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High-needs babies support thread - come and join me!

(41 Posts)
bean612 Tue 21-Jul-09 20:16:14

So I love DD (7 months) to distraction and couldn't contemplate life without her, but she is not the the easiest of babies by a very long shot! I've posted on here plenty about her sleep problems (ongoing), but recently been reading Dr Sears about high-needs children and realised DD fits the pattern to a T. I've no wish to pigeonhole her really, but it helped enormously to read that there are plenty of other babies out there who are similar, since I don't know any in real life - everyone else's seem so easy. So if you feel you're in the same boat, please come and moan (and laugh - and cry!). I reckon the best way to deal with the challenge is to share, share, share...

Ewemoo Tue 21-Jul-09 21:36:15

I have dts (girls) who are also 7 months and they like my eldest dd are nightmares. They can't sit and just look around them for very long. Really they need a personal entertainer each as I think they get bored v easily. The amount of time they spend crying each day is ridiculous. The only thing that gets me through is knowing that my dd1 is now a lovely, able to entertain herself little girl. There is light at the end of the tunnel it's just believing it!

Babyisaac Tue 21-Jul-09 22:08:12

Hi Bean and Ewemoo
I had a HN baby and got a lot of support from a few people on MN, which really really helped and there really is light at the end of the tunnel.
For the first year of his life, DS was an absolute nightmare. Fought sleep like you wouldn't believe (or probably would!), I could never put him down, he had to be carried everywhere, hated the pram/carseat/floor. I took him to various classes for my own sanity but ended up invariably leaving early and in tears because he would have meltdowns all the time. I cried most days for the first 6 months and the next 6 months were still hellish, I'd just resigned myself to the fact that he was that sort of baby. He baffled all the HVs. We had him checked out for health problems and there were none. It put a strain on my marriage as we were both so stressed and depressed about our nightmare baby. We really couldn't do any normal things that other people with babies of the same age did. I felt lonely, isolated and extremely anxious pretty much most of the time.
DS never crawled, he had no interest. He got up and walked before his 1st birthday and started talking at that point too. He is now 18 months old, has an amaaaazing vocabulary, is extremely bright and switched on, is very very funny and is a very happy toddler. Yes, he is still extremely strong-willed, he still requires more input from me and DH than most others of his age but as long as we talk him through his day and let him do things by himself, he has very few tantrums and I love spending time with him. A far cry from the baby he was last year.
My opinion (and that of Dr Sears) is that he was probably more advanced than his age, i.e. he wanted to do things he couldn't yet do and he couldn't understand this. Once he was mobile and started to communicate, that's when his behaviour started to change and the crying stopped for the most part. He is a brilliant sleeper. Naps with ease for 1.5 hours in his buggy every day and takes himself off to bed every night at 7.30 and sleeps for 12 hours.
There really is light at the end of the tunnel. I never thought I'd say that. I didn't think I'd ever have another baby but I've now realised that HN babies are few and far between and I'd be very unlucky to have to go through all that again!! I don't need support now but am more than happy to give advice, words of reassurance etc to those going through it now. Like I say, other MNers with HN babies really really helped me at the time. I have now put last year behind me (heartbreaking to have to do that really) and can make more sense of it all now I know how gorgeous and clever he is now.
Good luck! Survive each day, that's all you can do. I used to complain to my Mum that I simply couldn't enjoy DS as a baby and she just said I had to survive it as best I could and the rewards would come later. That they did and I couldn't love him any more than I do now. Ride the storm!!!

bean612 Tue 21-Jul-09 23:35:47

Ewemoo - poor you, it can be such a struggle some days can't it?

Babyisaac - your first paragraph could be me. DD hates the carseat and often the buggy - short journeys to the shops are usually okay but any longer than that and she howls. Car journeys are a nightmare that usually result in her and me sobbing, and even DH on occasion if he's in the car and it's a long journey we have to make (visiting his parents 3 hours away, for example). Because the buggy's no good for any kind of distance I carry her in the sling which has b*ggered my knee and I'm having physio on it as a result.

