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My baby doesn't know me.

(32 Posts)
WillWeBeOk Fri 25-Jan-13 09:06:03

I don't know how to deal with this. My 8 month daughter has been slowly slipping away from me. She doesn't answer to her name or my voice or even a whistle or silly noise anymore. She looks past me and right through me. She has no concept of whether I leave he room or come back, apart from hearing the door open. She certainly isn't blind or deaf, I know that because she looks closely at her toys or traffic in the street and can hear me opening the fridge in the next room.

We cosleep in the morning and when she wakes up, on the pillow right next to me, she doesn't notice I'm there. Right now she has been happily playing with the zipper on her sleeping bag for 20 mins never checking in with me, totally withdrawn in her own world. It is not just in the morning. She rarely interacts at all except for sometimes tickling and rough play but even then she looks to the side of me or at my mouth. Zero eye contact and never any smiles just for seeing me. Never imitates me.

I am just so scared. I have posted before, this is only one of the dozen or so worrying signs that she has started showing but it is the hardest to deal with. How do you interact or communicate with a baby who won't acknowledge you? I am waiting on a referral to a paediatrician in the meantime people are saying enjoy your baby and forget your worries but how can I when every second spent with her she ignores me?

She also ignores other people. They think she is interacting with then but if you watch closely it is more like she is using them as a prop for want of any better way of explaining it.

I know some of you have had this with your babies. It is heartbreaking. How do i get through it?

PrinceRogersNelson Sun 27-Jan-13 17:31:12

Willwebeok - I have sent you a pm.

sickofsocalledexperts Sun 27-Jan-13 17:27:47

If I had my time again, knowing what I know about the "plasticity" of the early brain, I would work to teach my baby eye contact, gesture, "conversation". Buy some snazzy light-up or noisy toys, get her attention, then replace them with your face/eyes. Then teach that the toys will only light up/make interesting noises if she looks at your eyes. Then call her name and immediately get in her eye gaze, move into her vision even if she looks sideways. Then do a funny face. Then do big eyes or tongue movements and try and prompt the same. I know it sounds a bit mad, but there are scientific studies that show you can literally open up new brain connections, by using simple reward mechanisms. With my boy, who turned out later to be autistic, other people said they found him distant, but I think I just "attacked" him with cuddles, and got in his face, and cuddled/tickled all the time. Now it may not have been anything I did, he may just have been born affectionate, but he really does form strong bonds with many people around him now. Don't take your cues from her, reshape her brain by getting your eyes in front of her sideways gaze - all worth a try anyway!

WillWeBeOk Sun 27-Jan-13 16:23:13

This is so hard. Why do I keep hoping it will change? Husband took dd out to the shops for an hour. When they came back he said to her 'look, there's mummy", a blank look was all. It kills me. Other babies light up when they see their mummies, they wiggle, they smile, they reach out. I never thought I would have a daughter who didn't know me.

lirael Sat 26-Jan-13 23:14:09

It may be worth looking at Intensive Interaction (if you google you will find information - lots on YouTube too). It's an approach where you try to tune in to the child without forcing them to pay attention. So for example, you describe your DD playing with the zipper - in Intensive Interaction you would join in with her action, try to match your breathing to hers, pick up on any little noises she makes and imitate them etc. If she responds, in any tiny way at all, you mirror back her response. It's a very gentle, non-threatening way of interacting and has worked wonders with my DS. However, I've never seen it done with babies - but it may be worth a shot. Certainly if I'd known about it when DS was very young I'd have done it over and above all other thngs we tried. PM me if you want more info.

zzzzz Sat 26-Jan-13 11:47:26

Willwe I know exactly what it is like to have your baby not recognise you because it happened to dd3 when she was very ill.

Different situation as she had seizures, but one day she didn't know me any more. sad actually indescribably awful.

Mine came back.

At first she only knew my touch, my arm, my smell?, then voice, then presence, then me!

She is epileptic but controlled, goes to school, is perky and stroppy and delicious. Don't loose hope, because the hope is what drives you to do incredible things. It hurts like hell if things don't resolve, but actually that hurts you, not dc and you can take that. sad [happy]

I have another sn child who is still struggling. Different issues but we are still in the thick of things. You are not alone and you will be ok.

giraffesCantGoFirstFooting Sat 26-Jan-13 11:20:10

grin at a nude afternoon!

