Not getting any easier - high needs 6 month old baby - at my wits end!(53 Posts)
Hi, I'm sorry this post is so long but I just need to talk to someone. I'm currently at my wits end with my 6 month old dd.
She's always been a high needs baby, right from the start. She breastfed almost constantly for many weeks - so much so that whenever anybody came to visit I was stuck feeding her in front of them and nobody got to hold/cuddle her, even dh. We did try but she would literally go purple and scream. Looking back it was probably a lot of comfort suckling, rather than feeding, as she was quite a windy and refluxy baby. The witching hours were particularly hard -I used to joke (back when I still had a sense of humour) that I thought babies woke you up at 4am, not kept you up until 4am!?
Anyway, that's in the past now (thankfully), but overall I feel like things are getting harder, not easier. She has never been a good sleeper but she started really fighting sleep at around 6-8 weeks and we had to resort to walking her in the pram 4 times a day - sometimes walking for two hours just to get a measly half hour nap out of her. I lost all my pregnancy weight and then some - which was great at first but I am now bordering on underweight. Now she has outgrown the pram, doesn't nap in her pushchair, and still fights naps at home as much as ever. We have tried everything - swings, white noise, blackout blinds, lightshows etc etc, and I think we've read every sleepsite/high needs baby site too.
All my antenatal buddies have babies that just nod off as and when, so they can spend the afternoon hanging out together having coffee, or going to baby groups, while I have to make up more and more excuses each time they invite me. I have tried to go out with her, really I have, but as dd is only happy being awake for a couple of hours, our window of opportunity to get there/be there/get back is just too short. Add to that the fact that she will now only breastfeed well at home as she is so distractible, the introduction of solids 2-3 times per day, and the time taken to settle her for a nap, and that window quickly shrinks to nothing. Also, she isn't the type of baby to sit happily on your lap or in the pushchair, while out. Last time I met my fellow new mums, they all ordered and ate their food while I stood jigging my dd on my hip, looking on hungrily while they ate. I felt like everyone in there was staring at me as I was stood up with dd. I'm so bored and lonely stuck at home all day. I have thought about inviting them over to mine but I am so ashamed of how difficult a baby she is. I feel like it reflects badly on me as a mother. Also, my house is a mess as I cannot even find time to shower or cook a meal, let alone clean the bathroom!
My husband has been very supportive but I don't think anyone appreciates how unhappy I really am. I love dd to bits but some days my feelings towards her consist or either resenting her, or feeling desperately sorry for her (it's not her fault after all). I just wish I had a normal baby. I can't even take a break and let someone else look after her as she still breast feeds every couple of hours and nobody other than me can settle her for a nap - the longest I have ever left her for is about 90 minutes when I got a (much needed!) hair cut. I've tried espressing but haven't had much luck - especially as dd feeds so often there is very little opportunity to use the pump, and when I have it has left her short. I've even considered getting up in the night to do it but I am soooo tired I can't face that. DH and I have been invited to a wedding in 4 weeks time and there is simply no way we can go, which is depressing. Other people seem to be able to get out and about, with or without their baby but I seem capable of neither.
At my lowest points I have even considered suicide - I have a goodbye letter already written on my pc. I don't think I ever would though, as I love my dh and dd too much, but it scares me to think that I might.
Sorry this just sounds like a selfish rant. I just don't know what to do anymore. Thanks for listening.
Glad you're having a better day, did you speak to your GP?
Thank you so much for taking time out to reply. I'm overwhelmed by how supportive everyone has been. I can relate so well to your comments and experiences; it's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one with a 'not so easy' baby.
I think I had hit rock bottom when I started this thread. We've had a good day today so I'm feeling a bit more chilled out. Some days it just feels like you're taking two steps backwards and one step forward. But the things I've got to remember are
It's not my fault,
I'm not alone,
It will get better and
We CAN get through this!
How did today go? Did you call the gp/hv? Have you spoken to your partner about how desperate you're feeling?
Will DD sleep in car? Can a friend or relative drive her around for an hour or two regularly so you can get a break? You and DH must be too tired to do this.
My sister's two were like this and she found it very hard.
Please tell your mum friends how hard it is. At the very least they could order your food and hold the baby while you eat. I would do this for someone!
Sorry to repeat myself but please do try formula! Another poster said on here that their baby went from a 50 percentile to a 98 percentile baby very quick after changing and it was clear their baby was hungry, as was exactly the case with mine. I'd definitely try this-it might be a real Godsend.
