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#1 of 18 Old 11-17-2008, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really need some help, or new brains coming up with ideas.

DD is 10.5 months old. She has always been high needs and has never slept well. I have coped as well as possible until now, but I'm really at the end of my tether.

She has never slept longer than 3 hours at a stretch (and I can count on one hand the number of times she's slept 3 hours). Mostly she sleeps on average 45 minutes - 1 hour. We co-sleep in a separate room from DH because she's such a light sleeper that his snoring would wake her up even more than normal and because she's so restless in her sleep that she would wake him up constantly too. Of course she still wakes me up all the time, even when she's asleep, by kicking and thrashing. She also wakes up crying. When she was little, she used to just fuss a bit, which helped because I wasn't jerked awake every time. But now she goes from fast asleep to full-on crying in no time at all.

All of which I might be able to cope with if she were easy during the day. But lately she's become progressively worse and worse. She whines and whinges constantly. And she's developed a new ear-piercing shriek that she uses anytime she doesn't like something. She fusses to be picked up, then instantly squirms to get down. As soon as I put her down she screams at the top of her lungs til I pick her back up again. Lather rinse repeat. She won't let me wear her indoors, so I constantly have to hold her and she's only happy when I'm standing or pacing, holding her in arms, or when I'm playing with her on the floor. Which is all well and good, but I can't physically, emotionally or financially do those things all day long.

I work very part-time from home to help us financially, and I need an hour or two during the day to get things done. Plus of course shopping, cooking and cleaning all need to be done too. DH works pretty long hours and he does take her for an hour or so in the evening when he comes back, but it's not enough time to do everything I need.

Other things which are not helping: We live abroad. I don't speak the language very well at all. I have no family nearby or friends I can lean on. I am suffering pretty badly from PTSD as a result of birth rape. I have constantly struggled not to resent my DD for what was done to me at her 'birth', but now this horrible emotion is coming out. I have also been ill for a long time. I got mastitis in the first two weeks. Spent two months desperately trying to get it treated here while EPing from the affected side due to a huge infected open wound on the nipple. Eventually had to go back to Ireland to get proper treatment, but because it had been untreated for so long I ended up on antibiotics for over 6 months. I am still not physically capable of a lot because of this. I also started coming down with mastitis again two days ago because I have been so worn out lately. I managed to head it off at the pass by ingesting huge amounts of raw garlic and vit. C but it scared me badly. Between the PTSD and the mastitis I feel that I have hardly been alive for the last almost year.

I do the best I can. Try to get out and get some fresh air and exercise every day (weather permitting). I do my best to eat a healthy diet and take probiotics and vitamin supplements, as well as GSE (because of the mastitis). However, I rely on caffeine to get me through the day and quite often find myself eating junk because all I have to do is open the packet and eat. This is appealing, because trying to prepare and eat food while having a baby screaming at you is no fun.

I am really trying to figure out what to do. I can't continue like this for very much longer. I have a permanent headache and neck/shoulder pain from stress and exhaustion, and I can feel that I'm hovering on the edge. I really can't stand the idea of making DD CIO, but sometimes I wonder would it be so bad? She cries all the time anyway.. (That's how I know that I am really desperate)
The only thing I can think of right now is to do a total elimination diet. But I looked at the Dr. Sears link, and most of that stuff is unavailable here. I can get potatoes, rice and pears, but that's pretty much it. I don't think I can live on those 3 things for a couple of weeks.

Sorry if this doesn't make sense. My brain is fried. Any ideas very much appreciated. TIA

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#2 of 18 Old 11-17-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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i wish i could do more than offer support

wife to wonderful dh_malesling.GIF mama of three-DS1 born December 30, 2005 and DS2 born September 27, 2008 and one lovely little girl born September 7, 2011jumpers.gif

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#3 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the support. Anyone else have any suggestions, ideas.. anything?

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#4 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 12:23 PM
 
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Not much to offer, but you sound so distressed I wish I had the answers. Any chance she has reflux affecting her sleep and causing the wiggles at night? I would try elimination diet and stress reduction. Do you have anyone who can help you and give you a couple hours here and there? Maybe going back to home for a couple weeks if you have support there? I hope this is a passing phase and you get some well needed sleep/peace.
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#5 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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Big, big hugs to you, mama. We're not abroad (though my family lives in another country), but we're far from any friends or family, in a place we don't like very much, so I know what it's like to feel so alone, esp with a new baby (which, IME, is a very isolating experience anyway).