Hope the appointment helps!

notactuallyme Sat 26-Jan-13 11:16:14

(In that sometimes I need a bit of a lie down)

notactuallyme Sat 26-Jan-13 11:15:45

I thought your nude afternoon was some kind of really intensive sensory thing! Good luck on the 6th - I suspect we have all been there, to some degree, and mostly still standing.

Littlefish Sat 26-Jan-13 11:13:03

And here's me thinking that you and your SIL must have a very close, supportive relationship grin.

lisad123everybodydancenow Sat 26-Jan-13 11:04:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PoshCat Fri 25-Jan-13 20:22:06

Am glad your paed appointment is very soon. I think you really need this.

Good luck. smile

WillWeBeOk Fri 25-Jan-13 20:06:43

I have not been having a nude afternoon at all!?! Wtf did that auto spelling come from? I meant a NICE afternoon!!!!!!

WillWeBeOk Fri 25-Jan-13 20:05:31

Thanks! Appointment will be on the 6th feb. Have been having a nude afternoon with sister in law and nephew, she has been fantastically supportive as have some other friends and some family so luckily I am not alone in real-life. Still nobody knows what it's like to by be recognised by your own darling baby unless it has actually happened to you sad

I will try and make an effort to do something to take my mind off things for a little while although I am not sure what or how!

PrinceRogersNelson Fri 25-Jan-13 19:55:19

Let us know how you get on. I hope you have a good weekend smile

WillWeBeOk Fri 25-Jan-13 18:52:56

Lots of great advice and support. Thank you everybody. Luckily enough the letter with our paed appointment was waiting for me when I got home smile

salondon Fri 25-Jan-13 14:56:42

Hi Bee

I started off similar to you. My daughter wasnt as "aloof" as you describe however there were othere flags and she was slightly older.

You have some excellent advice. Especially about taking care of yourself. Its a very long draining process and you will need to keep your enthusiasm and energy levels up. And remember, you might be wrong and 'others' might be right! Is dad seeing the same issues as you? In my case, the biggest roadblock was convincing my husband that our child needs urgent, intensive intervention.

Keeping a diary of milestones/behaviours along with sensory integration will be an excellent start. Did this happen all of a sudden? If yes, have you introduced any new foods?

Your health visitor should refer you to portage. Even if they dont come around too quickly, speak to your GP about this. My GP was the first professional to spot that my daughter isnt look him in the eye (in an unrelated appointment).

All the best

BeeMom Fri 25-Jan-13 14:03:11

I can hear your fear - and whether or not it is legitimate (I am not saying it is or is not, but it sounds as if some people in RL have dismissed you out of hand - and that just makes it worse) you need to remember one thing...

You can't help her if you are not caring for yourself. You are being drawn into your fears - and while they are very real, they are not everything. If she is not interacting with you, who is? Is her father in the picture? Do you have supportive family or friends? What are you doing for yourself?

I recall that you mentioned there had been concerns raised about PPD for you - are you receiving any treatment or support from a HV? If there is even the tiniest bit of PPD, your current situation is bound to make it worse. Please understand, I am not saying that what you are reporting is not real or not that bad because you have PPD - quite the opposite - what I am saying is that your ability to care for yourself emotionally because you are trying so very hard to get appropriate support for your DD might be what is suffering.

You are very welcome here. Please keep the lines of communication open. We are always here to listen and contribute (but remember, we have all had such varied experience, you might not agree with or like all we have to say - but know we are saying it because we care). Perhaps you will meet someone local who can sit with you for a cup of tea and hold your beautiful DD. Maybe they can even let you know what they feel based on their own experience - ease your fears, or help you feel more confident that you are fighting exactly the right battles.

As for Portage - yes, there is a wait list, but it is not just first come first served, each child/family on the list is weighted. Not only that, but you cannot move up through the list without actually being ON the list. Make the call - the absolute worst they can say is "you are at the bottom of the list".

Honks and hugs flying your way from "across the pond"

MareeyaDolores Fri 25-Jan-13 13:28:33

And you can buy her affections by pairing yourself with all her favourite things: try this zip website for starters

MareeyaDolores Fri 25-Jan-13 13:24:15

She does know you're there. It is having an impact when you continue to love her, follow her (very minimal) cues, work to give her joy in life. She just can't respond in a 'language' which you are able to understand (yet).

