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High needs babies - does anyone know when it gets easier?
48

Chickz · 01/10/2014 07:52

Hello. My dd is one years old and has been high needs from birth. She cries and cries and cries. She had a bit of reflux and colic when she was little but the Drs and hv conclude that there's actually nothing wrong with her. She is just high needs and has a difficult temperament. Anything sets her off, new environment, visitors, frustration at not being able to walk, dislikes nappy and clothing changes. She has cried and whinged almost all of her waking hours. Her sleep is ok but she gets up at 5am so that is also breaking me.
DH and I have been through hell this past year. And we are wondering when it's going to end. We have been so so patient and keep trying to be positive but I'm not sure how much more we can deal with. We give all the time and love in the world but nothing is ever enough to stop her crying. I've even tried food elimination diets to see if its anything to do with what she's eating but after a month of cutting out all of the top allergens, there was no difference.
It seems so unfair that others have such easy babies. We are generally confined to the house most of the time but sometimes do risk a baby group, going for lunch or visitor outing but its so hard dealing with a whingey crying baby when out and about.
I literally have tried everything. Baby massage, a strict routine, you name it.
But nothing works as its her temperament that is the issue.
I'm drained, losing the will to live.
I have family that come round once a week to help so that's something. But other than that I just pray and hope and pray that things will get better. Maybe when she's walking? I don't know.
Anyone had any similar experiences? Can you offer me some hope?

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LionWings · 01/10/2014 07:57

It sounds like there is something going on to me. Are you sure the reflux was resolved? How did the GP decide there was nothing wrong?

A baby just shouldn't cry all the time.

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stargirl1701 · 01/10/2014 08:00

I came in your thread to say we saw a big difference from 11 months. DD1 is now 24 months and a very contented toddler.

Could it be CMPI?

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tiredowl · 01/10/2014 10:15

Things were tough for us for first year, but did gradually get better during that time, and dd had pretty much chilled out by 15 months. Now is a very relaxed and happy 2yo, rarely cries or tantrums, sleeps really well. Complete about turn!
What worked for us was cranial osteopathy, started at 4 months and it was so good we quite a few sessions in the end - each time she had treatment there was a very noticeable improvement.
I also decided not to fight the 'high needs' - ness. DD screamed if put down day or night, so I just mainly used sling in the day, lots of time on the sofa, and coslept at night. You've probably tried all this stuff already, and I only have experience of my one and so the issues might have been very different, but it did get better, just when I was thinking it never would ... Thanks

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sunnydaylucy · 01/10/2014 10:36

Oh OP I feel for you. DD2 was like this, I couldn't put her down EVER! It was so tiring & upsetting. You sound like you have lots of patience (more than I did).
As others have said it does get better, it was around 18months for me when DD was able to fully communicate (talked early but didn't walk until 20months). Even my amazing MIL, who had had 5 DC's admitted she was hard work (she doubted me until she offered to look after her 1 day a week!).
I was back at work 2 days a week when DD was 5 months old and boy was I ready to go back.
DD is now 10, she is so lovely, great sense of humour & very independent, much more so than my other DD's.
I did have another DD after her, she was easy!!
Good luck, you are doing brilliantly.

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Millie3030 · 01/10/2014 14:45

I feel for you, my DS was like this up to 12/13 months but has chilled out a bit. When he couldn't crawl it was an absolute nightmare he would just scream and scream in frustration about not being able to move closer to this or that. Nursery I think has mellowed him out a bit, and even visited my first toddler group today and he was great.

It does feel so unfair when other babies are so chilled and relaxed, you feel like saying to the mum, "you have it so easy, you have no idea!!" But you can't.

When does the crying usually stop, it can't be literally all day, so when is she happy for 5/10 minutes? After a sleep? After a big dinner? In the bath? Pushed in the pushchair?

It will get easier and easier, she isn't going to be crying all day when she is 6 for example and will be at school most of the day from 4/5 years old and there aren't children crying all day there, so think worse case scenario you have a fussy/high needs LO for another few years. But, with each stage of development it gets easier, when they can walk, when they can talk, when they can tell you what they want, what hurts etc.

