Struggling with a spirited 5 month old

(32 Posts)
Chocolateyclaire76 Mon 29-Apr-13 10:05:46

Some days are OK but today, a Monday morning, was spent crying for at least an hours as the thought of a whole week entertaining a highly spirited 5 months old who will only nap when pushed in the pram became too much!

She was very hard as a small baby and it has got marginally better the older she has got but her demanding screams, constant struggling and sleep fighting are so tough.

I have to walk her at least twice a day for her naps and even then she usually wakes and screams for a bit. I keep meaning to start sleep training her to go in her cot but I just don't think I'm mentally strong enough anymore! I attempted it a few weeks back, going in at 5, 7, 10 minute intervals but she just screamed and screamed for over 45 mins. I gave in then and put her in her pram and went for a walk.

She can be very giggly and happy which is lovely but then the slightest thing happens - like me leaving the room to go to the toilet - and all hell breaks loose!

Can anyone offer me advice on coping mechanisms or let me know when the light at the end of the tunnel may be visible!!

StormyBrid Mon 29-Apr-13 10:18:11

Can't offer much advice but I can certainly point out light at the end of the tunnel. In a few years she won't need naps any more! Unfortunately that means it's a rather long tunnel, but it does have an end.

As for the controlled crying, if you want to try it again then it would probably help to have someone you're close to who can help you ride it out. Someone who won't mind being on the phone with you and distracting you and helping you to resist the urge to cave. It's a really stupidly hard thing to do alone. Good luck, and hopefully someone will be along with more experience and better advice soon.

BotBotticelli Mon 29-Apr-13 11:03:47

Hey OP, you have my sympathy - DS1 is almost 5mo (20 weeks) and is a real handul!! He too can be really engaging, laughing, smiling etc but he also cries an awful lot too!

He goes a very long time between bottles v happily (4 - 4.5 hours), and this is at his choosing as I have always fed on demand so I know he's not hungry. It's not hungry crying anyway: it's like a high pitched squeally yell of anger: "I don't like my playmat, pick me up! Why have you lleft me in this bouncy chair, come back! I want to get down off your lap and roll around the floor! I am BORED of that toy, take it away!"....etc etc etc all bloody day long.

He was expecially difficult last week - DH actually came home to find me in floods of tears one day as I had been trying to soothe a very fractious baby all day.

This week I have felt the first sharp slither of a tooth coming through at the bottom so I think this has probably been bothering him over the last few weeks, so am applying teething gel every 3 hours and at least 2-3 times each week I have given up at around lunchtime and given calpol which has always resulted in a happier little boy.

Are your DD's cheeks red and is she chewing everything really hard? Could be her teeth?

Cant help with the naps I'm afriad - DS does nap in his cot, but never for any longer than 30 mins at a time. He has 4-5 of these 30 minute naps per day, usually 4. And he wakes up at 6am and goes to bed at 6,30pm (again, times of his choosing, not ours!)....so it is a bloody long day on my own with him as DP is out at work all day.

I get the distinct impression DS is getting bored of all the toys we have in our house, so I am going to try taking him out to a couple of differnt baby groups every week to tire him out? Also, we took him swimming for the first time ever on saturday and he napped for an hour afterwards in the buggy - the longest nap he has ever taken.

I wonder if tiring them out is the ksy to dealing with a highly spirited baby?

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 29-Apr-13 11:07:56

Have you tried the no cry nap solution claire? You might also like this on nap refusal.

If you are thinking of changing her sleep the isis website is a really good place to start. Have a look at kellymom studies on normal infant sleep too, according to the stats only 16 percent of 6 month olds sleep through so you may be partly suffering from unreal expectations.

