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How to cope with a high needs baby who refuses to sleep?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
First time mom here.. I'm having a really hard time enjoying being a mom right now. My baby literally lets me do nothing. She hates all of her 'stations'. She will last a few minutes at best in each one of them before she is crying to be held. She hates tummy time. She doesn't nap. I just spent the past 4 hours trying everything I could think of to get her to take a nap and she would not sleep for anything. I am not all about CIO or letting her try and self-soothe.. She is only 6.5 months old. but really I don't know what to do. Sometimes I feel like just letting her cry but I can't, I haven't done that once since she was born. I am losing it though. I need some advice, how can I possibly get anything done with a high needs baby? She's not happy unless she is being rocked, that really is the only time she's content.

Help, help, help!!!
post #2 of 23
have you tried a baby carrier? my lo will take two hour naps if i put him in one, and lots of babies like being in them while awake too.
post #3 of 23
My first was exactly like your LO. It was a rough first year. I second the idea of a great baby carrier like a soft structured carrier or a mei tai. When I wanted DD1 to nap/chill/takle a break, I'd pop her in the carrier and go for a long walk (outside, at a mall, in a bookstore, etc). It helped me not obsess over her so much, and she would usually nap opr chill in the carrier.
Good luck!
~maddymama
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
I didn't start out 'babywearing' and haven't really done it at all this entire time. I tried the backpack thing, she didn't like that. Can you buy a baby carrier at any store? What specific kind do you recommend? I really will buy one if you think 6.5 months isn't too late to start, I will go buy one tomorrow. I need SOMETHING. Anything!
post #5 of 23
i've had to get all of mine online, but some brick and morter stores carry them. you might try a specialty/boutique type store. if you know of a place that sells cloth diapers, they might sell carriers too.

i definitely don't think it's too late to start. i have a beco butterfly II (a soft structured carrier) that i like. i also use a mei tai, which is also comfortable. babyhawk mei tais are very poular. you can wear both types on your front or back. some mei tais have really wide straps so it's more comfortable wearing older babies, but i can't think of any brands off the top of my head.

this forum might be helpful to you:

http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/f...splay.php?f=48

that website also has tons of reviews you can check out, as well as a fsot board if you don't want to pay full price for a carrier.

the biggest advice i have is to keep moving once you put her in! dance, sway, walk, bounce (do you have an exercise ball?). just keep moving! once she falls asleep/settles down you can probably sit down, at least until she stirs. the magic combo for my little man is a pacifier, carrier, and movement.

good luck!
post #6 of 23
How does she do in the car? My baby is pretty high needs as well, but tends to do better when we are out and about. We go to the zoo, playgroups with baby friends, shopping, the park with big brother...she is a much happier baby when she gets out during the day, and I'm a happier mommy too. And then she takes better naps, which mean better nighttime sleep too.

She gets really fussy just hanging out at home, and isn't crawling yet, so she gets frustrated sitting on the floor. Last night DH just walked around the house with her in a Beco carrier for about an hour, and she was happy as a clam. I need to learn how to do a back carry so I can do that and get things done with her - pacing around the house drives me crazy, LOL. I'd rather either be sitting down, or up doing things. But DH doesn't mind the pacing, so it works out.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lacrymosa View Post
First time mom here.. I'm having a really hard time enjoying being a mom right now. My baby literally lets me do nothing. She hates all of her 'stations'. She will last a few minutes at best in each one of them before she is crying to be held. She hates tummy time. She doesn't nap. I just spent the past 4 hours trying everything I could think of to get her to take a nap and she would not sleep for anything. I am not all about CIO or letting her try and self-soothe.. She is only 6.5 months old. but really I don't know what to do. Sometimes I feel like just letting her cry but I can't, I haven't done that once since she was born. I am losing it though. I need some advice, how can I possibly get anything done with a high needs baby? She's not happy unless she is being rocked, that really is the only time she's content.

