DS1 a great baby, DS2 (8 months) is driving me mad and sad...any reassuring advice?(16 Posts)
DS2 was conceived far earlier than I was ready for but I just decided to grit my teeth and get on with it. The pregnancy was difficult, and ever since it has just been one trial after another. DS1 and DS2 have both spent time in hospital, we have been constantly unwell; DS2 had reflux (and still does) so screamed for first 3 months; he fed well, then fussed so badly that I nearly gave up breastfeeding; then he pent 6 weeks screaming for hours at bedtime and waking up screaming during the night (I finally found a solution to that); now he screams at everything I do. If I leave the room, he screams. If I don't feed him at the same time on the dot every day, he screams. If he wants more food, he screams. If he goes from sitting to lying down, he screams. If I run out of breast milk before he's ready to stop (a constant problem since I have not been able to get my supply fully up since he had feeding problems about 4 months, even though I worked v hard to keep feeding him myself), he screams. If we get into the car, he screams. If I put him in his pramsuit, he screams.
I understand that he has a very limited ability to communicate, but he has no gears between quiet and literally screaming.
It's driving me crazy. I knew when I had him that DS1 was an easy baby, and I have worked hard to try and make sure that my relationship with him still has some quality to it after I had DS2 - luckily he is forgiving enough that this has worked. But although I have no doubt that I love DS2, I really can't stand being with him a lot of the time. Not only do I not want to spend the precious few moments we have alone together playing with him and teaching him like I did with DS1, but I feel like our relationship is becoming abusive - he screams at me a hundred times a day and by the end of the day I want to scream back at him.
I can't give him as much attention as I did DS1, and I know he has had a hard time of it during his tiny life, always having a cold or stomach upset or worse, and with the reflux, and with having a sibling to compete for attention with. But I am really, really struggling with him.
Does anyone have any coping strategies for this, or any reassuring words? Thanks.
I really feel for you and so hope you aren't beating yourself up about feeling like this.
I was the other way around - found my firstborn tough and my second much easier. With my first (DD) I felt like I had no control - if she had a good day then I had a good day, and if she had a bad day then I had a bad day. I was constantly on edge.
I was diagnosed in hindsight with post-natal depression, when she was nearly a year old. I'd not had a clue if my feelings were normal or not.
Have you considered seeing your GP?
I do suffer with stress and anxiety too so that was mixed up with the depression and affecting my feeling on how I was coping.
I am also lucky enough to have fab, open friends with babies the same age - we talked a lot about how we felt so I think your sort of feelings are quite common, but I will say that a few of us went on a low dose of Citalopram (depression, anti-anxiety and anti-stress) which helped.
Good luck to you, and chin up, chick! X.
Have you tried teaching baby signs for milk, food and more? This seemed to ease my DD's frustration
Hi both - thanks for your messages, v much appreciated!
Empross - my partner has said frankly to me that he thinks I'm depressed, but I had two episodes of depression before I had the kids and I know that, deep down, I don't feel like I did then. DP was with me during the second of those depressions so I trust his opinion and know that I can rely on him, but I guess that I feel more...emotionally ground down than fully depressed. I don't know - it could be manifesting itself differently. I have a friend who thinks that the ADs are fantastic, so I know they are an option, but I have always avoided them in the past.
Nevercan - thank you for reminding me! My first son was never really interested in signing, but then his fine motor skills were a bit slower and he had my undivided attention. But DS2 is very clever with his hands and learns very quickly by waiting for you to show him something then mimicking immediately - in fact, he is a joy to teach which is probably why I feel so guilty about not spending more quality time on him. I can sense his frustration (and with trying to crawl as well) so I think this is a really good idea and have already contacted someone about lessons.
It sounds exactly like what happened with my second. Mine was sick a lot after the reflux stage turns out he had asthma which cleared by itself not long after diagnosis. God it was a long hard year. Once he was walking and communicating he was fine. Hang in there.
Haven't got time for a full post but my DS was like this and it was tongue tie. Have a look here
Yes, StupidFlanders (great name! :D) I think walking and talking is probably the way forward! And thanks JiltedJohnsJulie I will get him checked. I am slightly tongue-tied but my parents chose not to get it fixed, I should have considered that...
Sorry you're having such a difficult time.
I don't know much about reflux but I know that when my dd was crying a lot at the beginning I was going crazy. I Googled baby cries and found out about Dunstan baby language and it really made a huge difference. It made me much less stressed because I at least knew what she needed and could deal with it more quickly and so eventually she didn't get so worked up. Might be worth a try for you
There is nothing quite like a baby who screams all day for knocking the stuffing out of you... There have been lots of threads on here on 'high need babies' that might be worth a read, and I found reading dr sears' 'fussy baby book' really helpful. Dd was like you describe, including the reflux, and had awful separation anxiety. We ended up cosleeping for a while and I carried her everywhere, which helped a bit, but I still cried with exhaustion and frustration several times.
