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3 Wk old: If he's not eating or sleeping he's crying. We're losing the plot quickly!!

(57 Posts)
Elguapo Tue 02-Sep-14 19:59:38

Hello My wife and I have just added a beautiful little boy to the neighbourhood, but unfortunately as beautiful as we may think he is and as happy as we are to have him, he seems to be having some serious trouble just "existing" in the world at the moment. The main issue is that he has begun to unconsolably scream and cry for hours at a time throughout the day and night. If he is not eating or sleeping (which he almost never does) he is crying. He is only three weeks old and I appreciate that everything around him, and all the sensations both internally and externally are probably pretty intense at this stage, however three weeks of intense sleep deprivation has broken us both down and we are finding our coping abilities are beginning to crumble.

I suppose our question is "Is this normal?" I know all babies are different and all babies cry or are fussy, don't sleep etc etc. But when does screaming and crying become something to be concerned about? We tried very hard to study up and become as informed as we possibly could regarding what was to come, developmental stages, fourth trimester, calming techniques (Dr. Karp, slings) etc, but nothing has prepared us for the intensity of our little man's constant upset. It is definitely affecting our ability to bond with him as we would like to because we rarely have the opportunity to see a calm contented baby.

We are tired of the well intentioned "welcome to parenthood" comments from friends and the like and would love to at least hear that we are not the only people that have gone through this. Everyone keeps saying "it will all get better, I promise", but when? The magic number that keeps coming up is three months, does that mean we have to endure three months of guantanamo levels of sleep deprivation before it gets better? I literally broke down in tears at the thought of not being able to bond with this amazing little boy who we wanted so badly because of this issue.

He was given a full clean bill of health and is putting on weight, so as far as anyone can tell he is as healthy as can be. Of course there are the million and one worse case scenarios that go through our heads that he has some horrible disease, is neuro A-typical or worst of all we have done something to cause all of this chaos for this little guy. My gut feeling is that he's only three weeks old and that even though it's pretty intense at the moment, what we're dealing with is hard but normal and it will indeed get better.

We would really appreciate hearing any of your similar experiences and or solutions you may have found along the way. I'm not sure there is an answer to our questions, Nevertheless a little help and support can go a long way.

Didiusfalco Tue 02-Sep-14 20:07:43

It is normal. Some people will probably tell you that he must have reflux, or he needs cranial osteopathy or something, but honestly, I think some babies do cry more than others. Even if yours is crying a normal amount it iwill still feel tough going on top of the sleep deprivation. Hang in there, take all offers of help, forget about house work and other priorities, just grab sleep in any spare moments. It will get easier.

Anotherchapter Tue 02-Sep-14 20:17:03

I don't think it's that normal.

How long is he going to sleep for?

He may have reflux. I believe a lot of babies have it but the bloody GP make you fight to have it proved.

My friend was told she was being neurotic and 'when the baby gets hungry she will eat' it was bollocks. Five months in she finally got her diagnosis after going to two hospital and refusing to leave. She was allergic to dairy and severe GERD.

Babies do cry but not excessively. I really don't buy - some babies cry a lot.

Anotherchapter Tue 02-Sep-14 20:19:58

try this

Does this apply to your ds?

CatherineofMumbles Tue 02-Sep-14 20:24:13

We had one like that, and it was before MN days and so we just felt completely inferior to those perfect NCT parents...He did grow out of it as soon as he was able to roll over onto his back..., has been a lovely boy, just got 11 A* GCSEs and everyone loves him grin. Just keep cuddling him and he will settle down, just a very lively person...

Mintyy Tue 02-Sep-14 20:25:06

Newborns don't really do anything other than eat, sleep and cry. They very often find it easier to sleep if they are strapped into a sling on an adults chest.

It is very very common - infact the norm - for tiny babies to be unable to sleep quietly on their own.

By 6 weeks they might gurn a little smile at you, which will make you understand why it was you wanted a baby.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 02-Sep-14 20:29:22

Is your wife breastfeeding?

