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How do you deal with screaming toddler and screaming baby? Feel like I'm losing my mind.

(45 Posts)
TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 20:56:04

DC2 is 15 weeks old and has always been fractious, but the last 2 weeks have been relentless. He crys practically non-stop all day long. Am trying everything- including cranial osteopathy on Friday just gone. My sweet 2.5 year old DC1 has been really good with him up until about a week ago.... I think she has finally snapped .... there's only so much crying you can take before you feel like you're losing the plot. Now she has started crying too and they both just set each other off. I don't know who to go to first as the one I put down just goes ballistic and reaches fever pitch. Today I just had one in each arm, staring blankly into space, whilst they both screamed. Me and DC1 covered in her wee as she wet herself as so upset. I feel so sorry for her.

I am fortunate and have lots of family help at bed/bath time, but there's the rest of the day to deal with, and my DH is not around at the moment (will be in 13 weeks time) so when it's just me with my one pair of hands how do I deal with them when they're both screaming??

DC2 is allergic to the car so unfortunately can't stick them in the car and go for a ride to calm them down. If he's too upset the pram/sling won't work either. I know DC1's crying is part of a larger problem of feeling neglected as I'm always tending to my crying DC2 sad. Feel like I'm sinking.

Smartiepants79 Sun 02-Mar-14 21:10:50

Is there an particular reason you can pin down for the crying?
Does he feed well? Wind well? Does he suffer from colic? Constipation?
Crying all day every day at this age is unusual.
Have you seen a health visitor or doctor?
I was going to say sling but seems you already have one.
You mention 'lots' of help at bedtime. Is there anyway this can be a bit more spread out? Some help for an hour in the day?
13 weeks must just seem like forever.

TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 21:30:05

My doctor did a general exam and ruled out anything obvious- said he may be coming down with something but nothing has turned up. Suggested ear plugs for me though!

I did think it was colic initially but the crying is all day long, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. Before he just needed to be held to be happy, now that doesn't help either. He did become infrequent with pooing a few weeks ago which I put down to the IV antibiotics he had at 4 weeks old for rotavirus, but probiotics seemed to have sorted that out. Gripe water sometimes soothes him, but then he starts up again. I put him in the tummy tub every night to relax him and help with any trapped air, baby massage and reflexology on his little feet. He is EBF and I don't consume any dairy, cruciferous veg or nuts. I'm really on the ball with his latch and making sure he gets to the hind milk. I'm able to express a good amount so I don't think its a supply issue. He is always a bit snuffly- the osteopath said that he has 'frontal pressure' and with age his airways will open more and there's not much I can do. I'm all out of ideas.

Not having DH around makes it a hundred times worse. I don't have that mental safety net that he'll be there in the evening or the weekends and that is super tough. Everyone's at work during the day so early evening is the only time they can come round.

minipie Sun 02-Mar-14 21:46:17

Poor poor you. Could it be reflux? Sounds like you are doing the best you can in a very difficult situation.

GingerMaman Sun 02-Mar-14 21:52:19

I was going to suggest the same, could it be silent reflux? My DD had it and it would come up in the day too, and in the evening (nights were thankfully not too bad, probably because she was too knackered by then).

How is day time sleep?

GingerMaman Sun 02-Mar-14 21:53:12

Also have you tried boots gripe water? It seemed to work better for us than normal gripe water.

TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 21:55:01

He doesn't seem to have any reflux symptoms, posseting, vomiting etc. And being upright doesn't seem to help. Althoug I wouldn't know how a silent reflux diagnosis would be made.

He is putting on good weight. Actually he is positively chubby grin.

TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 21:56:19

Oh Boots do one?? Will be there at 8am sharp!

Sparklyboots Sun 02-Mar-14 21:56:25

God that sounds really hard, OP. My two are a similar gap (currently 3.1 yr and 9mo). I second the keep looking advice, also have you tried a dummy? If bf and latch is well established it might be helpful.

