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5 month old screaming inconsolably - near my wit's end!

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
He finally fell asleep just a few minutes ago, but I made him/let him CIO in his crib. : He had been crying since we got home at 5:00. Now he's in my arms.

This has been happening every day this week, in the late afternoon/early evening hours. He seems to be tired (slow blinks, rubs his eyes, red eyebrows), but he fights it like the devil. I hold him upright on my shoulder, or in a bf position - nothing. He doesn't want to nurse or take his pacifier or suck his thumb. He's exclusively breast-fed, so it's not an issue with food he's eating, and I've not eaten anything "new" this week. Singing or shushing him doesn't work. Swaddling makes him mad. Sometimes, you can distract him with a toy or a game for a few minutes, but then it starts up again. It's full-on "my arm is being cut off" screaming at full volume, and I can't figure it out. I make sure he's warm but not too warm and has a clean diaper. I've checked his fingers and toes for strings or hairs - no wounds or injuries that I can see. He will scream on and off for HOURS, and when he finally goes to sleep, it's for like 30-45 minutes. I don't think he's teething, but I'm not sure (baby #1). But if it's teething, why does he only get worked up at a certain time of day?

I'm beginning to feel like I can't take this anymore. It's been a really stressful week. My husband was threatened by a coworker last Thursday, and it took them until TODAY to finally fire the guy. All of the medical bill surrounding Spencer's birth are way overdue, and some are being sent to collections. I got the OB's office paid today. Then, I took my car in for an oil change and a "check-up", and it needs about $500 worth of work. I went and babysat for a couple of hours, and then I come home with a screaming baby. My husband is really good about taking a turn when he's home, but he teaches martial arts two nights a week (one of them being tonight!!!).

I'm really frustrated by this! NOTHING I do seems to help him calm down. So now I'm all tense and freaked out because I can't figure it out, ykwim?

Any suggestions??
post #2 of 30
Teething or a new mile stone?

When DD wanted to sit unassisted is when all our problems started. It has been off and on for a month and a half now. She sits just fine, but now she wants to crawl, AND she just cut TWO teeth.

I know how you feel, trust me. It's horrible. I've been trying really hard to get her to sleep before she shows signs of tiredness, because that usually means she's over tired.
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
Just like clockwork, he woke up and started screaming his head off. He went from out like a light to full-throated wailing in about two minutes.

Just. Can't. Take. This.

post #4 of 30
I'm so sorry. I'm sending good thoughts your way, hang in there and take a deep breath.

Have you tried slinging him? Sitting on a bouncy/yoga ball? Hylands teething tablets? Gripe Water? Rescue Remedy? These are just some ideas I've read about that other moms have tried. What about a walk outside in a sling or stroller?

Remember, keep breathing. He needs you now more than ever. I know it's super hard, but the calmer you can be, the easier it will be for the both of you.
post #5 of 30
*hug* for you

I've been there. All the well-meaning advice from people who don't have a 'screamer' did nothing for my baby. Slings, sucking, white noise...NOTHING calmed her. I was, and still am totally against the idea of 'CIO", but...when it was a choice between letting her cry or shaking her and screaming, "STOP CRYYINNNNG!"...I had to do the lesser of the two evils. (No, I would not shake her, but the emotions were running jagged. Not all of us are mentally equipped to hear our child scream and not be able to 'fix it' without losing our marbles.)

I will tell you that it gets better. This baby cried from 5pm on the dot to 7am every day if she was at all awake during that time period for maybe three months. Nothing medically was wrong, no unmet needs, and NOTHING would console her. She would not cosleep. She would not fall asleep anywhere in any position without first screaming like she was being cut in half, held or unheld.

Slowly the time of day that she cried decreased, and as we managed to get sleeping under control a little with 'sleep routine' and when she was able to be nursed to sleep. By nine months she was no longer a 'being cut in half screamer'. Not that she is what I would call 'easy' but compared to what life was like before, it seems easy to us.

She is ten months old now, and mostly nursed to sleep and it usually works now. We still do her sleep routine every day and night for naps and bed.

There's still no explanation of why she cried like that. There was nothing we could do, and thank god we had a ped who had been through something similar. His advice and reassurance kept me sane. I was suffering from ppd and my capacity for tolerating the amount of crying we were getting was very very low. Hearing that his child had been like this and grown into a very pleasant kid got me through some rough days and nights.

He also helped me understand that my feelings of guilt and anger at myself for being unable to 'handle' my own baby were not abnormal. It made it easier to deal with those feelings knowing that I wasn't the only one who ever felt like that. It also made it easier to handle the baby's crying, just knowing that my own frustration was 'normal' sort of helped me let it go.

You may find that mothers of 'easy' and 'mildly fussy' babies judge you harshly. Try to remember that they just haven't been in that situation...and maybe say a little prayer that their next kid will be just like yours.

