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09/04/2012, 01:37 PM
My 8 month old son is not a happy child. He is constantly crying and screaming when awake during the day. He is on reflux medication which is continually reviewed by a very good pead so I don't think it's that. I have been advised by the pead that he's a High Needs bub. The experience is distressing to my 5 year old DD who is terrified to hear him carryo on the way he does. Have any of you experienced this or anything like it? Did it ever abate for you and how did you deal/cope with it? What can I do to protect my DD from the anxiety it is causing her?
09/04/2012, 05:54 PM
Hi, I don't have any personal experience, but I do have a very close friend with a 'Spirited' DD. She was recommended and speaks very highly of the book 'Raising your Spirited Child' by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. It has helped her no end.
I am a bit of a Dr Sears devotee and there is quite a bit of info on Spirited/High needs babies and children on his site too.
From all accounts, high needs children are often highly intelligent, creative little beings that can go on to do really well in life with guidance.
All the best.
09/04/2012, 06:03 PM
Has he always been this way, OP? Or is it a recent development?
I'm sure you've thought of this, but it isn't teeth or sore ears or some other illness that is making him unhappy?
In what situations is he happy? Is he sleeping well?
My DD2 is very clingy and needy, and she is most happy with held by me. Obviously, that's not always possible!
09/04/2012, 07:55 PM
he's always been this way since birth. I had a stint in an MBU in Melbourne and the staff actually had him admitted in his own right as they needed extra support to help deal with him. It's extreme. I've have had and continue to have him monitored by a pead so there are no 'medical' issues as such, it's just the way he is built...I was just hoping someone might come on and say 'yes, I've got one like this and it does get easier'. Oh well, back to the nut house for me then.
09/04/2012, 08:05 PM
I had one like that, but luckily it was my first. It improved when he learnt to walk and he became much more managable as a toddler. Still very intense and quite anxious.
I can imagine your 5 year old is getting quite anxious about him- you could try explaining that some babies cry a lot because they can't use words to tell us what they want, and wouldn't that be frustrating?
I found sticking to a rigid routine, keeping the house quiet, no TV, not having him in artificial lighting and doing lots of sand and water play helped immensely.
I also got a few opinions from a few different paediatricians, as I was worried he had some sort of brain damage to be behaving this way!
09/04/2012, 09:02 PM
Hello. My now 3 year old DD was very high needs/spirited. I guess it depends what you mean by high needs, but she slept very little, only wanted me, wouldn't tolerate being held or hardly looked at by anyone else, hated the car, hated the pram, and was easily overstimulated by the world. She seemed so different to my DS who is 4 years older and much more chilled out.
I also tried reflex medication with her when her sleeping was bad day and night. But it didn't improve things and I don't think she actually had reflux.
I also took her to a paed at around 7-8 months and said "she is wearing me down, she doesn't sleep" and he assured me that it was just her and to persist.
Here's what I did: I gave in! I know it sounds trite, but I changed my attitude towards her. I realised that this was her and nothing was changing her. So instead of thinking of her and talking about her negatively, I tried to think and act positively.
I carried her almost everywhere since she preferred being on me (in a baby carrier). I avoided the car whenever possible until she was less distressed (near 10+ months). I co-slept with her (until 2.5 years or older). I continued to breastfeed her (she's still an avid breastfeeder). I gave her what she wanted: me. That was quite hard both practically and emotionally. I felt swamped by her and felt guilty that my little boy was missing out.
He's a thoughtful, sensitive little soul and it did impact on him. The ladies at daycare started to be worried about him after 2 years of being well settled. He'd cry at drop off. He regressed with toilet training. I'd get angry at him because she was so hard to get to sleep and then he'd come looking for me and wake her. It was really hard.
But over time things improved. I too read the "Raising your spirited child book" as well as books by Dr Sears and by Pinky McKay. I got others to rally around my son, including his grandfather. My DD started to improve at around 12 months when she was walking and could go to the things she wanted or away from the things she didn't want. She improved even more at 24 months when she started talking. Things were still quite tough until she was probably 2.5. She's now 3 years 3 months and hasn't long been sleeping through the night (in her own bed). My DS struggled a little socially in his first year of school (which also coincided with me going back to work). But he's now 7 and they are best of friends, love spending time together, and he's settled well into school this year.
She's very, very active, needs much less sleep than him, and is still high strung, a drama queen, and a bit of a roughie. But she's very clever, funny and super adorable.
I realise now that I wouldn't have her any other way.
So to cut this long story short, I'd say that yes, it gets better. Your daughter will cope. Explain that babies are noisy and annoying at times, but that things will improve. Consider how you are talking and thinking about your DS. Give in a little if you need to. And rally family around your DD to make her feel super special.
This too shall pass!!
09/04/2012, 09:07 PM
PS I wanted to add that it can be pretty difficult for people to understand these kinds of babies. My DD had, and still has to some extent, extreme stranger anxiety. If anyone so much as looked at her she'd start screaming in an absolutely ear piercing wail. It was very distressing and embarrassing.
One Christmas lunch my mother in law asked if she was autistic because "she certainly behaves as if she does". Nasty woman. But it was yet another example of people not understanding behaviour that doesn't seem "ordinary baby behaviour". I found it pretty exhausting and that still happens. But much less now.
I really sympathise if you are dealing with this sort of stuff!
