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Smiling and eye contact

(15 Posts)
Sukhino24 Sun 24-Jul-16 13:57:52

Hi - looking for some encouragement as feel like ive gone anxiety crazy!

My son is 8 weeks old and is not smiling or fixing eye contact with me.
He has reflux and is irritable a lot of the time. I maybe have 2-3 45 mins sessions per day where he is content and we can play and i try to engage with him. He rarely looks at me or follows my face if i move. (He looks more at my husband or all around me) he has tracked objects occasionally (but not often) so i know he can see and his hearing was fine at birth.

Im starting to feel very low as i feel like i cant develop my bond with him or connect if he will never engage with me. Im so stressed and worried about his reflux this is making everything seem a lot worse and i am catastrophising. I havent noticed hardly any difference in him over the last 2 weeks either.

Has anyone else experienced this? Can anyone offer soem encouragement to get me through this tough period?!


VioletBam Sun 24-Jul-16 15:43:39

Was he born full term OP? How is his head control and reactions to noise?

Some babies just don't smile until they're around 10 weeks you IS worrying when they don't "go by the book" but often babies and children don't follow all the rules....some might happen on cue...but other developments come later.

I'd say to seek reassurance if he's not smiling at 10 weeks perhaps.

VioletBam Sun 24-Jul-16 15:45:03

Oh and this article is very reassuring. It says that babies who fuss or cry a lot might be later with smiling...are more likely to be later in fact.

As DS has reflux, he might just be concentrating on that.

Dairybanrion Sun 24-Jul-16 15:53:05

One of mine didn't smile til later than the 6-8 weeks. Why? He was busy grizzling, munching at boob, roaring etc etc. V v happy toddler now. It's too early op to worry. Sounds like you're giving him lots of 1-1 time which is fantastic.

Sukhino24 Sun 24-Jul-16 21:54:47

Thank you. He was 10 days early and his head control is great - he is very strong! He was very anxious when born, very strong morrow (sp?) reflex and was curled up with eyes shut for about 4 weeks. I am trying to be patient! :-) just want to know he is ok.

Sukhino24 Sun 24-Jul-16 21:55:42

... Sorry, he does startle at loud noises but he doesnt turn his head to look when we call or make noises ourselves.

VioletBam Mon 25-Jul-16 00:46:34

I'm assuming his hearing test was ok?

Sukhino24 Mon 25-Jul-16 01:51:54

Yes hearing was fine too. :-)

RNBrie Mon 25-Jul-16 02:04:10

Was his birth straightforward? Has he had his 8 week check up and did you mention it then?

I wouldn't worry yet and I'd give it a couple more weeks.

Sukhino24 Mon 25-Jul-16 17:51:44

Birth was fine - VB. My waters broke first and he was back to back though.
He spent most of the time asleep today, grizzly inbetween, but we did have 20 mins togeher where he looked and somewhat followed me and i thought i had a smile but then he threw up - so perhaps it was just in preperation for that! :-) sigh.

BettyBi0 Tue 26-Jul-16 10:59:19

That sounds very like my first born. She didn't have a diagnosis of reflux at the time but she was super tense and panicky and miserable all the time. We'd had some problems establishing breastfeeding at first as she had strong tongue and lip ties so feeding took forever. It felt like she spent most of her time just crying or feeding and I was just spending all my time staring at her ear as she fed or looking at her eyes squeezed shut in a red, angry crying face. Then in the rare windows where she was awake and calm she would never make eye contact with me, always turn her head to the side and definitely nothing approaching a smile until 8 weeks. I felt so sad and was desperate to feel this rush of love and connection that all my nct friends had talked about. I looked at their babies staring into their mummies' eyes and all the smiling and joy and it just made me feel like there was something very wrong with either my parenting or my new daughter.