I know of some women who have seen some improvement if they themselves have cut dairy out their diet and avoided spicy foods.

Dd is a teen now but I do remember this stage. I remember going out in the garden and crying. I remember thinking that three months was forever and I'd never make it. Things did get better.

Fairylea Tue 02-Sep-14 20:29:47

Is he formula fed or breastfed? If he's formula feeding are you feeding on demand / is he having enough / are you offering a dummy if he seems unsettled? If he's breastfed are you sure the latch is correct? Any other issues?

Could possibly be silent reflux. Worth a Google.

However. .... at the risk of sounding awful it does seem pretty normal ish at this stage. Babies do very little at first but cry, cry, shit and sleep. And that's pretty much it for the first 6 weeks. At least.

Gradually it does get better. I promise.

AnythingNotEverything Tue 02-Sep-14 20:29:51

I think I agree that eat/sleep/cry is about right. They also poo though. Speaking of which, this is the age lots of babies seem to get windy as their poo changes. It passes.

How is he being fed? Don't underestimate how often young babies feed. Especially bf babies, they really do feed little and often, and often slowly.

Have you tried white noise? An extractor fan or hair dryer can interrupt them sometimes. DD always stopped when her bottom was naked and when we were outside for some reason.

micah Tue 02-Sep-14 20:32:46

When is his post natal check?

I'd keep a diary of his feeding, sleeping + crying times.

After a week review, and maybe get a GP of HV to look at it too if you're still worried.

Like Didi said, forget everything but coping. Work shifts so one of you can deal with him while the other gets some rest. Try and nap when he does.

One last thought- with one of mine it was simply temperature. Everyone tells you to wrap babies up warm, hats, layers, socks etc. Mine would scream and scream- by fluke we discovered she was boiling when out shopping and she'd calm down every time we went outside (in january). She never wore anything but a vest indoors, with a fleece blanket over her for naps, a grobag at night.

Does he have a dummy? Some of the sucky ones it does help, particularly if they're full and don't want milk, just comfort...

bakingtins Tue 02-Sep-14 20:33:19

My second baby was like this and I thanked my lucky stars he wasn't my first, because he would have been an only I had to wade through a lot of being labelled a neurotic mum when I knew something was wrong. It took 4 months to get a paeds diagnosis of silent reflux/ GERD and milk protein intolerance. He never slept longer than 90 minutes, and that was infrequent, for that entire time. Things to look out for - sudden blood curdling screams rather than starting off whimpering and upping the ante if need is ignored, discomfort related to feeding, throwing body backwards/arching back, hating to be laid flat, can hear liquid regurging after feeds, acidic smell on breath, dreadful nappies....
After a decent recovery period (4 yrs) I'm now on baby 3, who cries what I think is a 'normal' amount, has a fussy time at the end of the day, can normally be soothed fairly easily with cuddle/feed, has slept for periods of several hours at a time from day 1. I agree that some babies are more fractious/ high needs than others, but if your gut is telling you it's more than that then pursue it, your baby only has you to be his advocates.

stargirl1701 Tue 02-Sep-14 20:35:10

Sounds like DD1 to me. It was silent reflux. I truly thought I was going mad. I had DD2 16 days ago and it has been so different. It has brought home just how ill DD1 was. We finally got proper medical support when she stopped feeding at 5 months. She had worked out it was the milk causing her so much pain. I KNEW something was wrong but allowed myself to be fobbed off by GPs or relatives saying 'all babies cry'. The worst day was 13 hours of screaming with no breaks. An average day would be 6-8 hours if screaming followed by 40 min sleep and then another 6-8 hours of screaming. She slept less than 6 hours per 24 on a daily basis. For months.

scratchandsniff Tue 02-Sep-14 20:42:07

I totally sympathise. Its totally draining and feels like its going to break you. Here are a few things I would suggest trying:

- if your wife is bf get her to try cutting out dairy. Some small babies struggle with lactose.
- try propping up his Moses basket with a couple of books under one end of the stand.
- white noise. Play it on YouTube on your phone. Sometimes worked liked magic.
- taking him to an osteopath
- infacol
- baby swing

As you can see we tried it all. I promise you it will get better!

