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When do tricky babies get easier?!!

(26 Posts)
DuckWaddle Sat 19-Jan-13 14:13:07

My dd is now 4 months. She's always Bren Hugh maintenance requiring constant bouncing (and only the right bounce will do!!) etc etc.her default is to cry so I get about five muns with each activity before she starts getting grouchy again!!everyone said they get easier at 6 weeks then 3 months. I'm at my wits end and we've zipped past the6 week three month milestone!!! I feel like this will never end and I'll have a 12 yo who demands constant jiggling, dangling of toys etc. I'm going bonkers and by the end of the day feel so tense I find it hard to sleep.she used to sleep well but has started waking throughout the night. Does anyone else have a baby like this? I feel like the only one. I look on in wonderment at others chilled babies who will happily lie/sit for longer than a min.

omama Sat 19-Jan-13 15:18:47


I had one too. As a young baby he would cry & cry & cry. He couldnt bear for me/dh to be out of his sight, would totally freak if anyone even grandparents went near him, didnt like loud noises or anyone getting in his face & sleep was also a mess. he also had reflux, eczema & an undiagnosed milk intolerance though, which i def think played a part (does your dd have any issues like these as would def lead to increased crying???).

I found he would cry so much more if he didnt nap well or became overtired, so i had to establish a regular napping routine. For him it had to be in cot post 6months as he wouldnt shut off otherwise. I also spent a month using BW technique sssh/pat to teach him how to self settle & that made the world of difference to his days & nights.

In the daytime if i needed to do housework or even go to the loo i'd take him with me as he'd be utterly distraught if i didnt. Or i'd put him in the baby carrier while i got on with stuff. He didnt have a long attention span & would start to cry after just a few mins of looking at something, but this is quite normal at this age & will improve as she gets older & can do more by herself. Also with hindsight i think i prob overstimulated ds with too many toys sometimes, often less is more. If it all got too much id just take him for a walk & it would make us both feel better.

Things definitely did improve around the 6-9months mark (coinciding with discovery of his milk intolerance) but i truly believe it was also because he began to gain some independence as his motor skills developed & he learnt to sit,roll & crawl & choose toys to play with etc.

Now he is 2.5yrs & a true delight to be around. He behaves well, plays nicely & sleeps great too. So i can assure you it WILL get better with time.

AnathemaDevice Sat 19-Jan-13 15:47:25

DS was a very tricky baby. I'm still waiting for him to get easier, he'll be 4 in April...

To be fair, he's not as high maintenance as he was, but he still firmly believes that he's centre of the universe and can't (won't?) understand that I don't want to spend every second of the day listening to him.

I think, like omama, I was guilty of overstimulating him. DD is much more laid back and happy to entertain herself. I don't know if that's down to personality or just because she's had to take a back seat to her demanding brother.

sillymillyb Sat 19-Jan-13 15:55:43

My ds is coming up 10mo, and I would say, that the first 6 months I found really hard. He was an early crawler though, and once he had his independence he seems much more content.... Course now its all started again with trying to walk, but there was a brief respite in there I promise!

Maybe when your baby is on the move he will be happier?

lorisparkle Sat 19-Jan-13 19:35:48

ds1 was a challenge from the moment we found out he was breech he has been challenging us ever since and is now 6! I found the baby whisper book reassuring as it describes ds1 and subsequently ds2 and ds3 so accurately. it also gives tips on dealing with them. I found once I had established a routine and he was sleeping in the day / night better things settled down. the teach your child to sleep book was fantastic for that.

CointreauVersial Sat 19-Jan-13 19:45:49

I have three DCs, a high maintenance DS, a very easy DD1 and then DD2, who is also pretty easy, although not as chilled as DD1.

What always surprises me is that this exactly reflects how they were as babies; DS required constant contact, DD1 never cried and hardly needed me at all, and DD2 was somewhere in the middle.

What I'm trying to say is that this pattern might continue, not that I'm suggesting you'll be dangling toys above him at 12yo. Perhaps not what you want to hear, but that's my experience anyway. But all babies go through phases, both easy and difficult, and I'm sure things will improve before you know it. Newborns are completely dependent on you, and it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you'll get there.

blueshoes Sat 19-Jan-13 19:48:52

Many high maintenance babies, like mine, are high maintenance because of their personality, not age. They find babyhood difficult because they are not in control of their surroundings.

With each milestone - sitting up, crawling, walking - your baby will get incrementally easier because they are more able to explore their surroundings and have more things to engage their interest.

