looking for support parenting a fussy baby - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Life With a Baby > looking for support parenting a fussy baby
sosurreal09's Avatar sosurreal09 06:04 AM 03-22-2011

The way she is scrunching up her legs and things I wonder if she has a lot of gas? Did you try those inserts for the bottle to keep the air out? How do her poops look? Any blood? Are they consistently green and frequent?


I would not switch formulas...babies/children need mammalian milk. If the cow-milk based formula really did cause problems for her, I would look into a goat milk formula (IDK if it has to be from scratch?) If you make it yourself you can use raw goats' milk for more nutrients.


My DD was (for lack of better words) a horrific baby. She was NEVER content until 6 m/o then she was somewhat content. Now she is a perfectly happy and healthy DD and she's 17 m/o everything really turned around for her around the 9 m/o mark.


I say recruit as much help as you can!


sesa70's Avatar sesa70 07:10 AM 03-22-2011

I use the born free bottles that are supposed to help reduce gas. I hope they are working!

After another call to my ped yesterday (I think he thinks I am off my rocker) he prescribed reflux meds. Now I have them in hand... and am waffling about trying them. Any thoughts? On the one hand I am desperate. On the other, she is so tiny I hate to give her meds now.

texmati's Avatar texmati 07:35 AM 03-22-2011

What did he perscribe? I'm *very* anti-med but my daughter (my easy baby) would scream bloody murder every time she ate. The medicine is supposed to be very mild-- and really seems to help.

sesa70's Avatar sesa70 07:45 AM 03-22-2011

Originally Posted by texmati View Post

What did he perscribe? I'm *very* anti-med but my daughter (my easy baby) would scream bloody murder every time she ate. The medicine is supposed to be very mild-- and really seems to help.

nizatidine... 3 times a day. Dr says it is supposed to be very mild. I am torn, I really want to help her but I am also a bit nervous.


heatherdeg's Avatar heatherdeg 08:26 AM 03-22-2011

Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post

nizatidine... 3 times a day. Dr says it is supposed to be very mild. I am torn, I really want to help her but I am also a bit nervous.


If you're nervous about them, I would switch her over to Alimentum first and rule out dairy/soy protein intolerance.  My bioson was a NICU baby (he wasn't significantly preemie but his system had clearly not developed to his gestational age) and he suffered for months with what wound up being dairy protein allergy (he was bfed).  He also had a soy intolerance that really only affected his development (PROFOUNDLY) and wasn't discovered until he was nearly 18mo.  I can't remember why there was a preference for Alimentum over Nutramigen (some kids have an easier time with one over the other), but if your gut is not with the meds--I would go with your gut and switch the formula for 2-3 weeks.  Of course, if she doesn't show that initial "honeymoon" phase of it being a great thing in 2-3 days, then clearly either she needs the meds for reflux or has a more serious intolerance that requires Neocate or the like.


I would go with your gut.  :(



ETA:  I pm'd you--so check your box!

1love4ever's Avatar 1love4ever 11:59 AM 03-22-2011

Skin to skin contact! 

Also, Have you thought about trying to lactate yourself so as to BF her?  That may help a lot.  I knew a mother with a baby who acted like you are describing, and it was all in his tummy.  She took him to a naturopathic pediatrician, who recommended raw goats milk(and probably stuff mixed in also), and he was perfect after that!  I'm not sure why she could not lactate, but I think it would be worth a shot for you to try.

KCMichigan's Avatar KCMichigan 07:19 AM 03-23-2011

I had a super fussy babe (one of twins) - preemies at 32 weeks.


DD1 got overstimulated easily....she was so used to being left alone in the NICU (6 weeks) that 'bothering' (changing her, etc) her always set her off to crying jags. It took a lot of time and letting her allow things at her own pace to calm her down. We kept her inside a lot those first few months- she overstimulated when we went out and was much fussier. She also had SEVERE reflux and took meds (she still does). We used Alimentium and found success in it. She did NOT like to be worn at all. She was fairly crabby & irritible until she could crawl/move/etc. She is still very intense & not snuggly (friendly, but not a big touchy kid). It is her personality.


DD2 also got over stimulated easily- but was easily soothed with physical contact. She was swaddled for almost a year. She turned out to have some sensory issues as she got older and got OT (from 2-4 yrs). She is still very snuggly and affectionate. She still gets overstimulated easily and prefers a quiet routine at home. She also sleeps more than the average kid and always had.



A few ideas:


1. She is getting over/understimulated. Both lead to crying jags.

2. She is in pain from reflux or other ailment (dairy intolerance). Did she have an easy delivery ? (my neighbors DD broke her arm during delivery and she was miserable for 6+ weeks until it healed)

3. She is hitting her Due Date. Lots of 'irratible'ness happens about 1-2 weeks post due date as the nervous system matures and digestive systems adjusts. Colic is common.

