I don't think I can do this anymore.(53 Posts)
At the end of my rope with my 10 month old daughter, I just don't know how much longer I can keep going. She's just so intense, always has been, needs my constant attention and physical presence.
She doesn't nap unless I hold her and even then she breastfeeds throughout, so I feel stranded, unable to move, unable to use the time to get anything done. She barely sleeps at night, wakes up hourly, can't self-settle, wants to breastfeed, screams if her Dad goes to her instead of me.
I want to stop breast feeding but don't know how because its the only thing that always calms her. But she's so aggressive - I know she's not really, but she bites and pinches me, pulls away with the boob still in her mouth, climbs all over whilst still trying to feed.
She screams and has full on tantrums whenever I leave her alone - I just left her cot for 4 and a half minutes (I timed it) while I washed my face and brushed my teeth (can never manage to have a shower except when her Dad's home) and she screamed the whole time. When I went back she had tears streaming down her face, was pulling at her hair and had marks on her face from pulling at her skin. She howls whenever I leave her alone, it's a struggle to even make meals for us.
It takes all morning just to get us both fed, cleaned and dressed, by which time it's lunchtime and I have to start all over again so it feels never ending and I never get to go out and see anyone so I feel lonely and isolated. She physically fights me on everything - bathing, putting clothes on, nappy changes, getting her into her pram, all become screaming wrestling matches and I worry she'll hurt herself. She quite often deliberately headbuts things if she thinks she's not getting my full attention.
My DH does his best but he works really long days - usually leaves the house at 7am and isn't home till after 9pm so I'm on my own with her the whole time.
I can't bear it, I don't know what to do anymore. Please help.
I would definitely look at weaning off the breastfeeding (if it makes you miserable): try replacing a feed at a time with a bottle. You may well need to be firm. They do adapt, but may be rough along the way (although sounds like things are very rough anyway...).
Agree with trying Cranial Osteopathy - cant hurt and may very well help
This sounds awful, poor you. If swimming helps (and am presuming that it's still difficult to get her there) can you take baths with her, possibly even set up a paddling pool/birthing pool indoors to go in with her? If the water's helping, I'd be inclined to use that as much as possible.
My son was very high needs as a baby and I used to feel like you often, especially the bit where other mothers seem to look on (they're hardly ever unsupportive). Sorry to tell but he was bottle fed, and making up bottles just added to my burden, so don't think that stopping BF will necessarily solve your problems.
My son turned out to have a lactose intolerance, so he felt uncomfortable all the time and no wonder he wanted to be held constantly etc. Is there any chance of any kind of allergy/intolerance? How is your daughter's eating and how are her poos?
My dd was a bit like this, although maybe not as extreme as you describe.
You don't mention if you are going to be returning to work at all? I went back 3 days a week when she was 12months and found my days with her were much better for also having time apart. She was in nursery and although I had thought they would struggle to settle her as she mostly fed to sleep they managed just fine and soon had her taking much longer naps than at home! She often seemed happier there than she would have been at home.
Maybe you're planning on staying home full time, but if not you're on the home straight to the end of maternity leave.
oh poor you, that sounds miserable.
just adding to the good ideas already mentioned: if she bites/scratches while bf, immedately take her off and tell her no. that's what i did with my DS around the same time and although in the beginning i thought he was too young to understand it got a lot better fairly quickly. also, co-sleeping if that's an option for you. she can feed to her little heart's content while you get some sleep.
if preparing meals/getting things done round the house is a struggle, have you tried a sling? i used to carry DS on my back and then cook/do the washing/tiding up/hoovering.
i realise these are quite small things and probably your DD needs medical help for allergies/reflux as suggested by others but they may be worth a try.
We have relocated to a cafe to eat food I don't have to cook to a background of screaming, and I'm feeling a bit calmer. DD is also happier, chomping away on a sandwich.
She's a good eater. We did BLW and that and breastfeeding are the two things that just seemed to work for us - till recently at least breastfeeding was a joy.