Fast forward 2.5 years and she is the brightest, happiest little girl and spends all day smiling and giggling (in between normal 2 yr old tantrums) and makes loads of eye contact while she is talking to me. She is still massively sensitive to things like loud sudden noises and very risk averse, and has a full body jumping/trembling reaction when she is frightened (which is often). I've just put it down to the fact that she is very very sensitive. But she is also incredibly smart and just plain different from the loud rough and tumble toddlers. She has great fun with her friends, is popular and sociable at her nursery and although generally shy and introverted, she is very normal and happy and smart.

Looking back I wish I had worried less about thinking something was wrong. I also wish I'd understood more about newborn's need to sleep. All those times she was avoiding meeting my gaze (and I was feeling sh*t and panicking) and she was probably just exhausted. Even 45 mins awake is a long time for an under 12 week old - especially if they are sensitive and easily overstimulated.

I wish I'd spent more time just feeding her to sleep, letting her sleep upright on my chest and just hold her and try to keep things calm. Instead I wanted to do everything right and give her the right stimulation, and not make a rod for my back (I bloomin hate any advice that comes with that line).

A wise older mum I knew, maybe she could see I was struggling, told me about her post natal depression and how she was so glad she'd always held her infant in a stretchy wrap sling as she knew that their two hearts had been close together even when mentally she'd been struggling to feel the bond. I never would have called what I had at the time PND - more just lots of stress and worry and sleep deprivation and hormones. But that probably is a big element of PND too.

Her advice which I'm forever grateful for was to wear the baby as much as possible, kiss her and sniff her head loads, let her sleep on her tummy upright on my chest for as long as she wanted during the day, and assume that whenever she cried she needed to feed or sleep or both. Basically just let everything else go as long as you can get outside for a walk every day. So I followed that and slowly things got easier and I felt more and more connected to her. She was a whole lot happier when she was pain free with a full tummy and sleeping most of the time. I slowed things right down, changed and bathed her less, had shorter shopping or cafe date sessions, basically just cocooned the two of us. And slowly came out of it all at 12-16 weeks when everything had started to fall into place and get MASSIVELY easier.

Yes she was "late" to smile and avoided eye contact whenever she was tired - still does if she is concentrating hard on something or feeling overwhelmed/shy. But she is absolutely developmentally normal and socially fine and now. I'm so glad that I did the things that I could (holding, wearing, smelling, stroking her lots, thinking about our hearts being close and what she could hear) as those are the things that made the bond establish. Then later, when she was happier and well rested she would look into my eyes and smile, my heart near enough exploded.

Give it time and slow things down. I'm sure it will happen for you too x

BettyBi0 Tue 26-Jul-16 11:06:59

Btw I have another baby now, he has fed and slept just great since the start and smiled right on cue at just under 7 weeks. He hasn't had any of the same feeding or pain issues that DC1 had and as such his life has been a whole lot more chilled and calm. They are just different little people and I'm a different mum too second time around. I also felt the love and connection come a lot earlier this time - maybe at 3-4 weeks? He very rarely gets overtired or overstimulated (as he sleeps ALL the time) but in the rare times that he does, he also avoids eye contact and is grizzly in exactly the same way as DC1 was

Sukhino24 Tue 26-Jul-16 13:20:28

BettyBiO - thank you so much for your advice. I truely appreciate that. I think i am and have been putting too much pressure on us both. Its hard when, likr your nct people, everyone else is progressing 'just fine'. Ive actually worn he m in the sling all day yesterday whuch was lovely and he slept all day (different story at night!!!) i will try to take what you've said on board. Thanks x

Sukhino24 Mon 17-Oct-16 20:58:51

BettyBi0 - just to say thank you. Your post made a hige difference to me at a time when i was really low. He did start smiling and he did make eye contact with me about 9 weeks. The sling made a hige difference to our bonding (though now he is addicted!! :-)

But really, thank you, you made all the difference to me then x

Temporaryname137 Tue 18-Oct-16 15:47:56

Lovely update! I came here to say that I was worried about DD who didn't smile until just after 8 weeks - but once she started she smiled all the time. Now she's 1 and the most smiley toddler ever.

Congratulations on your baby, you sound very happy smile

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