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Angry with fractious baby(26 Posts)
This might be long, but I don't want to drip-feed: I'm so worried, so I need to include all the info I can.
I'm a FTM with a very fractious nine-week-old DD and I'm so worried about my anxiety/anger levels, to the point that I'm starting to think she'd be better off without me. We had a traumatic birth, serious feeding issues (supply, tongue-tie, latching probs etc.), and I've had serious baby blues - I've spent most of her life in tears with one thing or another.
DD has silent reflux and colic, which we're treating with Aptamil Comfort, Infacol and Gaviscon, and she finds it difficult to poo (although she's not constipated), which usually means 12-24 hours of crying and refusing to settle before each BM.
The big issue, though, is the sleep/naps. I have no excuse for being as stressed as I am because she's pretty good at night, and she's with my husband, who's up working until about 4am anyway. She comes to me for BFing but then has a bottle after that with her dad as I don't produce enough milk. I get usually 6-8 hours broken sleep a night, which is more than most new mums, I think.
When it comes to settling, though, she's almost always needed a minimum of 90 minutes walking and rocking (and crying/fussing) before she'll drop off, and it frequently stretches to 5-6 hours if she gets hungry or, as often happens, she startles awake. The record of not settling so far is 13 hours, and that was yday. I was a nervous wreck by the time my DH got home; I had to hand baby to him and go and cry in another room.
I'm not really looking for advice on the sleep per se - we're trying a cross between PU/PD and shush-pat, which may or may not be working (she hates it but we've had some real progress with it, as well as some shitty, awful days).
What I'm really worried about is how angry I'm getting with her - I'm having palpitations, sweats, nightmares (not about her, just anxiety dreams), my OCD tendencies - which I got rid of 12 years ago - are back and I'm doing minor self-harm (biting, slapping, hair-pulling) which, again, I haven't done for years.
This is so hard to write, but I also verbally abuse my baby - telling her (not usually shouting, but occasionally raising my voice) to shut up, please shut up, please go to sleep, for fuck's sake etc. I've been less gentle with her, although I've never hurt/shaken her, but I feel so guilty, so ashamed, and so frightened that she's going to be traumatised and hate me. Her little face is so miserable when she's trying to go to sleep and can't; I know it's not her fault, and I love her dearly, but I'm so, so frightened that I'm just failing at this.
I desperately want to avoid being prescribed sth by the doctor, as I think it'd make my anxiety worse (I've had anxiety/depression for years) but I'm considering counselling. Does anyone have any words of advice at all?
I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds really tough. I know what you mean about feeling angry. I feel angry loads with my high needs 14 month dd. she has always driven me up the wall since she was born.
Some times I have had to walk out of the room to compose myself and I also had help one day a week from family which saved my sanity. My DH is fab too. Having support and time out was the only thing that helped me. We are all guilty of shouting at our babies and ccildren. It happens sometimes.
There is also help out there in terms of home start and health visitors. Even go to your dr though I know you don't want to go on any medication but they maybe able to help in another way.
Some people find the first few months really tough. You are almost through it. Take care and time should help. Good luck.
im sorry youre going through this. how did you deal with your ocd last time? it sounds like you definitely need some rl help, partly from your gp but also is there anyone who could take your dd for a few hours on a regular basis so you can get out of the house and feel a bit more like yourself? i know i am a nervous wreck if i spend all day at home alone with the baby. I think its important to recognise that there are different kinds of tiredness apart from simple lack of sleep, the constant pressure of a fractious baby is mentally exhausting (i am NOT saying youre just tired btw)
This is a really hard thing we're doing and it sounds like you're having an especially difficult start. Your baby needs you to be well so dont beat yourself up about doing what you need to do for that; your needs are his needs too
Having a reflux baby is hard - DS was so hard at that age.