She has always been like this. Our first night in hospital the day she was born she screamed all night. Eventually when I was reduced to tears a lovely male midwife came and took her off me to give me a break and just had to walk the floor with her while she screamed. When he gave her back I thanked him and he said "don't worry, she's not my first difficult baby", and I felt so sad that she was already being labelled as "difficult". But she hasn't got any easier.
Co-sleeping used to work for us but now she claws and pinches and grabs at me whilst kicking DH so none of us get any sleep.
I'm not going back to work - both mine and DH's job involved a lot of travel and long hours, and as he earns three times what I do, it didn't make sense for me to go back. Most of the mum friends I had have now gone back which doesn't help.
We are moving to a new town in 6 weeks so l will look into whether we can afford some help then. Till then I am trying to tell myself that I've just got to make it till Christmas and I'll have some help then. But this has been a particularly tough week and every day seems to get a bit harder.
IMO a lot of what you have to do with a demanding baby is manage your expectations and just ride it out. Eg what are you trying to cook while she screams? I now have dc2 who is 11 months old and I only do really simple things eg beans on toast/ pasta with pesto, and often do things one handed while carrying him on my hip.
Also getting stuff done around the house- don't set your heart on getting much done, just the absolute essentials, and resign yourself to having dd in tow while you do. Will dd come in the shower with you or sit on bathroom floor playing?
Btw, I really do know how frustrating it is feeling pinned to the sofa by a sleeping child, but looking back I wish I'd just chilled out and enjoyed the quiet time! You don't get much time to sit down when you have a non-napping toddler and/or a 2nd child.
You will get through it, but it is tough!
hey there Jenny, sorry to hear it's so hard, have a look at these articles from the Hand in Hand Parenting website just scroll down to the ones that say 'for parents of infant's, and there they have a couple of useful articles, one about breastfeeding and a whole set of amazing podcasts. Parenting was such a puzzle and confusion, before i read this stuff from Hand in Hand it makes so much sense, and will help you find a way to parent your daughter, that will be easier on both of you.
Hand in Hand Parenting
helping young children sleep
I agree with lots of the others - there is a reason she's so miserable.
Could be an allergy / food intolerance. Could you and her both go dairy free for a few weeks to see if that helps?
Although she could be intolerant of gluten or eggs or heaps of other things. But dairy's a good first thing to try.
Cranial Osteopath or Homeopath might also help.
I would try all of these sorts of things. And I have.
And all of them have helped my kids at various stages.
But going gluten free / diary free stopped my 3 kids being in pain and feeling sick the whole time, and is probably the best thing I did for them.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Another thing I want to say is that the way your daughter currently is is NOT YOUR FAULT. It is not because you have 'allowed' her to get the upper hand or to 'need you too much' or anything like that. You have been responding to your daughter in the only way you could. If your baby screams after a very short time on her own, it't not because you have cosseted her and not made her spend time on her own. It's because your daughter is like this that you have not been able to put her down.
I also want to tell you that she won't necessarily stay like this. My son is not at all high needs now and hasn't been since he was 2 and we finally got to the bottom of his dairy issues. Hopefully you will find out what is causing your daughter to be like this and you can both move on. In the meantime, though it is hard, you are doing a good job and I think you should be told that
it sounds like separation anxiety. Try putting her in her cot and staying in her room talking to her. sometimes they get really anxious if they can't see you and need reassuring that you will return. You could also try playing peek-a-boo, where you just step outside the room for a little bit - just out of her sight and then coming back in so she can see that it's not so awful that you are not there all the time.