DD fights sleep terribly, to the extent that even in the middle of the night, in bed with me, being cuddled and breastfed, she still screams. Naps are a whole other nightmare, unless I breastfeed her to sleep (and if the boob falls out of her mouth at any point she wakes up and protests). DH are managing to do a decent job of supporting each other but we are both stressed, anxious and knackered all the time, and often tearful (before we had a baby I think I'd seen him cry once in nearly 9 years, now I've lost count). Add the fact that he's also facing redundancy and I'm self-employed and only going back to work part-time, and it all makes for a pretty grim picture atm.

Thank you, Babyisaac, for this, because apart from one friend who has 2-yr-old HN twins I don't know anyone else in the same boat, and she's brilliant but I can't offload everything onto her especially as she also has a 7-month-old (I wonder if she's reading this!). I guess it just helps to know other people know what it's like - and can offer some hope...

bean612 Tue 21-Jul-09 23:37:27

"DH and I are managing", even.

meandjoe Wed 22-Jul-09 16:59:09

I had one just like this! In fact I think people on mumsnet got completely fed up of me posting about various High Needs issues. Me and BabyIsaac even had our own support thread going at one point as we were pulling our hair out!

My ds was so touchy and sensitive, hated being held unless I walked around with him but wouldn't be laid on the floor or put in a bouncer, wouldn't go in pushchair or car seat without screaming so I became house bound and isolated. He fought naps so much, would scream and scream even when I rocked him to sleep and even then would only sleep for 30 minutes at a time in the day so always woke up screaming and clearly still tired. Thank God by night time he was so exhausted that he just slept straight through from 10 weeks, otherwise I think I'd have really lost my mind.

My main problem was the worrying about what kind of a child he would be and being so scared to go anywhere in case he had a meltdown. It was all so unpredictable and just hellish. No one I have met has ever had a baby like hisso I felt for sure I was doing something wrong or tere was something seriously wrong with my ds. After countless trips to Health Visitors, GP and Cranial Osteopath, even trying him on reflux medication, we just decided that we had to get on with it and stop trying to figure out what was wrong with him or us. He was perfectly healthy, he was just miserable!

Turns out that he was just very very very frustrated and super aware of everything. I like to think he was clever and got bored easily but the truth is we'll never know why our experience of parenthood was so different to everyone elses.

All I can say is do whatever you can to survive. Focus on any tiny little success. I remember the first time I managed to get round the corner to my Dad's house with ds in a pushchair without screaming, he was about 10 months old and I felt like I'd conquered Everest! Such a big deal to me but something most parents take for granted.

At 7-9 months my ds was worse than ever. Everyone kept saying he'd be better once he could sit up/ crawl/ pull up to stand etc but by this age each of these milestones came and went with little improvement. It's when I really started to lose hope that we would ever have a life again.

Like BabyIsaac, my ds still is very strong willed (bossy perhaps!) but he's 23 months now and just such an amazing little boy. The turning point came when he walked at 11 months but even then he still required a lot of input and began to tantrum over everything! He really chilled out once he could talk and understand more and be pursuaded out of things and offered an alternative rather than screaming and crying.

I would never call my ds easy going but then again very few toddlers are. Slowly but surely all the placid babies I saw at mother and baby groups have all become stroppy, bossy toddlers wheras my ds really has got easier and easier and continues to do so every day. He really is just so chatty and energetic though so it's easy to see why he was so frustrated at not being able to explore and communicate, he's into everything and just wants to be a mini adult. Someone on here once told me that some people are just born with personalities that aren't suited to being a dependant, immobile baby but they make excellent shildren and adults. That seems to be the case for my ds... he makes a much better toddler than he did baby!