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TheBookofRuth · 01/10/2014 14:54

IME, once she could communicate effectively. Being able to tell me what was wrong and what she wanted/needed seemed to make a big difference.

But I really feel for you, that first year with DD was hell.

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adrianna22 · 01/10/2014 15:15

Op, I was feeling this the other day. I stayed in my room after I took DS to school and I just laid there and cried my eyes out.

My DS is 4, can only say 20 single words plus has ASD.

I was speaking to a friend about this and she was just telling me that you know what, every child is different. The love for your child is greater than the disappointment ( I don't know if that's the right word). So work on that disappointment and use that love for your child to help him.

The only way I moved on.. Or am moving on. Is just to accept the way Your child is. It's the same child you gave birth to, nothing has changed apart from the fact you known your child has needs.

Try not to compare your child to other kids, because this will just keep getting you down. Take one step at a time and work on your child's needs, refer her to some specialist help.

You will get there, I promise.

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Chickz · 01/10/2014 21:08

Thanks everyone I guess I keep on hanging in there.

Lion wings- definately does not have reflux, got none of symptoms. No offence but in my situation you have literally researched everything and been to Drs umpteen times. There is no medical condition.

She does have mild cmpi and has special milk. But she's out growing it as she now has small amounts of cows milk with no reaction to get skin or poo which is how it was detected in the first place.

Ok she doesn't cry all the time. She's happy in bath, when she's out for walks and when she's being walked around with me or DH holding her hand. But I can't put her down without crying. She's not even happy sat on my lap.

She's had cranial osteopathy - had about 8 sessions but we saw no improvement so we gave up.

I've tried to accept her for who she is but there are times when I just hate her. I can't enjoy her, there is always a dark cloud at home.

I really hope things will get better. I guess I'm just running out of patience. It really gets you down especially when I see other mums with their babies looking so relaxed. I'm forever anxious and even hate having friends round anymore as I'm trying to deal with a crying baby rather than socialising and getting to chat.

But it seems as if there are others out there who have gone through similar and your posts are encouraging given how things have improved for you all and the positive turn around. Maybe I'll be rewarded with a really happy and easy toddler!

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Justgotosleepnow · 01/10/2014 21:31

Hi op I really feel for you. My dd was similar. 17mo now and I'm finally having fun! She can walk & talk and can communicate with me it's great.
Her sleep is awful but luckily I'm still bf so a quick feed and she's back to sleep.

Today I was able to clear up the kitchen while she did colouring in at a little table in the kitchen. First time ever! She wasn't clingy or crying. Phew, I have waited a long time for today.

Yes I also feel short changed on the 'easy baby' front. Don't get me started on the friends & family who blame me and just don't believe me Confused

Good you've tried osteo. Pity it didn't help tho. Maybe try a different osteo on recommendation? They might have a different style/ approach.

My house has really suffered, it's really dusty now yuk. I've now arranged to leave my dd with a good friend 1 day a week. Just so I can 'get on' at home. Luckily my husband is a good cook & mega supportive - he still does all the evening meals. Even tho I'm a sahm, coz how do you cook with a screaming clinging baby? I can't leave her to scream. So either he cooks or we starve.

I'm reading the dr sears fussy baby book. It's spot on, lots of good info in it. Basically he's a proponent of attachment parenting. Ie your baby NEEDS you and can tell you this (loudly). Have you tried using a sling? It's basically a lovely cuddle for the baby Smile

And all the old people I talk to (and whinge she's high maintenance) tell me that's better in the long run coz they turn into really smart kids and thoughtful. This I can believe. My dd at 17mo has about 60 words & lots of sentences. I think this is partly due to me talking to her about everything, as that kept me sane when she was being fussy.

You are not alone.
Some babies are harder work.
It does get easier.
You will have fun.

