I'm worried my baby's not normal and I'm sick of staying at home!(35 Posts)
I know that there have been a lot of threads about how difficult parenting can be but I really am so fed-up. I have a DD aged 4 months and ever since she was about a month old she's been very demanding in the way that she gets bored very, very easily. Some days she'll scream/cry more or less the whole day. I know it's not colic, it's just not that kind of cry. I'll put her on the playmat, she'll be ok for a couple of minutes then start crying. I'll put her in the swing chair, cuddle her and the same thing happens and so on. For some reason her behaviour seems to get worse when both my DH and I are at home, not sure why. I sometimes feel almost embarrassed when meeting up with other mums as their babies seem so calm and happy and mine has to be entertained all the time. The only thing she seems to like is being outside but I can't be out all day!
The other problem is her sleeping, or rather the lack of it. For the last 6 weeks or so she hasn't been sleeping well at all. Instead of waking up every 3 hours like she used to, she wakes up on average about every hour and a half. She won't go back to sleep after about 6am. Some days (like today) she only slept for about 20 min during the day and after I put her to bed at 7pm (it's usually 8 but I needed a break from her) she woke up 2 or three times in an hour.
I'm so tired all the time and find myself counting the hours until DH gets home from work, then counting the hours until her bedtime. I feel almost resentful for not being able to get things done, like researching something on the internet or doing housework. Needless to say I feel guilty about this, the fact that I'm just not enjoying motherhood. TBH I'm counting the days until I'm going back to work (part-time) and although I initially planned to go back in early April next year, I'd like to return in January already. I'm telling myself she'd be better off at a nursery, she'd probably be more stimulated. Is this terrible? I'm so disappointed with myself, this was supposed to be the best time of my life but I'm becoming more and more unhappy and taking it out on DH, it's already taken its toll on our relationship. He isn't too worried about DD's behaviour (he's really laid-back) but I can't help thinking that other babies are not like her.
I'm sorry this is so long, I just had to vent as all these worries and feelings of resentment and then guilt have been building up lately and I don't know what to do. If you've had a baby like this, please tell me it gets better?
Are you absolutely sure there's nothing wrong with her? I ask becuase my DN was lactose intolerant and behaved exactly as your DD seems to (until it was diagnosed then she literally changed overnight). Some babies do cry more than others but IMHO they don't keep it up for hours on end for absoluetely no reason.
I also think getting out of the house should be a priority - fresh air and a change of scenery can do the world of good for everyone.
She is probably overtired by bedtime if she's only sleeping 20 mins during the day. That can lead to disturbed sleep.
Try walking her in the fresh air each day, so she drops off for a good long sleep afterwards.
And I felt the same at 4 months - all the congratulations wear off, real life kicks in, and being at home all day with a tiny baby is, for some people (me included) quite boring. DH recalls now that I used to call him at 10am to ask what time he was coming home! But I actually used to get a panicky feeling as he walked out the door that I had all these hours to fill before he came home, and all I had to do was feeding, changing, housework.
It gets better. But I'd recommend wrapping up and lots of fresh air, you'll feel better for it, and the crying isn't as wearing if you're outside with background noise!
I have to agree with you, it doesn't sound right, but how can you be sure it's not colic? Is she breast or formula fed? Do you carry her in a sling? Could it be that it's not that she wants to be stimulated all the time but that she's uncomfortable or on pain and the activity distracts her for a short while and then she notices the discomfort again?
Try not to feel bad about this, I doubt it's your fault, figuring out what babies want is very hard, and being at home with a new baby is very demanding.
The thing with all the tiredness / small crying baby stuff, is that it's at its very, very worst, just before it starts to get better. You've now got 4 months of exhaustion under your belt, and your DD is not realy interracting with the outside world yet. It really will feel much better in just a couple of months time - honestly!
This sounds very similar to DS and I when he was that age. He was pretty high maintenance, wanted lots of attention, moving around and being shown things. Was always much easier when we were out. I could only get him to nap in pram so ended up with pretty rigid regime of walks every day to get him to have some decent sleep.
A couple of months later I took him for cranial osteopathy and it seemed to make him a much happier baby. He still wants lots of attention even now but just seems sunny and happy rather than whingey.
I'm not sure whether some babies are just like this. I think DS has been much happier since he became mobile and had more control over his environment.
But just want to give you a bit of support because I so felt the same as you, resenting missing out on happy baby times in comparison to other people who had much easier babies. Particularly as I was permanently exhausted.
I agree with the walks recommendations, but also you might want to try taking her for the cranial osteopathy - maybe it could make a difference.
Oh also - don't believe that everyone else is having a better time, or that their babies are happier.
I hate to say it but my dd1 was exactly the same and I know it wasn't colic. Quite honestly she was frustrated and always wanted to be onto the next stage. It was a nightmare and so bad we always said we wouldn't have anymore. She did improve once she was able to do more things by herself and so the frustration got less. I went on to have dts who are the same if not worse and I know it will get better one day! I think some babies aren't meant to be babies iyswim and are happier when they are self-sufficient
Oh yeah - what smackapacka said! You will find out later... the big mummy cover-up.