Can highly recommend sound sleep by Sarah Woodhouse too. Your library might have both books I've recommended and if you are really lucky dd might sleep on your library trip smile

Are you getting out too? At that age I found my DC slept much better if they'd had an activity in the morning like playgroup, swimming, nct freeforall open house.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 29-Apr-13 11:09:22

X-posted with bot smile

Doesn't sound spirited to me, just sounds like a normal 5 month old baby. Your child has figured out it which needs you to survive, is a little disconcerting lesson for it.

Try the book The Wonder Weeks it will let you know how the brain is developing and gives a bit of insight.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 29-Apr-13 11:32:37

Agree sounds pretty normal to me too and the wonder weeks is fab smile

CabbageHead Mon 29-Apr-13 12:44:19

Hi choc have a browse thru our high needs thread v, see if any of these posts sound familiar to you. My DS is high needs and ALWAYS fights naps, even now and he is 12mths old, so you have my complete sympathy. (he has just learnt to STTN, 2weeks before he turned 1...!!!!)

The relentlessness of the constant nap battle is horrendous, time consuming, creating fatigue for both of you. It also made me anxious a lot which of course made DS even worse! That 4,5 mth age was the absolute worst for me, I actually got so desperate I rang and org sleep school.

For me it was a combination of teething, reflux, developmental milestones, super alert baby becoming aware if the world around him (I had to make the room darker and darker, and darker again, lot sof white noise loud etc etc... Everyone thought I was bonkers but I couldn't care less I was drowning in stress and sleep dep!)

Hangin there, it will get better, but you need to survive in the meantime. So do woteva u can to make it easy for yiurself... As in, get help cooking dinner, doing chores etc, because u need rest and timeout to recuperate so u can cope during those long days...

Chck out the high needs threads... It may just be a comfort to know there are other people going thru similar situation. Promise it will get better, just not yet!

Do you have a swing (motorized) that u can use for naps? Maybe good way of transitioning her from pram. See troublesome tots website too. In hindsight I wish I had bought one, cos I realise now, I was fighting naps so much because DS was such a crap sleeper, and the swing could've at least helped him catchup on much needed sleep otherwise u r in that endless cycle. (sleep begets sleeps, rested child not so cantankerous)

Take care smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 29-Apr-13 15:06:57

claire what was the birth like too? Did you suffer any trauma?

I'd also google sleep regression

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 29-Apr-13 20:36:17

How has today gone? Hope it wasn't as bad as you anticipated.

The wonder weeks websites is here. Does that sound like what could be happening?

And here's some info on sleep regression, mentioned by smear smile

MooseBeTimeForSpring Mon 29-Apr-13 20:43:16

Have you tried a sling or baby carrier?

Chocolateyclaire76 Tue 30-Apr-13 09:44:43

JiltedJohnsJulie - luckily yesterday wasn't too bad. I really persevered with chill out time before her naps and played some lullabies. She went down in her pram without me having to move it, that has NEVER happened! She also seemed happier for having a sleep in a quiet environment and not out and about. As for the birth it was fairly traumatic, I had no previous complications but ended up being induced and had horrific contractions for 48 hours before having an emergency caesarean because she was progressing. Not something I wish to go through again!

As for slings and carriers, she never really liked them to sleep in as she's too busy looking around, especially now she's a bit bigger!

She's is teething so that's not helping. She got her first 2 teeth at 3 months and I think some more may be about to make an appearance.

DewDr0p Tue 30-Apr-13 09:51:10

Fwiw I think this stage can be quite tough. Teething is the pits too. It's hard to go to sleep when your mouth is so sore!

I found it got much easier once they were old enough to sit up and could do a bit more. I think at this age they are really interested in everything and maybe can be a bit frustrated by not being able to do much!

Chill out time before the nap sounds like a brilliant idea. You might want to think about nap timing as well - I found mine all napped much better on relatively full tummies and wished I'd never read that bloody Baby Whisperer advice about them ending up in borstal if I let them feed to sleep

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Apr-13 09:53:47

Had an inkling that your birth had caused you done distress from your post, poor you. Did you get a debrief? Has anyone told you about the Birth Trauma Association? I think both would help you with how you are feeling now, a traumatic birth can take a lot more getting over than many people expect smile

So glad the chill out time worked too. What does she have for her teething? I found ibuprofen and dentinox gel to be very good. They both also like to chew on a cool, clean, wet flannel.

