Coping with high-need baby - tips? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 03-31-2012, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

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?


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#2 of 28 Old 03-31-2012, 02:05 AM
 
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hug2.gif

 

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


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#3 of 28 Old 03-31-2012, 04:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#4 of 28 Old 03-31-2012, 05:00 AM
 
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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!

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#5 of 28 Old 03-31-2012, 07:09 AM
 
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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.
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#6 of 28 Old 03-31-2012, 05:35 PM
 
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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


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#7 of 28 Old 03-31-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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Quote:
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.


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#8 of 28 Old 04-01-2012, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i am going to give it a go. but i honestly don't think it's a food problem. i'll try anyway.


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#9 of 28 Old 04-01-2012, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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any resources about going dairy free anyone?


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#10 of 28 Old 04-01-2012, 01:57 AM
 
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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.

Blessings,

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#11 of 28 Old 04-01-2012, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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 ...


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#12 of 28 Old 04-01-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

any resources about going dairy free anyone?



This is a great place to start:

http://www.godairyfree.org/

 

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.


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#13 of 28 Old 04-01-2012, 04:35 PM
 
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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


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#14 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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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:

 

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-infants-toddlers/food-allergies/elimination-diet

 

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!


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#15 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 06:48 AM
 
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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,

Sus

 

 

 

 


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#16 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 07:38 AM
 
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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!


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#17 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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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.

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#18 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 01:09 PM
 
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As suggested in "The Body Ecology Diet", by Donna Gates, try a little juice from fermented (cultured) vegetables.
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#19 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 08:00 PM
 
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Quote:
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,

Sus


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#20 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 08:11 PM
 
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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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#21 of 28 Old 04-03-2012, 08:54 PM
 
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First off, I'm sorry you're going through this. I was you two monts ago, so I feel for you in a big way. I will try to keep this short--if u want more details contact me please. Basically, I tried everything. Out of desperation I went to a chiro. That night he was better--no colic, no screaming, he slept for hours. But the next day, it was back again. Same thing next week: went to chiro, that night amazing, then he went back to his fussy business the next day. I couldn't afford to keep going to the chiro and I wanted a permanent "fix", so i did some digging. I came up with this website:

http://www.osoyooslakeshorecottage.com/AdjustingBabies.html

I very carefully adjusted him and I heard a crack. He had a great day. I adjusted him before bed and he had a great night. Long story short, I adjust him several times a day (always when he's calm; when he's crying he tenses up and I can't adjust him). It was truly a miracle for me. And I'm not a "miracle cure" believer. He loves carriers now, he still needs a quick adjustment when he gets out of the carseat and those baby bouncer or vibrating seats are just awful (anything I lay him in where his back is arched causes problems). He was in a lot of pain--I know that now. And I can tell now when his back has popped out again by his cry (bc I heard that cry for three straight months before I learned how to fix it).

It may not be your baby's problem--I only know my own story--but it can't hurt (assuming you're super gentle) and if it works, the change is not gradual, it's dramatic. Good luck!!!! I have my fingers crossed that this will work for you like it did me. If it does, pass it on to other moms!!!
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#22 of 28 Old 04-04-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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High needs is tough - especially with the super mama juggling act you've got! hug.gif

 

Just wondering - does your baby have any other symptoms of food allergies?  Gas/diarrhea/funny colored poop/rashes?

 

Right around your babe's age, my guy started crying alot when he needed help falling asleep for naps (unlike all my friends' babies, who just kinda passed out whenever, wherever).  It took me a while to figure that one out.  He still needs me available for co-sleeping through his naps and for nursing during them.  I try to use this time to get things done on the computer (like, um, now redface.gif).

 

I only have one HN kiddo, but here are things that helped when he was small: 

  • nursing in carrier (we started in sling, but then switched to Ergo - I was surprised to find it was MUCH easier to nurse [just adjust straps until they are boob height], and the sleep hood provides perfect cover in public - I've nursed him while cleaning, socializing, eating - even giving a talk in front of our whole church!  No one was the wiser...)
  • vacuuming with babe in carrier (get something done AND soothe a baby to sleep - yaaay!)
  • dancing and singing with babe in carrier (this is a serious stand by to this day - that and walking fast while singing - I would do this for 5-30 min. or more some days, but it worked great! Maybe get your other kids in the act, doing a special quiet sleep dance for the baby?)
  • taking the baby outside in carrier (either on a walk or often, WHILE dancing and singing like a crazy person, as above - taking the baby outside was always close to my last resort if the above weren't working on their own - if he was taking it to the next level, so did I!)
  • holding him and letting him cry it out (HN kids get easily overwhelmed, especially around lots of noise/chaos/people - studies show we release cortisol in our tears, so crying is literally stress reducing - sometimes they just need you to be calm and be there for 'em)
  • putting him in carseat and nursing him while someone else drives (not the safest option for you, but one that worked for me!)
  • feeding on demand and co-sleeping
  • narration (respectfully letting him know what I was going to do, whether picking him up, changing his diaper, putting him in the car, or letting him know when I was leaving the room for a second - and coming back quickly!)
  • being aware of busy days and planning stay-at-home down time (you could journal this or just make a mental note of the situations that seem to stress your kid out and lead to evening melt-downs)

 

Above all else, what really helped me was a serious mind shift.  I had to SERIOUSLY adjust my expectations for what I could get done while being a good mom to him. We tend to do it the other way around ("I have X, Y, Z that I HAVE to do today, and this baby needs to get with the program!").

 

You only have 100%, and this kid needs more of it - you gotta respect that.  Something's gotta give, so that both of you can stay sane and everyone can get what they need.  Learning to shuffle and let go of other duties is really hard, but necessary.  Recruit help with the housework, let the house be messy, order pizza for dinner, find someone to babysit the older kids for a couple hours, do whatever you have to do - no shame in this game.  