PSS Another PP mentioned sand and water play. I too have read and found that my DD loved tactile play and that it was very soothing for her. She loves to wash things in the kitchen or bathroom sink, she loves play doh, she loves the sand pit and digging in dirt. I also used to put her in shallow baths when she was old enough to sit up and had lost the plot. I called them "dog baths" and let her paddle about at whatever time of the day she needed it.
PSSS I read somewhere about the concept of "love bombing" your child when they are struggling and I took this concept and used it on my older DS. So when my DD could finally be left with someone else, I'd take him out for the day to something he decided on. He has happy memories of both mum and dad taking him to the Easter Show "without my little sister" as he told anyone who would listen. He also used to tell people that "my sister screams really loud all the time". We talked a lot with him about her being difficult and he started to understand too that it was just what she was like. He recalls it fondly now; telling her that she was a screamer. So your DD will cope if you help her to interpret the behaviour going on around her.
09/04/2012, 09:28 PM
I had a difficult one too, although not quite as hard as yours by the sounds. But he did improve also.
Mine cried for almost the entire first 3 months, unless asleep, or being rocked, walked in circles with a dummy and sung to (all of these, not one of them!).
The next 3 months he would be ok with just being rocked and sung to, or a dummy and walked around or bounced on a fitball etc. Would still scream blue murder the instant he was put down. He spent a lot of time in the sling. In fact when he outgrew it at 12 months (or older) we tried to buy a bigger one, as we had such a need for it.
Once he started to crawl he improved quite a lot, (less high pitched screaming). Also we had a jolly jumper thing, which he loved. He just screamed and screamed in any other bouncers or rockers. I did wonder if being upright helped him, or the feeling of motion. We still had to hold him all the time though, or play with him intensely, or he would scream. Other people did not think he was that bad though, cos he was ok as long as we were holding him, and we just carried him around constantly. Soooo hard on the back.
Even at daycare they had to hold him the entire time. One day they told me they made a huge breakthough - they set up a mattress and let other kids play right in front of it and the staff member holding him could sit down, and after a few weeks of this for microseconds he would sit next to them, rather than being tightly held!
He was also a bad sleeper, would wake at the slightest sound and scream until picked up.
it was very hard on his older sister. She became very clingy to her dad as a response.
But he did improve and started sleeping more normally at 2. I can't remember when he stopped the screaming - he improved once he could crawl and a lot more once he could walk, but still cries a lot to this day if things go wrong for him.
I hope you find some solutions and have good support - it is very wearing.
Maybe time for another stint at the baby unit for a break?
11/04/2012, 02:24 PM
Yes, my specialist is negotiating a stay at an MBU for me so that we can rest and get some attachment therapy going. I'm having the hardest time accepting that this is 'him', this is his make up. I think once I can wrap my head around the fact that he's going to be a handfull I'll be better off.
I wanted to thank all of you for your replies it really does help a lot.
11/04/2012, 02:38 PM
He sounds like my DD1. She is now the most delightful little soul - very genuine, caring and empathetic. She is also doing very well at school and loves her study. She has lots of good friends that appreciate her kindness and gentleness.
As a baby, she used to be so clingy that she wouldn't like it in the stroller - and then, if she did go in the stroller, she would only let me push it - if someone else did, she would be a hot screaming mess in no time. Her grandparents only needed to look at her, and she was in tears. She was permanently attached to one particular teacher at day care, and spent much of the time crying. We co-slept, as she would wake up the instant I left her side - no matter what the time.
It got better at about the age of three, when she could talk well. She was still clingy for the start of FYOS, but after that settled down a lot. A LOT of people have noticed the change that school has had on her - she seems to have "come into her own" and really blossomed there.
13/04/2012, 11:41 AM
I have tried a few times today to PM you on here but it keeps throwing up an error on me. It's basically a "in the same boat" message. If interested, can you try and send me a PM and I will respond to it to see if I can get it through.
13/04/2012, 11:45 AM
My son started temper tantrums at around 11 months but one of my friends babies started at 8 months.
It gets worse as they get older but it also gets better.
For example my son went through a stage of biting (to the point he drew blood) at around 8 months but then grew out of it. Then at around 13th months he started hitting constantly but he grew out of it and then at around 15 months he started kicking me repeatedly in the stomach when he got his nappy changed but then he grew out of it.
He still has really bad seperation anxiety, he stills throws a tantrum everytime I leave the room to go to the loo!
13/04/2012, 11:54 AM
What Amandamac has said is really good. My DD isn't quite as full on as yours, but I have had to go through phases of wearing her constantly and co-sleeping because she needs to the contact. The hardest thing is that I notice that when I lose patience and get grumpy and withdraw from her a bit, she is a lot worse. It is very draining being attentive and loving 24/7 when you are exhausted and all the baby does is b*tch at you! But the contact does help her immensely, she is a lot more secure and hence able to be put down.
Another one to second the sensory play thing. My DD gets frustrated and angry when surrounded by lots of traditional toys - but give her a box with a toilet roll in it, or some water to splash and she is happy as a lark. Also having things spread out throughout the house but at her level has been really great, she loves exploring now. (I have read a bit on Montessori design and this has some great ideas that really engage her.)
13/04/2012, 11:59 AM
I know a lady who had a baby like this. She said no one would ever believe how bad he was until they'd stayed with them and saw it. Apparently it eased up once he became more mobile and independent, and was able to crawl and then walk. Her theory is he just hated being a baby
He is now a perfectly happy pleasant twenty-something year old. I hope you can get the help/peace you need to start enjoying each other some more.
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