Hope she is as good for you today smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Apr-13 10:02:16

Posted too soon! Had to grin at dewdrop's borstal comment. Only know one devoted BW follower and her dd still wakes at 8 years......

mummy2lola Tue 30-Apr-13 14:44:15

My 5 month old sounds the same. Has suddenly become very clingy. Usually a very happy smiley baby, although can burst into tears very suddenly for no apparent reason, and has a temper on her!!!
This morning I kissed her on the cheek, and she screamed for 40 mins!!! Weird!
I think it's separation anxiety and frustration at not being able to do what they want, as they are not physically able yet. Hope it gets better x

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 30-Apr-13 14:50:25

Mummy could that be teething causing the weird crying? Have you seen the separation anxiety info on kellymom too? smile

PoppyWearer Tue 30-Apr-13 14:51:57

FWIW my roughest time by far with my DC1 was at 5mo. She started to get really difficult about naps and she and I spent many days crying about it!

Honestly honestly it gets easier from here on. Weaning etc - it helps to enforce the routine. You have to get the hang of it, having extra stuff to worry about (preparing the food) but once you're in the groove, it does help with the routine and things should fall into place a bit more.

I do feel for you, wish I could give you a hug! At least the weather is a bit sunnier and you'll be keeping fit with all that walking. Take care.

mummy2benji Tue 30-Apr-13 21:16:18

You could try a jumperoo and see if she'll be happy in that for short spells during the day - my 2 dc's both loved it. It would give you a rest from cuddling / rocking for a bit and has the advantage of tiring them out so they are more likely to go down for their nap. Sorry to those who frown upon them but I have found a dummy so helpful for settling overwrought babies. And I recommend a Fisher Price sea horse which plays soothing lullabies and has a soft light - has helped my dd2 go down for naps in her cot. x

Chocolateyclaire76 Wed 01-May-13 09:45:44

mummy2benji, funny you should mention the jumperoo as we've just bought one and she does like it, but only for short periods. It's a start though! As for dummies, before I had her I hated the idea of using them but then I didn't think my baby would be such a screamer (I guess no one does!). I use one for naps but not a night so it's not too bad.

I haven't got the Fisher Price sea horse but I have downloaded a lullaby CD and keep it playing during naps - she has managed to go down in her pram without me moving it for the first time ever with this music! Her nap was still only 30 mins but better than nothing!

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 01-May-13 21:47:55

Glad things are a little better for you smile

amazingface Wed 01-May-13 22:24:27

hey OP, it sounds like you're beginning to turn a corner, that's great. FWIW everything started to get a little bit better for me once dd had passed the 5 month mark. She was so so high maintenance until then. I think you're onto a winner with the 'lullaby + down in pram without moving' approach. That's what I did and the good news is that it eventually transfers well to the cot - meaning that you end up with the best of both worlds, a baby who'll nap in both the cot and the pram! Here's hoping, anyway smile

I remember how grim and exhausting it all was, I was googling 'high needs babies' thinking that there was something wrong with my dd - there wasn't, she was just spirited, like you say, and very young! She's brilliant now and at 15 months is a fantastic sleeper.

amazingface Wed 01-May-13 22:28:10

Ooh, re. the waking after 30 minutes - I used to put DD down in the pram in my kitchen, check the time, and after about 25 mins had passed I started to rock the pram very gently to coincide with her coming out of one sleep cycle. The rocking helped her settle back into another sleep cycle. Try it, it can really work and might just buy you time to have a second cup of tea!

PoppyWearer Wed 01-May-13 22:38:00

Jumperoos are amazing things!

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