And when she does things like biting you and pinching you, she needs to learn that it's not ok to do that, so try putting her down so she realises she doesn't get attention for those things, even if she full on screams when she is down, and then when she is nice reward her with lots of praise and play. i know it's hard, i have had problems with my daughter since she has been born and she is 6 next month and still have major problems. But also if she senses your down or stressed she will pick up on it and react too. You need to have some you time aswell and even if you put her in her cot (even if she screams the whole time) and go and do what you need to do, you know she is safe and not being harmed, you can keep going in every few minutes to start with settle her down and return her to her cot and then gradually increase the time between visits. Hopefully something works for you. Good luck and keep persevering.
Try cranial osteopathy, i tried it on a my friend's recommendation with ds1 as a baby and it really helped. It's so draining, good luck
Have you tried phoning crysis - org that specialises in supporting parents of babies that cry a lot. They may be able to offer some support.
Like others have said, you are doing the absolute best you can and are being an amazing mummy by responding to her needs, so please don't ever be hard on yourself. But it does sound like it is time for something to change for your sake and hers.
Good luck and a big hug.
My little girl was 80 per cent tongue tied. By the time it was spotted I felt like I was permenantly sitting on the sofa feeding and she woke hourly in the night for feeds. With my LO being my first one I felt like I was doing something wrong and judged myself too. Don't. They say you follow your babies queues. I got to the point I was still feeding her more than she was supposed to be feeding, so I started to feed her milk in bottles and started to drop feeds when I knew she was having more than she was supposed to. She didn't like it at first but you have to persevere, especially if you do want to stop breast feeding. I noticed with mine that when I started to put her on formula, she started to settle better and was calmer and I can only assume that was because formula keeps them fuller. I started by just doing one bottle of formula a day for a couple of days and the rest breast milk, give it a few days and then add another bottle. This will prevent them getting constipated as formula is heavier and takes longer to digest.
You say he/she doesn't sleep at night, maybe try co sleeping, I did it with mine just so I could get a decent nights sleep, if mine didn't sleep properly in the night I found she would be harder to nap in the day
This may sound silly but if you want someone to talk to, comment on here I could always give you my email if you want someone to talk to :-)
This sounds very, very similar to my daughter! As soon as she could sit up shed bang her head off the floor, pull her hair out etc. she actually would bruise herself and she'd scream for hours at a time... I was beside myself too! The health visitor wasn't much help till she managed to walk in on it one day. Then I had a behaviour therapist, family support worker and nursery nurse (to try and get her to sleep at night) brought in. None of it made much difference but the company was nice!
She's now almost 5, still has meltdowns, they can still last hours... But there's a child in there now (you'll probably understand that!). And I love her to bits. She still struggles to communicate with other children, she started school in September and they've called in an educational psychologist (suspected aspergers/autism) to assess her.
A lot of it may be that she's frustrated that she can't talk and relay her problems and wants and needs to you. But I honestly just leave my daughter when she's having meltdowns, trying to comfort her stimulates her too much and makes it worse! I'm not saying your little girl is autistic by any means, but if shes not your best to leave her to her tantrums or they will just get worse as she's getting attention from it now. Ill put my daughter I'm another (carpeted) room and try and make myself a cuppa so I don't break down when she's bad x
On top of whatever other issues are going on your DD sounds like she is overtired/exhausted. If she is barely sleeping at night I am unsure how either of you are even coping.
How do you get simple tasks done during the day? Would you consider a play pen or similar where she can play and watch you while you can get on with cooking etc?
Preemie - have you tried putting your DD on a gluten free dairy free diet?
It really is one of the first things you should try if you suspect / know your child has autism.
My DD was like this. The day she was born, she was taken off the ward and put in the Nursery because she was 'upsetting' the other babies.
She would scream every time I picked her up to feed her, and scream if I put her down. She didn't want to be held, but she didn't want to be put down either.
She has Autism.
It was sooooo difficult to cope with, I felt like I could not do anything right. I was only 16 when I had her, and the difficult behaviour made me feel like a failure, because I looked at other people with their happy, smiling babies, and wondered where I was going wrong.
I wasn't. Going wrong that is.
