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Struggling with six month old

(12 Posts)
alsr12 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:32:02

Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time post, looking for some much needed advice. I'm in a difficult situation so hoping the won't come across too 'woe is me'.

My daughter is 6.5 months old. On the whole she is great. Wasn't a brilliant daytime napper to start with but then at 5 months started going down like a dream. Has been sleeping through the night for a few months. Was bf until 5 months until my supply dried up. We're doing baby led weaning which she really enjoys. She's super active - always moving her arms and legs, rolling around, etc- and teething.

My situation is difficult- my mum has cancer, it's incurable. My dad died suddenly at the end of July (they were divorced). The rest of my family bicker and argue in a way no one could believe. I hear about it constantly and get dragged into things. My brother starts arguments from nothing. My husband is brilliant but works long hours.

If my daughter is behaving perfectly, I can just about keep my emotions in check. I'm so mentally tired from it all, I can't cope when things deviate. At the moment, DD screams hysterically when I put her down for a nap. I worked so hard with her to self settle and I feel like it's all been a waste as I'm back to shushing and stroking her head for 45 mins all to get a 45 min nap. I spend most of my days in floods of tears.

I know it's not her fault, that teething (or something else) is to blame. But I really am struggling.

I guess I'd like to know what the cause of this screaming might be if not teething, what I can do about the naps and what I can do to alleviate this horrible low, struggling feeling.

I met some mums through NCT classes but don't see them all that often. 

I'm not sure how to fill our days as we spend so long trying to get to sleep!

Thank you in advance!

NellyBluth Mon 29-Oct-12 15:44:36

You poor thing, it is horrible when they don't want to nap.

I can't give you any advice really on the settling for naps, though at 6.5 months there is a high chance it is teething that is unsettling her, in which case maybe try the Nelson's Powders as I have found them incredible at calming and soothing DD when she is unsettled. The only thing I did when DD was being a reluctant napper was to accept defeat and let her nap how she wanted, so back to the pushchair or my lap if that was what it took. Hopefully someone else will come along with some good nap advice.

As for filling the day, which I know can be tough, I took to doing all the shopping on a day-by-day basis rather than a weekly big shop, so I had to go down the supermarket most days. Actually, I broke down all shopping into smal trips so that if I had nothing on all day I at would go out twice for the shopping! I went to the library once or twice a week. At your DD's age she will probably start getting something out of a baby soft-play if there is one near you, she can take in enough of the world to enjoy at the very least watching the other babies play.

MN's rival site has information on baby groups in local areas (sorry)

But you do sound as though you would benefit from talking to your GP or your HV? You have a lot on your plate at the moment, even the most angelic of 6mo are tiring.

issimma Mon 29-Oct-12 15:49:56

A quick fix for baby entertainment is the infamous wankery basket. Fill a basket or box with lots of random items (google treasure basket for ideas), e.g. toothbrush, shower sponge, spatula, wooden spoon, whisk and just let her explore and play with it.

Have you got calpol for her teeth? Or teething powders? Bonjela? And chocolate for you.

Are there any local classes nearby? They'd entertain her, but just as importantly give you the chance to meet other mums. Google baby swimming, sing and sign. Local churches often have toddler groups that are cheap, have coffee and don't try to convert you grin.

And I second giving your GP a call.

Shelby2010 Mon 29-Oct-12 15:52:11

Sorry you're having such a tough time.

My only suggestions would be to make sure she's nice & full and also that she is actually tired. Obviously as they get older their nap times are likely to change, however my dd was always quite variable depending on how well she'd slept the night before, when she woke up etc. If she wasn't tired, she would happily accept the pre-nap bottle & then scream blue murder when I tried to put her down. Why don't you try putting her down an hour later than normal & see if that helps. Does she settle ok at bed time?

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Mon 29-Oct-12 16:02:16

I found that age really quite tricky. As PP says, the sleep patterns change and I always felt like I was really slow to react. I'd struggle for days and then something would throw out our "routine" (I use the word very loosely!) and I'd put DS down earlier or later and he'd go to sleep really easily!

I just did whatever was necessary to get DS to nap (still do at 13 months!). So now DS takes all his naps in his pushchair (in the flat or outside, though he sleeps longer inside) and only sleeps in his cot at night.

As for self-settling, well my DS is only just starting to do it, but I know that friends have babies who self-settled really well but even they went through phases of not settling, not sleeping well. It's hard when it's been going smoothly but it really is just a phase and she will go back to self-settling eventually. In the meantime just do whatever it takes to make life easy for yourself.