Another hear to echo "it's not you" and "it does get better". DD was high needs, the first year was awful, I broke down in tears when other mum friends talked about the best year of their lives and all that stuff, thinking I'd been robbed of something really special. But my velcro baby, who wouldn't even cope with going in the gym creche for 30 mins at 9/10 months, started doing 1.5 days a week in nursery at 12 months old. They change so so quickly from month to month and it truly does get easier. Now at 2 yo DD loves nursery and having 3 days a week away from her makes me a much better mummy - I get a chance to miss her! And DH and I have even managed to have a couple of nights away and left her with family.
I had a real low at around 7 months and attending a La Leche League meeting really helped - and I even still have a mum friend from there to meet up with from time to time. I strongly recommend you find one in your area. Also I've found having a high needs baby/child requires you to be flexible and think on your feet - we have tried all different sleeping arrangements over time and done what works best at the time, then changed when it stopped working. E.g. from 12-18 months DD's cot was in our room as we found we could sometimes settle her without having to get out of bed : ) then when we realised we were disturbing her sleep too much we moved the cot out again. Now she starts in her cot in her room and co-sleeps from first waking.
DD was just like this for a long time. turned out she had tongue tie. things improved massively when it was snipped (and we did a course of cranial osteopathy too).
the tongue tie was causing wind and minor reflux and frequent feeds. the wind meant she couldn't sleep. that meant she was overtired hence the non napping (she's still not an easy napped but 20 times better than she was). it all came back to the tongue tie.
worth getting her checked?
If you want to continue breastfeeding, you might want to consider your diet. One of my friends had a baby that reacted very badly if she ate alliums (onions, garlic, leeks) and cruciferous veg eg. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts. If you cut these out of your diet they might help to settle your baby.
I think is go to dr/hv too. Good luck.
Another reply to say its not you! DS was a high needs baby, though I'd never heard of the term. Screamed for the first 3 days solid unless actively feeding. Then screamed whenever not being fed for next 5-6 months, and often during a feed. Wouldn't seep for more than 45 mins day or night and wouldn't nap anywhere but on me. Screamed blue murder in he car or buggy, even on car trip of 2 hours, no sleep, just relentless screaming.
It's really soul destroying. And my DH was going through a rejection of the whole parenting thing, so I was doing it alone with a sulky oversized child to boot.
DS finally settled about 7 months after a few things changed. I stopped breast feeding and gave a cup of formula instead. He went to nursery as I went back to work. He weaned quickly and ate lots. When bf he'd hugged the 50th centile for weight all along so I assumed and was assured he was fine. When he weaned, straight up to 98th centile, where he has stayed for weight and height. With hindsight, he was hungry.
I haven't got a miracle fix for you. Chances are you'll either never find out what the "problem" is or not until it all ends. But it will end. DS is now 2.11, eats reasonably, sleeps all night, very communicative and great fun. I adore the socks off him.
DD is 2 weeks old and I assumed I'd be going through at least 6 months of hell, but no, despite doing nothing different, she feeds well, sleeps brilliantly in comparison, loves the car (same seat) and is so easy I can finally understand how some mums can have a shower every day without screaming in the background. And I understand why a mum that hasn't had a high needs baby just can't understand what it's like.
Please go to your gp. Book a double appointment and be completely honest. Also agree that if your dd will take a bottle at all then give her to someone else for at least a few hours. Or if funds allow, consider getting a night nanny for a couple of weeks and buy some ear plugs. You NEED A BREAK for your sake and your DDs.
All the best.
I really feel for you! dealing with a screaming baby is hard, especially if they cry all day. You seem to have a lot of good advice from what I've read. Could your baby be unhappy because of an allergy? My friend had a nightmare few months when her DS was born. He would cry constantly. It turned out that he was allergic to dairy. My friend went on a strict dairy free diet (you wouldn't believe how many things have milk in it) and things started to improve. Now he is a happy baby who smiles all the time.
With regards to napping. .. some babies just don't nap that often. My dd rarely sleeps during the day. The only time she'll nod off is if we go in the car (then she wakes when the car stops). I've learned to accept that she just doesn't need that much sleep.
I really think you need to seek some help, both for your baby and yourself. I also agree that you should try and get more help from loved ones. I think a bottle once or twice a day will help a lot (with expressed or formula milk). It took me a whole month to get dd to take the bottle, but you will find something that works. I had tried every bottle under the sun until I found one she liked, then once bottle feeding was established I had a challenge to find a formula she liked, but eventually I got there.
Bottle feeding is your key to getting a break, so it's worth putting time and effort into it. With regards to pumping. .. have you tried pumping while baby feeds on the other breast?
OP you have not let your DF down! You are doing everything you can for your DD and are run down both mentally and physically. His exam will be over today, sit down and have a proper talk with him honestly, it may help you just to let him know exactly how low you are feeling, to vent your frustration, even if it doesn't fix the problem (have done this soooo many times!)