Also, you sound a bit depressed. There's no harm in going on antidepressants for a short while.
And you need a break! Is there any way you can have a day a week off?
I'm feeling more upbeat, coz my arrangement, even though it's not started yet. (Just a massive to do listGrin)

Good luck, hope some of this has been helpful. Come back and update us on how you are getting on Thanks

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Superworm · 01/10/2014 21:38

DS has CMPA and soy allergies and is a complete high needs nightmare if he has either. Even traces of through my breastmilk. Have you ruled out soy?

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FuleNo · 01/10/2014 21:45

I'd second trying Dr Sears books. There is a website too for some quick ideas. I had a short stage of this kind of crying with mine and it was exhausting and stressful.
In the end I found all that helped was daytime slinging, cosleeping for naps and at night and bf. I don't know if that is attachment parenting or not but it worked for us. Good luck OP hope you find something helpful for you and your baby soon.

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littleducks · 01/10/2014 21:46

My high needs baby is finally getting better at just turned 1. He is walking confidently now though which is part of it I think.

Interestingly he also has some kind of milk intolerance. He is dairy free (or at least we do our best) and still bfed with coconut milk on cereal and things.

He seems to like nursery and really enjoyed toddler group today. He is horrid if we stay in the house all day. It sounds pfb-ish (despite him being dc3) but I swear he gets bored Blush

I carried him in a moby type wrap alot when he was small. Im thinking of getting some kind of sling for on my back so I can make dinner and things with him having the physical contact he seems to need so much at that time of the day.

Hang in there, I think you are nearly at the bot where it gets a bit easier.

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realitygone · 01/10/2014 21:46

I was hoping to click on here and see a magic solution.

I have a high needs baby too.. she is currently 20 months, has slept all night a handful of times. Cries / shouts / moans about EVERY SINGLE tiny little thing. Her sock being on, her sock being off, looking at her, touching her, not picking her up, picking her up.

every single bloody day is a battle, she had reflux very very severe and was in hospital for months when she was born, had a bowel operation at 8 weeks and only crawled at 16 months old so has quite a large development delay. We attend physio for that - which she cries about.

I often get to the end of the day thinking I wish a few years wojld fast forward as surely it will get better.

the only way that you will be able to keep your sanity is to accept it. Your baby is only going to change over time.. you won't know when but at some point within the next few years this time will be a blur.

Anyone who has not lived with a high needs baby will never ever understand exactly what it is like, I totally feel your pain.

Hugs xxx

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snottagecheese · 01/10/2014 21:47

Oh you poor thing, I know EXACTLY how you feel, I really do. Our DD was so similar, just massively hard work for what felt like ages. She had silent reflux which we didn't realise until she was 3 months and though she got better once she started treatment she was Hard. Work. Cried at so much, got frustrated at everything, I used to always be anxious when going anywhere with her other than good friends' houses - baby groups, supermarkets, public transport, cafes/restaurants... you name it, I'd be in a permanent state of high alert, waiting for her to start wailing (she rarely let me down).

Worse, she too woke at 5-5.30am, plus often multiple times in the night, too. We saw all manner of health professionals, I trawled websites, forums... there was nothing wrong with her. It was just the way she was. I was jealous and upset about how easy other mothers (parents) had it - they just didn't realise what it was like.

However... walking, then talking made a big difference. And as others have said, the more they grow and develop, the happier they get. In my DD's case, and quite probably in yours, I think she was just frustrated at being so unable to communicate, or to do the things she wanted to do - move about, reach things she wanted, explain what was on her mind, and so on. By the time she was 3 I realised that things were a lot easier, but that was a gradual process, no overnight change, so I don't meant you have another 2 years to wait before you see any improvement!

If you look back on this in 3 months you'll hopefully recognise that things are a bit better, then in 6 months that they definitely are. Then in another 6 months, and so on. Hang in there - it's not easy but those memories do fade quickly (something I really didn't believe at the time). DD is nearly 6 now and she is still a very stubborn, tenacious, sometimes infuriating individual, and still harder work than many of her peers. But dealing it with it is so much easier when you can actually have a conversation.

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realitygone · 01/10/2014 21:48

P.s... she also won't drink cows milk or formulas (never has) so she drink alpro soya infant milk. It has a giraffe on the front and is the only thing she will have.

