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What to do when they're inconsolable?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I know that the important thing is to figure out why they are inconsolable and try to prevent it from happening...

 

But what do you do in the moment?

 

I have my sister's 8 month old nephew, and we've only had him for 2 months and don't have kids of our own (or the Dr. Sears book, just yet) so we're still really trying to figure things out.

 

It's only happened a few times, but last night and for his nap today, he was absolutely unconsolable.  Nothing changed in the routine, dinner, walk, bath, some snuggle and reading time, bottle (he won't sleep without one) then bed. 

 

He went down ok, but a few minutes later was crying and I couldn't console him no matter what I did. Over the course of 2 hours I tried rocking (he didn't want to be held or at least now how I was holding him -tried at the shoulder and the typical nursing positions), massage (tummy, back, legs) but he kept grabbing my arms like he wanted to be held, tried teething tablets, tylenol, diaper check, bed check, temperature check, tried rocking again, tried leaving the room, pacifier, teething rings (he tried to stick the pacifer and teething rings in his mouth at the same time and was screaming the entire time)

 

The only thing that momentarily quieted him was the distraction of seeing the dogs, so I thought about maybe taking him into another room and distracting him for a while but I didn't know if I should.

 

Finally 2 hours later, we were both exhausted and he finally took a juice bottle and he settled down.  He kept waking up every 1-2 hours, so I know something was wrong - teething, gas, I'm not sure what but what I do know is I have no idea what to do in that moment.

 

Do i just keep trying to find a position where he will be held?  Do I take him to do something to distract him?  Should I just sit with him and keep touching him while he tries?  I'm so clueless and I feel so horrible that I don't know how to make him feel better, whatever it is.  Any other suggestions I might not be thinking about?

post #2 of 17
It could have been teething - my second child was very sensitive to that and cried no matter what I did. Tylenol, etc., didn't offer adequate relief for her.

Sometimes you can't fix it and you have to just be thankful you're there to comfort them through it.
post #3 of 17
I would say you do anything that helps-if distracting him works, do that. Sometimes you never discover the reason for it.

Look into some teething remedies, I love hylands tabs, but others may have different suggestions.

Not trying to overshadow your questions, but juice in a bottle is not recommended. Bottles can cause pooling of liquids, which is not good for their teeth, they also drink it too fast which could cause a belly ache. Plus, a baby at that age really doesn't need juice, unless you are giving it for constipation due to formula, in which case I would try extra water first, then juice, but only in a sippy cup.
post #4 of 17

The magic touch for both my babies was always to take them outside.  Even if it's night, step out on the front porch, stick them in the stroller and walk around the block, or even put them in the car and go for a drive (Dr. Sears calls it "freeway fathering").  Motion and fresh air seem to do the trick.  Good luck, it sounds like a challenging situation for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the suggestions.

 

KTProvi, you kind of brought up something that I think really has lead me to the answer I was needing.  I did some more research on freeway fathering.

 

I guess I needed to know that doing anything to break the cycle of hysteria was ok.  People kept suggesting car rides, but he hates his car seat, so I only imagined him becoming more hysterical.  But he loves his stroller and his walks, and he loves the outdoors and I'd considered those things just to break the sobbing cycle, but so many people keep telling me not to 'reward' his crying.   

 

Of course, this sounds absolutely ridiculous to me, he's not fussing and being grumpy, he was downright miserable for whatever reason, and I just want to help him through it.  Plus if they're having a hard time, you don't want to keep them up later... but then again if they're going to have a long night of crying themselves to sleep, they're going to be up later anyway. 

 

Next time, I will take him out of his room, and maybe out of the house for a distraction.  Then, when he catches his breath and feels comfortable again, maybe then we can try to transition into sleep time - slow dancing, rocking, etc.

 

I know all moms must question themselves, but since we've only had him for a very little while - I feel like I'm absolutely clueless.  People say to listen to your intuition, but it's really difficult to do that when a dozen people tell you that it's wrong.

