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I have a daughter who's 3 and a half, she's bright but always talking and is now at that "why everything" age.

I have another daughter who's now 4 months old. For the first 3 months she had colic which is now "getting better" but she's only ever learned to scream her bloody head off (think Nazgul from Lord of the Rings, literally, except way, way louder) -- so now, if she makes any sound at all, that's the sound she'll make. Hungry? Eeeee! Bored? Eeeee! Happy? Eeeee! Incessant screaming for no discernible reason, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. My wife, at least, can breast feed her which will shut her up for a while ... but (if my wife has any milk) she will throw most of it up again, and we'll have to clean her, her clothes, and whatever she managed to hit. It's come to the point where any sound from here will make me think "shut up, shut up, shut up..."

Big sis a morning person, up at 6 at the latest. Little sis is a night owl, wanting her last meal at 10 or 11, and occasionally at 4, too, so we are getting very little opportunity for sleep or, you know, all the other stuff that goes into a household, a relationship, an adult life.

We're getting zero (quality) sleep, we're exhausted and we're breaking down, both of us.

Right now I'm home alone, typing this while listening to Run DMC at full blast (which is nowhere near loud enough), after my wife took the kids to the playground because I was sobbing uncontrollably over yet another batch of dirty baby clothes.

My wife is at home, has been since before birth, and will be for another two months. Then she will start working again. She's totally not ready for that. No sleep, no energy, no milk, no quiet, no sleep, repeat.

I have been working all along, but will reduce my hours in two months. Honestly, work (especially the commute) is a haven: people are behaving like grown-ups (mostly), not (much) screaming, but I dread going home. At the same time, I feel bad for leaving my wife alone with that noise machine.

On top of that we have all the "grown up stuff", too. Dishes, shopping, replacing the washing machine before it breaks down, finding a replacement pc backup service (our old one is shutting down, and backups are import). Fortunately money is not an issue, but we we have zero time, zero energy, and don't have room for a nanny.

I'm supposed to be the lucky one, or the strong one, because I'm not dealing with that havoc all day long, because I get to go to work. Yet I'm breaking down after "only a few hours" so my wife does not dare to take a (much-needed) retreat somewhere not-home.

How the hell do you guys stay sane?

Edit:

We are paying for house cleaning. We could also pay for groceries, but don't even have the time to figure out available options. Similar for other "grown up stuff", we find it difficult to "out-source".

We have some family nearby; they're either seniors, or busy same-age-as-us-folks who have, on occasion, taken the older one in for an overnight stay (and a fun time before/after). Once she stayed for two nights, but this brings me to my next point: The minute my wife is not with her children, she misses them so terribly (I think I could go a few days without seeing my kids, if I can say that without sounding like a horrible dad). I have not sought therapy or professional advice (yet, perhaps I should look into that).

Edit the 2nd:

Thanks for all your nice responses, and the edits to this post. I am going to respond to answers as comments to those answers.

Edit, 3rd edition! Ah, look at that. Little sis is teething! That surely explains some of the hollering. Well, thanks to your responses, and some thinking and growing on my part, things are a bit better now.

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    Are you sure I'm sane? But seriously, a few questions to clarify... What options do you or your wife have for volunteered childcare (family, friends, etc) for a little while? Post-partum depression is a thing for fathers as well as mothers, have you sought therapy or professional advice? You don't have room for a nanny, but what about having somebody to temporarily take the kids, do the laundry, or other "grown up stuff" that's weighing on you? – Acire Sep 17 '17 at 12:36
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    Oh, and thank you for not immediately shutting me down. Truly appreciated. – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 7:40
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    As another guy, who has raised (along with and quite often only because of my wife) three kids, I seriously feel your pain. Yes, this time of life (small screechy incessantly demanding kids screeching and incessantly demanding things) is very, very difficult - much more difficult than anyone ever explained to us. Largely because we probably would have had some serious surgery and started calling ourselves Daphne or something if we'd understood. :-) But honestly - IT GETS BETTER! (I'm half laughing, half crying as I write this). IT GETS BETTER. Just keep reciting that - and hang in there. – Bob Jarvis Sep 18 '17 at 16:57
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    If money isn't an issue hire a babysitter for an afternoon so you can both have an evening to sleep and plan stuff out. If your family is near enough ask them to sleep there for a bit or get a cheap hotel room. Just for an afternoon to clear your head. It is hard to sort emotions when you're tired. – Jemmeh Sep 18 '17 at 21:30
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    This is a minor tangential note, but I've found that kids who ask why aren't necessarily wanting to know why. They are practicing conversation. I find it amusing (and they do, too) to turn the question back to them, ask the child the same question, and sometimes they'll give an answer! If they don't have an answer, sometimes that means they really are asking why. – rrauenza Sep 20 '17 at 20:14

23 Answers 23

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Ok. I'm going to take a shot at this. I semi-agree with Erica's comment that this could be seen as primarily opinion based but at the same time, it's not and there are methods out there that we parents can share with each other in order to better enable ourselves to handle times like these.

The first thing that you need to understand is that this is temporary. This is a realization that has gotten me through many rough times even beyond parenting. My first tooth filling (hate the dentist), my first week of boot camp (arguably the worst), my deployment to Iraq (not fun), my first surgery (and the resulting pain), and (to stay on-topic) the first time having two children in the same house screaming for two different things at the exact same time. These moments are temporary, fleeting, and will be done before you know it.

It sounds to me like you two need a break. Not even a date night. Nothing romantic (unless you need that too) but honestly, just a break. Find someone who is fine to watch your kids for a couple of hours and take a nap. In this situation I would find two people to watch both kids separately. One who is good with babies and another who can play with and exhaust your oldest. Get some good quality sleep even if you have to pay for a babysitter and do it sooner than later. Sleep is very important.

As much as you want to, don't retreat into your work. I thought I could do this but in the end couldn't bring myself to stay away (plus I had a coworker who wouldn't let me). Be there for these times and rough it out. I know it sucks now but these are character defining moments and, if you see it through, they make your family stronger.

The most difficult piece of advice I can give you is clear your plate. Drop some things off of your schedule. Anything that is absolutely not necessary, dump it now. Maintaining absolutely unnecessary activities is difficult and if they're currently adding to your stress then drop them.

The last piece of advice I can give you is to love your family. Love them unconditionally. I'm going to say it and I hope no one takes offense; sometimes children can be a pain in the ass. Despite this though, I have always loved them beyond measure. One day (soon) you'll look at both of them and realize what a gift they are and this time right here will seem all worth it.

