Ever since C’s colic started, I’ve been following The Fussy Baby Site‘s blog. Today, they posted a list of the Top Websites for Colic. I visited the Ask Dr. Sears website that was listed and stumbled upon information on high needs babies. I had an “aha” moment – FINALLY, C’s personality is explained.
I knew he was a strong-willed and determined baby, but I’ve been spending a lot of time scouring parenting books to figure out how to conform him to a schedule – especially for his naps. He refuses to nap more than 20 minutes at a time. Even getting him to do that is a struggle that typically involves screaming on his part. Now I understand that it’s not something that I’m doing wrong, and it’s not something that he’s likely to grow out of. It’s just his personality. And he’s not alone – there are many other high needs babies. Their parents also feel exasperated and at a loss for what to do, since their baby’s personality is unlike that of others they know. High needs babies even tend to make their feelings known in the womb by being extremely active. I feel validated!
According to Dr. Sears, whose forth child had this personality, there are 12 features of a high needs baby. C exhibits many of these features:
Intense. Whenever C wants something, he starts screaming. He goes from “0 to 60″ in the blink of an eye.
Draining. After an entire day of needing to actively entertain him and fighting to get him to nap, I am completely drained. It’s exhausting.
Demanding. He needs to be held a lot, entertained, switch positions often while feeding, etc. When he’s not getting what he wants, he screams.
Unsatisfied. He’s only content doing something for a short amount of time. I constantly need to switch things up for him, whether that’s moving him from gym to bouncer to floor to swing or parading toy after toy in front of him to keep him entertained.
Unpredictable. I’ve tracked C’s feeding and sleep schedule since he was born. There has NEVER been a pattern to it. I think we’ll always be an “on-demand” household, because that’s the only thing that seems to work for him.
Super sensitive. Whenever something is the least bit wrong in his world, he starts to cry. In one respect, this is good because he lets us know he needs something. When it happens frequently, it becomes a bit frustrating.
Can’t put baby down. Sometimes he just cries and screams no matter what we do unless he is held. If we sit down, he cries because he wants to be rocked or walked around with. He has a need to see everything that is happening around him, which I believe is another reason that he doesn’t want to nap.
Not a self-soother. Some children can soothe themselves with their thumbs, fists or a pacifier. Not C – his cries will continue to become louder and more frantic until you attend to his needs. It’s best to get to him quickly before it escalates.
It’s challenging to be a parent of a high needs baby, because your baby doesn’t accept common methods (i.e. crying it out or other sleep training). Because you see other babies who are easily calmed or content, you sometimes question your ability as a parent. I’m so thankful to The Fussy Baby Site for posting this information! C is not just a difficult child, and I am not doing something wrong as a parent. This is simply C’s personality and I need to learn how to conform to HIS needs. While it may be hard at times to raise a high needs child, if Hubster and I learn how to positively direct his passion and intensity, these traits will serve him well in life. I just need to remind myself that when I feel like I’m going insane!
*Special thanks to my parents; I, too, was a spirited high needs child. Their patience with me and encouragement of all of my energy has served me well. I hope that I will be able to do the same for C.*
Last week, I blogged about the formula experiment we were trying. We first opened one of the Enfamil samples that we had received in a childbirth preparation class, but the next day I purchased a can of Nestle Good Start Gentle (orange can). It had good reviews online for being gentle on a baby’s stomach and I remembered that my sister-in-law had used it for her girls. Enfamil Gentlease seemed to have good reviews, but I was slightly alarmed to see that the first ingredient in that formula is corn syrup solids. I have an allergy to corn syrup and, regardless, I didn’t feel that corn syrup should have that much prominence in the ingredients of a formula.
We noticed a difference in C almost immediately. He was generally more relaxed. When we picked him up, he kind of melted into us and cuddled instead of being more stiff and uncomfortable. Within about three days, it was like we had a totally different child. He now loves to smile and coo. He sleeps even better during the night than he used to. On breastmilk, he would sleep about 4-5 hours at a time. Last night, he slept for a 7-hour stretch.
It’s awesome to see him happy and comfortable. Granted, he still gets gas and fusses; but, I think that’s because he takes his bottles so quickly. It’s just the way he eats! There’s nothing we have been able to do to slow him down. Now I think it’s a normal fussiness, though, instead of a 24/7 colic.
I couldn’t take it anymore. Watching my son have stomachaches every day. A smile quickly turning to a frown. Fuss and fuss and fuss.