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by IzzyTheTerrible View Post

 

 

I guess I needed to know that doing anything to break the cycle of hysteria was ok.  People kept suggesting car rides, but he hates his car seat, so I only imagined him becoming more hysterical.  But he loves his stroller and his walks, and he loves the outdoors and I'd considered those things just to break the sobbing cycle, but so many people keep telling me not to 'reward' his crying.   

 

 


It's absolutely ok! You aren't "rewarding his crying", you're comforting a tiny, vulnerable, frightened/in pain person. I know you already know that but you said you needed to know that it was ok smile.gif

 

I don't know if you have an exercise ball or not but one thing which worked for us sometimes was to bounce her on the ball. Either sitting on it ourselves hand holding her over our shoulder or laying her, face down over the ball and gently bouncing it.

 

Does he enjoys baths? A bath can also help sometimes, if they generally enjoy them.

 

It sounds like you're doing a great job. Be kind to yourself. Most people have had 8 months to get to know their baby by now, you've only had 2.

 

post #7 of 17

Things we've tried:

Exercise ball (this one was GREAT!)

Holding tight

Not holding tight

singing

walking/rocking

going outside

changing the lighting

changing his position

bicycle legs (this can help with gas)

cold wet baby washcloth in the mouth for a different sensation (teething)

 

Someone said or I read somewhere that sometimes when you've got babe in arms and babe is crying and you've checked everything as much as you can... sometimes four or five minutes of crying is a huge energy release to a baby.  I don't ever want my lo to cry if I can help it, but when I can't, sometimes I do notice that he blows himself out in my arms after a few minutes and being a soft warm friendly loving envelope for him in his distress is all I can do and that he will come back to me.  It has happened a few times and I noticed how tired he was afterwards.

 

Good luck!!!

post #8 of 17

I woke up at 3 am thinking about this baby!

 

Again, you are NOT "rewarding his crying" - you are COMFORTING him.  This is the best thing you could do.  If your best friend was hurt and in pain, would people tell you to ignore her? No! This is human instinct, to nurture.

 

Do you have a sling or a baby carrier, like an Ergo baby carrier?  I'm sure this little guy is missing his mother.  Wearing him in a sling or Ergo will make him feel secure, cozy, and safe.  He will hear your heartbeat (like the womb) and bond with you.  Also, your walking will be rythmic and comforting, as well as singing to him.

 

Ergos are expensive, but you can find them used online.  I really think if you put him in an Ergo or a sling, sang to him and walked (inside or out), he would settle down.  (give it a minute when you first put him in).  Good luck!

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Oh gosh, I wish I could carry him around!  He's already 25 pounds which I believe is the max for the slings, and I have herniated discs anyway.  I could have probably gotten away with it when he was little.

 

I happen to have an excerise ball somewhere (we just moved a few weeks ago), so when I find it I'll have to try that out.  I've seen that suggestion so many times.

 

Thanks again guys. 

post #10 of 17

This post has been removed due to privacy reasons.


Edited by rainbow_mandala - 11/16/12 at 4:15pm
post #11 of 17

I think you have gotten some very good advice here!  I wanted to reinforce the "rewarding" crying thing.  There is no such thing and over comforting a baby!  Do it!  Do not worry about what others say (which is so hard, isn't it).  You are teaching him that when he calls for you, you will show up.  That's an OK thing for you baby to learn.

 

One thing I have noticed is that my little guy has a huge crying jag like that when he's getting ready to have a milestone.  Any chance he's getting ready to crawl or stand or anything?  Baby A did this a few weeks ago and then 2 days later he had like 25 new words.

 

Also, be sure you take a "crying break" if you need to.  When he's inconsolable like that have you husband sit/rock/walk/whatever with him for a few minutes so you don't lose your mind.  Grab a shower or take a quick walk outside.  Taking care of a baby is hard enough.  Dealing with long crying episodes can be maddening. 

 

grouphug.gif

post #12 of 17

 

   I think it's significant that so many parents

use the word `inconsolable;' a word to me that

connotes grief or deep emotion or feeling that

cannot be softened.  I'm wondering if it would

help the child if the parents tried everything

while also coming to the child with the calm and

purpose they might gather up if they were

approaching a grieving adult. I'm not sure why

babies cry so sometimes.  It seems to be part

of the mystery of life.