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    +100. Everything in this answer is vital. – anongoodnurse Sep 17 '17 at 17:43
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    It'll not be like this forever, I know that intellectually. But in the moment, I can't connect to my logic circuits. – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 7:58
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    Clear your plate - this is what my wife tells me, too. She has dropped very nearly literally everything, but I am still doing "some" things, in part because that's part of what keeps me sane. But yeah, I will do less (but not worry less, about the stuff that just needs getting done). – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 8:04
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    @KlaymenDK I know it's rough bro. Please take that second piece of advice from me and the first from Pascal and get some rest. The fact your logic circuits aren't working is cause for alarm. – SomeShinyObject Sep 18 '17 at 8:11
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    Lack of sleep... remember that. What we ended up doing was sleeping in shifts. My wife would go to bed at 20:00 and I would take care of anything that came up until 02:00. Than I would go to bed and she would pick up anything between 02:00 and 08:00. That way we both got 6 hours of solid sleep per night, enough to manage and stay sane. – Jasny - Arnold Daniels Sep 18 '17 at 20:34
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Find help.

If you're not getting enough sleep and you start crying over dirty clothes, you are exhausted and breaking down. I don't think this is normal behavior (just my opinion, but we had a baby who cried for 7 months straight, never slept for more than 2 hours and threw up often, so I can relate a bit - it drove us nuts, but we didn't end up crying over dirty baby clothes) for parents a bit in over their head; it sounds much more serious.

We're not thinking right when we are dead tired: We're miscalculating risks, we're not seeing obvious solutions to problems, our facilities to plan ahead are greatly diminished, and we have much less control over our impulses than when we're rested. Things might not be as bad as you see them, but you're too exhausted to deal with them as they are, and that's dangerous when there are little ones involved.

So if you and your wife continue like this, sooner or later one of you might do something that you'll regret for the rest of your life (I'm thinking shake the baby in a fit of anger - it only takes a split-second loss of control and baby will be disabled for life).

IMO, the only recourse is to find help who can give you a break from your kids, regularly, so you can recover to a clear state of mind. And with "you" I don't mean just you, the father, but you, the parents.

Once you can think clearly again (meaning you don't just see the baby as a noise maker and sleep robber and are no longer afraid to go home), you might be able to organize a way to live through the next few months - and it's really just a few months, because things WILL GET BETTER, even if you can't see it now.

What really helped in our case was splitting the night between the two of us. My wife went to bed at eight and I looked after the baby until two in the morning while my wife slept (which basically meant dozing in front of the TV until he started screaming, then trying to bottle-feed him, which mostly didn't work, then walk around singing to him for an hour until he was exhausted and fell asleep, then repeat), then went to sleep where I couldn't hear any crying, and she would take care of the baby until morning. Still meant we were walking zombies during the daytime, but life was bearable for the months it took until the baby was old enough to start eating solids, at which time life improved dramatically because he started sleeping for longer periods during the night, which meant we both got more sleep.

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    +1 For taking shifts. If one of you can get rested and then take the reins, that'll make things a whole lot easier. – SomeShinyObject Sep 17 '17 at 23:24
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    I assumed the cause of the crying wasn't the dirty laundry :-) The proximate cause obviously doesn't matter, what matters is that you're crying at all - meaning you don't have firm control over your emotions any more. The cardboard walls are a real problem if you're a light sleeper - maybe earplugs can help? I would have paid good money for the occasional overnight babysitting service, but even a babysitter who takes the kids out of the house for a few hours so you can have some quiet and rest a bit helps (see SomeShinyObject's answer). When you're tired enough, you sleep whenever you can. – Pascal Sep 18 '17 at 9:57
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    I think you over-estimate the capability of headphones. – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 10:56
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    Straight-up earplugs might be the way to go. Headphones were never good enough for me either. – Acire Sep 18 '17 at 14:17
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    Help is critical. I remember once the whole house was sick. Sleep is vital to recovery so no one would get better. Having my mother down for a bit to allow us to recover was huge. Take help were you can get it. – Mister Positive Sep 18 '17 at 14:22
52

I have a practical piece of advice: wear your baby in a sling/wrap.

My 10 month old has been worn by either me or dad ever since she was born, and we cannot begin to imagine how much harder our lives would have been if we had not done so! We use both a wrap (for longer walks, for example) and a sling (easier to put on, but mainly used in the house; it is asymmetric, so in the long run one shoulder would get painful).

Here are a couple of sources about the benefits of babywearing:

Both of these sources (and there are plenty more out there) begin by saying that babywearing reduces crying:

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that babywearing for three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43 percent overall and 54 percent during evening hours

Besides this and the other benefits for the baby listed there, I would emphasize how babywearing frees your hands to do much of the house chores. And while the parent gets stuff done, she gets to watch or sleep (in fact our baby has always happily slept in the wrap/sling, with her ear on mommy's or daddy's chest, listening to the heartbeat, feeling our body warmth).

Good luck and hang in there!

  • I'll add that is easier on the arms and back, too. – pojo-guy Sep 17 '17 at 15:32
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    Don't know why the DV; this is really good advice. Maybe because it only addresses the baby? – anongoodnurse Sep 17 '17 at 17:44
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    +1 Baby slings are wonderful inventions and if you can get baby to calm down, dealing with the other one will be much easier. – SomeShinyObject Sep 17 '17 at 23:22
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    We have and use both a sling (10m of fabric) and a BabyBjörn, but my back can't take it for longer periods of time. If I need to do anything (dishes, etc) I have to arch my back and stretch my arms. :( Don't have kids when you're 40! ;-) – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 8:18
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    Warning: It doesn't work for every baby. Certainly didn't work for ours - drove her even more nuts than not wearing her in a wrap. Certainly worth a try but not a universal solution. – Pavel Sep 18 '17 at 12:12
28

Sorry to be pragmatic, but:

Get your 3 year old daughter in full time daycare

If money isn't an issue, spend the $1k/month to get her in a place to socialize with others. She needs to talk, that's good. Find one that is good enough, and drop her off. After a week or so, she will absolutely love it. She will have peers to play with, and a teacher who is an expert to bug with questions. This will give you and your wife an 8 hour break for 5 days, and be healthy for your eldest daughter.