I can second Fairylea's suggestion of dropping the expectation for her to nap too, I have given up on more naps than I can count when they're proving impossible, even when DD looks totally shattered. Sometimes it's far less stressful for you both, and she will pick up on your tension.
What happened with the formula?
Please keep talking if you find it helps OP, it can be very lonely as a new mum with a crying baby
1. You haven't let your husband down, you are both parents to a difficult baby. Not your fault.
2. You said you'd tried formula, what happened? If she drank t (but was still grumpy) then great! Get some and give give her and the bottles to a relative / friend and sleep.
3. Don't forget to call your GP in the morning!
I really feel for you. My DS was a very high needs baby. Nobody apart from me held him until he was 6 months and I had to hold him all day. It was pretty intense. It does get easier I promise. I found when my DS got mobile it helped a lot as he realised he could do things himself and didn't rely on me so much. But the sling was my life saver.
I too felt a bit embarrassed that my baby wasn't like "all the others" and god, it was just really really hard. I have seen the lowest points of my life through the first gruelling months. I also saw some of my most truly happiest moments watching my DS grow and learn and develop at his pace.
It will get better.
Go to doctors. Tell them that your LO is high needs and that you need some help. It's not a shameful thing to admit because every mum needs help especially ones with high need babies.
You'll get through the baby phase and then you'll feel so proud of yourself and your LO for being such an excellent mum and having such a clever kid
P.S. no one cares if your house is untidy/messy. If they do then they probably aren't a great friend anyway x
Can you go and stay at your mum's/MIL's (or other child-free, helpful person!) for a few days to have some helping hands and catch up on some rest? Then you really need to throw yourself at the HV/GP and get some help.
Is there anyone who would be prepared to take her for 24-48 hours, for respite care? This sounds absolutely horrific. It doesn't sound to me like you have PND, it sounds to me like you are justifiably desperate and at the end of your tether, and some big changes need to take place. I'm not a mum so can't offer any useful advice, am overdue with my first baby hence reading threads in Parenting section. I read lola88's reply and wondered if you could use that - go to formula, let her scream in order to shower, let her scream in order to get some food down your neck - losing so much weight you're verging on underweight and being so desperate you've written a suicide note are such sad and frightening things. I'm so sorry you've gone, and are going through, this.
Ok this might sound crazy but maybe you need to stop expecting her to nap at all. (As I said upthread my ds once went 12 hours at about 8 weeks with no nap at all). Maybe the expectation and the subsequent frustration that follows by expecting her to nap is making it worse.
What would happen if you just change your mindset to thinking ok she isn't going to nap, and then when she would be due a nap bung her in the pram facing you so you can still see her but listen to your ipod so you can't hear her cry / whinge etc and go for a very long walk instead. If you do it the same time everyday it might become a routine and eventually she might sleep, she might not.
Also, I'd also try feeding her whenever she cries even if it's just two mins since she was last fed... sorry if you're already trying that. It's just that as little babies mine fed a lot more than everyone kept saying they should... they were on 8oz bottles 8 times a day by 4 months and seemed more contented being very full.
Is there anyone (grandparents, friends etc) who could take her off your hands for a few hours sometime? Even if she cries. At 6m she can manage without you for 3-4hrs milkwise - she might not like it, but if she's crying but in the arms of someone loving who she knows, I really think you could use a break.
Not sure you can 'fix' her, so I'd focus on things that make life easier for you all while you outgrow this phase- because it really, really won't last forever.
Hi everyone. Thank you so much for your support. Sorry it's taken ages to reply. The last few days have been the most awful yet. DD simply won't nap and dh has his final exam tomorrow and I feel like I've let them both down - my dd because I can't settle her, and my dh because he's having to help me out all day instead of revising. We've literally tried everything you've suggested - formula, dummies, osteopaths etc etc. She's in such a state, and so am I. I really cannot take much more of this.
ps do you use dummies? They are a life saver! Also I agree with other posters to check her for dairy intolerance, etc and cranial osteopathy might also be a brilliant choice x
Poor you! Firstly, sleep deprivation can be terrible and no wonder you are feeling so bad.
I think you need to see if you can get her on to mixed feeding/bottle/formula. I wasn't making enough milk, and my baby sounded like yours but only for 4-6 weeks until I gave up the breastfeeding (my LO fed round the clock almost but was always waking and crying, turns out I just wasn't making enough milk for him). And 4-6 weeks was bad enough!!! It was a massively emotional thing to go off b-feeding but seriously, after about 3 days, wow - he was SO much happier, sleeping more, putting on weight, happier, his ultra focus on me went off a little bit - so I was then sooo happy too - it was always bottle from mummy if I was in the vicinity - but it meant daddy could get involved a bit more too if I wanted to pop off to have a shower or something. Psychologically you really need this space. You've given LO more than enough nutrition via 100% b-feeding for all this time so if you want to swap to mixed/formula only then that is 100% a great choice. I needed the intervention of a midwife who I swear may have been Mary Poppins (we were her last appointment before she retired!) who talked some good old fashioned sense in to me - 'give him a bottle'-some people make no milk, some people enough to feed a street, just like a cow, that's just nature!' - and off we went. Not saying the milk issue is what is causing your issue but maybe?-and if not, you still would HUGELY benefit from that psychological break.
