or Connect
Mothering › Groups › November 2011 Due Date Club › Discussions › My baby is not "happy".

My baby is not "happy".

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

I try really hard not to worry about things like this and to acknowledge that every child is different.  I have had 3 completely different children now.  BUT, I have a concern...and I cant shake it.

 

My baby is not happy. She does not just cry too much (she does cry all day but that's not it), its nothing like that.  She actually seems unhappy.  She can smile and laugh- we have seen it, and every once in a while we can get her to smile at us.  Its just her general demeanor, its unhappy.  She wont let other people hold her.  She always seems...kind of uncomfortable.  She even cries in her sleep or makes noises like she is always in pain.

 

I know she is sensitive to dairy.  Since I cute dairy out of my diet she has quit the nightly bouts of purple screaming for hours and hours. 

 

I'm just not sure what to do.  With my other children I could always find something that made them comfortable, something that soothed them, or a way to make them smile-  but with this baby, I just cant seem to find these things.

 

I don't know if I need input, or reassurance, but I definitely feel like I need some input from somebody...

post #2 of 46

I kind of feel the same way.  This baby is very gassy and generally unhappy most of the time.  She seems uncomfortable unless she's sleeping and I think she just has cramps all the time.  I'm going to try probiotics to see if that helps her.  My DD1 was such an easy baby...I wasn't prepared for the constant crying this time.  I feel your pain! 

post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 

Maybe we were jaded by easy babies before these ones?  My middle child, my daughter, was the most easy going baby ever.  She never cried, loved to sleep alone, smiled and cooed and laughed all the time. 

post #4 of 46

Hugs, guys. I've only got one babe of my own but I've worked with roughly one billion babies, as a nanny and an Early Intervention Specialist, and I think that they all adjust to the outside world in very different ways. Keep in mind your babies are SO young still. The first few months is an intense adjustment period.

 

I was a nanny to twins from the day they came home from the hospital. Well, I was more like a postpartum doula. 40 hours a week plus a few overnights every week. The twins were a boy and a girl. The girl was SO mellow. Rarely cried, smiled all the time, was easily soothed, etc. All the workings of a very "happy" baby. The boy? Oh man. He SCREAMED like he was in pain, grunted in his sleep, rarely smiled, and generally just acted pissed off all the time.  There were a couple times (with his mom, not with me) that he got so upset he held his breath till he turned blue and had to go to the E.R.

 

I thought of him as an angry, unhappy kid... but that was really just projection on my part.  Once he hit 4 or 5 months, he started to settle down.  He's got a fiery personality, that's for sure, and can be set off when he doesn't get his way -- but he's the happiest little dude I know (he's 2.5 years old now).  He laughs hysterically and is full of joy.  His little sister is still the calm, collected, patient little soul she's always been, but she's no happier than he is (as far as I can tell).

 

I think we project these emotions onto our newborns, and it's not realistic.  We analyze their behavior in this adult-centric way that isn't applicable to them.  They just got born, they're adjusting to their bodies and to the world, and it looks different on every baby.  That's ok!  Give your little ones time to grow into themselves; I seriously doubt they're just "unhappy."  They may not be as demonstrative with their joy as your others were; perhaps they internalize things more.  Maybe they're more observant.  Maybe they express mild discomforts more than other babies do, but that doesn't mean they feel them more acutely -- does that make sense?

 

Well I hope this helped.  Take care, mamas - your babies are lucky to have you!

post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 

Thank you Katie!  You made me feel a lot better.  A lot of it is projection, you are right-  I do have an "idea" of how my baby should be, and she is not fitting into that box at all. 

 

I want her to develop some semblance of an ability to self soothe and feel joy.  But sometimes I feel like we will never get to that point.

post #6 of 46

I felt this way about dd.  I'm not convinced it was entirely her temperament as she did suffer through a year of itching and painful eczema, but I think it was mostly her temperament.  Ds1 was much more mellow and learned to self soothe much quicker than dd and he continues to be a much more mellow guy than her.  Ds2 is too young to analyze at this point, but he seems like he'll be more like ds1 than dd.  FX.  But he still has his crying, seemingly uncomfortable, grunty/squirmy days on end that make me think he is uncomfortable and unhappy, but I think it's just a newborn thing.  I keep saying to dh that I want a fast forward button.  Isn't that horrible?

post #7 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post

I keep saying to dh that I want a fast forward button.  Isn't that horrible?