Two months Until Ferber

When the baby is 6 month old, do SLEEP TRAINING as described in the book "Solve your child's sleep problems" by Richard Ferber. Read the book cover to cover, and follow his directions about how to stop the evening feedings and align her sleep schedule with that of her sister. This book proposes the "Cry It Out" Method, which is the last step in a sequence of sleep training exercises. I suggest if you don't like the CIO method, still follow all the other advice - that alone will fix most of the sleep issues.

Between now and Ferber

Realize that post-partum depression is something that MANY MEN EXPERIENCE. Seek professional help immediately, starting with your PCP (primary care physician). To help you through these next few months, and to support your family, face this problem with determination, and find a solution via professional channels. Just talking with a professional will help immensely (at least it did for me). Even if you don't have post-partum, still, find a professional to speak with.

Finding other dads who have had this experience, and reaching to talk to will also help. While we are legion on the internet, and asking your question here in SE was a great start, it might help to find a support group in your area. I actually found a group of old-timers in my church who were able to understand and coach me through similar issues. Realize that you are not alone, and that being a Dad is hard emotionally for most men.

Emergency Backup (Late Edit)

This is frowned upon my may parents and pediatricians, but when your 3 year old is driving you nuts, sometimes you need to turn on the TV. In my experience, the kid will just sit and watch TV while you get some peace. I personally screen the tv viewing to play only things that don't bug me. I enjoy the sounds of Octonauts, Peppa Pig, Baby Einstein, Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Grommet, and Thomas the Train. Elmo is ok but sometimes gets on my nerves. Avoid youtube at all costs!

Summary

I think getting the 3 year old the attention she needs will greatly help your situation, allowing you to address your emotional issues, and starting the process of getting your sleep back.

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    Daycare for the older girl is a good idea, that will make the days easier. This is also the only answer that suggests the OP may be suffering from post-partum depression, and that's important because if he is, it won't get better by thoughing it out. – Pascal Sep 18 '17 at 15:22
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    +1, great practical advice that can be implemented right away. – iulia Sep 18 '17 at 16:35
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    Oh, big sister is already in daycare, and has been since she was 6 months old. Recently, though, they wanted to have her not nap during the day, especially because she will miss out on social interaction -- so now, she sleeps from ~4:30 for an hour or two, because she is pooped after a day full of interaction and cannot do without a rest. Aaand when she wakes up, she's cranky, too late for dinner and toothbrush time, and too awake to go to bed in a timely manner (obviously). – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 16:43
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    Tell daycare personnel that you need her to take a short nap during the day because not taking a nap screws up her sleep rhythm/bedtime. If they have a problem with that, tell them it's just for another two, three months. They should understand, especially if they know you're running on just a few hours of sleep every night. – Pascal Sep 18 '17 at 17:24
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    @KlaymenDK PCP is "primary care physician" or lingo for your personal medical doctor. – axsvl77 Sep 18 '17 at 18:40
16

I've been in this situation twice now, and it is horrible! Hang in there. Here are some simple, concrete things I can suggest (or +1) that may help:

  • Babywearing can be really great. If your baby won't sleep for long in a cot, she might sleep better when wrapped to you. Some babies (cough my 6mo) get cranky if you try to do anything other than walk around rocking them, others will sleep peacefully while you do housework or work on the computer or sit on the couch.

  • Super important: there are safe ways of babywearing and dangerous ways. See the TICKS guidelines. The baby needs to have clear airways, etc. Some sling types put the baby in a curled-up position that is incredibly dangerous. Also, never be in a position where you might fall asleep while babywearing.

  • It sounds like your baby is in pain a lot of the time. We had this with our second, who is now nearly 3yo, and it turned out she had silent reflux. Medication to treat the reflux made all the difference.

  • Counseling or therapy is a great idea. If your local area provides specialist postnatal counseling and assistance, get in touch with them right away. If you can get a chance to talk things out with a counselor and your wife, especially if the clinic can look after your 3yo, it is incredibly beneficial.

  • This is probably the worst of it. Right now you're going from one kid to two, which is really hard at the best of times, and your baby is probably going through the big 4-month developmental leap, which is absolutely the worst (in my experience of 3 kids).

It's come to the point where any sound from here will make me think "shut up, shut up, shut up..."

This was 100% me, two months ago. But it does pass. You can make it.

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    There are certain medications which should be prescribed with extreme care in infants. To advocate/vouch for one, you need to draw from recent literature (i.e., 2017) for a source. Thanks. Btw, =1 for the excellent answer. – anongoodnurse Sep 18 '17 at 3:29
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    We know about silent reflux but I think our doctor just said to wait it out... I don't know for sure though because my wife was in charge of doctor's visits. – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 8:28
  • Hopefully your bub will get through the screamy stage very soon, but if she doesn't the reflux thing might be worth following up. – Mike Airey Sep 19 '17 at 2:30
  • My kids were each on Prevacid for 2+ years. The Drs. told us about the bone growth issues but since the reflux was so bad they recommended it anyway. It helped...a little. Eventually we found it was some sort of milk allergy (not detected by standard tests) – Snowbody Sep 19 '17 at 12:58
  • My colic baby was on Zantec. The doctors tried all the natural stuff, but when the reflux got so bad she was literally keeping NOTHING down, and getting no nutrition... On the good side, this went down dramatically as soon as solids were introduced. – swilliams Sep 20 '17 at 13:10
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From another Dad with young kids: hang in there. This sucks. It's going to continue sucking for months. The above ideas are all great but the truth is nothing is really going to help, and you and your wife are going to endure this (you will get through it), and be very strong when you come out the other side.

Colic. Lack of sleep. Screaming. No wonder you are breaking down in tears. You are essentially experiencing a form of torture and you are quite literally losing your sanity. The levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your blood are probably very high.

Our society does not really value how difficult parenting is. If it did, parents would have years of parental leave instead of months (or none), and there would be services to help parents in need, like you. Our society, movies and TV shows paint the struggles of parenting as "cute" and "worthy" - when the reality is, it can drive one to depression and insanity.

The positive - your character is being stretched right now and your capacity to handle stress is becoming super human. In a few years you'll find yourself wondering why your childless friends get so stressed over things that seem small to you. Also, you are becoming selfless - an incredible trait that will serve you throughout your life.

I don't have any great advice to offer - just solidarity and the acknowledgement that what you're going through is more than any person can handle without breaking. Research cortisol to learn more about why your body and emotions are reacting this way to the sound of screaming. Maybe get some over ear headphones to play rain sounds. Be transparent with your employer and coworker and ask for grace if you need flexibility with your work duties. Live in filth - make cleaning the house the lowest priority. If there's any way to change your life to suit your parenting life, go for it - even if that means something extreme like moving.