Firstly and most importantly - if you are feeling angry or wound up, put her in her cot, leave the room, shut the door and go to the kitchen, shut the door, if you can still hear her crying put TV or radio on, make a drink and take 5mins to breath deep, calm down, collect yourself/thoughts a bit. Then go back to her, you'll be calmer and in a better frame of mind to deal with her crying, it will help you both a lot and it won't have hurt her to be left for 5mins. This honestly is the best thing for both of you when you're reaching the end of your tether (which happens to all mums at some point).
Secondly the Dr and pharmacist should have told you not to use comfort milk and gaviscon together, they are both feed thickeners and so she is getting an overdose of those which in turn will give her tummy pain. Give either the gaviscon or the comfort milk and if that's not enough you need to go back to Dr to try ranitidine (a stomach acid reducer) and look into the possibility of cows milk protein intolerance. Also there is domperidone (helps food move through the gut more quickly) which can help some babies that still have problems when on gaviscon and ranitidine, who aren't CMPI.
Definitely get counselling- if you feel yourself that you need it then I'd say you definitely do.
Have you tried slings/carriers and bouncers? Those were my absolute life savers in those early days with a silent reflux baby - imho they should have been on the essential list of baby items you'd need alongside nappies, that's how essential they were to getting me through the day.
Go back to your doctor and ask for something like ranitidine for reflux - IMO infant gaviscon rarely makes much of a difference. Another one here who has to top up with formula due to low supply (I have breast hypoplasia) - it can really mess with my ur head.
At 9 weeks they really are too young for anything like pick up / put down - at that age I went with whatever got them to sleep - feeding, rocking, slinging, driving etc. If she has reflux then lying flat on her back is probably painful -try propping up head of cot.
And yes, I have shouted at both my DCs. You are not alone.
I so agree with a sling, you need a good sling you can put on quickly and that is comfortable. This will mean minutes of settling to sleep as opposed to hours, and because she is upright she'll be calm and so will you. Slings allow you to.sprt to sort
Sorry - feeding -
To sort of forget about the baby because she is there and safe and you don't have to keep frantically rocking a pram etc.
Throw money at it and get a good one. Put the baby in the car or sling for a nap every 1.5 hours. Have food ready for lunch in the fridge (dh can help).
You are not the first person to have shouted at your baby. 9 weeks is very hard but it will get better soon.
I have a 9 week old with reflux too. The aptamil comfort milk made him worse, he is just on normal aptamil and gaviscon now, just one sachet as 2 each bottle made him constipated.
The sling has been a god send, we didn't get on with a wrap one but he really like the bjorn baby carrier, he is up right, safe and happy. He sleeps in there for hours.
Yes get a sling. Also...Could you feed her to sleep so that she settles more easily? I always fed my two in my bed at that age and then they would drop off and I could slide them into bed. Not recommended for older babies but a godsend for sleep.
Go for a walk everyday when its near nap time and if she falls asleep you can walk home and leave her outside/in the porch well wrapped up.
I have two children so have done the baby bit twice and I think what you are going thorough is objectively very tough so firstly please don't beat yourself up about your feelings. It IS difficult and stressful -a baby not settling in that way is exhausting .. That will get better with time - have you tried long walks in pram/ sling with a dummy in? If you aren't using a dummy I really recommend trying - I have used one twice while exclusively breastfeeding and saved my sanity by calming baby before sleep ..also are you swaddling? Both mine immediately calmed when swaddled
You say you don't have enough milk - are you sure this ain't just a baby doing cluster feeding to build supply? Baby can seem fussy and feed repeatedly ... But it can be normal.
For your own sanity I can only say accept you need more practical support - could you afford a post natal doula or home help/ nanny?
I don't see why you should automatically need meds - the situation is a hard one and what you need is actual support.
Local mothers help/ nanny/ a really caring childminder ?
I left my son with a lovely childminder for a few hours from quite young and it was such an amazing break for me ..
That was a very brave post and I want to give you a big hug. This is such a hard stage and the others are right that we all get frustrated, so please don't beat yourself up. She is absolutely not going to hate you. The pressure will ease as she grows.
