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Coping with high-need baby - tips?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 


I am wondering how to cope with my very high need baby without going mad and being able to care for my two others as well... at the moment life is hell, this baby is crying or breastfeeding or I need to hold her in my arm (but not in a sling or carrier!)

she is having catnaps in a carrier, but it´s a major project to get her to sleep. If she is awake she does not like to be in a carrier or lying down. She does not "play" with herself at all.


I physically cannot care for her, I feel that I am starting to get depressed and I withdraw from her because I cannot stop the crying, it´s like CIO in a carrier. At least she is with me - I guess, but than, I kind of ignore her and try to block her crying. Which is not nice.


But I cannot just sit and breastfeed her! I need to cook and clean and look after the other two. I am exhausted and crying a lot and in general not a good mom at.all.


I feel like going to work again, at least I´d have a bit of quiet there!


Any tips?

post #2 of 28



How old is your baby?  Have you tried an elimination diet?

post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

She is 4 month old, i always thought about elimination diets but i did loose a lot of weight already and our ped advised against it.


she was content in a carrier and did not cry an awful lot but now she does not like it too much anymore. she is happy watching her sibs while on my arm - i just cannot hold her in this position too long.

post #4 of 28

Maybe reflux (silent?)  My DD was similar until I reduced the acid levels of the breast milk (with salts, minerals, & baking soda), and ate fresh


garlic throughout the day and found a chiropractor who adjusted her neck.  Only then did she start to feel better.  I only wish I had figured it out sooner.


Also, herbal teas with a pinch of powdered ginger and aluminum free baking soda, with nursing soothed her immensely.


I remember how detached and helpless I felt, not being able to settle her.


Healing to you both!

post #5 of 28
This was how my first was. It is exhausting and depressing greensad.gif. I would ignore your ped and at the very least, try cutting dairy completely out of your diet. It took me 19 months to consider diet with ds1 and once I did, he was a totally different child and I really wished I had listened to everyone who told me to do it earlier. Changing diet was far less stressful than dealing with the grumpiest baby on the block 24/7. Hang in there mama. Get some time to yourself. Wear earplugs. Get a babysitter. And realize this too shall pass.
post #6 of 28

My 1st and 4th children were/are really fussy/high needs. The last one is 8 months now, he still cries a far amount but much less then he used to. It got better at 5 months. hug2.gif

post #7 of 28
Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

She is 4 month old, i always thought about elimination diets but i did loose a lot of weight already and our ped advised against it.


she was content in a carrier and did not cry an awful lot but now she does not like it too much anymore. she is happy watching her sibs while on my arm - i just cannot hold her in this position too long.

I would definitely try eliminating dairy and soy.  There are plenty of other things you can eat to keep your weight up.  I was free of dairy and soy for over 6 months and didn't lose an ounce, LOL.


The elimination can't hurt, and it might definitely help.  Try cutting out all forms of dairy and soy (including hidden ingredients like casein and whey) for at least 2 weeks.  If it doesn't help at all, then at least you'll know that you tried.  I can't imagine why a pediatrician would advise against it when baby is so uncomfortable.  These sensitivities are very common.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 

i am going to give it a go. but i honestly don't think it's a food problem. i'll try anyway.

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 

any resources about going dairy free anyone?

post #10 of 28
My first was a super high needs baby- and now at 9 she just got diagnosed with a long list of food allergies and possible celiacs. She was a high need toddler, and child.... And she obviously feels and acts better since we cut out all her allergies. To this day I wonder if I had cut the wheat and soy from my diet back then if she would have been an easier baby.

Back then, the baby swing was my life saver- I could put dd init and she would cry a bit more then fall asleep. I made a point to nurse her before I put her in it- but it soothed her when I coukdn't.

Do you have a sling you can wear and nurse her in? My babies were happier in a carrier once they found they could nurse in it. With my 3rd that was essential. I liked the baby k'tan carrier with her, because she could be more upright, tummy to tummy and still nurse while I did other things.

Do take some time for yourself- hand the kids over and go for a walk, or a bubble bath, or go shopping all alone (one of my favorite things now that I have 3 kids is just going to the grocery store all alone.)

Tips for cutting out dairy:
Find another milk to use on cereal- we like vanilla or chocolate almond milk
Get another unsweetened milk to use for cooking
Make a list of all the meals you like that don't have dairy, or are easy to leave it out of- steak and potatoes, soups, salads, etc.
Consider taking a multivitamin for yourself, while you are changing your diet, it can be hard to get everything you need

I found wheat was a much bigger problem for my dd, so if dairy doesn't make a difference, there may be other foods to consider. If you cut out wheat, the celiac websites have tons of recipes, etc.

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

thanks for all the replies,


i cannot really carry and nurse, i have a couple of sensory issues and hate carrying and nursing at the same time, but i certainly give it another go!


never seen the k'tan before, looks nice (but i already have ergo, manduca, beco (don#t like), moby wrap, didy wrap (2-3), didy slings kanga...but then if it would be easier to nurse in them ...

post #12 of 28
Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

any resources about going dairy free anyone?