The other things that make it easier were hearing that only about 5% of kids are like this, and the chances of having two like this are very low. :P The ped had 4 or 5 kids and only one was a mystery screamer.
post #6 of 30
Oh I have been there. My son was a little colicky to (well maybe a lot but I am starting to forget). He screamed every night from 10 PM - 3 AM. I remember needing to put him in the crib and walk away or I would have just lost it. We did get a sling which did eventually help but it took a while. Things got better as he got a bit older. This phase will pass but I know it is awful! I wish I had thought of ear plugs at the time then I could have held him while he was screaming and maybe it would not have sent such a chill up my spine. I can even remember wanting to return him to the nursery at the hospital for a few days so I could rest (but I thought they might not let me take him back home). From one fussy baby mommy to another hang in there. It will get better. Your not a bad mom for needing to put him down. You know your limits. You did the right thing. Kamie
post #7 of 30
Humor is great to deal with it, too.

I called the nurse at the ped office, and asked if they had any extra babies there for trade-in. (I had been on the phone with them and in a lot desperately trying to figure this out)

She said, "I'm sorry, I had eight but we already sold the three extras at a yard sale, so you're going to have to keep her."
post #8 of 30
Oh mama!

It sounds like teething to me, some of them seem to teeth MUCH worse than others. With my DD1 she only seemed to get really bad in the evening too, maybe because he's been fighting the pain all day and by the time he's that tired he just can't any longer? Hyland's teething tablets worked wonders for us with DD1, but DD2 gets violently ill with the dairy so I broke down the other night and gave her Tylenol. As much as I hate to medicate them, there comes a point where it's important for everyone involved that they be allowed to rest without pain. A frozen washcloth also works well, but it's not very practical while they're sleeping!

Could it also be sleep issues? Too many naps or not enough? Over exhaustion?

Does it seem worse when he's laying down? Maybe there's pressure in his ears. Maybe walking with him in a carrier upright would help?

Another thing that may help is Bach's Rescue Remedy. Sometimes they just get overwhelmed. Does giving him a warm bath help?

And if there's any way at all someone else can watch him for 20 minutes while he's like this and give you a chance to take a walk and relax, that's good. When you get back you'll feel a little refreshed and more able to deal with the situation. If not, maybe you can put him in a carrier and stroller and take him for a walk with you.

Good luck! Keep us updated, maybe there's something else we can suggest!
post #9 of 30
I know how you feel. My 5 month old did exactly the same thing. Suddenly she went from sleeping OK to screaming every time we put her down. Thought it may have been related to the shots she had a couple of days earlier but the reaction was too extreme. Maybe me being back at work fulltime? Took her in to the ped to get her ears checked out...all fine. Finally called Grandma at my wits end about 7 days later.......suggestions were....

When did she last poop? Was a few days ago so try a couple of drops of orange juice VERY diluted with water. We tried this, she pooped up a storm and immediately fell asleep for 3 hours straight. You may want to check with your ped about the OJ as some don't recommend this. My mum raised 5 of us and we came out OK so I trust her advice

Unfortunately this didn't last, screaming again that very night so on to the next step....

Same sleep routine....warm bath, massage legs (specifically legs...must be something to do with age, trying to crawl, move etc), read storybook, nurse, sleep......bingo...works so well she falls asleep when I open the book now!

For nap time I just have to read the book, nurse for about 5 mins and she's out.

She's not a great sleeper....naps for about half an hour 3 times a day so we start nightime routine at 6pm and she's asleep by 7pm. Then she's up on and off through the night to latch on and nurse and maybe a diaper change, no screaming though.

That's what worked for us so I hope you find what works for you and your babe. I know how stressful it can be.
post #10 of 30

hon, i soo know what you're going through

when you think you're at the end of your rope, let babe cio. in fact, before you think you're there, put babe down in the crib, go outside for 5-10 min to collect yourself. i hope things get better for you soon
post #11 of 30
ArtistMama... I could have written your post about my 8 week old and what we are going thru. It's so hard.

Avarie, hang in there!
post #12 of 30
Are you at my house?

My dd is impossible to get down for naps. She screams bloody murder if I try to nurse her, arches her back and acts like someone has stabbed her in the shoulderblades. Then she screams more. It started recently when she started trying to crawl. Its like the transition from play to sleep is really hard for her. Or she wears herself out so much that nursing seems like too much work for her by the time she gets to it. I now try nursing her 45 minutes after she wakes up from each nap, and I keep trying till she naps again, and its kind of helped avoid that scenario off and on.

Anyway, I hear ya. Is there someone who could come over and help you out for a few hours? That made a big difference for me.
post #13 of 30

My boy was the quietest kid I knew from day one. I kid you not, for the first six months of his life, he cried a collective total of maybe three hours...and that's being generous.