For what it's worth, I think that the very reason she is "ignoring" you now, while still responding to strangers is exactly because you are her familiar, comforting, loving, special mummy. Who she can rely on, who she knows well enough to predict, who will stay even if she doesn't bother to entertain you. You're an essential part of her... and who bothers to look and see if their own right arm is in the room with them grin

There's very good advice above about entertaining and teaching babies who aren't good at interacting intentionally. I'd add that you should carry on co-sleeping, think about a sling, and enjoy as many skin to skin sleepy cuddles as you can get. I read this when ds was tiny and was distraught cos he appeared to do those things with others, much better than with me (novelty value, their hairline or left eyebrow was more interesting grin). But he did genuinely know my smell, and the feel of my cheek on his head, and this made me feel better.

Get the obvious things checked.. eyes, hearing, because even a minor difficulty can make a difference at her age and they need to be ruled out as a cause for her lack of interaction even if you are pretty sure they are fine.

My DS2 was EXACTLY how you describe.. only it was from birth, and I understand how totally scary and awful it is. All I wanted was for DS2 to look at me. He looked past, or at my hairline, but never made eye contact and it was heartbreaking... nearly 16 years later I still find small babies slightly upsetting because when I see them smile and reach for their mum I remember how mine didn't..
BUT you will get through this and keep going because you have to. It's so hard at first because no one will diagnose a baby, but like you I KNEW something was very wrong (DS2 was my 4th as well so had lots to compare) and gradually as the referrals started and Portage followed etc it became clearer.

For us, rough and tumble touch was the only thing that brought him into our we did lots. I forced my attention on him even though he neither sought it or wanted it, in fact he actively rejected it.
It was worth it though because around about age 2 he started to be in our world more, and while yes he is an autistic learning disabled teen now..he's also loving, very affectionate , makes eye contact and is a fabulous young man.


PrinceRogersNelson Fri 25-Jan-13 12:59:05

I remember your last thread. I am so sorry I can almost hear the panic in your voice.

I have been where you are. With a baby who just didn't respond. I remember she would wake up from her nap and I would wait outside her door and take a deep breath and walk in with a big smile on my face and get - nothing. Just a blank look. It makes parenting lonely and worrying and hard.

Can you think of one way in the last few days/weeks that you have 'connected' with her. I know my DD loved touch so I would hug - a lot. For me as much as her.

It is hard to keep up the love when you get nothing back. I understand that.

Do you have any idea when you are going to the pead?

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 25-Jan-13 10:56:08

I would also still get a hearing test done. She might be able to hear the fridge, but there could still be a deficit in some of the ranges. Talking ranges are very different to other sounds.

Badvoc Fri 25-Jan-13 10:52:33

Has she had a hearing test op?
Sight test?
I am sorry you are so worried but completely understand.
We were told at various times when ds1 was a baby that he would be deaf and blind.
He isn't.
He is fine, just had significant developmental delay.
But I well remember the worry and stress.
So have a look into signing. X

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 25-Jan-13 10:52:20

Just saw your last post. Poor you. You sound so frustrated and worried.

She doesn't need to be able to imitate to learn to sign. You need to offer her something she REALLY wants (even if it contains stupid amounts of sugar) and as quickly as you can sign 'more', then get her hands and bring them together, then give her what she wants WITHOUT DELAY.

After a while of doing this (but whilst she is still VERY keen on what you are giving her) watch her carefully, and when her hands start to accidently come together give her exactly what whe wants and offer praise. They may get nowhere near each other initially. In fact, if all she does is put them up, she gets what she wants.

As you go on you can get more and more fussy about what exactly her hands do before she gets what she wants. Iintermittently show the sign (even if she'd not looking at you) and intermittently bring her hands together yourself.

If you have someone with you, you can get them to stand behind her and bring her hands together every time, and gradually lessening the pressure, or waiting for her to start and finishing it off for her, or starting her off and seeing how far she gets at bringing her hands together iyswim.

My ds was dx with moderate to severe autism and he could sign for more at 7months despite never looking at me and always trying to 'get away' from me.

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 25-Jan-13 10:43:17

'enjoy your baby and forget your worries'

Oh ffs. What are you going to say to her in the future if she does have some difficulties 'I'm sorry I didn't get you any help, I was busy enjoying your babyhood!'.

You can teach her to sign as soon as she can bring her hands together (can she clap?). That can be a window and way in. Start with 'more' at mealtimes, and for tickles etc.

Also, once you have got her signing for 'more' get the Hanen More that Words. The early stages in that book are useful even for a young baby.

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