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Help Me Puzzle Out This Screaming Baby

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  • Help Me Puzzle Out This Screaming Baby

    6mo DCB entered care at four months. He screams at full blast: Either he is cheerful, or he is deploying the eardrum-rupturing deep-distress scream. These are the things which make him scream:
    • Damp diaper
    • Wet diaper
    • Soiled diaper
    • Hunger
    • A bottle offered when not hungry
    • Teething
    • Being moved from one spot to another
    • Being left in one spot
    • Stuck on his back
    • Stuck on his belly
    • Rolled onto his side
    • Can’t reach a toy
    • Reached the wrong toy
    • Getting drowsy
    • Waking up from a nap
    • Being in a baby wrap
    Yes, we are dealing with a tremendous amount of screaming here. And it’s the volume and pitch that is getting to everybody. He doesn’t scream for very long at a go, but screams many, many times throughout the day, and when he does, it understandably puts all of the other kids on edge and makes their behavior deteriorate. I can get the screaming to stop by changing where he is and what he’s doing, but there is no lead up to the screaming and once it starts, it’s goes hard until I attend to him. He does not self soothe; the only time he comes down from screaming fit on his own is when the reason for the screaming is that he’s sleepy. Because of the latch, he can’t hold a pacifier in his mouth. Music, dimmed lights don’t seem to have an effect. So I have to come and change whatever stimulus it is that is bothering him. When I am setting out meals or helping an older child in the bathroom or doing something else that requires me to leave the screaming baby to his own devices for a few minutes, the other kids sometimes just break down in tears, and at other times start a fight or have a tantrum of their own.

    He has a bad latch and had to go on a bottle immediately and then formula when the milk supply dried up because he doesn’t suckle—he sort of haphazardly gnaws on the bottle nipple until he is sated. His digestion and bowel movements are normal. He spits up a lot but not enough to concern me or the doctor. He is a healthy size and energy level and is hitting his milestones. Babbling is normal and he responds to auditory stimuli. He will tolerate being held for a few minutes and will make eye contact and smile, but does not like being held when upset. His mother reports the same has always been true at home. At home, he also screams the same way he does here, and cannot sleep without first screaming to wake the dead, and getting more agitated if his mother tries to hold him.

    So given that there hasn’t been a recent escalation in the screaming, given that he does have some desired social behaviors, and given that his development seems otherwise on track and none of the usual dietary/medical culprits seem to be showing their ugly noses, do you think we are just dealing with a binary-mood baby who only has scream/not scream wired into him? Or do you think there are some early warning signs of a processing disorder? Or maybe this is one of those rare cases of colic that continues past the 3- to 4-month mark? Any other speculations?

  • #2
    It sounds to me like maybe that’s how the baby is communicating and the baby just so happens to have the worst cry imaginable? Maybe he’s just found his voice box?

    I had a six month old baby with the worst scream/cry I have ever heard. She’d scream/cry all day long a full blast. Unless I was holding her. She wouldn’t nap unless I held her, she didn’t like to play unless I was right next to her, she didn’t like other babies. She would eat, but only if I was next to her. I found out over time that the family held her all the time, they’d slip up and say, “We have a lot of hands at home to pass her around,” but of course when you directly ask if she’s held at home, she’s suddenly never touched. LOL

    The kids and I were on edge when she was here. After 8 weeks of trying to get the baby to adjust, I found this forum. I went thru the motions/advice of talking to her and narrating. I finally decided I could not provide the care she needed and made the decision to term. I have no regrets doing so.


    • #3
      Maybe this baby has silent reflux causing him/her to be more irritable. I bet baby has a lip or tongue tie. All 3 of mine were lip tied. 2 of them had to have surgery to correct it in order to nurse/bottlefeed properly