   However, I feel it would have helped me and

the baby if I could have come to that child

understanding he or she might actually be

in some emotional torment; inconsolable and

understanding that might center me, cool

impatience and warm my empathy to stay and

just be with it if nothing helps.

  I do not believe in reincarnation yet wonder if

perhaps it has some truth. Is it possible souls

or spirits ending one life and entering a new one

might grieve for the loss of all connection with

the parents they had in that past life? Could a

little one grieve inconsolably for the loss of the

parents of their previous life?  I do not think so

yet the next time I console a crying infant I am

going to hold that possibility in my mind as a

way of being as present as I can be for that

little one.

 

"The most important question in the world is,

'Why is the child crying?'" ~ Alice Walker

 

post #13 of 17

So, this would happen with my daughter sometimes. Two thoughts:

-Could be developmental. When baby is about to make a big leap (starting to crawl, for instance) they sometimes get very restless and hard to settle. 

-Sometimes, trying everything just seems to make baby more upset--at a certain point, once you have tried feeding/diaper/baby tylenol and whatever else, you can just hold baby quietly and let him cry (not the same as crying it out) or take a walk/drive as others have suggested because often motion helps soothe baby. It might even be a stimulation overload from trying too hard to soothe, if that makes sense. 

 

Good luck!

post #14 of 17

was thinking about you and your baby last night and again this morning, my 9.5 month old twins are usually so sweet and calm and for the last week or so they have had a number of spells of falling apart. one is teething his top teeth (so much harder than his bottom 2, those were a cakewalk!) and the other is days of not hours away from crawling. both or completely out of sort and not being calmed by the things that have worked perfectly for months.

 

i just offer my presence and my love and we figure it out together, its been hard. they keep waking each other up so no both are sleep deprived as well.

 

 

i was reminded again how great a walk is for us, my DH came home from work  last night to 2 cranky babies and a really burned out mommy and threw all of us in our coats and we walked 30min to the city center for dinner, i worried that we were setting ourselves up for a stressful hurried diner, but instead both babies calmed down and either relaxed or slept and were happy for the first time all day, the other one slept on the way home and both finally had a good night sleep. Dad was my hero last night.

 

its really easy to be too close to the situation to see another option when you are dealing with crying babies. i didnt even think of a walk, crazy not to in hindsight

post #15 of 17

oh and i just wanted to mention of hte comment you got about the juice and the bottles at night.  folks meen well and they have your best intrests at heart, some of them do not know your full story of love and new motherhood. though i agree water would be way better, this is a pick your battles time for you, a few weeks of something while you figure out bigger issues is not going to do much harm to anything, you can adjust the little things later once you get a better feel for the big picture, you are doing great.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm really overwhelmed by all the amazing advice and kind words.

 

I still haven't found my exercise ball from the move, but I tell you what, we've been taking a LOT of walks.   I started planning them into the day.  Although I'm more physically exhausted, it's mentally less exhausting, because he's instantly quiet when he's placed in the stroller plus I get to introduce him to lots of things while I clear my head.

 

After lots of thinking, I think I've decided that the next time this happens, I'm going to let myself break down and cry with him while I hold him and if that doesn't help, then we're taking a midnight stroll... lol.  I can't help but wonder if being inconsolable is similar to when we work ourselves up. Nothing seems to help when we're so anxious - except distraction.  So if A, B and C doesn't work, and it's just frustrating baby more, then even though D may have done the trick, he's now so worked up from A, B and C that D is useless.    So I'm definitely going to simply remove him, and myself, from the room and do whatever it takes to calm him.  

 

And... if that means adding some juice to his bottle when the plain water doesn't work, I think it'll just have to due for now. 

 

Thank you again, everyone.  

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by IzzyTheTerrible View Post
 I can't help but wonder if being inconsolable is similar to when we work ourselves up. Nothing seems to help when we're so anxious - except distraction.  So if A, B and C doesn't work, and it's just frustrating baby more, then even though D may have done the trick, he's now so worked up from A, B and C that D is useless. 


I think this is very very true.

 

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