Screaming when baby cries - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 05-07-2011, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Hope this makes sense as I am trying to nurse a newborn and get my thoughts together to get some help.


DD will be three in June. Her baby brother is almost three weeks old. So far, the transition has gone fairly well. We are dealing with some sudden defiance and clashes of wills but, overall, I attribute that to her age as well as the new sibling and we will muddle through. She loves her brother. Constantly wants to know where he is and how she can help. She's always telling him she loves him even when she's having issues with me.


What I cannot seem to deal with and keep my cool about is that when her brother cries she goes crazy. Screaming, screeching, crying, and throwing herself on the floor kicking and flailing. DH and I have tried patiently explaining to her that that's how babies communicate. We've tried comforting. We've tried ignoring. I have been understanding about her expressing that she doesn't like it when he cries. I can deal with a little complaining or crying on her part as I try to reassure her and help her brother (who really only cries during diaper changes or when it's taking me to long to sit down and nurse him.) And I felt very sympathetic at first despite the fact that her screeching and his crying have been so painful on my ears and nerves that I am beginning to panic a little every time I have to change his diaper.


So I've been feeling terrible that DD suffers so badly when her brother cries and also going crazy due to her reaction. Then last week we went to the park with her friend and his baby brother. Well, her friend's brother threw a massive tantrum right next to DD and she didn't say a word or give any indication that it bothered her. Then we were playing when DS started crying the other day and I asked if she wanted me to go stop him from crying or help her with something first and she said help her with no reaction to his cries until I went to pick him up and nurse him. (Though generally our playing together doesn't stop her from being upset by even minor fussing from her brother.) So I am starting to doubt that the crying actually disturbs her as much as she is telling me and I am becoming impatient with the meltdowns. I can deal with her being a little upset, but the screeching needs to stop. Any pointers? Insights? Please help me find a way to diffuse her tantrums.

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#2 of 3 Old 05-07-2011, 08:06 PM
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My dd who is about the same age has become really sensitive to sounds lately. E.g. now she can't handle being in the same room with  a lot of people singing, and doesn't like the noise of construction equipment 3 blocks away.


The only thing I can think of is it might help if your dd had some way to block out the noise. Like white-noise headphones, so she can still be in the same room with you. Especially since you've got some situations where you know in advance that he'll be crying, it should be comparatively easy to change her habit from habitually screaming out of discomfort/attention seeking to habitually announcing very importantly that she needs her special headphones.


And don't ask her about tending to your newborn first or second. Just don't. If he's happy go ahead and take an extra minute or two to sort DD out before dealing with a dirty diaper, but if he's crying, at least get him into a sling on you before dealing with other things.

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#3 of 3 Old 05-08-2011, 02:23 AM
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My 3 year old does this too.  Doesn't help that DD2 is quite a fussy baby, so cries fairly often for unknown reasons.  As an introvert I find it really hard to deal with the noise, so to some extent I have sympathy with DD1.  


But, I suspect that the main reason behind DD1's screaming and crying is to compete with the baby.  She sees baby crying and getting nearly instant responses from me or her dad - so figures that maybe if she screams/cries she'll get instant attention too...


I don't have any solutions unfortunately, just commiserations.  I have tried the 'usual' stuff - giving DD1 plenty of one-on-one time while the baby's napping, explaining to DD1 that the baby doesn't have any other way to tell me what she needs, but that DD1 is a big girl and can use her words to tell me what she wants/needs, ignoring her, telling her to quit it.  


At the moment, my most usual response is to try to talk us all through it.  So DD2 starts crying, then DD1 starts up.  I say "Uh-oh, S is sad about something.  I wonder what it is? Maybe she's bored.  Shall we find her a new toy to play with? No, that's not helping. DD1, do you want to see if you can find something to cheer her up? Are you feeling upset too? Is it because S is making so much noise? Well, when mama can get S to stop crying I'll be able to give you a nice big cuddle too.  Can you help me to figure out why S is sad? And so on.


Not sure how well it works, but it sort of keeps me half-way sane, LOL!

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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