  • Yeah. My son teethed for 6 months. Every 2 hours. Now when I see people being sleep-deprived as torture on television I just laugh. – RedSonja Sep 19 '17 at 10:31
  • For the first 14 months my second son only started to sleep around 4am, to wake up at 6 or 7. Yep, not much you can do. – Maarten Sep 22 '17 at 9:50
  • That sounds rough, RedSonja and Maarten. Can I ask both of you, how did you survive that period? – VerticalGrain Sep 23 '17 at 22:12
  • @VerticalGrain we knew it would end some day. We got used to it. In fact when he suddenly started sleeping again we both woke up at 6 am and rushed to see if he was still breathing. It took us a while to learn how to sleep for 8 hours again. – RedSonja Sep 25 '17 at 10:49
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I grew up with much younger siblings, so we quickly fell into a pattern where I took night feedings (yup, the evil bottle), much as i had when i was 5 and 6. DW got a full nights sleep and it was no different from any other on-call work for me (except less strenuous). Don't get caught up in the"first child" everything must be perfect and sterilized phase. By the third child, if the kid drops the pacifier on the floor, "cleaning" devolves to wiping it off quickly.

You might consider a pacifier for the times she wants to suck but isn't hungry. There is a reason every society since neolithic times has invented the contraption, in spite of the naysaying of talking heads on the most recent version of media.

Find a babysitter and get out for an occasional evening. For us this was a challenge because my daughter only liked teenaged boys, but my wife was not happy with that. The daughter won, until we found a girl she liked, then all were happy.

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    +1 for pacifier. – Revetahw Sep 17 '17 at 20:30
  • Oh, we have plenty of pacifiers, but she keeps grabbing it and throwing it away, instead of leaving it in her mouth. Or, if we hold them in there, or place a cloth/toy to block her hand, she just removes those first. :-/ But, really, pacifiers do nothing for the pain, and the fact that she doesn't know she could make happy-baby-bubbly-sounds instead of Eeeeee!... – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 8:25
  • @KlaymendDK if she's got teething pain try putting some small bits of ice in a zip lock back for her to chew on - it helped mine a lot, started teething at 3 months. Our pediatrician also said we could use oralgel 4 times a day to help numb it out. You might also try using a cord to attach the pacifier onto something that can't be thrown - stroller, car seat, high chair, etc. That way if thrown it at least won't be lost/filthy – Daenyth Sep 18 '17 at 12:26
  • @KlaymenDK Your situation is obviously much more intense than I read into it. I heartily recommend some sanity time for yourself and your wife. Once the two of you are unfrazzled, than you will be able to reflect and think better. I'm not sure why this is still getting upvotes after your clarification. – pojo-guy Sep 18 '17 at 21:23
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    @KlaymenDK They make pacifiers that clip onto the child's clothes. It works great for a child that tries to throw it away, because it stays with them even if they do so. Eventually, they start to figure it out. – Cort Ammon Sep 19 '17 at 0:58
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With three kids at home (10 months, 4 year old and 5 year old) I find shopping on my phone and picking up groceries at my local store to be a good option. We have a few grocery stores here that provide apps that let me pick out the groceries (while I'm on my lunch break) and pick them up on my way home from work. Saves a lot of walking around and more importantly helps avoid store tantrums.

"I'm supposed to be the lucky one, or the strong one, because I'm not dealing with that havoc all day long, because I get to go to work. Yet I'm breaking down after "only a few hours" so my wife does not dare to take a (much-needed) retreat somewhere not-home."

Buddy, work is mentally exhausting...you must remember this. Each day I return from work I pick the battle I'm going to deal with. If all I have energy for is dishes and feeding then that's all that's getting done. If the baby tosses up on herself and I'm not feeling it today, I wrap it up in a plastic bag and rinse it in the morning before my shower.

Picking my battles daily is how I stay sane. I mean this in no condescending way but when things are getting out of hand and you find yourself sobbing over dirty clothes just take a moment to breath. I know when every one is screaming, crying or something else it seems impossible but I've always thought about it this way....they're going to be screaming and crying regardless so I'm going to continue on what I was doing and take a breath. Children are sensitive to agitation, restlessness and a myriad of other things in adults.

I can remember sitting in the house one day against the hallway wall with three of these little monsters screaming all wanting something different and I was about to (or already had) crack! At that moment I took a deep breath and said, "screw it". I put the wailing baby in the crib, put on some Shania Twain, started dancing like a lunatic and doing dishes. The oldest comes in and asks..."what you doing?" I said, "I'm dancing and doing dishes because that's all I can do right now, sweetness." This was the first time he had witnessed me dancing and singing and doing dishes and quite frankly thinking back on it, it was the first time he laughed WITH me. He forgot what the hell he and his brother were arguing about and just danced around with me. Forgetting what he was fighting over with his brother silenced two of them. I finished the pots and attended to the baby girl. It only lasted for maybe 20 minutes but I'll tell you right now, those were the best damn 20 minutes of that week. But it did teach me right then in there, I can breath in this hurricane of humans. I know I can. I have the rowdiest set of humans and I don't know where that came from.

The middle one is going through this huge bratty phase and the youngest follows right in his footsteps which is particularly aggravating. She also does the 'Eeeee!' squeals for anything which by the 40th time makes my ears feel like they're bleeding. I used to get aggravated with the first child and make noises right back until one day I decided, okay he's going to squeal like an animal and I'm going to let him. Me attending to him isn't changing his behavior and getting aggravated isn't making him stop either. When he silences (and eventually they all will, either by being bored or tired) I'll stop and give him a hug and ask him what he needs (I knew he couldn't understand at the time but I still did it). I do the same with the baby girl and I consistently stay with it. She gets attention that way at daycare and brings it home.

Everything won't ever be peachy and/or controllable but for a few moments during parenthood. Accepting that is the first step to becoming a stronger parent. The fact that you are cognizant of what's going on is a good step. Start breaking things into tasks for yourself(especially when it comes to helping your wife). Everything (and I mean Everything) takes time with kids as you probably already know, routine is the only way to make and break them of things (as hard as this is on both the child and parent) but it always pays off. I used to have nightly fights about brushing teeth. I mean, the kid would just scream bloody murder (horrible sounds, the neighbors asked what was going on a few times) at me suggesting it was time to brush his teeth. I still carried him in there and did this for 9 months (felt like decades) until I think he realized he wasn't going to win no matter how loud he got. Stay strong dad....and as other's say, seek professional guidance if you feel loose.