Also, PLEASE do not compare yourself to anyone else. Who cares how easy/hard anyone else has it? You just sound like you feel like a failure next to your buddies and YOU ARE NOT!!!! You don't know what other babies are like behind closed doors, and hey every baby is different, you are doing a grand job. Do not for a second compare your lovely little one to anyone else's situation because she is getting what she needs from you, and poor you, you might feel like crap but you are doing a brilliant job. Probably most people look at you and think wow, she has so much patience, amazing, naturally mummy, I could never do that (-:
I hope that helps x
Hi OP, didn't want to read and not reply. You are definitely not alone with a high-needs baby! I know what you mean about going to baby groups when all the other babies just feed nicely and fall asleep too I can only feed in the dark in DDs bedroom, anywhere else/ the light is too distracting. And as for sleeping when out.... or riding in the buggy.... yeah right! She started fighting sleep at 3 weeks old. I remember driving around in the car and her little eyes would almost close, then she'd force them back open again in case she was missing out on something and nothing much changed other than a serious amount of screaming until she started sucking her thumb.
Some babies are just more alert than others (I have heard it's the more intelligent ones so I console myself with visions of her curing cancer or something in the future ) which is really hard when they're not ready to be awake long and you're so tired.
For socialising purposes, have you tried baby sensory? DD loves it as she can move around and explore everything. Also some kind of carrier where she can see out, DD hated facing inward in the front carrier, but was 100x happier facing forward on my back. I generally find she is happier when we are out and about too, she seems to need that stimulation (but I need the sleep!)
Will DD entertain herself on the floor for a bit with toys? I started doing this with DD when she was about 12 weeks old, after her reflux had improved, and now she will play by herself for long enough for me to at least tidy a bit and do washing.
Talk to your DH about how you feel, and be truthful. Men often need it spelled out (although my DH's response is usually 'it was your idea to have children!). Getting someone else to take her for a couple of hours makes a difference to your sanity too, maybe even give you a chance to have lunch with a friend. She should be able to go 2hrs without feeding now, but you could always leave formula if you were worried.
Sorry for the long post, hope you manage to get a bit of timeout for you Let us know how you go x
I have just read your post I hope your ok?
I think you really need some time away from her just get some formula leave her with DH or a grandparent and go out for a few hours, the worst that can happen is that she doesn't eat much and is tired but that won't kill her by the sounds of it if you don't get some head space it could kill you.
My worse moment was after DS crying all day and getting up 9 times in less that 6 hours I thought I fucking hate you you little bastard your just here to make my life her you prob fucking hate me to and just had to urge to literally chuck him back in his cot and leave him to scream, it was horrible and I felt so guilty immediately that I then spent an hour snuggling him to me and crying with guilt I know how hard it is especially when you have mummy friends who's babies are perfect and happy while yours screams like a crazy person and everyone give you that 'your not coping' look.
I tried everything and nothing worked after a while I gave up and just accepted DS was a hard baby and I was going to be a total mess I just got by day by day took DS out when I wanted to go out if he cried he cried if people didn't like it they could fuck off. I put him down to eat my lunch and let him cry showered while he screamed generally just accepted that the theme tune to y life was now crying.
Things got better when he started to crawl and feed himself I think a lot was just frustration at not being able to do the things he wanted the more independent he gets the happier he is, now at 15 months I just love him to death and can't believe he is the same child who reduced me to a wreck. It really does get better but in the mean time just do whatever you have to do t get by forget everyone else, what people thing and what all the books (and judgy pants) say you should do if anyone judges you hand DD over to them and tell them to have a go see how they get on. My mum once told me I stressed to much about his naps and to let him fall asleep on his own I left him with her 7 hours later when he was a crying mess of over tired anger she realised there was method in my obsession with naps.
Sorry for the essay of a reply but I really do know how you feel and I can promise it will get better x
How are you getting on?
Btw- i would suggest go easier on the solids. You don't have to massively complicate your life by feeding her food 2-3 times a day yet. One main meal- breakfast porridge?- and put snacks in your bag. I would also keep a food diary to see if she's worse on particular foods.
I didn't have time to read your post but wanted to give a really quick answer - DS was a nightmare I used to think why did I get this horrible child while all my friends have lovely sweet babies he's now 15mo and so lovely easy going and by far the cutest toddler I know. Hang in there it will get better
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