Her general mood improved when she learned to crawl and then walk, and though she's quite sensitive and tantrum-prone still at 21mo she is also a really gorgeous, affectionate and inquisitive little girl and we have a really good bond.
Thanks again everyone for your advice. I seem to remember that this age is quite frustrating for babies anyway, but armed with your suggestions I'm hoping to give him a few tools to work with.
I did see the 'anyone regret having a second baby' thread which made me weepy and laugh by turns! I'll have a look at some of the high need baby threads too tho, thanks diyqueen
Oh poor you, OP, I know just how you feel! My DS2 was exactly like that and frankly sucked all the joy out of life for a couple of years. I didn't have PND at all (like you, I had depression in the past so knew the difference) - he was just such bloody hard work, never happy and complained loudly about EVERYTHING. Very very wearing and exhausting and I am just glad that I had endless patience as no one else would have been able to stand him for long!! Poor dS1 was so good though and didn't seem to mind suddenly getting a lot less attention.
It did all get better gradually with each developmental stage - I just think he didn't enjoy being a baby much. He had more to distract him from his grumpiness as he learned to have more control over his own environment when he could walk and talk.
By age 3 he was quite a bit easier. And by the time he went to school he was fine - "normal"!! He is 6 now and will always wear his heart on his sleeve so when he is annoyed or upset the whole room knows it but by the same token when he is feeling happy (most of the time) then he lights up the room with his charisma and humour. dS1 in contrast is now 9 and doesn't show his feelings so much which means its harder to recognise when he is worried about something.
So both different personality types that come with disadvantages and advantages.
But it is so hard when they are ds2's type as babies. SO hard. I tiotally know what you're going through but it DOES get better bit by bit.
Thefuusy baby book mentioned above is here . Haven't read it but have a friend who swears it saved her life
I agree with CurlyhairedAssassin. My boys are now 7 and 3 (with DD in the middle) and sound exactly the same.
For me, it has been about learning to accept the more challenging aspects of DS2's personality and love him for who he is without comparing him to DS1 the whole time. That doesn't mean he doesn't drive me mad sometimes!
CurlyhairedAssassin your two sound like mine!! It's really interesting to hear you speak about how those traits have translated as they've grown older. DS1 is a real superstar and very relaxed, but he has some kookier aspects to his personality - an obsessive (although currently quite positive) streak. He became completely fixated on golf after watching the Ryder Cup last year, I have some smashing videos of his increasingly impressive swing (at 2 years old!). But it can make him frustrating to teach when he's not interested in something.
I'm so pleased to hear you say that DS2 lights up a room - some people think I'm mad to complain about him because when he's good, he's just brilliant and he has a way of connecting with people which I think will stay with him through his life... one of those magical traits that they are just born with. Sadly, the balance isn't strongly enough in favour of the good atm to make it feel as rewarding as it should. Anyway, I'm resolved to take it one day at a time and to try and savour the good days a bit more.
And I think he doesn't enjoy being a baby, which I'm hoping some baby signing will help with.
tumbletumble I agree, I keep referencing back to DS1, I had been grudgingly accepting the fact that they are very different. Like chalk and cheese in their needs. One thing I am really grateful for is that they have a genuine affection for one another and seem very close. I notice DS2 has started throwing his weight around a bit more when his brother tries to take things from him, but they have a look that only passes between the two of them that just makes my heart swell... I definitely don't regret having DS2, as per the other thread. But it's darn hard work!!
Op I have no advice but just wanted to say mine are similar. DS1 was a really REALLY easy baby and still is, he's naturally gentle, sensitive to others and very compliant (perhaps overly so like me) and very laid back. DS2 (10 months) needs constant attention, he screams if I leave the room, put him down, don't feed him the second he's hungry, will only sleep in my bed with me. He's never been ill really so it isn't that, I think he doesn't like being a baby much and wants to be like everyone else. He started crawling a month ago and has improved a bit.
He gets bored of things very quickly and seems unable to entertain himself whereas DS1 loved to sit and watch me and listen to me talk to him. When DS2 isn't crying he's really smiley and happy, it's either one extreme or the other! It's tough and I find myself looking forward to him being able to communicate a bit better!
How funny to hear of similar boys to mine! I honestly thought I was the only one to experience such a difficult second baby when ds2 was little. I hardly ever used to go out because ds2 would just cry about everything so it staying home was less stressful!! All our holiday photographs from 3 years on the run show a pre-school smiling ds1 with a crying angry-looking ds2 as a baby next to him in his pram. He hated the feeling of sand on his feet, wouldnt paddle in the sea, hated the sunshine, sea breezes, ice cream, etc. he only ever seemed happy when he was clinging to me. Christ, it was awful - looking back. Grey hairs appeared overnight some days!
But yes, I can reassure you all with difficult babies that things will definitely get better with time so be kind to yourself till then and don't feel guilty about finding your difficult babies hard to look after!
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