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    Nothing condescending about what I read here, I'm very grateful. – KlaymenDK Sep 18 '17 at 18:21
  • Reading your post, I can related to a lot of what you say. I like the story about dancing in the middle of the hurricane. That story really aptly sums up what I think is the absolute best response when the kids have a parent on the verge of cracking. – VerticalGrain Sep 23 '17 at 22:17
4

Your post brings back memories - well, more like foggy sleep-deprived fugues, but sort of like memories.

One thing nobody else has mentioned is some kind of professional overnight babysitting service (in my case these places called themselves overnight Doula services - this may be a useful term to search for that you may not have heard). If this exists where you live it can make a big difference. They usually sit in a chair in the baby's room so you don't need an extra room for them to sleep in.

My wife and I knew about them before we had any kids, but since it costs about as much per hour as an expensive baby sitter we thought there was no way it would be worth paying for it. But eventually we reached a point where we would have sold our internal organs to pay for it.

A night's sleep (though it won't come close to catching you up) will make a big difference. Right now part of why you have so much to do is that everything takes you longer, and you make lots of mistakes. So simply sleeping will actually help you catch up on those things, a little bit. Though you have a lot to do and to put up with, it's mostly simple exhaustion that that is making it overwhelming.

3

It's brutal. It's temporary. My three year old is talking incessantly next to me. now. Dada, dada, can I ..., dada, dada, why ...

When he was younger, there were several places nearby that you could pay by the hour, or for a certain number of passes, where the kids can play in an indoor playground and parent can work, or nap, or even leave depending on the place. This can be a quick way to get an immediate break.

Any time spent with them active at a place like this, or local park (fortunately we can walk to one) or doing any activity pays off, because they sleep better.

Mine's in preschool now, so that helps after you get used to preparing meals/snacks, clothes, etc., some schools supply them. I joined a rec center, after school now we swim (play in the shallow pool indoors, he can't swim yet) for an half-hour to hour. He sleeps earlier, and falls asleep easier. Before the pool I would try to get to the park everyday on bikes unless it's winter.

He actually learns a lot from the cartoons. He and I both like Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Dora, Blaze, Mickey Mouse, etc. There are a few more girl oriented shows in those similar channels (Nickelodeon, etc) An iPad or TV beats insanity. He can talk incessantly, doing it right now next to me. Dada, dada, dada, can I , dada dada ... with the cartoons on, he's usually watching quietly, or maybe talking a little about what is happening, laughing, etc, but there at least it's not non-stop.

I also found at a certain age, watching nature videos of animals (elephants, monkeys, giraffes, etc. tried to avoid the predator types or during hunting ) on the iPad would interest him enough to be quiet, but he also seemed to fall asleep after 10-15minutes. On nights when he was hard to put to sleep, or woke up.

The old driving around trick worked for me, essentially always. I 15minute ride in the car or maybe 30 minute car ride to put them to sleep. It beats walking around hurting your back for 2 hrs. Even though it seems like a hassle to drive out sometimes, it may be worth it if they get to sleep reliably that way.

Gotta go, little guy keeps hovering his hands over the keyboard saying, what's this do, what's this do, what's this do. Now he's over the on/off button. Got him away. Now he's picked up a frisbee with change in it, spilled on the floor.

Can't hear myself think, no time to edit. Good luck. You'll make it. We're going to the pool.

Dada dada, can you stand up, dada dada can I push this chair button again, dada dada can you get up, (pulling on my chair) dada dada, I moved you, you see, dada dada you know, dada dada because I'm strong, dada dada can you feel my muscles, dada dada are we going swimming, because I want to go swimming, dada dada

And definitely wearing the baby around helps productivity.

Sometimes I have a beer, or a glass of wine!

  • +1 TV is an important tool. Consider trying Octonauts. We've had a 15 month run with my son still glued to the screen. He knows a ton about science and oceanography, and I still love every episode. – axsvl77 Sep 19 '17 at 15:26
3

We've got 3, twins at 18 Months and a girl who's 3 and a half years old, so I can appreciate what you're going though, minus the colic.

My Tips:

  1. Get some sleep. Others have posted this above. It's important.

  2. Make Tea. When everything is going pear shaped, put the smallest somewhere safe, like a cot or similar, and make yourself a cup of tea. It doesn't matter if you drink tea or not, you're not going to get to drink it hot anyway, but it will give you a moment to clear your head.

  3. Get baby to take a bottle if she doesn't already. This will be important for point 4

  4. Alternate nights on-duty. If tonight is your night, then your wife goes to bed and sleeps through. Tomorrow night is all yours. I found the persistent sleep deprivation hard and this way you only have to get through one night with some lovely sleep to look forward to tomorrow. I must admit we didn't do this exactly but some derivation whereby you get some quality sleep is valuable.

  5. Try and find a mantra, or a warm fuzzy place in your head, or some way to tune out your youngest. This is difficult as we seem hard-wired to pay attention to children crying. But as long as your initiating a resolution to the cause of the noise, getting her food, changing nappies, etc. then there's nothing to be gained by her crying getting on your nerves. This is easier with some sleep on board.

  6. Some people above have said that it gets easier, I disagree. It gets different, but not easier. As your youngest gets older she will start crawling, then walking and you'll have two to watch. Then she'll start talking and asking the exact same questions that your eldest is wearing you down with now. after that I have no idea. I'm not trying to get you down, I guess I'm trying to highlight that you need to be proactive in managing your mental health. Just burying your head in the sand now with the hope that things will get better soon may not pay off.

Good Luck, it is survivable.

  • Good answer. For point #6, I would say the factor for sleep-deprivation gets easier, but yes, you are correct, other aspects of parenting get worse or even out. It never gets easier. The stress points change. – SomeShinyObject Sep 20 '17 at 5:20
2

My eldest dd was also breast-fed and had a terrible time with colic and constantly gorging/sicking-up everything. My wife heard there was a strong chance dd could be dairy milk intolerant and that the proteins pass into breast milk. She moved off cow's milk for the remainder of breast-feeding and saw a massive improvement.