4. She is adjusting to post NICU life. She may need the comforts she had there. My twins stuck to the NICU schedule for a long time (3 hour feeds) and we kept them pretty quiet to keep them calm. They both had a hard time with lights/noise/etc for the first few months.

5. She could have an intense personality. One of my DDs is that way, as is my friends son. Both were very crabby babies- it got better as they got moving & up and about.



Hope it gets better soon!!!

sesa70's Avatar sesa70 10:06 AM 03-23-2011

thanks again everyone. This is such a different parenting journey than my previous two girls. My first was a very high needs baby who did cry ALL the time. My second was almost a perfect baby who very rarely cried and was content wherever she was. This baby ends up crying by herself a lot more than I ever expected. Its definately not my prefered parenting method, but there are times where I just need to get away from the crying, so I put her in her crib or swing and she just screams there for 10-15 minutes while I take a breather. I would say this happens 2-3 times a day. It sucks for all of us I think, and I feel like a terrible mom sometimes, but I just don't know what else to do... there is only so much holding of a crying baby I can handle without really needing a break, you know? I just really hope this passes soon :(

1love4ever's Avatar 1love4ever 09:43 AM 03-24-2011

That is tough that she cries all the time.  I really think you should read The Continuum Concept by Jean Leidloff.  It really gives insight into what the baby is going through when they are left alone to cry.  I totally get that it is hard to hold her when she is crying, and I really think just pulling both of your shirts off and cuddling skin to skin would help.  A baby is used to being surrounded by direct living contact, and then when they are born they are immediatly wrapped in dead cloth, and hardly ever feel living touch around them again.  So, naturally, they are upset because of the change, this is not what they are used to.

You could also try infant massage when the 2 of you are skin to skin.  Get some apricot oil and mix in a tiny bit of lavender for its calming effect, and just rub her back, or whatever area is not touching you.  You dont need a special technique, just your touch.  This has been shown to ease fussiness as well.  Lightly rubbing her belly could help if the problem is her tummy, and your warm skin against her tummy will act as a heating pad, which will ease any discomfort she may have.

sosurreal09's Avatar sosurreal09 11:53 AM 03-24-2011

Wanted to add it doesn't have to be apricot oil. I always used sunflower oil or olive oil. Also make sure you rub her belly clockwise so you are moving with her intestines. Have you tried wearing her topless in a wrap? That way you are skin to skin (her naked or in a dipe) and you still have your hands free. My DD literally cried all day and night I swear she would go on and on for hours no matter what I did so I would just wrap her well (with skin to skin) and she would cry but I was right there...it was the best I could do.

Queermama's Avatar Queermama 02:40 PM 03-24-2011

have you considered consulting a naturopath? when our dear son had miserable bouts, a remedy from our naturopath worked like a charm!! 

Delicateflower's Avatar Delicateflower 04:43 PM 03-24-2011

I would start him on the meds straight away. I know it doesn't seem great to give such a small baby medication, but look at how unhappy and uncomfortable he is. As his mother, don't you want to help him in any way possible?


And I know exactly what you mean about having to put her down just to have a break from the crying and center yourself again. You're not a bad mother at all. Crying babies are incredibly stressful, and not being held for a couple of 15 minutes stints through the day will not harm her.

1love4ever's Avatar 1love4ever 10:24 PM 03-25-2011

thanks sosurreal09, I should have mentioned that any carrier oil will work.  The important part is just touching her, and moving with her intestines, yes.   In nursing school we were taught to give massages distal to proximal, which means from the farthest point(fingers) and working your way to the heart(arm to shoulder, feet to legs, etc).  this is to help with blood return to the heart and it improves circulation, but in a young baby I dont think it would make much difference.  But I always do it anyway just because it is what I am used to. 

And you really wouldnt even need any essential oils either, something as simple as just olive oil would work. 


As for the meds, I would NOT give them to her.  Obviously your Dr is not trying to find the real problem and is just going by what is most common.  Another thing I learned being around Drs a lot is that they assume you have a common condition until it is EXTREMELY obvious that it is something different.  They will prescribe meds that would treat that common condition, even if they are completely unsure if that is what the problem is.


Have you looked into trying to lactate?   Especially if you cant get raw goats milk, this is definatly the way to go.  Breast fed babies have a much easier time in general when it comes to tummy issues.  My DD was a very fussy baby, she has a very extreme personality(like her dad), almost impossible to please and must always have her way.  She was this way from the moment she was born.  But I could always rule out tummy issues when she was having a fit, because it was never that. 

scrandall1173's Avatar scrandall1173 01:35 AM 03-26-2011
Please don't feel guilty about putting the baby down to take a breather... It is totally understandable. If we lived in a world in which new moms had more help it wouldn't be necessary, but unfortunately it just sometimes is. That leads me to wonder if you have considered getting a helper, maybe a postpartum doula or nanny? An experienced person who can, in the least, just hold the baby for an hour while you get a break?