Your baby sounds a lot like my ds was/is. Very high needs, clingy, generally just kinda miserable as a baby. Is she crawling yet? ds got a lot better once he was crawling and able to interact with the world a bit more, though he was still always an awful sleeper. Still is, at almost 3. I need a lot of caffeine these days myself, between him and dd. But he did get better, less physically needy, as he got older. Have you read The Highly Sensitive Child? I found it very helpful.

So, some ideas, FWIW.

For a light sleeper (ds would wake up instantly as soon as the floorboards creaked, or I rolled over), a white noise machine saved our life. It's soothing (sounds like the womb, I guess), but also blocks out all the little noises so you can have a bit more freedom. Don't be afraid to play it LOUDLY.

The kicking and thrashing, more than the frequent waking, make me wonder about food intolerance, or possibly apnea? Have you noticed that she pauses in her breathing while asleep, at all? Has she always been a thrasher, or is this new? I hesitate to suggest an elimination diet, when you're already so worn out, but it might be worth trying to get off at least the caffeine (hard, I know, but it's a common trigger) and maybe dairy?

Needing time to get work done during the day: sounds to me like you need to find a babysitter or mother's helper, even a teenager who can come over and play with your baby or take her for a walk or something while you work. It shouldn't cost too much for an hour or so, and I think it would make a big difference for you--time to work, and maybe even to squeeze in a bubble bath or a few minutes to read the paper and have some (herbal) tea. I'm sure it's hard to find someone in a foreign country, but there must be a way--you should try to make this a priority. Maybe dh's colleagues have a daughter who could do it? Just a thought.

dh needs to get more involved and give you a break on the weekends--time to do things like cook (cook huge batches of things you can eat throughout the week, incl for lunches), but also so you can go to yoga class or to a chiropractor or something. Your health issues are what scare me the most: you sound totally run down and in need of some breathing space. BTDT, believe me, and you need to take care of yourself.

I'm sure you already know this, but you also need to get counseling for the birth trauma. ASAP. How hard would it be to find a therapist who speaks your language?

I'll stop there for now. Your post really touched me, mama. Wish I could come over and help you out, truly!

ETA: Therapist: http://www.zvolsky.cz/index_en.htm
Babysitters (do you know about this site?): http://www.expats.cz/prague/f-7.html

read.gifSarah ~ wild.gifds X 12/05 ~ flower.gifdd E 3/08 h20homebirth.gif  ~  stork-suprise.gif 7/12 dizzy.gif

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#6 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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Have you tried a baby swing? you don't mention it, but that doesn't mean you haven't tried it. Also, there's a big difference between CIO, and putting your baby in a safe place to cry while you grab a few minutes of sanity. It will NOT kill your DD to cry for ten minutes, in sight of you, with you talking to her, while you prepare less junky food for yourself. It will not kill her to cry in her crib for ten or twenty minutes while you go into a room where you can't hear her just for a breath of fresh air.

No, these methods are not recommended, but if your sanity is being affected, than letting her scream in your ear isn't the best answer, either.

Finally, some babies aren't meant to co-sleep. Have you tried getting her to sleep and then leaving the room? My son won't sleep like that, but I know other mothers whose babies don't sleep well at all with them, but will sleep like the dead in their crib, alone.

Attachment parenting does not mean keeping your baby with you 24/7. It means following your baby's cues to help her get what she needs, and perhaps what she needs is different from anything that's been said here, but you need to make sure you do what you need to do for your own mental and physical health.

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#7 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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#8 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 04:31 PM
 
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That sounds like an appalling situation, Lisa I can see why you're so torn - it's your health as well as your child's, and it's so hard to be a good mother when you are so mentally and physically run down?

I agree that the waking up screaming sounds like something's going on. Have you had a WBV lately and had them look at ears and nose? Is reflux a possibility?

How about trying a partial elimination diet? Just cut out dairy, or dairy, soy and wheat if you can swing it. It would be tough on you even then, especially since you're so physically run down. But, maybe you could combine it with a healthy eating binge. Get your partner to cook up a storm of delicious hearty meaty stews and curries with built in veggies, like potatoes and carrots and peas (three colours, so a good variety of nutrition) and freeze them in single serve portions. Have him bake you a tray of something snacky, like some gluten free quickbread muffins before he leaves in the morning, so you snack on them through the day. Or have him make you hommous and cut you some carrot sticks to have in the fridge.

Also, you can order food on the internet.

