Help with baby and wife!(60 Posts)
Okay, I know this is mumsnet and I'm a dad. So sue me.
My wife and I have our first baby, a 4-month-old boy, and he is seriously driving us crazy. He screams for no particular reason (I know that you'll get a lot of these topics) and refuses to sleep a lot of the time, except for on a night. That or he won't sleep much and, as soon as he wakes, start with the screaming again. He does occasionally have good days, but not many recently - don't think he's had one for a week.
My wife is seriously getting down by it all, as am I. I'm at work all the time (could only take the regular 2 weeks paternity leave) and just feel guilty for being there when I feel I should be helping. I've considered trying to take leave to help out but we want to go away on holiday at some point. Hell, I've even thought of leaving my job to help - only fleetingly as I know that won't be practical at all. My wife has brought forward the date she goes back to work but even so she's still got another 4 months left.
What can I do? It's really bad knowing, on my way home, that as soon as I come through the door and ask how he was the answer will invariably be the same, and then I take him off her hands for only a couple of hours before bed - I'd happily do longer if I could. I know this is a lot worse for my wife, especially as she has nothing much to do all day - just about all her friends work and parents are too far away to visit often. On a weekend or whenever I can I take him off her most of the day, as well as manage him on nights (he's actually good on a night and normally wakes once for a feed, though sometimes he sleeps through, but now he's just found out he can roll over).
Anybody got any hints? Anything to try for them both? We are considering starting to wean him - think he's at nearly the right stage.
It does get better
Could you afford a couple of mornings for him in nursery to give your wife a break?
Could you swap round maternity / paterbity leave?
He sleeps through the night! That's really good mine were well into there second year before they did that. I don't really know what to suggest he sounds just like a regular baby. I remember mine at that age and I remember it just flies by.
Does your wife have any friends from ante-natal classes, NCT etc that she gets out of the house to see regularly? This kept me sane. We swapped stories and I realised I wasn't alone.
And point her to Mumsnet.
Can you afford a few days of a maternity nanny/nurse to come and help and give some pointers, and just give your wife a break?
How is he in a sling or if he's out and about in a pram?
CaptainSweatPants - hmm... hadn't thought of nursery mornings. May be worth it once or twice a week. One to consider. Also, he's not breast fed at all - we were given no help at all with it but still tried, but he didn't want to try at all - he likes his food given to him with mnimal effort.
MyNameIsKenAdams - nope, the company I work for just does the regular 2 weeks (though I took one week, then two weeks annual leave).
Have you ruled out reflux? Silent reflux? Because those two would be at the top of my list of things to check.
Other option is intolerance to cows milk if he's on formula.
How does he feed? Is the screaming related to feeding? If so, it could be silent reflux, tongue tie or CMPI.
What does your GP say? What does your HV say? Have you videoed an episode on a phone to show HCPs what you are talking about?
Don't wean until you've ruled out silent reflux!
Where do you live? (Rough area, not address!) Is there a mother and baby group in the area? To be honest, your wife might find that anything which gets her out of the house helps a bit...
You sound like a really thoughtful partner
Maybe plan some treats for her on the weekend to look forward to - having her hair done, a mooch round the shops, the chance to sit in a cafe and read, doesn't have to be spectacular - just something for her every weekend, without baby, so she can look forward to it in the week?
If not nursery, is there a gym nearby with a crèche? Even if your wife sits and has a coffee for an hour rather than a workout, it will give her a break!
More replies - somewhat of a relief to know that this isn't out of the ordinary. A friend at work also became a dad a few months before me and his is a story of rainbows and bunnies.
sonlypuppyfat - yep, I'd say he sleeps through 50% of the time now. For the first few months it was waking up once, then it went to sleeping through nearly all the time, and now it's going back. I can't complain about him on a night though - I know a lot of babies are a lot worse.
pookamoo - we take him out in a pram, try to take him out twice a day for an hour or so. He'll sleep for about half the time but, at least with me, rarely start screaming in it.
TwatWeevil - she does have a weekly group that she enjoys going to, so that's something.