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CountBapula · 01/10/2014 21:56

My DS1 was like this. He's 4 now and still pretty high maintenance, tbh. He had a 45-minute tantrum today because I wouldn't let him watch a YouTube video Shock

I thought I was a total failure as a parent until I had DS2, who's sweet and cuddly and just sits on my lap and chuckles all day and has lovely long naps. Just goes to show they're all different and it's not down to your parenting.

DS1 can be a total PITA but he is super-confident, articulate, smart as a whip, funny and very beautiful, so he gets away with it just

The first year of his life was one of the hardest years of mine.

Hang in there. I just read on another thread, 'Every bad day is one day closer to them leaving home' which made me chuckle despite myself Grin

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Chickz · 01/10/2014 21:58

I've got the dr sears book which is a good read. It has reassured me that it's not anything that I'm doing. But there are still days when I question myself. I know it's just but supposed to be like this.
I'm on anti depressants, have been since the beginning of the year. They help a bit but not much.

I tried ruling out soy along with wheat, egg, all dairy, gluten. Tried eliminating for 4 weeks. But no change. Plus she was like this before she was weaned and there's no way she was getting any allergens from me as she wasn't breast fed because of her cmpi.
As I said, I have family round once a week. I leave them with dd and go upstairs or go out for a couple of hrs. She cries alot with them too but i get a break and they enjoy time with her!
I do batch cooking every weekend. Basically cook around 3-4 meals then put in freezer. So that helps alot. DH has dd then.
And DH is really good, takes her out on Sunday for a couple of hrs to give me a break.
We have a sling. She's in that sometimes and it's 50:50 as to whether she's happy in it or not.
So basically I think I'm doing everything to help the situation but still it's really really hard. Listening to crying does not get any easier at all.
I just hope things get easier soon as else I'm not sure what else I have to try.

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PacificDogwood · 01/10/2014 22:02

It is so hard - sympathy from me.

DS1 was my high needs/fussy baby; he screamed for the first year of his life - or so it seemed.
He was v thoroughly investigated for lactose intolerance, CMPI, reflux etc, he had every treatment known to man incl cranial osteopathy yadda yaddy - nothing made a difference.

He is now 11.6 and a very bright, pre-teen - he is still highly strung at times and can be anxious, but is very sensible person who is a joy to have around.
I now understand what life was like for him as a baby so much better - he startled easily and panicked at the drop of a hat: hence the needing to be held all the time, the unputdownablenss, the little sleep he got, the screaming.

I kind of wish I had not tried so hard to find a way to 'fix him', but just followed his lead and frigging held him all the time rather than listening to my mum/HV/DH/my own doubts that 'something must be wrong with him'.

I found Dr Sear's The Fussy Baby Book invaluable.

Good luck, keep on keeping on, accept you have all the help you might be offered and remind yourself frequently that This Too Shall Pass.
Thanks

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PacificDogwood · 01/10/2014 22:04

Oh, btw, the sling worked well with my DS but only as long as I walked with him in it - proper purposeful strides.

DS2 followed 1 year later and was the most chilled, easy baby every in spite of having been 9 weeks premature and had to teach us that he wanted to be put down and not held all the bloody time! Grin

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sleepdodger · 01/10/2014 22:32

I was you
Try cranial osteopathy loads of people think it's woo and it's expensive but I hada more chilled baby for a few hours after each session which was pure good to the grizzle and noise
Exercise saved my sanity-I walked miles with a grizzly child when notice doesn't matter and the air helps your mind
Go back for silent reflux review- different to actual reflux
Google the children's sleep charity they were amazing and will advise you
It will pass although you may always have a highly strung child like me but they're funny strong willed and will never suffer fools I think of him as dramatic and fabulousGrinSmileGrin

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TheBookofRuth · 01/10/2014 22:53

It does get easier, it honestly, truly does.

As I said earlier, the first 12 months with my DD were hell, months 10 and 11 in particular had me in despair - then it just suddenly started to improve. Not overnight, or all at once, but the number of good days/nights gradually started to outweigh the bad, until I looked at her one day and realised: "my god - you're a delight!"