I would consider both my children easy now. But they were horrendous as babies. Other milestones were 2 years, 3 years and by 5, they were a dream.

The good thing is after a fussy baby, you will not complain about toddlerhood, which is a doodle in comparison!

lorisparkle Sat 19-Jan-13 20:19:34

Oh yeah have you looked at the Dr Sears website. THey used to have a fair amount of stuff about 'high maintenance' children.

Mum2DS1andDS2 Sat 19-Jan-13 20:27:10

Exactly the same experience as blueshoes. Both of my babies have been so called high needs babies. Need a lot of attention, difficult to calm down, very sensitive and prone to crying and later tantrums etc. I am still in the thick of it with DS2 who is 12 months now and although not as bad as he was, he is still very full on and tempremental but is frustrated at not being able towalk at the moment.

DS1 was a terribly fractious baby and just like yours he needed movement and stimulation but only his idea of stimulation, if people he wasn't too sure about approached or even made eye contact he'd meltdown! He went on to be a toddler who was very gentle but cried a lot and was very easily frustrated and had constant battles with me over anything and everything although massively easier than when he was a baby.

He's 5 now and truly amazing. Very articulate, gentle, calm, loving, good at school, sociable, just lovely. I would still say he requires a lot of input. He's lovely but talks a lot, loves us and wants to be around me constantly but has no problem going into school or being away from me but he always says howmuch he misses me and loves me. He certainly isn't difficult and no where near the demonic child I imagined when he was a screaming baby! He got better and better as he hit each milestone. For us walking at 11 months was a bit of a turning point, 18 months when he got talking in sentences his frustration reduced dramatically and gradually he just lightened up. By 3 he was wonderful and he just gets better and better.

DS2 is improving....slowly!

One thing I would say is that with both of mine I did try cranial osteopathy, reflux medication and dairy free to eliminate any health issues but nothing made any difference. They've just not beem happy to be babies.

It gets so much better!

omama Sat 19-Jan-13 20:34:17

blueshoes i agree that its all down to personality, my ds is definitely touchy/sensitive & that will always stay with him, but it is def easier to deal with, the older he gets & the more he can do for himself.op i also used Baby Whisperer with ds & found it a great resource for learning how to understand,deal with & enjoy our fussy little ones.

'The good thing is after a fussy baby, you will not complain about toddlerhood, which is a doodle in comparison!'

I think this is exactly why i'm finding ds so lovely now as a toddlwr wink. One other think to bear in mind op, is that a challenging pfb will make subsequent dc's seem like a walk in the park!

omama Sat 19-Jan-13 20:35:05

Sorry for all sp mistakes stupid phone!

Mum2DS1andDS2 Sat 19-Jan-13 20:44:09

Oh and the best advuce I can give you is not to look at those placid babies and compare. I did nothing but compare DS1 to other happier more content babies and it drove me mad. All I can tell you now is that all those children who were angels as babies... well let's just say I wouldn't swap him for any one of them now ;-) your baby will mellow as she gets older and even if she remains high maintenance, never will she be as demanding and as dependent on you for movement, stimulation and comfort as she is for then next few months. Before you know it she'll be a school, having her own friends, talking your ear off! As most people who's babies hit toddlerhood and start terrible twos, people with babies like this can breathe a sigh of relief and I found the toddler years welcome relief when all my friends were pulling their hair out!

LittleOne76 Sat 19-Jan-13 23:08:30

DS was the master of 30min maximum naps during the day.... Fed to sleep at the boob and woke multiple times each night and was fed back to sleep. A good night was only 2-3 wakings. He was a champion sleep fighter.

He's now 15mo and sleeps 8ish - 7ish without waking/feeding. No more boob to sleep and he has a bit of cow milk before bed from a cup. He naps for two hours in the middle of the day.

I still pinch myself and can't believe it's the same kid! The change happened very gradually though from about 10mo and he improved and then regressed slight and improved and back and forth for a few months.

I just wanted to say I think they get there and things settle down. In their own time though.... !