Help, help, help!!!
I second getting a baby carrier. Olivine has gone in and out of liking different ones. She pretty much only liked the Moby and Hotsling in the beginning. Now she'll be in a Mei Tai or the Ergo (she didn't like either until at least 5mo). The Ergo is by far the most comfortable carrier that I own, so I'm glad that she's finally big enough to use it. If you don't have a store that sells carriers in your neighborhood then order one online. Get a Mei Tai or Ergo, they're the best.
post #8 of 23
You can even just use a regular piece of fabric. Instructions for various wraps using a simple piece of cloth (SPOC) can be found at wearyourbaby.com.
post #9 of 23
maya wrap sells a mei tai ("maya tai") with really wide straps. it's like having the comfort of a wrap with the ease of a mei tai. they have them on their website, on sale even in the outlet section. i love mine.

i like the mei tai suggestion b/c it seems the easiest type carrier to do back holds with and therefore the easiest to really just "go about your day. (although i haven't tried yet....but i can never really function like normal with my babe in a front hold...too hard on the back and she gets in the way. it's on my list of things to do)
post #10 of 23
I SO know what you are going through right now and i am so sorry! my very high needs DD would sleep for 20 minutes at a time and was not entertained by anything while awake for more than a few minutes, either. The Ergo and Moby were my saviors, (first moby, then ergo!) i wore her in front facing out(she was happier seeing what was going on) in the moby for as long as i could. i remember the first time she played with toys for about 15 or 20 minutes while i dried my hair near by...i was so thrilled i called everyone i knew! DD hated car seats, but once she was asleep she'd stay that way longer in the car, so driving naps with a coffee for momma were a nice occasional (not so eco-friendly, but much needed) reprieve. she also loved "naked time". i'd put her on a chux pad w/o a diaper and for some reason she'd play and stay content longer that way. it is an exhausting job being the momma of a high needs baby. not one that many other people fully get. especially when you are so commited to mothering in the way that you have chosen. good for you and you will not regret the time you have invested! BTW, my DD is now almost 18 mo's, still high needs, but sleeps a lot better!
post #11 of 23
you should definitely try a baby carrier. for both of my sons, when they wouldn't take naps, i would put them on my back in a babyhawk and then walk around for a while and they would just pass out. then i would sit on the bed and untie the babyhawk and lay them on my bed and they would always take the best naps. they both slept better when i "wore them to sleep" than when i nursed them to sleep. it also worked if i wore them on my front, i just preferred my back so i could walk around and clean while they nodded off.

http://www.babyhawk.com

we also used wraps but the babyhawk was easier to take off without waking the baby.

i hope you find something that works. good luck mama!
post #12 of 23
I would say a baby carrier and also a baby hammock for naps. The swinging motion might also help her for when you have to do things that simply prohibit the carrying of a baby.

I loved my Mei tai and because I lived in a foreign country and finding them at the store or importing one was impossible, I just made one...it was SUPER easy.

Basically a square/rectangle of fabric with a a strap across the top and one across the bottom. I made my strap with a four or five inch nylon sort of seatbelt like material that I found at the hardware store, and then I covered it in the fabric I was using (I used an old pair of jeans for the straps and sides and embellished it with some pretty chinese inspired satin I had laying around in my sewing basket) then I sewed that through the bottom and top of the square.

I don't know if that was clear, but it really was super easy...of course if your baby won't let you put her down for a little while, it might just be easier to buy one
post #13 of 23
what's working for me at the moment (subject to change at a moments notice) is i lay my 6 month ds in the swing up in his room set on the highest setting next to some LOUD white noise (humidifier on full blast) with blackout curtains on the windows.....he went from taking 20 min naps to napping about 1 hour.

good luck!
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan'smom View Post
what's working for me at the moment (subject to change at a moments notice) is i lay my 6 month ds in the swing up in his room set on the highest setting next to some LOUD white noise (humidifier on full blast) with blackout curtains on the windows.....he went from taking 20 min naps to napping about 1 hour.

good luck!
Oh yeah! White noise!