Oh and yes encourage her to go to baby groups. Just chatting with another mother about the frustrations can help so much, getting out and about, segmenting the day - it can make a big difference. And if she makes a friend or two then even better.
'just about all her friends work and parents are too far away to visit often'
Hell's bell's, that's tough. Has your wife/you found any of the local baby/toddler groups any good? Is the health visitor any use? Mine ran regular groups in order to meet people, though it can be that you just meet people who have apparently perfect babies who sit and coo for an hour, leaving you feeling much worse. You only have to find a few with high-need children though. The NCT can be great for networking after the birth, depends on your local area, but they may have some regular meetups, and you don't HAVE to do what they have set up, you could suggest a walk and a flask of tea if that suits better than a coffee morning.
I know that when ds had bad days, then I spent most of the day out of the house and/or in the bath - screaming gets into your head less when you are outside in the woods, and at this age ds liked the water (does your baby like swimming?) but to be honest, ds was not a true high-need baby so I should probably shut up now.
Does either of you have any aunts, sisters, brothers, inlaws, cousins? Anybody??? Put out the word that now is the time for help and you never know. You are in the toughest phase possible so don't hold back.
I don't want to sound flippant but these are the things you'll all look back on and laugh about. Your Boy, the terrible sleeper.
On a more practical note, take every moment as it comes, accept that the situation "is what it is" and know that most people on here with children have been through the same. It does pass.
It helped me with my terrible sleepers to know that its a very very short time in babies lives that they inflict this on their parents. 4 months? There's stuff in my freezer that's older than that and in another 4 months he'll be sitting up, eating human food, sleeping through, playing peekaboo with his dad.
"rainbows and bunnies'
You will probably find that he is telling porkies.
MY DD was very unsettled and miserable until I went to GPs and they diagnosed silent reflux.
I had a prescription for Gavisscon and changed her milk to 'Comfort Milk' - she is so much better now (also 4 mths old)
Was it a traumatic birth? I know cranial osteopathy has helped when LOs scream a lot.
Stop replying people! Having trouble keeping up! That quote on the side wasn't lying...
Silent reflux - good catch people. May be something to have a look into. It's really been in the past 10 days that he's suddenly become worse all the time.
As I say, there is a mother and baby group that she does look forward to. She does also go out on an evening with her brother often. I should try and do something with her on a weekend but currently we're without a babysitter.
AtrociousCircumstance - thanks though I still know obviously I'm doing nowhere near as much as she is.
xposts - one weekly group is good. She/you need more. Has she swapped numbers with anyone there and suggested a walk to the pub one afternoon?
People say that 'babies just cry' but I in my experience there's always a reason. Too hot, too cold, uncomfortable, nappy, hungry (with both my DS this was nearly always the case), something's sore, overtired, under/over stimulated, just wants a cuddle .... Try them all. How is his weight? If losing weight then check with HV. He might be hungry and have a problem feeding.
Does your wife have anything to do during the day? Structure helps. A lot. Find local playgroups and/or cheap baby massage, baby yoga, baby sensory classes. Go to the park a lot. Getting up and out in the morning makes a massive difference and baby will most likely be happier or at least distracted by being on the move and with new surroundings.
Above all, stick together! This will pass quickly, I promise!
Yes, I would also suggest a trip to gp.Sounds very hard on your wife.You sound very caring and supportive op.Whats his nap schedule like?My dd fights sleep alot and gets very cranky when she doesn't nap well.I find plenty of walks help!Getting out in the fresh air-even a trip to the supermarket -is good for your sanity!Just meeting another adult for a chat is good.Do encourage her to meet other new mums .I am on my own all week with two dds and always find when I've gone out and met someone for an hour or two I return refreshed somewhat.When dd was a few weeks old she vomited once a day and cried alot.Brought her to the gp and his first questions were 'does she seem happy?' And 'do you feel something is not right?'.If it had been my first I would have had no experience to compare with.Anyway it turned out that she was very gassy and needed to be winded alot longer than usual.As their guts are still maturing, digestive problems are very common in babies.Best of luck with it all!
Suggest to her brother that he babysits so you can go out together...
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