This is a great place to start:



It's challenging at first, but once you get used to what you CAN eat, it's really not difficult.  I made Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners dairy-free and soy-free one year and no one could tell the difference.

post #13 of 28

I wanted to add.....nothing wrong with "checking out" while holding a crying baby.  Do what you need to do to get through it and not go mad.  hug2.gif

post #14 of 28

I'm so sorry -- I know how extremely stressful it can be!


Another vote here for an elimination diet. A lot of pediatricians are of the opinion that if the baby's gaining weight ok, then things are fine. But I disagree. If my baby is miserable, I want to try to fix the problem! We got tremendous relief (for the baby and for me!) from following the elimination diet on Dr. Sears' website:




My daughter turned out to have a sensitivity to eggs and foods high in tannins (walnuts, chocolate, red wine, tea, etc.). I wish I didn't have to avoid those things, but it is SOOOOO much better than having a colicky baby! Good luck, and I hope you are able to get some relief soon!

post #15 of 28

Another vote for an elimination diet that starts w/ dairy & possibly soy & gluten.  But, I'd probably start w/ dairy since it is so well known as a problem.  It will be tough in the beginning (dairy & gluten have components that act like drugs in the brain :-(), but you can do it.  I'd suggest not following, at least for now, an extreme elimination diet because of the possiblity of your child having an issue w/ one of those foods, the fact that these diets often recommend processed foods (I believe Sears' diet rec's rice milk, etc.), because it's quite a challenge if you're used to eating the standarad american diet (SAD) and more.


Foodlab is a yahoo group w/ lots of mamas who will support you w/ breastfeding & finding all the places allergens linger.  They will also help you come up w/ ideas of what to eat, if you need that.


Your ped is only w/ your child for minutes.  You are w/ her 24/7.  Your baby needs youto help you both.  Colic is not normal for babies.  You can do something to change this!


My oldest was a high needs/fussy baby.  When I discovered at 18 months that she had issues w/ dairy, she started sleeping better.  It was like a switch was turned on.  I wish I'd had someone suggest it was a possible issue before I figured it out on my own.  


Lastly, can you go to an LLL meeting?  They are a good place to find IRL support when you're so stressed.  Your older children would likely be able to join you.


Best wishes,






post #16 of 28

So sorry you're going through this!


I had very similar issues w/my baby. I begged his doctor for help, to no avail. She just said that some babies fuss more. Not helpful. Tried elimination diets, no luck.


Finally, I got him on probiotics for infants. For us, this was the GAME CHANGER. I gave him his first dose one evening, and then the next day, there was a noticeable improvement in his disposition. Things got better very quickly. He still fussed some, sure, but he never again went purple face scream on me. That was the last of that. And I could actually put him down for a few minutes at a time. 


I highly recommend giving probiotics a go!

post #17 of 28

My first was high needs and turned out to have food intolerances - mainly dairy (which caused restlessness and digestive discomfort) and soy and wheat, which caused mild eczema. My ped also said he was just a fussy baby and dismissed it because he was HUGE and gained like crazy. However, he started having blood in his stools between 5-6 mos of age and then I made an appt with an allergist. He was SO much calmer and happier once I changed my diet. He wasn't an amazing sleeper still but generally so much more content, FAR less crying. Wakeups went from 10-15 per night to maybe 4-6, plus we started cosleeping at that point. Some of it for him was also his personality. He is now 6 yrs old and shows very strong likes/dislikes and is very specific/critical.


My current (third) baby is middle of the road, not the best sleeper either but happy generally. I'm not doing dairy this time either as he showed clear signs of intolerance when I have done a few dairy challenges. Anyway, he takes a long time to fall asleep (in the bed). I also dislike having him nap in the carrier and especially nursing while babywearing. I don't want him to demand to nurse every time I put him in the carrier which is what my first did after I started nursing him in the sling. So anyway I do structure our day in a way that allows me to stay in our room with him while he falls asleep and then slip out.- my daughter gets a bit of TV time while I am doing this and then when the baby is asleep we transition to doing something else together. When I first started having him fall asleep in the bed (via side lying nursing) around 3 mos, he wouldn't stay asleep for more than 5-10 minutes usually but I have stuck with it and now he does MUCH better and gets good rest this way. Another thing I do is run the vacuum with him in the carrier at nap time and he'll fall asleep that way, then I can transfer him to the bed usually with just a minute or two of nursing when I lay him down.

post #18 of 28
As suggested in "The Body Ecology Diet", by Donna Gates, try a little juice from fermented (cultured) vegetables.
post #19 of 28
Originally Posted by Brianabrady View Post

As suggested in "The Body Ecology Diet", by Donna Gates, try a little juice from fermented (cultured) vegetables.

I wonder how much Donna Gates knows about breastfeeding, though.  I know that sauerkraut & it's juice, in very small amounts, gives my very sensitive 2.5yo diarrhea.  I'm all for probiotic foods however, for an infant, starting w/ a probiotic that you have an idea of the strength of and you can control the ingredients, would be the safer way to go IMO.  I know that WAP & GAPS folks are for giving the littles this stuff, but again, I think probiotics can be controlled more & therefor are a safer choice.


Best wishes,


post #20 of 28

My 1st was high needs. Each day was a struggle and I only had him at that point. The Dr.Sears book...The High Need Child (or something close to that) helped so much to just understand him.


hugs...it's tough.

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