Here in the UK there's many, many alternatives to try: soya, oat, almond, rice... (Goat's milk was a little too "goaty" for our liking...) Hopefully you've got some alternatives available to you, too. Try it for a week or two; if you see no improvement, you've not lost much but tried anyway.

Good luck and keep loving your little family. They deserve all your time and love, just like you will earn theirs back ten-fold.

  • This is definitely on our radar, having my wife try a different (milk-free) diet. We haven't "started this project" yet, though. – KlaymenDK Sep 21 '17 at 10:05
  • As soon as they will take a bottle, try the smallest non-dairy Formula options you can. Amazon for example has these single-serving packets: amazon.com/Enfamil-PREMIUM-Non-GMO-Gentlease-Formula/dp/…. With our first, Enfamil had a 'thicker' formula branded as 'A.R.' (Added rice) that solved the excessive spit-up. – robbat2 Sep 23 '17 at 19:54
1

My daughter was very colicky, and we found one of those automatic swing chairs to be a godsend - once we put her in it, she stopped crying and very often just dozed in it. The transformation was amazing. Babies seem to find being rocked soothingly when they have CHolic (and generally I suppose). Might be worth a try…

This one one of many examples of the sort of thing I mean… https://www.amazon.com/Ingenuity-Power-Adapt-Portable-Vesper/dp/B01AFQKGN4/ref=sr_1_21_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1505904179&sr=8-21&keywords=baby+chair+swing

1

Already a lot of answers here but I'll post what worked for us. Our two children were 16 months apart, neither of ours slept more than two hours at a time for the first 6 months or so. Our kids where in daycare from 3 months on. We both worked, but even when my wife was home, our solution was sleeping in shifts. I'd go to bed at 10pm and get up at 2am for her to then sleep from 2am to 6am. That way we each got at least 4 hours of sleep a night. Later when they started sleeping more consistently, we did night on followed by a night off. Now at ages 3+ they're sleeping really well.

It was brutal, hardest thing I've ever done. I was a grunt in the US Army, and that was nothing compared to this. Hang in there! Both ours really started sleeping well at about 2.5 years. Now it's all we can do to wake them up during the week. Weekends we let them sleep in obviously.

I wouldn't say either of ours kids were colicky. Babies can have acid reflux, my nephew was proscribed an antacid as a baby which helped a lot. Maybe something to look into.

  • Thanks for the comment. I've never been conscripted, but I take your meaning when you say it's not as hard as this. As for medication, that is apparently something that is "just not done" here in Denmark. Sadly. – KlaymenDK Sep 20 '17 at 20:19
1

My heart goes out to you! A colicky baby is no small thing. Regarding sleeping in shifts and the thin walls, do you think listening to white noise through headphones (the thin kind in a headwrap) might cancel out the screaming enough to sleep? As everyone has said, getting sleep needs to be your number one priority. Being sleep deprived leads to nowhere good. Although you are in a different country than many of us commenting, this should be a reminder to us all to help out our friends and neighbors through these exhausting periods in life.

  • Thanks. Unfortunately, drowning out noise with more noise doesn't work for sensitive people. But I did just order a pair of supposedly-very-good custom-fittable earplugs, let's see what those can do. – KlaymenDK Sep 21 '17 at 10:07
1

Wow, OK your definitely in it. I will make some suggestions,

  1. Get on birth control, even if just for a while. The piece of mind of knowing that there won't be any more until your ready can really help. Look to your church or doctor for options.

  2. Get some "Us" time. One of the largest mistake new parents make is they forget that there Husband and Wife (or whatever) first. You can not care for someone else, even your own kids, if your not OK first. Just a night out, or a day where you don't worry about the children can be a HUGE improvement.

  3. Next it's time to be the "mean parent". Your three year old is or can be taught to be very self reliant. Now I'm not saying ignore her, but it's time to set boundaries. The best ever parenting advice I have ever gotten is at 3 (really before) if its after bed time, it's not your problem. Your job is to provide a safe environment. Everything else is icing. If you need to step back a bit, then do it. Some people will say your being a bad parent, that's fine. The Three year old should be able to dress her self, eat her own foods that you prepare. Essentially take a bath without a lot of help (just keep an ear out and pop in at the end to get the tough spots) You can also start to involve her in simple chores like clean up, and helping with the baby "Get daddy a diaper please". Now I'm not saying ignore her totally, but you should be able to use her to help out. Family is Family, even at three. Stop with the "why". "Get your shoes on", "Why?", "I said get your shoes on.", "Why?", "1 .... 2.... 3... Ok go to time out." Keep in mind that big sis is going to need some one on one time too, but you set the ground rules.

  4. Re-enforce that sleep training. She gets up to early, "Go back to bed" don't try to make her sleep. Just point out that bed is where she needs to stay.
  5. Now onto the 4 month old. Time to ignore her a bit. Not a lot mind you but that screech should be ignored. Start with ignoring it for a little bit, then stretch the time out longer, until finally you don't respond to it at all. I don't mean 3 hours. I mean, when you hear the screech, then count to 60, then start to see what the issue is. After a day or so count to 120. After a week wait 5 mins if you have to. If she makes other sounds to get your attention, more positive less ear bleeding sounds, respond instantly and super happy. Essentially you have trained her that shreaking is the way to get what she wants. The reason she does it is because it works. Make something else work better.
  6. Now for you and the wife. Switch to formula. I know, I know. But asking your wife to produce milk on the spot like a moo cow, not exactly going to help her stress levels. If you can use a pump and a schedule and use up whats stored, and stay on top of it that way, great. But really consider formula. No milk leads to stress, leads to no milk, leads to stress and so on.
  7. Get freaky with it. May sound odd, but make sure your physical relationship is not suffering due to the kids. For some it does, and it creates stress as well. Sex is an awesome stress reducer, and it helps keep you guys close together too. Make sure to see point 2 as well. The emotional relationship needs work too. But if you can get one night a week to make the beast with two backs after a nice relaxing dinner at some place your not allowed to bring children, your entire week will look better, and you guys will feel better too.
  8. STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another huge mistake new parents make is trying to be perfect. Just stop. Feed that kid a PB&J and bribe them with some Dora the explorer. I'm not really one for TV time, in fact we don't even have cable, but to much TV is much better then too much stress. Screw the laundry, let the dishes pile up once in a while. That smell will eventually go away on it's own, and what even goo that is between the couch cushions, well, that's a problem for tomorrow. Again all that stuff sounds horrible, but every bit of it, even all of it, is better then stress.
  9. Get some help. Ask a friend, hire a nanny, get into day care or Pre-K. Right now we have a 2 year old and a 3 year old. My bliss is the 8 hours a day they spend on day care. 8 to 4. Those are the magic hours. Guess what, the kids actually like to too. And they truly like coming home to a non-stressed out, calm and rational father.
  • Hah, thanks, I needed a good laugh! As if we have time, or energy, to "risk" another child! :-) Seriously, though, because I know you mean well, there will not be any more children, and wouldn't have been even if little sister was Missy Perfect. – KlaymenDK Sep 21 '17 at 20:42
  • As for "us" time, yeah, we know. Tomorrow big sis is being picked up (from daycare) by her granny, and we're going out to dinner (with little sis, but we'll manage). When we have two minutes of "ahh, quiet", we are 100% sure that our mutual love is still alive and well. Don't worry, we won't let anything harm our love and marriage! – KlaymenDK Sep 21 '17 at 20:44
  • Little sis will start some form of formula and baby food next week. That should give mum's breasts time to recover. Big sis is already being told to "stop with the whys" and can take responsibility (when she wants to...). Thank you for your long and considerate post! – KlaymenDK Sep 21 '17 at 20:49
1