On the plus side, as DD has got older, her personality has developed. She is now cheeky, kind and lovable around 50% of the time. It's taken a long hard slog, but I can see that underneath the high needs and the meltdowns, there is a lovely girl trying to get out!
DD is 14 now, she still melts down a lot, but I have learnt little tricks to divert her.
She was first able to be left in a room alone for short periods (while I went to the loo or to put something in a cupboard) at about 4yo.
I was so thankful of the ability to poo in peace by that point!
It's hard. The one thing that I found was that her screams never sounded so loud outside!
That sounds awful now! I used to have a coat that was easy to put on, and I all but face up with clothes by 10 months, I just used to shove a best and a fleecy sleepsuit with a zip to make it less time that I had to struggle with her for.
I gave up on daily baths and just whipped a flannel over her twice a day top to toe.
It sounds bloody tiring OP - particularly that you are on your own looking after her for such a long stretch - do you think that is part of the issue? My partner is out of the house from 9am until 1830 and I find that a long day - but he is there in the morning and often for bedtime too...it must be tough doing both morning and night routine alone.
If you think about how humans evolved - it's only in the last hundred years that women would have spent so much time alone with a child - we are designed over thousands of years to bring up children in groups. Women would have always been with other mothers and lots of small children - working collecting food etc while the childcare was just something that happened as they got on with life. The model we all follow now - woman alone 'caring' for child full time is completely unnatural to our natures. You would have had support constantly - being able to hand your baby over to someone else while you rest or cook - and she would have been used to sharing your company with others.
Sorry - bit of a ramble, but I often read about how hard someones day is and think what a burden modern society puts on us.
I think you and her both need a break - could you find someone to come a couple of hours a day - perhaps start off playing with her in your home while you potter nearby, so she gets used to being left - also find ways to encourage independent play....
I would focus on having friends round and making sure you are in company of others as much as possible...to relax you both and give you moral support.
Yup, she's dairy free already thanks. Gluten made no difference, she's been tested for cealiacs too x
If she's on a dairy free diet, is she eating soy to replace the dairy? My DS3 is allergic to dairy, that allergy showed first, but after a while he became allergic to the soy replacements I had been using.
It might be worth keeping an eye on her food intake, as up to 80% of people that are allergic to dairy also become allergic to soy, as the proteins are very similar.
Soy can be called soy, soya, soy lecithin, it's what tofu is made from, all the Alpro stuff is soy based too.
Just a suggestion.
Also, speak to your Health Visitor about HomeStart. They have been a godsend to me when I was in your position, OP.
I know as she's CMPI rather than lactose intolerant we were dairy and soya free for a while too, but eliminating and reintroducing soya made no difference. She has problems with severe constipation so we've tried that food elimination diet. None of it made a difference to her behaviour. But I don't believe diet and autism/aspergers are linked personally. She rarely gets sweets/E numbers also. Plenty of salmon as it contains the right fats that some studies have shown decrease ADHD... Also no difference. I've introduced written timetables of the exact steps for everything we do (getting ready, bedtime, school run) etc and she's been much improved at these times since. Although I can't control the world unfortunately . Nor can I make sure that books/program's/documentaries draw the dinosaurs to the exact specifications... Which also causes meltdowns. Dinosaurs and reptiles are her life, she can't talk about anything else. She also has highly advanced language (secondary school level). Bless her the other kids can't understand her even if they did want to hear about how Terasaurs are not actually dinosaurs etc... X
On the diet and autism subject, some children with autism, ADHD, and a host of other things, have been found to have gut dysbiosis or leaky gut - i.e. various gut probs - making them susceptible to all sorts of triggers from even the most innocent-seeming food or stuff in the environment. The idea then being that by fixing the gut probs these foods will no longer act as triggers/exacerbate things. Sorry if bad explanation - bit tired - and apologies if you know all this already. Just would hate the diet link to be dismissed because of something being lost in translation. The books I mentioned earlier in the thread really are very informative. Maybe local library can get them?
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