We did this with our current babe and it has been really helpful.

Saying a prayer for you... I know how tiring it cam be to play detective and try to figure out what's normal.
sosurreal09's Avatar sosurreal09 06:49 AM 03-26-2011

yeah a helper would be great! I second that!

sesa70's Avatar sesa70 07:21 AM 03-26-2011

I was on the fence before baby came home about inducing lactation, because I know it can be tricky and often very difficult. When I found out that she had already been born, had some feeding difficultites at birth (which resolved completely by the time she was 1 week old) and spending about a month in care before she came home, I pretty much gave up the idea.


now I am revisiting it, wondering if it might be worthwhile. I did put in a call to a local lactation consultant that has experience with adoptive parents inducing lactation, but unfortunately its been a few days and she hasn't called me back. My concern here is that a) she's already almost 7 weeks old, so it would be really hard to get her to make the transition to breast, and b) it will be a while by the time I actually get any milk.


Originally Posted by 1love4ever View Post


Have you looked into trying to lactate?   Especially if you cant get raw goats milk, this is definatly the way to go.  Breast fed babies have a much easier time in general when it comes to tummy issues. 


sosurreal09's Avatar sosurreal09 09:12 AM 03-26-2011

Did you breastfeed your other children? I thought you could re-lactate just by the baby latching and suckling, if you have breastfed in the past? I know I read about 3rd world countries where mothers die from aids and the grandmothers re-lactate. I am pretty sure they can't afford the meds or whatever it is I know some people use.


Maybe even just dry nursing would help her and comfort her. Who knows you might get milk anyway right?

1stTimeMama4-4-10's Avatar 1stTimeMama4-4-10 10:42 AM 03-26-2011

Wow, the recommendations here are all over the place. I don't have any great words of wisdom - I had an extremely unhappy baby too and I was not prepared for it.  It got progressively easier, and 6 months was a huge turning point.  DD is still high needs, but she is so so much happier now that it feels like a hundred years ago that DH and I were passing her back and forth to get away from her.  I TOTALLY hear you on the needing mama sanity time. Do not beat yourself up over that.  It's not CIO, and while it's certainly not ideal, holding a crying baby until she pushes you to the point where you do something unthinkable is so much worse it can't even be compared. 


All babies are different, yours might need different food, different routines, or maybe just time. I was struck by your concern that something was really wrong though. Where was she before she came to you if she was only in the NICU for a week? That leaves a 2 or so week gap where she wasn't in the NICU and wasn't with you.  I wonder if those transitions are having a negative impact on her.  Also, was she like this at all before now? If it started shortly after arriving in your home, perhaps it could be something environmental? Good luck, I am sorry you are going through this - you are not alone. 

Asiago's Avatar Asiago 01:00 PM 03-26-2011
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

Did you breastfeed your other children? I thought you could re-lactate just by the baby latching and suckling, if you have breastfed in the past? I know I read about 3rd world countries where mothers die from aids and the grandmothers re-lactate. I am pretty sure they can't afford the meds or whatever it is I know some people use.


Maybe even just dry nursing would help her and comfort her. Who knows you might get milk anyway right?

I was thinking the same. It actually dawned on me one night after I had read your post. If interested here is some info: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/relactation.html 


Best wishes to you and your little one.


sesa70's Avatar sesa70 06:06 PM 03-28-2011

I just wanted to post a little update.


So... dd has been home now for 2.5 weeks and she is 7 weeks old. I was feeling desperate, and miserable, and ended up trying her on the reflux meds. It has been about 5 days now, and I do notice an improvement. I am not *as* worried about her medically anymore since I have noticed a definate decrease in the clenching uncomfortable behavior.


She is still a very fussy baby though. Still cries A LOT. I have calmed down in my worry, and am just facing the reality that this is who sh\e is, at least for now. I am trying really hard to continue to bond with her, though the crying and screaming makes it harder than I would like. She does have quiet alert moments so it is not all bad, but she does have bouts of crying a few times a day that I just can't help her with :(


It is helpful to know that other moms have gone through this, and survived it, and have good relationships with their dc. I would be lying if i said that I wasn't worried about how our relationship will look long term because of this. thank you everyone for your understanding and support. I really REALLY wanted this baby, and now that she is finally here I feel like I was hit in the head with a brick! This journey is so different than I imagined it would be. But I know life rarely goes according to plan, and that we will get through it but in the middle of it all its hard.