Things will get easier.

bean612 Wed 22-Jul-09 20:42:47

Ah, meandjoe, thank you. It really helps just to know others have been through it and emerged the other side! My DD is not quite as full-on as it sounds like your DS was, and you must have had a hellish time. I can actually get her round in the buggy for short trips, but otherwise I've decided not to fight it and put her in the sling just as soon as she kicks off. I'm about to invest in something more robust than a Baby Bjorn, though - she's practically falling out of the bottom of it at nearly 9 kilos! It's the screaming in the night that's really killing us, though. I never wanted to co-sleep but that's pretty much what we're doing now after about 2am (or whenever she first wakes up). Trouble is that even when she's in bed with me/DH she yells...

Still, she's been very cute today, and quite chilled out. That's the other thing, I guess - the sheer unpredictability of the day-to-day.

barbareebaa Wed 22-Jul-09 23:21:31

Hello - I would really like to join you if I may!
I have a beautiful 8 month old boy. For the first 7.5 months of his life he took all his naps on me - I could never get him to sleep in his cot during the day - or in a bouncer or any where other than my lap. From about 4 months old we have co-slept at night too. He hated his pram, screamed the whole time. I could not turn my back on him without him screaming - God forbid I leave the room!!! Life has been a nightmare at times (find it difficult to say this as I love him so much)
He was only happy when on my lap - wanted access to my boob constantly. He refused to drink out of a bottle and has never taken to a dummy. He is allergic to formula. He got frustrated in a sling/ bored.
He has tongue-tie and this made bf-ing extrememly difficult to begin with and despite trying to see a specialist about it all my appointments were cancelled. I think it's loosened a bit now so not so worried about getting it seen to. Just found out yesterday that he has multple allergies - cows milk, wheat, egg, soya, fish, peanuts.
Having said all that things are beginning to improve a little. My mattress is on the floor so I can feed him to sleep for the morning nap - sometimes I stay and join the nap sometimes I sneak off! He is a bit happier in the pram and quite (dare I say) enjoys sitting up for the first part of the trip and the way back I recline it a bit and he will nap - but woebetide if I'm faraway from home when he wakes up - he wants to be out then. Night times I feed him to sleep and sneak off. This is a new thing tho'. Used to have to have him on my lap all evening too. Am planning to put a mattreess in his room so I can maybe get him to sleep there sometime in the future and dh can move off the sofa!!
I have alsways felt that he would be happier when he gets mobile - he is starting to crawl - I can't wait til he can talk and get around easily - I know I shouldn't wish time away but I feel that this would make such a difference.
Hurah for this thread. I have always felt that ds was harder work than others but have daren't say it in case people think I was just complaining.
The worst bit is people telling me I'm doing it wrong, building a rod and all that. I really feel I'm doing what is necessary to be my boys mum - I've realised early on that I wasn't going to be able to go in for any training of any kind - it's just not me - but people are telling me I'm making it worse - he is controlling me, got me wrapped around his finger, knows where he's got me, all that kind of thing. Plah!
Anyway i think things are getting a bit easier (apart from the allergies - geez!!) Hopefully light at the end of the tunnel!! Please tell me I qualify for this thread - have been dying to get that out for ages (can you tell wink)

barbareebaa Wed 22-Jul-09 23:43:31

sorry - just wanted to say he is also extremely cute, has avery cheeky smile, loves to entertain random people on public transport and is just generally fab (but hard work)
And people always say 'ooh - isn't he a happy little boy!' hmm grin
Felt the need to balance out my last post!

Brewster Thu 23-Jul-09 10:43:11

Sooo good to know we are not the only ones!!

My baby is a year old next week and he has been walking for over a month now so I go with the thought that often the 'High Need' babies are a little advanced - too busy to sit still so they learn things quicker maybe?

The frustration he showed before crawling, wwalking etc leads me to believe also that a llot of the whining and crying is frutstion rrelated.

He has now become very clingy and is as he is now teething as well things are tough at the moment.