There are other good suggestions. But I'll add another to think about - is she teething? Does she sleep any better if you give her calpol at night? (Or is she cold at night?)
BTW She sounds like a normal high maintenance baby, but the sleep doesn't sound quite right.
Try to get out as much as possible (for your own sake). She might chill out once she can move for herself.
Thanks for your replies.
Smackapacka, didn't know babies could be lactose intolerant! I breastfeed exclusively and she's too young for purees but I'll ask the HV next time.
I do take her out as much as possible everyday and she's perfectly happy in her pram and for a while if we stop somewhere and I keep her in my lap, I can tell she likes just being away from home.
She doesn't cry the whole day, usually she's quite happy in the morning after she's woken up but then her mood gets worse as the day goes on. I'm quite sure she's not in pain, I can just tell by the way she sounds so bored. Overtiredness is probably a reason but if I do manage to get her to sleep she'll wake up after 20 minutes!
The fact that's she's BF probably does rule out lactose intolerance then.
FWIW my DD never liked the boucy chair/playmat etc...
Being out and about was what cheered her up too!
cinnamonbun You are describing my DS at that age. It turned out he had silent reflux. Like reflux but without huge amount or any sickness. It basically means the acid in their stomach keeps coming up to their throat and burning them. Something to do with an immature muscle of the digestion system.
Im not saying your DD has this, Im not a doc but it's just sooooooo similar sounding.
He always cried, terrible sleeper, terrible feeder. Hated lying flat. Hated bloody everything.
I once sat with a load of mums i didn't know at a baby group with what seemed like 'normal' calm babies and just burst into tears like a lunatic while my DS screamed all through the session. I never went back .
When he was 5 months I actually went up to sickkids hospital at the end of my tether and he was immediately diagnosed and given omeprazole. My life changed overnight.
Im now a SAHM with number 2 due in 11 weeks. Im actually looking forward to it because NOTHING can be as bad as a baby with reflux/colic.
Again, might not be it but it's definitely not normal to have a crying baby all of the time and it doesn't have to be like this. Even if you never get to the bottom of it, OMG YES YES YES - it does get so much easier and you will forget how hard a new baby was - like me, silly PG cow!
Dont say anything to your work yet.....life will look so different even a few months from now when she is on solids. Good luck. x
My DS (now 3.5 years) was always whingey/clingy/crap at doing anything by himself - it is very very wearing honestly. Don't feel bad about it. I found the more I got out just like everyone else is saying, the better but I understand what you mean about that particularly with winter here now. I did though find the whole thing a bit more bearable if I had mates round so at least we could natter although I did often come away thinking "why can't he just "potter" like "x's" baby". He is still a highly demanding child but adorable with it - at least when they get older they do talk to you ! Being at home with a small baby can be boring. Now I have no 2 I can't honestly remember what I did all the time on maternity leave but I do remember getting to 6 months after DS was born and thinking that I really could entertain the idea of going back to work (I work part time). Now with DD in tow (she;'s 8 months) we just all get on with it and do what we were doing already so it isn't such a big deal.
I'd check out the cranial osteopath but otherwise as is the favourite phrase on MN "it's a phase ! and it'll pass "!
This was the stage i probably found most difficult with dd1, but lots of things u can do if ur sure its not a pain thing. 4 months still really tiny- so can't really expect them to last longer than a few minutes on playmat if ur not there with them. i always tried to have something ( chair, swing, dd1 loved door bouncer thingy from very young) in every room in the house- so where ever i was, she could be there too- often had to be singing to her aswell- but did redult in her being much happier. also had really comfy cloth sling which i wore alot around house alot. also at this age started reying to be a bit more aware of making sure she had longer naps- in sling or pram9ie if she woke after 20minutes, rocked or oushed her back to sleep again. eventually they start to get the idea- these naps are good- and generally leads to better sleeping at night too. dd1 became 'easier' if u like once she could do stuff for herself. oh and my biggest rule was getting out of the house everyday once up and dressed- otherwise i would have gone mad!! certainly know that my mood effects the babies mood too. sorry this is a bit rambly but it helped me- and have very content dd2 who i did all this kind of stuff with- hope some of it helps. think positive!!
Have you read Dr Sears' description of a High Need Baby?
It described DS to a T -- starting from the opening "Why is my baby so different?" question, which I see echoed in your OP as well.
It will be little consolation at the moment, but DS became a lot easier once he could walk (thankfully he was a very early walker) and hence fetch/reach things for himself, and easier again once he could talk and make himself understood. So I think a lot of it was frustration. He does still have his moments, mind you... .
It did mean that when DD (normally laid-back baby) arrived life was sooooooooo much easier than it had been with DS at the same stage that I went around with a permanent spring in my step for months...
I wonder if it's cows milk protein intolerance? DD2 was like this, we sorted it by cutting dairy out of my diet. It took tow weeks to see the difference, but the result was worth it. One of the main symptoms is reflux, and this makes them unhappy lying down, they like to be sitting up (DD2 loved her bumbo if she wasn't on my lap!) and of course being in the (ring)sling was good for her too.