DuckWaddle Sun 20-Jan-13 16:00:12

Thanks for all your posts - they make me feel less like I'm alone in this high maintenance baby world!
Omama - I'll look into milk intolerances etc. She doesn't seem to be in any pain just grumpy. I know what you mean about the housework and loo - I too have to take her with me when doing anything. I'll dance manically around when chopping veg etc just to keep her entertained. Even then I only manage a couple of minutes before the grumbling starts again so I normally make a meal in steps during the day. Interesting about the overstimulation I think this may definitely be the case and seems to be echoed in the other posts. I often find that I'm practically bouncing around the house like a maniac in the vain hope of keeping her happy for a while!
Sillymillyb,mum2ds1andds2 and blueshoes - I was wondering if things like learning to sit up and crawl etc may help her fell more relaxed.
Sounds like I need to check out the baby whisperer and Dr Sears.
Omama - you are so right about comparing dd with other babies. I look on and really beat myself up about what I'm doing wrong.
How did you all cope with meeting the needs of your babies? I have been getting so down about it as it often feels like a hardcore endurance test rather than the wonderful time I had dreamed of before dd was born. I feel guilty that I often can't enjoy my time with her and I worry that I'm doing something wrong. I also worry that she is unhappy and I'm missing something she needs. I try and get out to baby groups but it is often so hard to talk to anyone that I often feel like it makes me more depressed and only makes me even more aware of how tricky it is. By the end of the day I can be so tense from all the crying and grumbling and I'm finding it hard to sleep which is only exacerbating the problem. Some days I feel like I'm going insane trying to apease her.

Mum2DS1andDS2 Sun 20-Jan-13 23:37:06

Just a quick one, didn't want your last post to go unanswered but I must get to bed before I fall asleep and get woken up by one of DS's!

You sound very down and anxious... I am not critisising, I know why you feel this way. I felt/ feel exactly the same with my tricky babies too. You are not alone. The only reason I have dealt with it very slightly (not much) better with DS2 is because I know that DS1 has turned out to be so wonderful and I have hope that I won't be jiggling DS2 around when he's 18!

Have you spoke to your Health Visitor or GP about your feelings? I am not saying you need medication or anything but I think sometimes us mums spend so long trying to appease our babies that we forget how to function ourselves. I have no idea how I coped with DS1 when I look back it's such a blur but I know I was miserable. I was so desperately wanting to make him happy and I was so anxious and felt like I was going insane too!

I will write more tomorrow but just want you to know you aren't insane! Babies are hard work and ones like ours are BLOODY hard work and it feels relentless. It will get better. Take care of yourself x

SquarePolarBear Tue 22-Jan-13 00:02:48

Duck- yes that sounds very familiar, my DD was the same at that age and I really empathise. I did the same looking at other peoples calm placid little babies and wondered what the hell I was doing wrong! Mine didn't sleep, cried and moaned constantly, needed constant jiggling etc... She is now almost 3 and yeah she has her moments but as the others have said, each milestone makes her a much more contented happy little thing.. And I wouldn't change her for the world smile

SquarePolarBear Tue 22-Jan-13 10:14:00

Also should say the way I coped was--

Get as much sleep as poss (easier said than done I know..) I found my intuition works a million times better when I'm not completely knackered.

Keep trying new ways of keeping her entertained, and use all those little tricks to make your day as smooth as poss.

I found baby groups quite difficult (realised I'm quite shy!) so would attempt them sometimes but would also go to meet old friends when they were on their lunch breaks at work, it would make me feel like my old self and they were all quite happy to take turns jiggling & distracting DD!

If I think of anything else I'll post again. Please know you're not alone smile

DuckWaddle Tue 22-Jan-13 14:13:02

Thanks mums2- I spoke to my hv about it but I don't think they got how stressed I was. She just said it would pass but she couldn't say when. Thanks for your support though, mumsnet is great for making you feel better.
Polar- I completely agree about sleep. I've thankfully had a couple of good nights and it makes the world of difference!

Mum2DS1andDS2 Wed 23-Jan-13 12:14:10

Hiya Duckwaddle just wondered how you were getting on? Hope things are OK (as OK as they can be with a high needs baby anyway!)

Just wanted you to know I've not forgotten about you and I am thinking of ways I coped so thought I'd write down some of the strategies which have helped me (they may not help you but at least you can give them a try!)

* Set a 15 minute limit to being in each room. I know it sounds daft but someone one here recommended this to me when my DS1 was about 6 months old and I swear it helped. Me and DS would just keep moving from room to room and changing activity every 15 minutes or so. Often he would whinge after only 5 minutes but I found that a change of scenery and not looking at the same 4 walls was good for him and me at times!

* Do whatever it takes to reduce crying, if that means she naps on you or you go on walks with the pushchair or sling or whatever works just to get you some peace and hold on to some sanity then do it and don't feel you have to justify it to anyone. I got fed up of people saying I was making a rod for my own back, that DS would never sleep alone... he's 5 now, sleeps brilliantly in his own room and I swear he's not still whinging and crying all day long as I jiggle him around trying to calm him down. It ends, it gets better, they grow and change and it all settles down on it's own accord. All you have to do is survive the next few months.