Haha, that's not horrible, it's just honest.  And totally valid!

post #8 of 46

Yes please be careful of projection. Some babes have a rough transition. My firstborn was like this. Cried a lot. Did not seem happy. I had other people comment on how much he fussed and how little he slept, even those first few days when they are supposed to be sleepy. The first 3 months were rough.

 

Then around month 4, things changed. He still didn't sleep that much (still doesn't at age 4) but he was happy. Laughed and smile a lot. Became content. I started enjoying him a lot more.

 

My other two newborns have been mellow from the start. *shrug*

 

But you know what's funny? That high-needs newborn is now a very mellow intellectual 4-yr-old with the concentration span that rivals any adult. My extremely mellow newborn-daughter is now a very active livewire 2-yr-old that would run and ump and hang all day long singing at the top of her voice.

post #9 of 46


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimee View Post I keep saying to dh that I want a fast forward button.  Isn't that horrible?


Nope. normal!

 

 

post #10 of 46

Completely normal. I felt the same way. I couldn't wait for my now 5 year old son to turn 1 or at least get a little older--he was such a fuss budget. Now he's a loving, sweet, 5 year old that I adore. Hang in there. These are rough waters--some days are better than others. Take breaks when you can, go for a brisk walk to burn off stress, and enjoy a glas of red wine once and a while. winky.gif

post #11 of 46

Gosh, I have felt the same way with Rhyko... and being that he was 7 weeks early the 'newborn' stage seemed to drag on f o r e v e r.... Luckily he started smiling at about 3 weeks adjusted age and now at 4 months (9 weeks adjusted age) he's so much more a 3 or 4 month old baby than he is a little 8 week old and his personality is coming through. Being that he's my first, I don't have anything to compare him to - but I'm just glad those screamy screamy days seem to be behind us. Because, as most of you know from my thread before - Rhyko has been a very fussy baby and I've said on more than one occasion that I think he's an unhappy angry little one. But, I think the girls here are right - I was just projecting adult emotions onto him when he wasn't even capable of displaying them!

 

Hugs!!

post #12 of 46

At what age do babies start being able to self soothe?

 

Reading all about the purple crying has helped me keep emotion at bay a lot more often now when my baby is having her nightly crying fits. I used to hear her screaming and feel such intense emotional pain inside as if I thought I knew what she was feeling, but now I know it's unnecessary. I keep telling myself repeatedly ---- this is normal; just because babies cry, it doesn't mean she's suffering or miserable. It helps to remind myself of that. 


Edited by birdhappy85 - 1/10/12 at 12:57am
post #13 of 46

I think babies can self-soothe to differing degrees and it changes as they develop.  I don't leave Dylan to cry, for sure, but for instance in the car when he gets upset he is *usually* able to just let out a few cries and then find his hand.  

Hobo Mama (an AP blogger) wrote a few helpful posts about some babies' need to just cry for no reason.  http://www.hobomama.com/2011/07/aware-parent-becoming-comfortable-with.html

http://www.hobomama.com/2011/09/on-not-having-ap-poster-child.html

post #14 of 46

I always wonder what other people consider self soothing. If I just have different ideas about babies or what. 

post #15 of 46

Yes, I wonder what this means too..  Like, at what age a child can get upset and calm themselves down with thumb sucking, rocking or some other "soothing" thing?   If that's the case, none of my kids can self soothe, certainly not my baby.  My 8yo still needs reasurance every single time he gets hurt or upset.  None of my kids have taken a paci or sucked their thumbs, so maybe it's different in some babies?  All of my babies have needed some external comforting. 

 

Perhaps people mean, at what age will a baby play alone or entertain themselves?  My babies were all around 4-5mo when they started to enjoy time alone exploring the world.  It started in small chunks and gradually worked up to longer and longer stretches as they gained mobility.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

I always wonder what other people consider self soothing. If I just have different ideas about babies or what. 