Hope some of this is helpful!
Sounds like you are having a really tough time. I wonder if this stress is affecting your milk supply, esp in the evening, if you have not had the chance to rest during the afternoon, when she wakes in the evening does she seem hungry? I know this can be a vicious cycle and hard to break but baby is perhaps picking up on your stress and this could then be making her more unsettled? Have you tried white noise to help her sleep more deeply, you can buy cds or a fan or a slumber bear, I have seen this be very effective. I agree with others that she is prob also overtired due to lack of daytime sleep. Does she have any loose structure to her feeding/sleeping during the day?
I hope you manage to get some rest soon, is there anyone who could take baby for a walk in the afternoon while you get some sleep?
I truly hope that you will soon be feeling better. I am sure that you are a wonderful mum, juts asking others for help is a sign of this. You are not alone.
Not got any extra advice, just to say my 7 week old ds is just like this- god knows what he'll be like at 4 months!
Anyway I have recently turned a corner and just tried to accept him how he is. I go out a lot, but I am no longer embarrassed at baby groups/cafes- I just smile and say "yep he's a grumpy little man" no-one has asked me to leave yet!
Sounds like a similar, but a bit more extreme, version of my dd. Lots of great suggestions here, but may I make one more? It took me ages to realise this, but most young babies, including mine, really need a nap about 1.5 hours after they first wake up. Once I started this (I had to use Baby Whisperer pick-up put-down for the first three weeks) she has got better and better. For ages she only took half an hour (she is a real cat-napper), but in the last couple of weeks (she is now nearly 7mo) she usually takes well over an hour (and goes down with barely a squeak). It has made the rest of the day a lot easier, even if the other two naps she has are often only half an hour (and sometimes have to be in the buggy, particularly the last one).
She is also a lot happier now she can sit up and do more for herself, and I would highly recommend cranial osteopathy.
She just loves nursery (2 days a week), too. I think some babies thrive on the stimulation, and she started at 5 months, which is too little to much mind who is looking after them as long as they gets lots of cuddles and interaction. Dare I suggest that, if it's possible and you think it appropriate, you find a good nursery for her and start her there before you go back to work? That'll give you a bit of a break and maybe help her find more of a sleep routine.
Honestly, I can't believe how much has changed in the past two months. DD now sleeps though every night and naps three times a day. I'm not saying this to be smug, just to give you some hope that a lot can change in a very short space of time.
I was just about to say try a cranial osteopath but see someone's beaten me to it.
You have my sympathy as well!
DD is 3 months, and now needs to be 'entertained' a hell of a lot more! She will play on her playmat for longer periods now, especially now she can bat her playgym.
She is a terrible one for getting overtired though. If she's awake for any more than 1.5hr, she goes from being a happy smiley soul to a demon child within the space of 5 mins!
My DD loves her sling. I take her out in it, and she loves looking around...looks out of the window of the bus. Much less likely to get grouchy than when she's in the buggy...I think because she can see what's happening a lot more than being down low in the buggy.
I use it at home as well, and she will always sleep in it. It saves me from the battles I was having trying to get her to go to sleep...it could sometimes take me 1.5hr to get her to drift off and she'd then be awake in 20 mins!
I've had her on my back for the last 2hrs, sleeping away, and I've been able to browse the internet, do her bottles, cook dinner and make tortillas!!
I really would recommend one!
Thank you so much - I'm overwhelmed by all the responses! I've been out all day today after taking DD swimming and as I expected she was so much happier than usual.
tinierclanger, thanks, that's an excellent idea re cranial osteopathy, I'll look into that! And like Ewemoo I suspect that once she can at least crawl she'll be a lot happier as she'll be able to explore things for herself, guess I just have to be patient...
whensmydayoff, LoL, I know how you felt, I almost avoid going to baby groups these days and if I do and someone starts going on about how good their baby is I just feel like walking out. Can you get reflux medicine over the counter or do you have to get a prescription? Good luck with your new baby!
Thank you princesslina and everyone else for your encouraging and kind words, I feel better already! x
hi, i could havr written your post 3 yrs ago - and tried everything... i was the proverbialmad woman with pram and dog - who walked virtually all day everyday and yes everone else does seem to have the low maintainance perfect child which makes you feel even more isolated.
dd is now 3 and i love every sec of her - she is vibrant and interesting. i am now 7 mths pregnant with no2 i never contemplated another child after dd - too awful for words,
this time if i have one the same as dd i know to go wtih the flow, not worry or get tense, i have bought a sling and i know that this stage that youre at now will pass
Just wanted to say that I agree that DD is probably overtired a lot of the time (it would explsin why she's in a good mood in the mornings after she's slept for at least a few hours). It's just so hard to get her to sleep during the day (unless I take her out for at least a couple of hours in the pram. Even if she does drift off to sleep she'll usually wake up after about 15-20 minutes. The problem seems to be that she needs complete darkness (absence of stimulation) to fall asleep and stay asleep. Unfortunately she hates the baby sling as well! On Monday I'm going to call our GP about reflux and also a cranial osteopath.
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