When I was baby, my parents told me that all I was doing was crying, exactly what you described. After about 3 months, my parents needed a break so they dumped me to my godmother and then took the week end off to recover. When it was time to pick me up, my godmother who got me for only 2 days was so discouraged of how my parents would have keep it up for so long. But then when I got home it has not been the same anymore. It was like it needed to happen to learn me that my parents could leave me someday. So subconsciously I appreciated more my parents and never cryed again like that.

1

In addition to the excellent responses already provided, I'll add that sometimes a change of attitude is important too. As a busy father I often remind myself there will be a time in the future when our daughter is an independent adult and has moved away and my wife and I will be empty nesters.

Yes, we'll have more time for ourselves, our hobbies & friends, the house will be sparkling clean, and life will be less insane. But surely we'll also look back on these hectic child-rearing days with fondness. Your children are kids only once - then it's over in a flash.

  • 1
    I'm sorry, but as a father who was driven to clinical depression and self-harming during my child's first year (he didn't sleep, my thankfully-now-ex-wife was nothing but negative), suggesting people might look back on this "with fondness" is actively harmful. For me, it's a year of my life which as far as possible I will not consciously recall, like any other torture survivor. If you're thinking about your daughter becoming independent, she must be much older. I suggest you've forgotten how desperate those early days were; or maybe you were lucky with your daughter as a baby. – Graham Sep 22 '17 at 12:05
  • @Graham I apologize, I didn't mean to be disrespectful or cause harm to parents. – RobertF Sep 22 '17 at 15:26
  • 1
    Cool, thanks, and I didn't mean to suggest you'd done it deliberately. Depression and burn-out are not things which can be helped with a change of attitude though. FWIW, my son is nearly 7 now. The years from 2 onwards, I definitely remember fondly, but the first year is the reason I got the snip. I couldn't take the risk again. – Graham Sep 22 '17 at 16:15
1
  1. Go on parental leave if your country offers it, e.g. in Germany both parents can take a total of 14 months off with 65% of the pay from the government for the one who is on parental leave at the time. Does your wife have to continue working in two months or is there another option?
  2. To prevent colicks, your wife can try limiting her diet. I notice the difference between Russian babies, who almost never cry, and whose mothers have a very restricted diet while breastfeeding, and German babies, whose mothers eat everything, and who cry very often. If you are interested, I can collect a blacklist of food.
  3. As someone else already said: baby slings are awesome! You can do housework while your baby is always with you. In Peru, for examples, babies cry very rarely (more contact and I guess better posture or more pressure for preventing gas buildup) and always seem to get carried in slings, while in Germany I see many babies in strollers crying. When the baby is older, and you are frustrated by the constant knots tying, you can also use a baby carrier, which is much easier and faster to put on.
  4. For the talkative toddler, it sounds like she is very energetic and healthy which is a great thing you should be proud of, but she needs ways to spend all that energy. In my opinion children are not made to sit calmly at home and should be outdoors most of the time, as there is always something fun to do.
  • Good advice, most of it. Yeah, I have parental leave planned in the near future. Baby slings, back pain, YMMV. I am SO proud of my toddler, and she does get to burn off all that energy -- which is part of why she's cranky, because she's exhausted. – KlaymenDK Sep 26 '17 at 9:47
1

I'm a father of 3 kids in close age, firstly know that this is not at all unusual, you'll get through it, and from what I can read in all the other answers here, we are just random people but we support you and are behind you all the way!

My tip: prioritize sleep for yourself and your wife. You need at least one good sleep in each week, otherwise you'll go crazy.

I suggest: Saturday mornings, your wife takes both kids out early (like 7am) and lets you sleep until 11am. It won't be "enough" but you will feel a hell of a lot better. On Sundays, reverse it and do the same for her. Wake her with a nice coffee, orange juice and breakfast in bed.

Don't feel selfish about prioritising something as simple as sleep. You see already that you're getting close to your limits both physically and mentally, and 1 good sleep-in might just be the thing that enables you to have enough energy (and sanity!) to get through the next week.

Drop everything in your life that isn't important, rest up when you can, call in favours from your family to mind one or both of the kids, and just focus on getting through one week at a time - this is just a phase and you will get through it sooner than you think!!

It sounds like you are a good parent, keep at it and don't give up!

0

First thing first: when money is not a problem, and the walls in your house are too thin, get a motel room and then sleep shifts!

GET SLEEP! You are not seeing the obvious solutions to your problems because you are tired. More so, your emotional control already is cracking, you're de-humanizing your little one ("that noise machine"), this IS DANGEROUS!

Second thing: GET HELP! You don't need a nanny rooming in, but you certainly need a third pair of hands. Get one, even if only for some hours a day. It will take a lot of responsibility off your shoulders and free you from duties.

Third thing: talk to your daycare center. Make them get your older daughter to nap again. No one cares about THEIR goals at the moment, it's about you and YOUR situation at the moment. You can't deal with your overtired older daughter at the moment, so this has to stop. Explain it to them, maybe even threat to change daycare (if you dare so), but don't cave in! Worst thing that can happen is you may be forced to fetch your older one at midday, have her napping at home and find another care person for the remaining hours.