She really is, too - sweet, funny, clever, lively, incredibly gentle and loving with her baby brother. Her temper tantrums are the stuff of legends, but she doesn't have them any more than any other two year old, and because she's so vocal she can usually at least explain what's caused them.

And her baby brother is a completely different baby - sleeps a lot, and when awake just burbles happily on his play mat while I get stuff done. He's a sweetie, and sooooo easy - yet I've done nothing differently. It made me feel better to realise it wasn't any failing on my part as a parent, it's just how DD was.

Hang in there, it gets better.

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blueshoes · 01/10/2014 22:53

I had 2 high needs babies and because of that, I am never having any more. My 2 are now 11 and 8 years old.

I can tell you it does get easier. When everyone is complaining about how tiring toddlers are, you are thinking this is eaaasy in comparison. With each year, it is easier and easier. Mine are such angels now. I have earned my place in heaven already for the time when they are babies. I never feel guilty because they took so much out of me and dh when they were babies. I work ft and have no guilt. Amazing.

Oh, and use nursery as soon as you can. And go back to work. hth.

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WaxyDaisy · 01/10/2014 22:56

One of mine was like this. Great fun from around 9ish months until about age 3, though still v clingy, but generally contented and sweet. Since starting nursery school and then school it is obvious some of it is personality traits, which then started to present as nervous/anxious/shy. I can already see the teen years will be interesting. Sorry, prob not the answer you wanted. The screaming ended in babyhood, but the challenges never end.

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C6469 · 01/10/2014 23:17

I feel for you, have totally been there. There is hope...

My experience so far
0-1 year mostly hell. Awful. Put everything in, felt like got nothing back.
1-2 yrs much brighter, started nursery part time, helped us both immensely.
2-3 yrs amazing bond, all hard work paying off and more, deep deep love for my child.

Some babies are more work, and people cope with things differently. It is no ones fault and it does get better.

Play the long game, lay the foundations of the relationship you want with your child. Give all the love you can, even when it is the hardest thing to do, even when you are exhausted. You will never regret the time you spend with your children, or the love you give them.

I hope you feel better and that things get easier for you soon x

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CurlyhairedAssassin · 01/10/2014 23:49

Sleep dodger: that's it!! That's the perfect description of these kids when they're older- dramatic and fabulous! That is my 8 year old to a T!

God, I sympathise, OP. Ds was bloody hard when he was your dd's age. Every day I would be thankful when he was in bed. He was as clingy as fuck. Yet didn't even seem 100% happy when he had hold of one part of me (usually my hair which he twiddled constantly).

Someone at My other son's nursery witnessed a meltdown when he was nearly 2 and saw me sigh and probably knew just from my weary expression that he was a nightmare and she told me that her son had been the same and was now a wonderful 5 year old, which gave me a glimmer of hope.

It really DOES get better with each new stage of development - I think these kids are just not happy in their baby stage. I remember Dh saying sheepishly to me "gosh, he's hard to love." Which sounds awful but I knew exactly what he meant. And then you feel guilty for feeling that way, don't you? You put everything in (and sounds like you are being a fantastic mum by trying your best) and you get nothing back! Feels like you're a failure or just rubbish At parenting.

Rest assured, it really isn't you - it's definitely them. (I've got another older son who wasn't like that.) And yes, they do grow out of it bit by bit. Telly can help when they get a bit older (Thomas the tank Engine saved my life!)

My 8 year old now is the best thing ever - seriously wonderful! Lights up the room when he walks in and is so charismatic and funny. Don't get me wrong - he is still dramatic. Wears his heart on his sleeve so you see his bad moods as well as his good moods! But we can bring him out of them with a bit of humour or a cuddle and he's fine again - even laughs at himself at how dramatic he can be!

I often think if he'd been this fabulous when he was a baby he would have been the best baby ever (and I'd have a lot fewer grey hairs!). Only thing is I feel sad to remember the terrible time we all went through and feel cheated of his baby years .

Hang on in there and keep going and she will improve, I promise. Not just improve but become FANTASTIC!

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