We used a hair drier set on hi on the cool setting. It put him to sleep like a charm every time...he slept for 2 hours in the day time and 10+ hours at night. Without it he slept for about 30 minutes.

We also had blackout shutters in all the bedrooms...GOD I miss those!
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post
Oh yeah! White noise!

We used a hair drier set on hi on the cool setting. It put him to sleep like a charm every time...
May I also suggest a Duster Buster

Otherwise to the original poster I would also reccomend the baby wearing. My son is not keen on any of my carriers for a long period of time but I just switch them around during the day and he's fine with that (ScootaBaby, Beco Butterfly, Balboa Sling, Kelty).

One important change I made was to take my baby into our bed. He just was not getting enough sleep in his co-sleeper, even though he was just a foot away. He would thrash around, swaddling helped but he disliked it so much.
Since he never had very restful night sleep, it was even more difficult to get him to nap during the day as he was overtired. Once he began to sleep in our bed he slept like a log. He still wakes to nurse but then back to sleep, barely moves, so unlike his days of flopping around like a fish out of water in his co-sleeper.

I noticed within days a much calmer, happier baby once he began sleeping in our bed. His napping in the day increased considerably. He was just a calmer baby and he's so smiley now that he is well rested!

'Sleep begets sleep' .... my friend Dianne, mom of four, coined that phrase and it was the best advice I ever received.
post #16 of 23
I'm a first time mom with a high needs 4 month old. I have had lots of trouble with naps, too. My DS hates to be in a carrier, so that didn't work for us. I can only get him to take 30 minute naps, but it's better than nothing. The only way that I can do it is to put him in a swing. But, I can't just put him in there and walk away. I actually have to push the swing a little to get his head moving a bit. And, I have to do it until he falls asleep. Then, it's half an hour all to myself!

I know it doesn't seem like much, but for someone who spends their entire day entertaining and holding their baby, it's like having a mini vacation!
post #17 of 23
It's never too late to start babywearing. If your baby doesn't like a particular carrier, chances are great that there's a different one or a different position that he/she will like. Ring slings are very versatile.

Also, the Kanoe baby hammock has been a lifesaver for us. Our baby LOVES it. He's 7 months old now, and we've been using it since he was 3 weeks old. Our 3-year-old still fits in the hammock as well, so there's no worry about our baby outgrowing it anytime soon. I don't think I've ever felt so passionately about a piece of baby equipment before (our baby is our fourth).

Good luck!

Lex
post #18 of 23
As well as babywearing, it can help to maximize those "happy few minutes" as much as you can. On rough days I get a surprising amount done by:

- putting her in the exersaucer in the kitchen, with a new (to her) utensil from the drawer. chop veggies for dinner for a couple of minutes until she complains (I usually let the first complaint slide, and respond to the second - buys me a bit more time)
- move to the living room and give her her piano to play with; pick up the living room until she complains
- go through the bedrooms in turn, putting her on the bed with a couple of things to explore. put away laundry, etc., until she complains

the jolly jumper is also a big hit in this house. as is anything new she can explore. A toothbrush, a bead necklace (supervised), spatulas, wooden spoons, an old wallet, etc. Anything new gets thoroughly considered (and tasted) before she gets bored and complains again.
post #19 of 23
I agree that Babyhawk is a good carrier for baby to fall asleep and then to transfer him without waking. I don't have as much success with a wrap or with the Ergo Carrier (but ergo is popular too).

The other thing that MIGHT help with the fussiness is for you to be busy with something while he is right there with you. If he wants to be held, you could hold him while you do it (I often hold my baby while I wash dishes, load and unload laundry, etc...it's hard but doable ;-)), or else let him be on the floor next to you while you are folding laundry, organizing papers, or whatever. I've noticed my baby is always happiest when I'm busy and he is with me, and he doesn't need (or want) to be entertained.

A good book to help with some of this is called the Continuum Concept. Some people say it is harder reading, but it is really interesting and her ideas definitely have helped me to have a more peaceful baby.
post #20 of 23
The Ergo is a sanity saver.
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