 

post #16 of 46

I'm curious, too. Does self soothing mean that once they get upset, they can calm down alone? Heck, I'm not even good at that! lol.gif

 

Jasper is pretty chill as far as not getting upset in the first place. Even in the evenings during his "fussy time," he really doesn't fuss that much. As long as I take him to a quiet, dim room (my room), he's usually content to just lie there and look around. He will even fall asleep sometimes just laying next to me. Sometimes it just takes me holding him. But if he gets going with the crying, he will not stop until he is picked up. I'm talking about in the car mainly. But even then it isn't bad since I have three well trained pacifier holders riding with him most of the time!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraisme View Post

Yes, I wonder what this means too..  Like, at what age a child can get upset and calm themselves down with thumb sucking, rocking or some other "soothing" thing?   If that's the case, none of my kids can self soothe, certainly not my baby.  My 8yo still needs reasurance every single time he gets hurt or upset.  None of my kids have taken a paci or sucked their thumbs, so maybe it's different in some babies?  All of my babies have needed some external comforting. 

 

Perhaps people mean, at what age will a baby play alone or entertain themselves?  My babies were all around 4-5mo when they started to enjoy time alone exploring the world.  It started in small chunks and gradually worked up to longer and longer stretches as they gained mobility.
 



 



Back to the OP: Ash, my first baby was pretty unhappy. She didn't like being held but hated being put down. She rarely slept. She didn't scream all the time or anything, but life just seemed tough for her. This never really changed. By age 4 we had her evaluated by an OT at the recommendation of her play therapist. She was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. I wonder now if she was just bothered by her hypersensitivity and unable to express it. It might be worth a try to keep sensory-type issues in mind: room lighting, noise level, clothing (seems, socks, tags), type of touch (firm rather than light), etc. My dd hated being touched- as soon as she was able, she would push my arm off of her while nursing -so I tried to respect that as much as possible. She would never, ever sleep comfortably while being held. Anyway, just some thoughts for you.

post #17 of 46

I view infant self-soothing as the ability to calm themselves with their own fingers (or whatnot) and that leads to putting themselves to sleep as well using their fingers (or whatnot).  Self soothing looks different in an older child that is dealing with larger issues that are more emotionally based than physically based and I think this type of soothing can take a lot longer to develop.  So while a toddler/preschooler will likely need help to calm him/herself down during emotional turmoil, he/she will most likely be able to put him/herself to sleep at that point.  At least that's my take on things...

post #18 of 46

I don't mean crying as in super upset and then soothing himself.  Certainly not crying-it-out.  But I think D might just be more vocal generally and fusses lightly and then is content.  He's always done it, especially right before falling asleep.  Once he's really crying he definitely needs to be comforted, fed, changed, or whatever.  But he'll fuss a bit in the carrier or car seat and then just stop without intervention.  This probably doesn't make sense unless you know him and his quirks.  

 

ETA I think 70% of the time it's when he's tired.  He doesn't need intervention from me (I'm already holding him) he just needs to fall asleep.  I don't know why he lets out a cry before he goes to sleep.  He just did it in fact- in the carrier.  When he does that, I know he's about to pass out.  The other 30% of the time it's likely just gas :-)  So it's not self-soothing in the traditional sense, and it's probably not what Joanie meant by it because he didn't "learn" it he has just always done it.  Every baby is different (Older DS was never like that).

post #19 of 46

FWIW Dr Sears says this about it especially with regard to sleeping: "While some babies are self-soothers, being able to resettle easily and quickly without outside help, others (especially those high-need babies with more persistent personalities) need a helping hand (or breast, or whatever tool you can muster up at 3:00 a.m.)"  and "NIGHTTIME PARENTING LESSON #2:

Some babies need help getting back to sleep.

Some "resettlers" or "self-soothers" can go through this vulnerable period without completely awakening, and if they do wake up, they can ease themselves back into a deep sleep. Other babies need a helping hand, voice, or breast to resettle back into deep sleep. From these unique differences in sleep cycle design, we learn that one of the goals of nighttime parenting is to create a sleeping environment that helps baby go through this vulnerable period of nightwaking and reenter deep sleep without waking up."

So when I refer to self-soothing, I'm using it in the same way as Dr. Sears, not the same way as Ferber, you know what I mean?

post #20 of 46

Hmm.. See, self-soothing has such a wide, vague answer, it's still not all that clear.  It's sort of personal opinion based on the quirks of each child.  I would say that from Jaimee's description that none of my kids were ever able to self-sooth.  My DD1 would pass out the moment that I swaddled her, but I was still intervening.  DD2 will fall asleep sometime with minimal effort, but vastly prefers to be held while sleeping.  Not one of my kids have been oral or have used sucking as comfort only.

  Return Home
  Back to Forum: November 2011 Due Date Club
Mothering › Groups › November 2011 Due Date Club › Discussions › My baby is not "happy".