We’ve tried everything. Chiropractic care (which definitely did make an improvement), baby Zantac, propping him, burping him often, tracking what I eat, avoiding certain food triggers, various gas drops…the list goes on and on. Nothing has made a difference. Tonight, he seemed to refuse his bottle of breastmilk.
That was the final straw for me. It’s been heartbreaking knowing that he has stomachaches and the only nutrients going into his body are from me. So I am the reason he is hurting, and there’s nothing that I have been able to do to make it better. He had never refused his milk before. I couldn’t take it.
I opened one of the numerous samples of formula that we received from the doctor’s office, hospital, and childbirth preparation classes. He was skeptical of it at first, but he ate. And he didn’t cry. I can count on one hand how many times he has taken a bottle of breastmilk and not cried after eating.
We’re going to try this for two days. I am definitely pro-breastfeeding and it breaks my heart that it has come down to this experiment. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll keep trying to come up with different things to help him. If it does work and we need to switch to formula-feeding…at least I was able to give my son the advantage of 8 weeks of breastfeeding.
Ever have one of those days that make you want to run far, far away?
Yup, it’s one of those days. And it’s only 12:48pm.
C has been crying constantly for hours. He’s been fed twice, changed multiple times, rocked, put in his bouncy seat, etc. etc. etc….
I would hide, but we live in a one-bedroom apartment. I’d have Hubster watch him, but he has to work. I’d step outside with a baby monitor – but we didn’t purchase one because, alas!, we live in a one-bedroom apartment.
I think I will soon be searching for Hubster’s Bose headphones and watching some Netflix on my iPhone while C continues to cry.
I just ordered three books about baby sleep and parenting:
-”What to Expect: The First Year” by Heidi Murkoff, which I thought would be a good reference
-”The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley, recommended by my sister-in-law
-”The 90-Minute Baby Sleep Program” by Polly Moore, recommended by C’s chiropractor (a parent of 4)
SOMETHING has to help C. He often has a difficult time sleeping during the day, and prefers to sleep only while being held. He typically does well at night, but I know that he needs to be sleeping more during the day.
C’s chiropractor said that he doesn’t think it sounds like C has colic. It sounds more like C’s “pissed at the world,” like his daughter was for the first few months. With colic, babies cry for a period of 3 hours or so and typically are not crying ALL.DAY.LONG.
C even wakes up crying. And that’s when he’s already been fed and changed.
White noise helps sometimes. Going for drives helps occasionally…until we stop at a red light. Rocking him or jiggling his butt only helps sometimes. Swaddling only keeps him from hitting himself with his arms – not soothing. We took him off of Zantac and started trying symethicone gas drops to see if he was having side effects from the Zantac. Honestly, I think it’s worse without the Zantac so we might start that back up again.
So…the quest for finding a solution to C’s crying continues…
…but at least he’s healthy. The pediatrician did a head-to-toe check of C today and told us that we have a normal, healthy, fussy baby. It will only get worse before it improves. Apparently, research shows that babies peak in fussiness at about 2 months of age.
Until then, I find myself with a baby who often looks at me in desperation, tears streaming down his tiny face; an unending headache; and trying numerous methods to help him stop crying.
Do you have any tips for easing the screams and tears? For holding onto your own sanity?
My poor little C has been crying A LOT in the past two days. I don’t know if it’s a reaction to his Zantac, an ear infection, or something else. It’s strange to us that he’s having a difficult time calming down when we hold him. That’s usually what he wanted when he cried. He loves being held.
He used to cry, but not for hours on end throughout the day. Hopefully the doctor can give us some insight into what’s going on.
Otherwise…woe is me. If it gets worse from here on that bell curve our pediatrician drew, then I am in for some LONG days.
It’s so difficult watching your 2-week-old baby look at you with a pained expression while he’s crying inconsolably.
I think C has acid reflux, and it seems to get worse every day. He has a desperate pain cry after eating and arches his back in pain. He cries for a long time and his pain often wakes him up. He’s most comfortable sleeping on our chests because he can be upright. He gags, vomits and gets the hiccups all the time. I want to cry when he’s crying. It’s so sad that I can’t make it better.
I’ve tried to stay away from foods that can cause reflux in babies. We’ve propped his changing table so that he’s on an incline. His sleeps on an incline. We keep him upright after feedings. We’ve tried different bottles.
Nothing seems to help and he keeps getting worse. I can’t wait for our appointment with his pediatrician tomorrow afternoon. I hope there is something that we can do to help our poor little boy.