Definitely look at getting a sling - contact the NCT of details of your nearest sling library so you can borrow one that suits you (there are lots and what suits ones parent may not be great for another).
I also second the advice about popping baby in her cot and leaving the room for a few minutes to breathe deeply if you feel yourself becoming frustrated. She'll be fine.
Do you feel able to talk to your HV, are they supportive? Home Start is a great suggestion - in this area the HV needs to refer though.
That sounds very very tight, and quite extreme if I am honest. I can urge you enough to seek professional help. They won't judge, they will have heard even hung many many times over in the past.
13 hours to settle? No wonder you were beside yourself. It would have been a much better idea to stop focusing on getting the baby to sleep and instead just be with the baby, enjoy the baby, give the baby a bath, go out for a walk, get into bed and have a naked snuggle with the baby. Anything other than focusing on settling to sleep.
For what it's worth, I don't think you have traumatised your baby - her reflux and other issues are undoubtedly traumatic for both of you and that is why she's so miserable, not because of any parenting failure.
I would go back to your GP. If you don't feel like you are able to discuss your own issues at first, focus on your baby as she is clearly still struggling and there are other things they can investigate e.g.someone above said milk intolerance.
Aside from this, my top tip is to leave the house every day. If you don't have friends/family nearby for support (I didn't ) - go for a walk (baby will often settle better in pushchair or carrier even if crying initially), find local baby groups (ask your hv), go to rhyme time at the library,walk round a shopping centre...you may feel like you couldn't possibly do any of these things as your baby is so often crying. However, I found my miserable ds was often much better outside the house and frequently fell asleep in his pushchair after initially screaming. And even if he didn't, most of the rest if the world wasn't as bothered as I thought they would be. I got some great support at baby groups, nobody will judge you and it's sometimes a chance to hand over your baby to a fellow parent for 2 minutes while you do something groundbreaking like going to the loo on your own.
Also take a look at Crysis www.cry-sis.org.uk. They have a helpline you can phone for advice and support 9am til 10pm.
Finally - it will get better! I wish someone had told me this, as my pnd brain was convinced the rest of my life would be spent in exhausted misery. You may have a really hard few weeks or months ahead but it absolutely will get better.
Apart from the fact that it sounds like you are over medicating your baby for behaviour that is fairly normal at nine weeks, you need to get help for your depression. Self-harming is not good, and you need some extra support. Go to a breastfeeding cafe/drop-in and ask for help with feeding, it's rarely the case that you don't produce enough milk, breastfeeding is about supply and demand.
Speak to your health visitor or GP and be honest about how you are feeling, you need help to get through this and it's nothing to be ashamed of. You need to admit to a professional that you don't think you can do this alone.
One thing to remember is that modern motherhood in our atomised western society is bloody hard and not how we evolved to live! In traditional cultures - ie how we lived for most of humans time on this earth / women would bring up babies with a huge on tap support network - a crying baby would have been passed between several people over the course of a day
There is absolutely nothing normal or natural about you coping alone with a crying baby for long stretches of time - so you should not feel bad that you are struggling with it
You poor thing, sounds like you're having a really hard time. Go easy on yourself.
My DD sounds a lot like yours - feeding issues, tongue tie, dreadfully painful feeding, reflux, nightmare napper, etc. I rembrr DH coming home one day and DD had been awake ten hours - I'd been trying to get her to sleep for most if that time. We were both in a state by then - I handed her to DH and walked out the house, went for a walk and sobbed. It was hell and I hated being a mum at that point.
What helped for us? Well I'd second what a PP had said - gaviscon did nothing for us but ranitidine really helped. Still a rubbish napper but easier to deal with and less screamy.
Had to do something about napping. Pupd and shushing never worked for us. Walks in the buggy with a snooze shade covering it did the trick though. It was a nightmare in that at one point she'd only nap 30 mins at a time so needed a snooze every 90 mins. So we went for a walk every 90 mins. Tiring! But it did help her learn that she needed to nap, though. I'm not saying that will work for you BUT you need to experiment till you find something that does help - they're all different.