Your situation mean that my general strategies for Those Moments might not be all that useful. I try to: include DC1 in the care/ comforting and talk to him about it as it's going on - "There there, DC2, DC1 and I are here. Gosh she sounds v upset, doesn't she DC1, I wonder how we can help her;" I talk to him about it when it isn't happening and get their Dad to enable me to have 10 (at least) clear minutes where it's just DC1 and I; I acknowledge with him that it's hard atm while we look after the baby and try to include him in plans and strategy discussions for managing the day and what we might do if the baby is suddenly in need of a lot of attention; not at all let on to DC1 that I feel panicked when the baby is inconsolable and he is joining in; try to keep my voice jolly and clam when everyone is wailing - "gosh, everyone is having a hard time right now, look DC1 is feeling x and DC2 is doing y. Now I am going to give DC1 a big cuddle then we will go and... blah, blah, blah". That last one is as much for my own benefit TBH, it gives me a way to stay calm though it is a bit odd to be talking what is basically shit in a sing song voice when you are curled up with panic inside.

I'll try think on, I'm sure there are other things we do, but good luck OP, even if the baby was all smiles and delight it is a tough moment for the older child. Really hope the crying wanes soon, I know it's hard not to feel shouted at all the time.

Sparklyboots Sun 02-Mar-14 21:58:59

Oh and, playdates, parks and softplay. Anywhere that DC1 can have a whale of a time while you get to be spectator supervisor rather than play partner.

TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 21:59:56

Yes actually our nights are not so bad... he is in bed by about 7.30-8...does wake quite a bit for feeds but goes back to sleep. Thank God. The night time sleep is my one saving grace at the moment. We co-sleep and its really the only time I really get to enjoy him. Wow. That sounds really sad.

olympicsrock Sun 02-Mar-14 22:03:01

How about seeing talking to HV and finding out if there are any homestart type organisations in your area. I have a friend who volunteers for one and helps people who need an extra pair of hands.
Sending you a big hug and a chocolate biscuit. I had a baby who cried all the time and found the babybjorn bouncer chair a great help when he was very worked up. Weaning also seemed to help at 4.5 months, he was much more content.

TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 22:07:43

Thanks Sparkly. I try to get DC1 to fun playdates, park etc. Today took her to the theatre but it all ended in tears. Think park is a safer bet where there is plenty of open space and fresh air. I'm a bit anxious about soft play as DC1 is really diddy and I feel I'd have to crawl in after her a lot.

I'm afraid my sing-song voice is not much good any more. My stomach is just churning out acid and I don't even have the voice to scream! Think I need to have a strategy to just turn the situation on its head and start jumping around or something out of the ordinary?!

Sparklyboots Sun 02-Mar-14 22:15:24

Yeah, if the baby is going to cry come what may, sometimes I pretend for DC1' s sake thAt I am going to try jiggle/ waltz her out of it. Obvs I try to keep in the bounds of being actually comforting to DC2 but am going for laughs off the other one while inwardly wailing

TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 22:23:07

That's interesting olympicsrock... I will look into that. And off to Kiddicare after Boots to put DC2 into that bouncer to see if that works.

stargirl1701 Sun 02-Mar-14 22:24:31

Silent reflux does not involve any vomiting. DD had it and she never vomited. She did cry incessantly though!

GP diagnosed it by watching a feed and the aftermath that I filmed on my phone.

If it is silent reflux, you would likely to be offered infant Gaviscon. I would recommend trying to avoid this but if you can't, try it for a week. We found Ranitidine worked for DD in the initial phase. We did end up having to see a consultant at 7 months as the Ranitidine was no longer having an impact.

TheNewShmoo Sun 02-Mar-14 22:31:11

What was the aftermath stargirl? The crying?? And why do you not recommend infant gaviscon (apart from the fact that it must be horrid to administer)?

BlueFrenchHorn Sun 02-Mar-14 22:41:52

OP this was me 6 months ago. I very nearly lost the plot. I sought help from my GP who suggested cbt for my anxiety and panic attacks. Cutting a long story short, I was taught to change how I handled stressful situations not how to change screaming toddler and baby. Cut to now, massive difference.

Pm me if you would like more info.

TheNewShmoo Mon 03-Mar-14 00:24:17

Thanks BlueFrench... I know I need to find a coping strategy but I really feel I need to get to the bottom of DC2's screaming fits.

I've done some reading around silent reflux which seems to be the only unexplored avenue. DC2 seems to be comforted only when held in the tiger in tree position with pressure on his tummy, he often fusses and bobs on and off the breast crying, always hiccuping and sounding congested...