Another option is trying a food diary, although if the symptom is happening every single night and day I don't know how useful that would be.

With regard to the wearing, is there another carrier that might hold her in a position closer to the way you do when you've got her in her arms? Maybe a hip tai? I think you can do hip holds with most carriers at least well enough to see if she likes it.
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#9 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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Also, take a B vitamin supplement (great for stress). Take a LOT (you can't poison yourself with it, but you need big doses for it to work.) Does your baby like the exersaucer? Do you have one? (Or a swing, as PP suggested.) I couldn't live without mine.

The shrieking and clinginess during the day make me wonder about teething. Are teeth approaching? Have you tried a dose of Tylenol or equivalent, or homeopathic teething tablets?

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#10 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 05:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XanaduMama View Post
Also, take a B vitamin supplement (great for stress). Take a LOT (you can't poison yourself with it, but you need big doses for it to work.) Does your baby like the exersaucer? Do you have one? (Or a swing, as PP suggested.) I couldn't live without mine.

The shrieking and clinginess during the day make me wonder about teething. Are teeth approaching? Have you tried a dose of Tylenol or equivalent, or homeopathic teething tablets?
Yes, if tylenol/paracetamol makes her calmer or sleep better then you'd know pain or discomfort was involved in some way.
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#11 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 06:12 PM
 
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Just wanted to : what xanadumama wrote. DS1 was very similiar...still wakes up once or twice a night at almost 5. DS2 in't as intense, but won't sleep for more than 15 minutes unless being carried/nursed/held. in particular, if you're bf, try getting off the caffiene (really, really tough I know), but may dramatically improve the sleep situation. I also ditto the white noise machine - this was a necessity for ds1 (still is). You may want to try the elimination diet, too.

A couple more thoughts:
* Try out some different baby carriers. This was such a saving grace for me with both boys, although they each have their own preferences, which also changed over time. Both tolerate the maya wrap, DS1 would use only the bjorn for a few months, ds2 likes the Moby wrap to go to sleep. Borrow as many different carriers as you can & try them out--outside first & moving around, then inside moving.
* Find those few things that both you & baby enjoy & make them a priority. For me & DS1 it was going for walk outside (usually he'd fall asleep in the sling & I could sit on a park bench & write in my journal or read for 20 minutes); dancing around to music; and baths! an instant soother. Still figuring out DS2

For DS1, things improved dramatically when he started crawling, again when he started using baby sign & even more when hre started really talking. There is hope!

Loving mama to magical boys Skyler (11/21/03) and Gryffin Emrys (9/30/08). 

 

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#12 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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Find those few things that both you & baby enjoy & make them a priority. For me & DS1 it was going for walk outside (usually he'd fall asleep in the sling & I could sit on a park bench & write in my journal or read for 20 minutes); dancing around to music; and baths! an instant soother. Still figuring out DS2

Question, what do you do in the winter time when it is to cold for them. I am in the same perdicament, and my son isnine month old. He has a tendancy to fight his naps, and sleep timem and he nurses all night.

Nicole M Smith Newly Single WAHM to Curtis Scott Blaine III Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is like the roar of the lion
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#13 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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Dear Lisa

Oh I really feel for you, your experience doesn't sound very different to mine with DS1, particularly the birth trauma and crappy sleeping. I agree with a PP, that if you need to put her down crying while you get 5 minutes sanity or make yourself something suitable to eat, please give yourself permission to do this.

In your run down state, I would not start eating just potatoes, pears etc. If you think the fussiness might be an allergy, I would try one thing at a time, very slowly. Dairy is the main culprit as I am sure you know. Even cutting that out has been hard for me, when I'm tired and short of time. Caffeine could be having a big effect on her, I have noticed this with DD who is actually, of all my babies, the most placid, but when she has caffeine through my milk it's another story.

Re:birth trauma. I co-edited a journal on this subject, partly to help me with my own feelings after DS1 and 2's births. I wonder if reading a copy would help you. It's published by AIMS (Association for Improvements in Maternity Services - a UK organisation) and you can get it off the internet: www.aims.org.uk - it's journal 19:1. I know you are not in the UK but you might also benefit from chatting to Sheila Kitzinger (free except the cost of the call) , whose number you can get off her website http://www.sheilakitzinger.com/birthcrisis.htm as well as some links about PTSD after birth. I found reading her book Birth Crisis very healing as well. If you can't afford to buy it, please PM me and I will send you my copy to read.