Andcake Tue 02-Sep-14 20:45:04

Ds was a bit like this - he basically cried unless he was being held. So for months I sat watching tv holding him apart from the short bouts of say 3 hours at night he would sleep between feeds! And he was up at 5 am
Winding definitely helped a bit getting that right. Wind and wanting to poo accounted for a lot of cries as did too warm as someone said up thread.
He had a witching hour for months between 5pm and 8pm or cluster feeding etc
It's exhausting - he didn't sleep through til 20 months and now can wake up for up 3-4 hours a night at least once a week which is hell.
Some people do get sleepers but I know of very few ( one but she refused to sleep in the day and 2 who were gina ford successes)

poppetina Tue 02-Sep-14 20:46:23

This is only relevant if your wife is breast feeding, but I found that cutting out decaf coffee stopped my baby screaming so much. Think it must be the chemicals used to decaffeinate it, actual coffee and decaf tea never caused any problems. She screamed for hours on an evening before I cut it out.

MarlenaGru Tue 02-Sep-14 20:52:04

Can you keep the baby upright as much as possible, get a stretchy sling and keep him in it all the time. I slept with dd1 on my chest propped up with pillows and eventually got a dairy allergy diagnosis, cut it out of my diet (takes 5 weeks to clear completely) and my daughter was put on omeprazole (but only much later after we took her privately to a paediatric gastroenterologist). Don't accept it as normal, it isn't. My second daughter also has mild reflux but I never put her down which helps immensely!

violetlights Tue 02-Sep-14 21:01:09

You can always try cranial osteopathy. It may so nothing for your wee one, but if it does, it can be like a magic. Several of my friends' babies (and my own) had miraculous outcomes from co. Mine was for a completely different complaint, but my cousin's case sounds very similar to yours. Had a huge effect on her DS. (But if you're based in the US - "neighbourhood"?? - you might find it difficult to find out.

Either way, hang in there, it does get better. thanks

anotherbitofcake Tue 02-Sep-14 21:18:39

It is normal. It's horrible. We suffered as well. It does get better. For me it was around 4.5 months. However we suffered with thrush, tongue tie and an infection scare and I had v difficult birth which made it all worse. I googled the life out of "why babies cry". Kellymom was v useful for me (and mumsnet)
Looking back for us I think it was the tongue tie plus forceps birth that made my baby so angry and upset. Has tongue tie been checked?
Me and my DH made a plan - 1) try to solve crying and 2) how to cope while trying to deal with it! I found the coping plan helped a lot. We took turns in having a break. You need a bit of head space from it all. Keep supporting each other. Try and laugh. Or go cry in the loo if that helps too! Don't feel guilty if you have " I hate this baby" feelings. You don't, it's just a crying baby in you face for hours on end when you've had no sleep is a form of torture. Remember that. Give loads of cuddles when you can. If you need a break just put baby down somewhere safe and go and breathe somewhere before going back calmer.
Swaddling helped loads as did a dummy for us, plus lots of rocking and time on us. Tummy rubbing and leg bicycling also good if colicky. We used I facial - not sure if helped but worth a shot.
If it helps, I wanted to walk out the door and not come back after my LO was born. It was god awful. But now 8 months on he is my world. He hardly ever cries. He laughs and smiles and is the most chilled out baby ever. And he sleeps. I would never have thought it possible in the early days. You are both doing amazing. Hang in there

Anotherchapter Tue 02-Sep-14 21:22:30

Baby is hardly sleeping OR eating. That's not normal.

lisaloulou84 Tue 02-Sep-14 21:42:39

My DS was like this too at that age (and still occasionally is now!) he definitely had colic as he would dream in pain and it only paused when he farted or burped! This could be an issue but if also bet he's probably overtired. Babies at this age can only really stay awake for 2 hrs at a time and at first I used to assume he'd fall asleep on his own but at his age they need help. A dummy and a vibrating chair were my saviours and I kept a close eye on the clock and put him down for a nap pretty much 1 1/2 hrs after he woke and fed every 3hrs during the day. It all equated to a much happier baby - though at times he's still a whinge, I think is just in some babies nature.