Forth thing: GET YOUR BABY EXAMINED! Some here talked of being celiac. That may be the case. A friend of mine had a similar restless, crying baby. He was having a severe kidney problem, was diagnosed very late, then being about three to four years old had surgery because of that. Yes, three-month-colics are a thing, but when the crying does not stop (aka gets better) in some time, HAVE A DOCTOR HAVE A LOOK! There could be a very dire bodily reason for its extended crying!

Please do NOT think the baby "has learned to cry", this is NOT the case! Please do NOT FERBER, if you can avoid it. Sure, it won't kill your baby, but there are developement times in a babies life, and things learned in that time spans (or not learned), will affect the whole life. For a baby to learn that a smile will extract a smile from its caregivers, the smile has to be mirrored within a second! - learned this from a scientific podcast, but can't cite a study, sorry. So, please, refrain from it. Babies do learn fast, gratification has to be instant, or it turns into an experience of frustration for them!

Please also refrain from "being a mean parent". Set rules, okay, watch your boundaries, but please remember, your kids are learning through your example. Your oldest daughter is not trying to test you, she's trying to learn the ways of life. And, alas, she's about the age for tempter tantrums. DON'T TAKE THEM PERSONAL! I'm not a good enough english speaker to explain as good as I'd like to, but your oldest has to separate herself from her parents, find her own will, find out where her will collides with given situations, learn a way to cope with the frustration of not getting her will. She's not in there to torture you! So be a strict parent, be a no-nonsense-parent, but please never a mean parent! If you can spare the time and energy get a good book about the personal progress of infants and toddlers. Something more recent than Ferber, please. In Europe there's this quite good book of "Help me, I'm growing" - ISBN 978-3442390755, if you want to have a look - which explains a LOT about the developemental phases - but it stops at the age of two, iirc, so your oldest daughter may not be covered by this.

And, last but not least: I'm mother to three daughters, each 20 monts apart. My second child had reflux-induced pneumonias from age four months up, I had to give her daily inhalations until her second birthday (heck, her first year I gave her three inhalations a day and two a night!!!), and after that we still had to treat her every winter until this ran out on and about her sixth birthday. My husband was an out-of-town-worker until my youngest one was about two years old. The inhalations made my second one unquiet and very active.

So, believe me, I have been where you are now and some more - and I'll never forget the day my two older daughters quarreled about some nothing, and me, being absolutely worn out by two toddlers and an infant, nearly kicked them. By sheer luck I missed them. That was the minute I, at last, got me some help AT ONCE. Like in leaving the room, calling my husband from work, getting someone to watch over the kids until my husband arrived. And, please keep in mind, that wasn't shortly after the birth of my youngest, but about a year later, at a time I'd would have thought the worst stress was over.

So, get rest, sleep, and never be ashamed to get some help! It's not a shame to get help, but you'll never be able to take back something you have done to your babies!

---Afterthought: they all are in their teens now, and yes, they still quarrel and have temper tantrums and all this. But if it wasn't for your question I wouldn't have thought of all we went trough the first six years of their lifes. Time passes, things get better, and in a while you'll not think of the hard times you have now. As someone put it: kids are hell on two legs, and it is awfulawfulAWFUL, but then something happens, and you love them to pieces... after which it gets awful again. Never lose your humor! ---

0

One suggestion I have not seen mentioned so far, that worked wonders for me, is:

Buy earplugs and wear them all the time when home.

You will still hear your children just fine, but their sounds will be more like ordinary grownup-type sounds rather than piercing screams that engage your emotional core. Part of the challenge you are facing is emotional exhaustion; earplugs will help relieve that.

  • "All the time" is probably overkill, but earplugs have been suggested and are in the mail. :-) – KlaymenDK Sep 27 '17 at 11:51
0

E.A.S.Y.

My commute gave me lots of time to review audiobooks. There's so much controversy between the philosophies, but the book that saved my bacon was Babywise, and I'm practically a babywise evangelist now. I found it to be a sensible compromise between Ferber's cry-it-out ("graduated extinction" totally works) & Sears' attachment. My twin babies were a ton of trouble for the first few weeks, but then slowly started becoming less and less trouble each day. At 4 months, a baby can learn to sleep. I know several people who got their babies sleeping ~10 weeks using Babywise, and none who failed with that approach.

One part of the Babywise formula (tho I got the acronym from Baby Whisperer) is E.A.S.Y:

  • Eat
  • Activity
  • Sleep
  • You time

When she wakes up to a meal, she slept through most of her hungry, grumpy time and so is ready to take a full feeding. Don't nurse the baby to sleep, play with the baby after feeding. It helps wear her out so she sleeps better ... she sleeps through her hungry time, and wakes up to another full feeding. At this age, there's not much activity available, but there's always Talk, Read, Sing. Be warned: a baby this age can probably only take about 30 minutes of playtime before becoming over-stimulated, which perversely ruins her nap. There's a sweet spot: too little activity makes it hard to put the baby down, and too much activity makes it hard to put the baby down. You'll have to learn where your baby is now, and then continually update as she grows.

Here in the U.S., breastfeeding is a moral obligation of all mothers, but in most of Europe (where my wife is from), its completely optional. One of the problems presented by breast feeding is that the mother's diet becomes of concern to the infant. If the mother doesn't know what to avoid eating (dairy, hot spices), then feed formula which removes the mother's diet from the equation. If you suspect an allergy, then get a "sensitive" formula, usually a combination of soy & corn oil. One of my babies was crying constantly, refusing to drink, rash at the exit point, and his face was breaking out. I put the symptoms into Google and the answer was: switch formulas. The baby with no allergy clearly prefers the regular formula, but both babies are fine with the sensitive formula.

You know those movies where the wife exclaims "do you know how hard it is to find a good babysitter!?!" Well, it is. In my state, between taxes and minimum wage, outsourcing help through the labor market is just impractical, I did the math. If you can get family, accept their generous offers of help early and often. If not, try to find folks in the community would trade help for a chance to cuddle a baby: they're out there, and if you think about it, you can probably think of one off the top of your head. If you're at wit's end (&ur), then get somebody for maybe just a few hours a week.

A good burp can work wonders. If trapped intestinal gas is the problem, then a burp is the answer.

Sleep is the key. Once you get some sleep, it will all become much easier. Get the mother some sleep, and then when you think she's had enough, try to get some yourself. If the mother is breastfeeding and the baby doesn't sleep through the night, then this isn't happening. So you have two choices, and one is available at t-zero: get the bottle out.

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