With a high needs baby, what I found was that all that "worked" really was my own survival and eventually when he could move and talk etc, he got a bit easier to handle. In the mean time, I sometimes had to be honest and think "I can't handle any more of your crying etc" and put him down somewhere safe for a few minutes while I did something like listened to a bit of music, spoke to a friend on the phone or whatever.

Let us know how things are today when you get 5 mins.
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#14 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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I was going to suggest that the caffeine could be causing some of the problems too: my two youngest are both caffeine sensitive, and they're up every 45 minutes if they get caffeinated breastmilk.

I have to go get some sleep now, but I'll be back tomorrow with some more ideas.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#15 of 18 Old 11-18-2008, 09:45 PM
 
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[QUOTE=nsmith27;12637116]Question, what do you do in the winter time when it is to cold for them. QUOTE]

DS1 was born in November of the coldest winter in 25 years (New England). We went outside everyday, regardless of weather. I found that, if we hadn't got out by mid-day, he would just fuss non-stop. My DH is an avid winter backpacker & says "There's no bad weather, just the wrong gear". We bundled! Those early months, I used this great layering of a hand-me-down cashmere bunting & a fleece windproof bunting in the sling. I'd wrap my coat around both of us, so he'd have some of my body heat & so that I could easily feel his face & make sure he was warm enough.

Every year, if we haven't been blessed with the right hand me downs, we invest in really good quality, warm, clothes/boots/mittens/snowsuits,etc. - for ourselves as well as our boys. This goes for raingear too. We've found that the piece of mind & ability to play outside everyday has been well worth the expense. My DS1 clothes may not be new, but I know his toes wil be warm.

Loving mama to magical boys Skyler (11/21/03) and Gryffin Emrys (9/30/08). 

 

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#16 of 18 Old 11-19-2008, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the replies everyone! It made me feel great to know that I'm not totally alone.

I started an elimination diet today. Bye, bye, caffeine, dairy, wheat, and all artificial additives. I've got a withdrawal headache now, of course, but I'll happily take that if this will help us out a bit.

We've tried slings, bouncy chairs, etc. but this girl just does not like to be constrained and still! I wish I could just put her in something for a few minutes, but she just wants cuddles and movement all the time.

I am working on finding a suitable counsellor to deal with the birth trauma, but I doubt it will be anyone in this country, as they all have such a medicalised view of birth they wouldn't understand why I found unnecessary interventions so traumatic.

I am also making a serious effort to make sure we get out every day, regardless of the weather, as I've noticed that the days I don't leave the flat are the hardest for me - cabin fever sets in, I guess.

I'm feeling a bit better today - I managed to get a 2 hour nap with her! She woke up a few times of course, but because I was sleeping right next to her (which I often don't do because I have so much else to do) I was able to get her to go back to sleep again. And that sleep really helped me too.

Send me some 'be strong and don't eat chocolate' vibes for my elimination diet, and cross your fingers that a change will be as simple as just not eating something. Thanks again for all your support.

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#17 of 18 Old 11-19-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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I think food sensitivites is a major culprit for screaming babes. Here's my list of food for an average day. I've refined it and experiemented with many different foods. At the end of the list I'll include my daily supplements

Breakfast: 2 eggs and 8 oz caffinated coffee with half and half and real sugar
Lunch: Typically Chicken Breast or Thighs and brown rice with a ton of sea salt
Snack: Macadamia and Apricot KIND bar (it's the only one that both me and my babe don't have food sensitivites) also will eat an apple
Dinner: Typically some sort of red meat, italian pasta (different then regular semolina) with Olive Oil and Butter and Romano Cheese, and a Romaine salad. Also a small glass of wine.

I make sure to eat a diet rich in saturated fat (hence the daily red meat). My babe seems to be happier with these food choices. However, I don't get bored with my choices either like some might.

I take daily supplements of HCL (Hydrocloric Acid), Potassium, Vit C, Magnesium, and a B complex. I was muscle tested for these supplements so they are specific to what I need.

My reccommendations based on my experimentations is this:

Remove all Dairy, Wheat, Soy, Citrus, Gluten, food additives, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers) cruciferous vegtables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale) and poor forms of animal meat such as Turkey and Pork. Limit or remove all alcohol and caffeine.

Again, this is just my experience I hope it helps you in any way at all. Good luck!!!
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#18 of 18 Old 11-19-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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I forgot to add that I don't use garlic or onion anymore either.
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