Thankfully since he has gotten older and the wwalking more established he will play for a little burst by himself.

Still cant take him on a dog walk or out for long in the pushchair though.

Our one saving grace is that he does thankfully sleep all night. Full full full on day but at least he has a 12 hour night ssleep!

Gorgeous little angel just too advacned for his own good I think.... too eager to get going and all grown up.

Good luck ladies.

sundodger Thu 23-Jul-09 12:25:42

I need to moan too... I am so so tired of listening to my dd screech and scream and whinge and wail.
She is nearly 11 months & although I love my little girl more than anything, much of that time I have not enjoyed. (Although there was a period of a few weeks about three months ago when she did seem more content but it feels like it never happened now).

I wont go into past problems except to say they were along the lines of constant feeding, lots of crying, wanting to be held all of the time and so on. She is now at the stage where she not only wants me with her but seems to require endless & ever changing entertainment and is very vocal at her displeasure whenever I dare to try to do anything else. The moment she finishes her breakfast she screams to be out of her highchair and onto the next thing and so it goes on. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a baby of her age to play close by whilst I do such things as empty dishwasher, load washing machine, do a little ironing etc. But I find it impossible to do very much before I can't stand to listen to the racket anymore. Each day when she finally goes to sleep (and i do appreciate how lucky I am that she now sleeps through the night) I think tomorrow we are going to do things my way, and not feel so useless at not being able to run my home. As she sleeps peacefully I think how crazy it is that she controls what happens each day and that tomorrow however much she whines we'll do things my way but my resolve soon fades after listening to another couple of hours of it. It is so draining. God forbid I ever try and do anything that requires a little brain power, earlier this week I was trying to sort out the house insurance and I couldn't even think straight for the noise she was making.

At the moment she is napping for around 1 hour/ 1 hour 30 a day in two naps. She wakes up around 6.30am and often wont go off to sleep until around 8.00pm. I feel like I spend every spare minute battling to get on top of the housework (I admit when she does go off for a nap I am sometimes to be found wasting time collapesed on the sofa staring into space). I love to cook but none of us are eating very well at the moment because I'm not prepared/physically able to spend half the night cooking from scratch after all the other jobs are done and it makes me feel guilty that my dd is mostly eating out of jars. I would love to spend a little time each day with her playing happily in the kitchen with me whilst I did some cooking but it doesn't happen. I am so worn out by all this that I don't feel like I have a lot to offer my daughter when we play together and I'm sure she isn't learning as much as she could because she spends so much time crying. I never imagined being a mother would be this way.

It has however been really cheering to read stories of things getting easier.

Brewster Thu 23-Jul-09 14:34:47

I totally sympathise - this is not what I imagined motherhood to be like easier and I ahve never met another baby similar to mine!

I ahve not enjoyed the past year expect the odd day here and there.
I deveopled postnatal depression a few months ago and it is only recently with extra help from family and the baby going to a childminder once a week that i feel 'more normal' again.

People with mre calm babies have no idea what we rae talking about and think we rae exaggerating which is tough too and it looks like they are all copingt so much better....well of course they are cos their babies dont cry and whine half the day!!

LeonieSoSleepy Thu 23-Jul-09 14:41:24

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Brewster Thu 23-Jul-09 14:45:50

oh dear - - how do you diagnose autism? what made her High Needs in your mind?

LeonieSoSleepy Thu 23-Jul-09 14:47:45

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LeonieSoSleepy Thu 23-Jul-09 14:51:42

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LeonieSoSleepy Thu 23-Jul-09 14:58:03

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Hulla Thu 23-Jul-09 18:49:22

Just bookmarking this thread to come back to later. DD is crying and won't go to dh. I will be back!!

sundodger Thu 23-Jul-09 19:20:56

Brewster just re read thread and saw that you are unable to even get out with baby in the pushchair. I really don't know how you have managed. I think it is only pounding along with the dog that has kept me from being a total wreck. Although recent local incidents with a flasher, other weirdos and viscious dogs have rather limited where I feel we can go!