Then suddenly, around six months, he just woke up and started making up for lost time...quite literally! One day he was screaming and screaming, and I was doing everything I could, I checked his diaper for wetness and to see if it was too tight; I checked his teeth, gave him tylenol for teething; I tried toys, low music, loud music, everything. NOTHING worked. Eventually, I just left him in his crib; closed the door and left the room. I was home alone and underslept; and I couldn't reach anyone on the phone to talk to. I was freakin' out and I could hear him from downstairs, on the other side of the house, with the door closed. Part of what made my stress level go up was because I felt like I was doing him wrong by leaving this tiny creature "locked up " in a room feeling unloved. Eventually, I reached my breaking point, and not knowing who else to turn to or what to do; I called CAS (child services in my country) and asked them for whatever resources they had to help me out. They didn't really, though they tried to help; he just didn't stop.

He will grow out of it; but in the meantime, the best I can suggest is to try to stick to a routine as best as you can (ie: bedtime, 7pm, every night; dinner, 5pm...bath, 6pm..etc.) and when it gets bad, leave him in his crib with some interesting toys that he can't get hurt on, kiss him and tell him you'll be back to check on him in a few minutes. Keep repeating this. Eventually he'll learn to calm himself down. Also, find a friend to chat with as a distraction to you, because you're no use to the situation when you're agitated either.

Those are my suggestions, and I hope this phase passes quickly for you! Hang in there!
post #14 of 30
Originally Posted by ndunn View Post
...My dd is impossible to get down for naps. She screams bloody murder if I try to nurse her, arches her back and acts like someone has stabbed her in the shoulderblades...
LoL...the full body fling away! I remember that too. You know what else I remember? PEACE AND QUIET! LoL.
post #15 of 30
I would get earplugs. You will still hear the crying but it takes the shrill edge off. Also, even though it sucks and you are exhausted and at wits end, remember it will not last forever. this horrible stage will pass. Old conventional tricks: put kiddo in the carseat on top of the dryer. Or kiddo in carseat and swing it (pretty hard and high). You can't do it forever but if it works, its a nice break. Or hold kiddo (facing away from you) on your belly and rock up and down on your toes. (A pediatric nurse who dealt with very tough kids taught me that one; she said it was important that the child be faced away b/c the eye contact was stimulating. Try it for 5 minutes before you decide it isn't working.)

And if it is teething, you might try a little pain reliever. I know it isn't popular or great but if it helped, it might help you get to a place where you could be less stressed. That can be a tough call depending on your philosophy.
post #16 of 30
So sorry, mama!! This is so so so hard to deal with. Do what you can to take care of yourself--it's like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first--you have to be in good shape to be there for the baby.

I hope you can find some relief for your baby, but if it seems to be a colic type of crying that you are unable to help, I agree with earplugs. It enabled me to stay with my baby calmly. I think going into a zen state and being present and calm is the best thing you can do if you can find no cause or cure for their crying.

You're doing a great job, mama...hang in there and know that you have lots of support here!

post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 
he's currently gnawing on my finger.

thanks for the replies. amazingly, he only cried for a few minutes upon waking, and was ok for the rest of the evening, he does seem to be sleeping longer at night and napping less during the day. he does seem to like chewing on a wet washcloth, and he likes it when i rub his gums with my finger. where can i find hyland's teething tablets? most nights my dh is home and can take a turn. he was teaching his martial arts class last night.

i have been on anti-depressants for years, and i get frustrated really easily - especially when i'm already on edge. spencer has been such a calm, mellow, non-fussy baby up until this week - that's part of why it's been so hard for me to deal with this. i can only hope that it doesn't last for long.
post #18 of 30
You can get Teething Tablets at most health food stores, but I've heard they carry them at the dreaded Wal-mart now too! I'm glad he slept better last night! Just when you think you've got them figured out they through you for a loop, but sometimes in a good way.
post #19 of 30
When my DD was really little, and would have bouts of crying, I would take her into the bathroom and turn on the faucet. The running water was like white noise and it soothed her to sleep. She would just coo. Recently, I had to do that again. She was pitching a fit for no apparrent reason a couple of days ago so I did it and it worked. Turns out she was cutting another tooth and it broke through yesterday.

Also, when she starts getting worked up, I sing to her. Like the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle. Sing louder than the cry. Sometimes it can distract them enough to calm down.

Good Luck to you!

mommy to Samantha Jane
10 months old
post #20 of 30
I vote for Hylands teething tablets. Sounds like teething. It has belladonna in it which (I believe) will make the baby pass out

It's worked for me when ds is teething. He was born the day after your baby btw so it could definately be teething.

If that doesn't work for you though, it's my understanding that you can give a baby some weak chamomile tea. You might google it because I've never done it before, but that'll put 'em to sleep.
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