I've never had a mental health problem diagnosed though have had long periods of being very down and anxious in the past. I found the first four months of my DD's life incredibly hard and like you, said some awful things - exactly the same stuff you've said: go to fucking sleep, what the fuck is wrong with you, etc, etc. Not nice and feeling guilty didn't help my Mr take state either. Having found the guts to mention it to a few people, I think it's not uncommon. I'm not saying it's ok, but it's understandable and doesn't make you a bad mum. I made a point to always apologise and give her a cuddle afterwards; I found that helped and helped me move forward a bit more positively. That said, as others have said, you sound like you would benefit from more support - find a decent HCP and ask for help. You're not failing your LO by needing help; you might be if you know you need help but don't try to get it.
Sorry that's a bit rambling. Take care of yourself. I found it gradually got easier from about four months on. I can actually now say that at nine months, most days I enjoy being a mum. At nine weeks is never have said that. Good luck.
I don't have any experience of mental health conditions but I definitely think it helped me (and baby) to get out of the house as others have said. For quite some time I was walking mine in the pram three times a day, once for each nap, and in the early days I would go out for a walk when I felt really fed up. I often really didn't feel like going but once I was outside I always felt better (still rubbish but better!).
I also think at that sort of age baby loved watching people and so taking him out to baby groups or supermarket or just for a walk up the high street kept him occupied and also wore him out - he always slept better on baby group days.
Is there a reason why you're not keen on taking any medication yourself OP?
I felt the same as you when my DS was born: angry, shouty, anxious, terribly down. I also developed OCD behaviours and mild self harm as well (slapping and pinching myself). I had never had anything like this before so it was truly terrifying.
I went to see HV and was referred for 2 lots of counselling but in all honesty I didn't feel better until I went on an antidepressant which specially tackles anxiety and depression (citalopram 20mg) when DS was 15mo.
Within 4 weeks of starting the drugs I felt so much better. Back to normal - OCD and harming behaviours vanished. And I was less angry all the time.
I look back and I just WISH I had gone on ADs when DS was around 4mo (when I first realised I felt really bad). As I would have had a very different year.
Just saying it might be something to consider.
DS was an awful screamy baby as well so I know where you're coming from.
He is a delightful 2yo now though.
Big hugs, OP. Can only second the advice you have had on here. Slings, mummy groups and a walk each day saved my sanity. We also ended up (safe) cosleeping as DS spent most of the night attached to my boob. The 9 week stage is hellish, but he started easing into a routine by 12 weeks and figuring out night and day. Hopefully, you will find the same.
I was like this. ....I went to docs and found out I had a seriously overactive thyroid. ... you should really ask them to check this out as the palpitations and swearing also fit.
With the baby, ask for dairy free formula (neocate or nutramigen aa)
I feel for you. I've no real advise but wanted to say your not alone. Its knackering and if mine doesn't settle i find i become rapidly fried which feed anxiety and self harm (similar minor tendencies) which makes me more fried! Redbull and chocolate help me.
I was like this with DS1 (not the self-harm, but I have no history of that). DS1 didn't have reflux, he just cried all the time, woke constantly and took hours to settle.
I went to the GP. I had PND. They referred me for CBT. It got better, as did DS1. He still drives me up the wall now, though, and he's 4!
Get yourself some help. I promise it wont be forever.
Sounds really difficult for you. Dealing with a small baby is hard for anyone and the mental strain can feed anxiety and self harm. This too will pass...all the baby phases do. This "constant in arms" part is a teeny, tiny part of parenting that lasts only a few months. Although I know that must seem like an age right now.
Little things helped me - a sling, professional help with the breastfeeding (don't just struggle on) and taking a bit of time out (even in another room when DH came home) but most of all please seek help from your H.V. about your anxiety and self-harm.
Hey worriedabouttemper hope you are ok. Just thinking would your baby feed to sleep at all? Reflux babies can want to breastfeed all the time.
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