Hulla Thu 23-Jul-09 19:57:54

Great thread! I am going to try and get as much down before I have to dash - I am on borrowed time!

My dd is 6 months old. We had a long anf traumatic birth, feeding problems and then colic. She has never liked being put down, won't even slightly entertain a ride in the pram, will only nap on me and (like you Barbareebaa) have coslept from 4 months.

Seeing it black and white it doesn't seem so bad and I do realise some of these just come with having any baby but living it has been so hard. She is my first baby so I don't have another child of my own to compare her to. I notice how strong dd's personality is through other peoples reactions to her. I have had to leave baby groups because she's had a meltdown. She hates the car seat so now when we go anywhere DH drives and I sit next to dd in the back.

People have always made comments about how "she's been here before" which I am told means that she seems older than her age. I remember when dd was 10 weeks old a woman commented on how alert she was. My in-laws are wary of her which makes me sad. They think she's difficult and look at her like she's from another planet my. My MIL thought her behaviour was just in my imagination until we stayed for a week. She said she can't believe that dd won't settle for her. She also decided that it was the traumatic birth thats left her so upset hmm.

We go and visit friends who have babies the same age as dd and I can't believe how different their dcs are. Their children drift off to sleep for naps, often without them realising. My dd cries before every nap, nurses to sleep and does not self settle. I am used to it, I think its quite nice to have her sleep on my lap.

She is now going through a phase where she doesn't want dh, just me which is exhausting. At the moment she won't sit anywhere but my knee - not even next to me. Even on my knee she doesn't seem happy though.

She is very good at sitting unaided and is getting ready to crawl I think (up on all fours but shuffling backwards grin) so perhaps she'll be happier when she's a bit more mobile.

Anyway this is a long post so I'll stop there. It has been great to read this thread already so thanks for starting it bean162. Thank you to those who have come out the other side of this and posted their experiences.

I am going to Tinytalk tomorrow. I hope dd will learn to sign her needs and become a bit happier.

Hulla Thu 23-Jul-09 19:59:36

Bean612 - sorry, I'm a dumbass at times! smile

angel1976 Thu 23-Jul-09 20:30:37

Hi meandmyjoe and babyisaac,

How our little ones have grown! To all those 'new' to high needs babies, MANJ and BI and I were part of a group of MNetters that almost did not survive our high-maintenance babies! I won't bore you with my stories but my DS was the grumpiest baby I've ever met. He cried all the time when he was little and barely smiled. The only saving grace about him was that he was a good sleeper. I cried with him all day in the early days, nothing we did made him happy.

MAMJ and BI really kept me going in those days. My DS is now 17 months old and a complete delight. He is a really happy and funny boy who laughs all the time. He is also very active and very energetic. Same as MAMJ, the turning point was when DS was about 12 months old (he was crawling, on verge of walking, he walked a month later). The more mobile he got, the happier he was. Now he charges around like crazy! He still has his serious side and is a right blabbermouth talker. But he is so so gorgeous and I love him to death. No one believes me when I tell them about his early days. In fact, I can't quite believe it myself. I asked my SIL if I imagined those days and she said 'No, DS was a right grump and cried a lot!' I'm now preggers with number 2 so it can't be that bad! grin Good luck all!


LeonieSoSleepy Thu 23-Jul-09 22:01:28

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Brewster Fri 24-Jul-09 10:00:52


feeling a bit down - just had a chat with a lady I know but havent seen in a few years and she has a 21 month old. I said it wa stough as mine was so demanding and she said 'yes well they all are' so I said well I tink mine is a little more than most'. few noises fron her like she didnt believe that then said you wait till he is older then you will see demanding!

i feel so crap and it just upsets me that other people have no idea what it is like....

LeonieSoSleepy Fri 24-Jul-09 11:04:35

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