with both of them to rule out reflux, allergies/ intolerances, even had 3 sessions of cranial osteopathy with both of them but nothing worked. For some reason our babies have just not been happy to be babies! This isn't trying to scare you btw, there's every chance your next baby will be a dream by comparrison but that wasn't the case for us sad .

There is a silver lining though. DS2 is now 20 months and so much easier than he was. He's still a whinger. He will moan over nothing and sometimes we really do just have to ignore it because there is nothing we can 'fix', he's just not happy being a baby/ toddler. He will often just mooch about the house moaning, not crying, just whimpering. He's very frustrated with language at the moment. He has about 40 words but I know from experience with DS1 that he probably won't be happy until he can fully make himself understood and talk in sentences.

It's hard work for some personalies being a baby when noone understands them. Knowing my DS1 now (who incidentally, is NOT a hard work child at all now!) I can see why he was miserable not being able to talk. He's very opinionated and extremely inquisitive. He wants answers to everything and is fascinated by conversation. He's extremely articulate and wise beyond his years. Being a baby must have been torture for his personality type.

Bottom line is that you can not control what personality they have and it's nothing you did or didn't do. I've been depressed after both of mine and only now am I beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes I look at DS1 and I see how amazing he is and how proud he makes me and I know it was all worth while. DS2 is getting there but it's been bloody hard work and miserable at times. The one good thing with your second is that you do have slightly more perspective on things. I KNOW he won't be a baby forever. I KNOW he will grow up and things get easier all the time. With DS1 I honestly thought I'd still be carrying him around comforting him when he was 18. I couldn't ever see how he could grow up into a happy, well adjusted child. He did, of course and now he's amazing.

You will cope either way...mainly because you have to. It will be lovely if you get an 'easy' baby, let's face it, you deserve it! But don't beat yourself up if it doesn't happen. Just love your child and know that they will turn out alright in the end! Good luck. I know exactly how you feel x

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