I also wanted to add that I put in a call to a local lactation consultant that is supposed to have experience working with adoptive mothers. I called her on thursday morning and she still hasn't called back.

1love4ever's Avatar 1love4ever 12:06 PM 03-29-2011

Be persistant with the lactation consultant, if she wont call back, call another.  Seriously, I had problems with getting them to call me back too, and sometimes it was because they didnt get my messages.  Breast feeding will also help with your bonding I think, I still BF my 1yr old and I still feel like we become closer every time we BF.  Dont worry if you dont feel natural at it or like it is a bonding experience at first.  It will come with time, maybe a lot of time.  As far as her age goes, I would just keep trying even if she does not like it at first.

Also, the fact that she has improved after you giving her meds may just be because she is getting a little older and it has nothing to do with the meds, so if you are uncomfortable with giving her the meds, I would stop and see what happens, especially if you are able to lactate. 

I didnt think of the environmental perspective.  Do you burn candles or have any fragrance around your home?  She could be allergic.  Many fragrances such as Glade products are extremely toxic and many people are allergic.  100% pure essential oils would be a safer bet, although those can occasionally cause allergic reactions too.  Maybe eliminate all fragrance sources?  Just a thought.

Lisa1970's Avatar Lisa1970 07:23 PM 03-30-2011

My oldest did this for a while. You just have to keep snuggling her and loving her and she will come around eventually. Hard, I know. I still tense up sometimes when I think of how my 16.5 yr old was as a baby. But he is not like that at all now, and has not been for 15.5 years.

texmati's Avatar texmati 06:06 PM 04-01-2011

glad to hear your update. I'm sorry to say, but for my son I just had to hang in there. For me a big part was just accepting that's who he was.... and getting help. I actually went back to work, when I had planned to sham (It had been a dream for years!). I know i would not have gone back if he had been like my daughter is now. I would try to get a  break every day if possible-- from your husband, from your mom, neighbor who ever. Even if you don't leave the house, just having someone else there can help. If it's any consolation... my son personality hasn't really changed-- he has a hard time sleeping, is as stubborn as an ox, and won't. forget. anything. But he's a joy; an absolute joy. We can take him places, are showered with compliments at his charm and personality (yes, by the very people who were telling us that we were doing everything wrong).

texmati's Avatar texmati 06:10 PM 04-01-2011

oh-- and for practical help; the list of thing we would try when ds was inconsolable:





go outside


rock in an absolutely silent room

bathroom with the fan on

stand under stove vent with the fan on


sit on the swing

tv on

swaying side to side

driving in the car

walk in stroller (never worked until 6 mos).



in that order. lather, rinse, repeat. Hope one of these is a new idea!

alexsk's Avatar alexsk 05:55 AM 06-24-2011


Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post



My DD is very high needs and literally cried (screamed really) for 4+ hrs a day for like 6 months. It was absolute hell. Nothing made her stop screaming--nothing. All I could do was keep holding her, wearing her, and nursing her. I just survived through it. We were a unique case though b/c it turned out it was all a reactions to vaccines...but I did go on an elimination diet to see if it would help. Just cut out the basics like dairy and soy all hidden as well. See if that helps at all after a few weeks. Are her poops normal looking?

What is a DD?



Megan73's Avatar Megan73 11:42 AM 06-27-2011
Hang in there, mama. Don't feel guilty about needing a break from your babe. Take any and all help that you can find while you're in survival mode.
DS1 cried inconsolably for months despite every soothing method and reflux meds (which didn't help a whit).
Our doctor concluded it was colic and said we just don't really understand what causes it (it's apparently about 15% of kids) and the only cure is "tincture of time." He was right - at about six months, right around the time DS could sit really well alone, he suddenly got much, much better. He's now a truly delightful almost-three-year-old. The other good advice I've gotten is that "post-colic" babies really thrive on routine and consistency, which has really been true for us.
heatherdeg's Avatar heatherdeg 01:05 PM 06-28-2011

Originally Posted by alexsk View Post

What is a DD?



Dear/Darling Daughter... I believe there's a list of common abbreviations in one of the "Welcome to MDC" forums.  Welcome!


FWIW, I have been in touch with sesa70 recently and the baby is doing much better.  love.gif


mamawanabe's Avatar mamawanabe 09:35 PM 06-30-2011

I had an unhappy baby (constant low grade fussing). He was so frustrated and angry. When we changed his diaper, he screamed like his face was on fire (my dh's phrase). It was awful (though decreasingly so) till he learned to craw at 71/2 months.  He just needed phsyical autonomy (plus I think he had some reflux).  So happy now.  Still intense and demanding, but I can do that as long as happy is there too. 


I get really bitter about all the easy babies my friends had . . .

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