Saltytomato Mon 29-Oct-12 21:46:25

I feel your pain. My 5 month old only naps for 35 min blocks and is teething and I have just got some colief for his tummy issues! He is a crabby little monster, and wakes up all through the night too. Can't be much help, but I can definitely empathise. Sorry to hear about your family issues though. Hugs.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 29-Oct-12 22:00:55

Really feel for you op. Are you getting any counselling for the loss of your dad and your mums illness, if not I'd ask your GP tomorrow.

As for knowing why dd is crying or getting her to self settle, I honestly think that will drive you nuts. You may work out why she cries and she may self settle tomorrow or you could spend the next 6 months trying to work it out.

Instead of staying indoors and getting her to sleep, try going out more as it may wear her out. Could you arrange to meet up with your nct friends or is there an [www.nct.org.uk nct] group that meets near to you? Does your swimming pool have any aquatots sessions or try taking her to the local play groups or free library sessions. Getting out doesn't have to be expensive and might just do the trick smile

Have a google of askdrsears 31 ways to get your baby to sleep too.

TeaDr1nker Mon 29-Oct-12 22:11:25

Sorry that you are struggling at the moment.

It is very hard when you have wider family issues going on that you can't switch off from.

It could be that your baby isn't settling because she is still hungry. Perhaps give her some food on a spoon, and do a mix of BLW and feeding her, also what do you give her? Is she eating a mix of carbs and protiens as well as veg? If baby is just having fruit this could be upsetting her stomach. How many meals a day is she on?

The other thing I would suggest - and this was the best advice I was given - treat your days like a job, ie have something to do everyday, Monday - baby massage, Tuesday - local Surestart (look them up, they are great) group etc etc. This is what got me through the first year or so, just having a routine.

You may also want to talk to your GP or practice nurse, sometimes just 'touching base' with someone on a regular basis, not necessarily taking medication. If you don't want to go to your GP, call the Samaritans, seriously, sometimes you just want to talk, and they will always listen.

alsr12 Tue 30-Oct-12 08:11:47

Hi all,
Thank you for your kind replies. She is getting a good mix of food groups in BLW and is eating food (I've seen the evidence in the nappies!) so I don't think that is the issue. She has had a bedtime routine since she was about six weeks old which we start at 6pm and has been going off to sleep without a peep for months until recently. In terms of awake time, I've gone on reading her cues but these have all changed so it seems that when she rubs her eyes now, it's too late.
I see my mum in the week and we go to a music class on Thursdays (on half term at moment) but there isn't much on in my area at the beginning of the week. 
The basket is a good idea though, she already loves playing with teaspoons and the pastry brush.
But you are all absolutely right about the phases thing. I know that this will pass because it all does but I think I'm finding it hard to handle because I have nothing left in the tank, so to speak!
Thanks for listening ladies, really appreciate it.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Oct-12 12:18:28

alsr if you want a book that helps you deal with the phases, by explaining them beautifully, helping you to work out what is going on, try [[http://www.amazon.co.uk/Babycalming-Simple-Solutions-Happy-Baby/dp/0007159021/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2 Baby Calming by Caroline Deacon.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Oct-12 12:18:57

Sorry here blush

waterrat Wed 31-Oct-12 18:27:24

Op I really feel for you - you are going through so much and it makes it so much harder when the day/ naptimes are unpredictable.

It seems to me reading this that the real problem is lack of friends/ things to get you out of the house - rather than the baby and napping etc. I would go bonkers if I did not have people to text and say help I need to meet for coffee now...

is the music group for her or you? Really, what you need to have is a chat with a sane adult once a day over a cup of tea - or a walk round the park with the buggies - then you can get the baby napping outside if nowhere else - and you can have a laugh about babies and how troublesome they are!

I think that going a whole day - let alone two - with onlyt he baby for company would be hard on anyone - could you put a note up in a local shop asking if other mums would like to start meeting in a cafe? or doing a weekly/ twice weekly walk?

could you do a bit of a blitz on local things to do to make sure there is something on every day - swimming lessons/ nct coffee morning etc - baby massage - are there sure start centres near you?

she is a little mammal and will get the sleep she needs in the long run - one day the napping issue will be long in the past and you won't remember any of it - right now you need to take care of yourself and build a support network.

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