 

You are a great mom, and you will get through this!  You haven't gotten this far without a lil flexibility and creativity - your kiddo is just upping the ante and taking it to the next level.  thumbsup.gif

 

Good luck, mama!!!  


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#23 of 28 Old 04-04-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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PPs already gave great advice, I just wanted to add one thing... having a high needs baby crying in your loving arms, or snug up against your body, is NOT Cry-it-Out! I know it's so hard to hear the crying and stay positive, but some babies just cry a lot. My 7 1/2 month old is still pretty intense, but was crying constantly up to about 4-5 months. It's tough and it feels lonely, but so many of us have been there.

 

 


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#24 of 28 Old 04-05-2012, 04:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hi,

thanks for all the replies and tips!

 

i'll go dairy free from next monday, since we are going to a family gathreing at eastern i would not be able to stay dairy-free over the holidays.

i tried to nurse her in the  sling and it works out okay. 

 

i let my dd play with little sister in the afternoons and they both have a lot of fun joy.gifI try to let her play with her toys but she is so not interested.

 

Keep the tips coming! 


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#25 of 28 Old 04-05-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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Hugs to you! Been there. It does change. I don't have time to read other replies right now, so I'll apologize in advance if I'm repetitive.

My fall-back with DD was vacuuming while she was in sling/moby nursing. She would almost always fall asleep that way, and then I could remove nipple, get her in a comfortable position for me (so I could use both hands), and rock on with my day. I couldn't put her down, but she wasn't crying, so I was happy. We also have an office chair that is on wheels, and sitting in that with her upright while bouncing (fairly aggressively) helped tremendously, and sometimes got her to sleep.


DS (now 8 1/2 months) started out mellow, then became super-high needs. I cut out dairy, and it was so hard to see if it made a difference. What absolutely was a fix was block-feeding for over-supply. Cut out the colic and screaming in maybe 3-4 days. I stayed dairy free for about 4 months, just to be on the safe side, but then about 2 weeks ago, tried him with whole fat yogurt, and he did FINE(stinker!) so the dairy went back in my diet, and we've had no issues. It's possible he outgrew it, but also possible that it wasn't an issue at all. I do think eggs is for him. He's reacted each time I've tried egg yolk.

 

Just read you don't like nursing in carrier, sorry. What about a back carry? DS would fall asleep on my back even when he was super fussy. The vacuum made it quicker and easier. He would fuss for a few minutes first, and I would just walk fast, and he'd fall asleep. Again, when he was super fussy, couldn't put him down, but he was calm and sleeping, and I could get a few chores done.  

 

If this has just started or gotten worse, teething? My LO's all have had their first tooth by 4 months old.

 

The only other tip I have is to lower your standards for a while, give yourself a bit of a break. When DS was in that stage, I set myself two tasks for the day: 1: get us all fed somehow and 2: get out of the house. Anything else was bonus. This will pass. Call in any favors you can for doing chores. Get out of the house regularly. I would go for long walks outside with DD screaming in the moby. Somehow it was easier to deal with in the fresh air. I didn't get that claustrophobic feeling of being stuck in a little room with a screaming baby. Again, it does pass. DD is 3 now, and extremely articulate and compassionate.

 


 

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#26 of 28 Old 04-07-2012, 08:04 AM
 
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I would second a chiropractor.  It may only take a few adjustments (not daily).  I've heard stories from my friends IRL about how a chiro "fixed" their high needs baby with one adjustment.  DD1 was super high needs, and I wish that I had known to try it.  I did do the eliminations diet, and trust me, it's much easier to take her to a chiro a few times to see if it works before you commit yourself to the diet.

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#27 of 28 Old 04-10-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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I went through this with DS #1 and am currently experiencing it with DS #2 (why do I make these incredibly fussy high needs babies? GAH). It was hell. HELL. I really could not do anything to make DS #1 happy. He did better being upright and having constant movement, but even that wasn't a given and I needed to change his position every minute or so or he would WAIL. I dreaded going out in public (because of the meltdowns) and just all around had a really hard time coping (if you do an archive search you will find a post I wrote in 2007 about my baby hates being awake). Around 8 weeks I started wearing him forward facing in a mei tai and that helped some (he hated tummy to tummy and snuggle carries and would scream and fuss and straighten his legs trying to get out. Not pretty). But really, what helped the most was when he hit 5.5 months and learned how to crawl. Once he was independently mobile, he was a brand new baby. He was actually kinda fun! I am really hoping that life turns around for you soon.

 

I will say that he probably did have reflux, but we didn't medicate it (ped doesn't believe in reflux meds for the wee babes) and he did end up having food allergies (tested positive for cows milk, eggs, and sesame when he was just under 2 years old with skin test). I had sort of eliminated dairy from my diet, but not completely because, well, I love it. Just wanted to put that out their to let you know that DESPITE the reflux and the food allergies, we made it through. You will too. I do know how hard this is and recognize that it makes it hard to bond. That being said, I totally fell in love with my kid once he hit 5 months and we are a well bonded pair still today, 4 years later. Many hugs to you.

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#28 of 28 Old 04-10-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dctexan View PostI had sort of eliminated dairy from my diet, but not completely because, well, I love it. 

There is a chemical reason why you love dairy (it happens w/ gluten too!).  I've been a part of a yahoo group of parents of children (and the parents & individuals themselves) w/ food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances for many years; we've been eliminating foods for 8.5 years.  Not being able to stop a food because you love it is a classic sign of an issue w/ that food.  The group is foodlab; maybe you'll check it out ;-).

 

Best wishes,

Sus
 

 


Baby the babies while they're babies so they don't need babying for a lifetime.
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