I am going to my GP with it tomorrow but am already resigned to the fact that he will be less than helpful with a possible diagnosis.

hartmel Mon 03-Mar-14 04:42:46

That sounds like silent reflux.. My boy had it too. What helped was fennel tea (i don't know if you can buy it where you live but in germany you can get special fennel tea for babys) and a pacifier. Oh and I had him for naps always in a reclined position. We have a pram that has the option. And for nights I bought a pillow a specially for reflux baby's. within two month we had it solved and he only gets it once in a while.

I can't give any tips about how to handle screaming toddler and baby at the same time as I'm pregnant with DC2

With silent reflux baby's want to drink a lot. Because it soothes them. That is why I gave my boy a lot of tea.

stargirl1701 Mon 03-Mar-14 08:53:10

Yes, the aftermath was screaming. All day long...

Gaviscon is a PITA to administer if you are bf. It seems to do nothing bar make babies constipated. The Ranitidine really did work in the beginning. There are 3 dosing levels and you'll be started on the lowest. If no change after a week, go back and ask for the middle dose. Ditto the highest dose.

Do you have a sling?

minipie Mon 03-Mar-14 09:47:19

Re silent reflux:

If your DC2 is particularly upset during/after feeds then that points to silent reflux. Tell your GP this as it's what they look for (the distress being linked to feeds).

With silent reflux there is no posseting as the acid goes up but then back down rather than out (which makes it more painful as they get it twice). Sometimes they make a "chewing on a lemon" type of face - hard to describe, it's a sort of slightly disgusted chewing look.

Hating the car could be a sign of silent reflux, as car seat puts pressure on the tummy which brings up the acid. Bouncy chair or swing often helps but you need to find one where they are not crunched up. Same for sling.

Silent reflux babies are usually terrible nappers but sometimes are reasonable sleepers at night (as they are knackered from screaming and not sleeping all day).

Gaviscon does very little for many babies with silent reflux and is a pain to administer for BF babies. Ranitidine is much easier (1 small syringe 4x a day IIRC) and much more effective.

Some GPs are reluctant to prescribe Ranitidine until you've tried Gaviscon. However my (excellent) GP has told me it has very little risk (ie very little risk of any harmful side effects) so her approach is give it a try, if it helps then we know it is silent reflux. I hope you can find an equally helpful GP - see if you can twist their arm into giving you ranitidine to try.

As stargirl says there are different levels of dosing, if it doesn't work then ask to try the next level (and make sure he's on the right amount for his weight too).

Good luck, I really hope you find some help.

TheNewShmoo Mon 03-Mar-14 21:51:06

Thank so much everyone- with all your help I managed to get Ranitidine for DC2. I did also get the Gaviscon which I am not keen on, but I really need to do something for DC2 whilst the Ranitidine gets to work. I think it has given him some relief, but I am worried about the constipation- we do not want to go there again.

How long will the Ranitidine take to work? DC2 is on 0.4ml x 3 daily. This morning he was sitting happily in his swing and then let out the most ear piercing shriek. He had brought up clear liquid, which he hasn't done before, which I'm guessing is stomach acid? Is it going to get worse before it gets better? If it is reflux then his poor little oesophagus must be so inflamed by now... and getting worse every time he refluxes. It does explain why the crying has gotten progressively worse.

Minipie- that's interesting about the car seat- he doesn't like any of the slouched seats/bouncers we have. He likes the swing to start with but inevitably ends up crying as it has a real bucket seat.

Stagirl- I've been using a baba sling for convenience but he is not always well supported in it. I'll get out the moby wrap as he won't be bunched up in that.

Thanks so much everyone. Praying my hopes won't be dashed and this will be it for us x

stargirl1701 Mon 03-Mar-14 21:54:53

The Ranitidine worked for us in 48 hours. Keep a close eye on weight gain as the meds need increased as weight goes up.

Keep your chin up, OP. Reflux is hell for everyone but it will pass. There is an ongoing reflux thread in Breast and Bottle Feeding as well as a thread in Sleep called High Needs Babies. Lots of support in both. Have you heard of littlerefluxers.com? Some very knowledgable people!

winethankswine

TheNewShmoo Mon 03-Mar-14 21:56:06

Stagirl must say that recording your LO was such a simple, but ingenious, method to get your GP to diagnose successfully. Going to your doc and saying 'my baby cries all the time' never seems to be taken very seriously at all.

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