jayloo Tue 02-Sep-14 21:45:12

Hello all, thanks for your replies. I'm the mom in all this with a few more details. Within about two weeks after birth he had begun to settle, would be awake and not screaming, looking around, etc. He had begun to sleep between 3 and 4 hours at a time, and may have gone longer once if we hadn't woken him because he "sounded weird". Then, suddenly, he went back to being a screamy baby a lot of the time and now settles for only 2 minutes to sub 2 hours without constant physical attention from us (such as quite vigorous jostling or rocking, not your normal shushy type rocking) - usually the lower end. From 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds flat, we say. He will begin screaming from waking up, directly after unlatching, during feeds, we just can't figure out what is happening and really think it's a combination of things.

We use infacol, and when I can remember to give it before every feed it seems to help. He has a lot of gas and also hiccups - all the time, it seems! I've figured out that if he's fussy from the start of the feed it's probably gas, and if he's fussy during the feed after a decent amount of time, I should switch him to the other breast. I think he eats well but slowly; I had a problem with undersupply in the right breast but after concerted pumping this seems to have settled. I was worried he wasn't eating enough as he has started back to feeding between every 45 minutes and 2.5 hours - originally thought this was a growth spurt and cluster feeding as it started around 2 weeks old but it's gone on for over a week now. He seems to have an active period of feeding of about 20-35 minutes but will scream if I take him off after that and will then stay on the breast for sometimes hours at a time. He is still pulling milk as I always see milk in his mouth when I have to relatch or try to take him off.

He does not have the classic symptoms of GERD, such as projectile vomiting. The ones he does have are occasional choking during feeds (which I have heard as a symptom of overproduction), sounding wheezy during feeds, fussiness during/after feeds and spitting up hours after feeding.

Has anyone had luck asking after this with the GPs at DMC? I'm not too fond of them in general but maybe I've been to the wrong people there. Now that I can ask for specific GPs it might be helpful to know which ones other people have had luck with.

jayloo Tue 02-Sep-14 21:55:16

That coffee comment was helpful! I have been having a decaf coffee daily - and that actually makes a lot of sense because thinking back it seems that the increase in symptoms coincides with when I began to have decaf coffee again after the birth. Will stop that now. I eat cheese nearly daily and have milk in my coffee, the one cup, but that's about the extent of my dairy nowadays and I don't know if that's enough to cause problems.

The birth was...not as planned. Planned c-section due to placenta praevia (instead of the home water birth we'd hoped for) and had to go under general anaesthesia. Found out they also had to use forceps. We will be taking him for a craniosacral appointment soon. A friend swore by osteo, my husband mentioned cranio and for some reason that's the one I looked up first. Don't know which will be "better".

murphy36 Tue 02-Sep-14 22:26:57

Our first was like this until 3-4months.

We tried osteopathy, special formula, inclined bed, gripe water, infacol, hugs, walking and swinging, carrier, and pram walks. Co-sleeping. Muslin and comfort toys... Just about everything to help with sleeping and to calm him. Nightmare so I know how you feel.

None of it worked, he just suddenly mellowed and stopped getting so frustrated.

We kept a good routine as best we could and persevered. It's tough but you get through it somehow.

jayloo Tue 02-Sep-14 22:29:51

Murphy, how many times did you go to osteo? I'm wondering, as it's quite expensive, how long do we have to go before we say whether it's working?

whereisthewitch Tue 02-Sep-14 22:38:16

Does he arch his back/go as stiff as a board? Does he hiccup alot?I have a 12wk old who I exclusively breastfed until we got a silent reflux diagnosis, he is now on thickened formula and ebm and the maximum dose of losec. (omeprozole) and he is a completely different baby. He constantly screamed all day every day, slept ok at night but resumed screaming and twisting after his 8am feed. Continued all the live long day and I thought I was going to go mad.
So I sympathise!!

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