* Try and get her to nap as often as possible (easier said than done but both of my boys have literally gone into meldown when they're tired). I have had to cancel certain things or miss family events bcause the baby needed to sleep and for now that's just the way it is. I know people probably thought I was over protective or anti social but it wasn't them that had to deal with the crying baby in public due to tiredness. Do what your baby needs and sod everyone who critisises or gives you their 'helpful' stories of how their babies slept and napped through anything anywhere. For now our lives aren't like that but it is JUST FOR NOW, not forever I promise.

* Accept that a crying baby does not equal a bad mother. I actually had this written on a post it note on my fridge door and on my chimney breast in the living room when DS1 was at his worst. I used to panic and just think I was such a failure everytime he cried. Keep repeating that you can do this, it will get easier.

* Know that babies DO grow up! All those happy gurgling babies will be rampaging toddler in no time, so will your DD. This is temporary. Sometimes it's hard to be rational and I used to cry thinking I'd be walking around with DS screaming on my shoulder when he was 18!

* This one sounds a bit odd but it worked for me and was recommended to me by my counsellor (yes I ended up in therapy!) close your eyes, take a deep breath, picture yourself in 3 years time with a happy calm child, on a beach or holiday or wherever. The problems you all have today will be distant memories by then.

Sorry if none of that helps but I've been where you are. It's torturous at times but it is so worth it. DS1 is the most amazing thing in my life and one day your DD will make you so proud and you'll laugh at what a terror she used to be, I promise.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 23-Jan-13 13:44:16

Bit kate to this thread but agree, you are doing nothing wrong. You are doing everything you can in a challenging situation. If its any consolation my DS was like this and is nw a very happy, popular, loving and bright <searches for boastful mother warning emoticon>. Think what I'm trying to say is it won't last forever, but know how difficult it is now.

You do sound down and understandably so. Are tat it might be worth speaking to the GP. Cbt can work as well as tablets so that might be worth looking into. Haven't read this book but have seen it recommended many times on here, so that might be worth looking at too.

If you are bfing I would get her checked for tongue tie. With my DS it turned out to be tongue tie and upper lip tie. If you are bfing I'd also give the baby whisperer a wide birth, she's on the kellymom books to avoid list. Have a look instead at the fussy baby book.

As for the sleep, glad you've got a little more. How is it now?

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 23-Jan-13 13:44:55

Bit late. Don't even know who kate is.

MoreSnowPlease Thu 24-Jan-13 11:13:10

I have one of these too! I hope you are getting on ok, you have had lads of info, most of it I would just be echoing so won't. But one thing I found REALLY helped was to use post it nets to write down anything and everything that was bothering me in the slightest! I would write them down and stick them on or near the offending article. E.g. "The tap is dripping" "LO scratches, punches and pulls my hair regularly" lol....I think it helped to get things out for other half to see, and stop them going round in my head and making me angry. Also meant a lot of jobs got done around the house without having to ask!

Also, try to accept that this is just your LO's personality, let go of trying to be like other babies and mums and embrace the lovely quirks your LO has, this helped me get through nights of no sleep, and then giving constant attention to LO all day.

It really does get better once they can move themselves around.

DuckWaddle Thu 24-Jan-13 19:56:01

Thanks mums2 your messages are lovely and I really appreciate all the suggestions. It sounds like you had a very similar experience and are now coping really well. I've had some 'good day's this week so perhaps things are improving?! I'm probably wishful thinking!
Jilted- I think I Prob do need to see the gp. I suppose I've put it off as I haven't accepted how tough I do find it.
More snow- thanks for your ideas. I'll have to go and get a bumper post it note pack. I must say all the things that worry me do whirl round my head at night so it's prob food to write them down.

BlablaSos Fri 25-Jan-13 14:48:22

I had one of those too! They change so gradually that you hardly notice it, I think mine got a little better at each big milestone, ie sitting, crawling, walking, I'm still waiting for the talking. I think I've got so used to her being high maintenance that I still see her like that, but actually at 16 months she probably isn't that much harder than most other toddlers. I do still think she is on the demanding side though!

MikeOxardInTheSnow Fri 25-Jan-13 14:57:58

Dd cried all the time unless being rocked or danced or on the boob, and sometimes even then aswell! She turned a corner at 6 months when she started getting more sleep.

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