Are My Toddler's Struggles Just A Phase?
As a Mom, it's always hard to see your little one struggling with issues like sleeplessness, colic, and anxiety. And when trying out new things, or settling him into creche, how can you tell if the tears are just a phase, or the sign of something bigger, like sensory issues, or an autism spectrum disorder?
These challenges are something that many of us go through at one stage or another; so when one mom put this to the community as a Mom's Query on Facebook, we knew the responses would be something to pay attention to:
"Hi Moms. I have a 15 month old little boy who I adore. But things have been beyond tough from day one. He had colic from about 5 weeks to 10 months. One of the worst cases of this was at least 6-8 hours crying a day. He never slept for more than an hour or two. Then the worst teething I or my family and friends have ever seen. All through this on 1-2 hours’ sleep.
I tried to do the new mammy things such as baby groups etc. but they always ended the same. He’d be ok for 5 mins then just crying to the point where I have to leave. Swimming was the same I tried this for a month once a week. Soft play was next.
He is very attached to myself and hubbie, as we haven't put him in a crèche (something I tried one day but he lost his head as soon as I brought him in the door.) He wouldn't be the kind to pay any other babies attention. He has lots of cousins who dote on him but he won't look at them. He will glance at the odd child in the playground. I'm worried about him mixing of course that's why I try do so much with him.
I have thought other things, which I don't want to say out loud (Could he be autistic etc?) My husband isn't worried about him. Grandparents say he will grow out of it. Have other parents experienced anything similar? It's breaking my heart with worry so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks."
Get a professional opinion
Gemma: Ok...Mom knows best!! If you're worried chat to your GP or PHN! Is he meeting his milestones? I have a child on the spectrum and was worried too, so they were the 1st steps I took! It's tough, but at least your mind will be at ease!
Nikki: He may just have some sensory issues. Sounds like he doesn't like noise, water, texture...and the teething pain as well. It is something you should discuss with your G.P or public health nurse: It may be nothing, and just a phase that he will grow out of; but early intervention is key to support him if there are any concerns.
Lisa: Talk to your baby nurse: My son was diagnosed with autism, and was pretty much the same: I looked around every crèche in my area, and every one I brought him to, he lost it and wouldn't stay. But after looking through loads, he finally felt comfortable in one. I also found the more stressed and panicked I got, the worse he was; so try not get too upset: Once he's happy with you and dad, he will be absolutely fine. He's still very young, so give him time.
Tina: I have concerns about my 2.5 year old’s aggressive behaviour which she has displayed from early age; and other minor issues too; so today I bit the bullet, and went to my GP. She gave me great advice and support, and asked me to contact my local early intervention team. She also is referring us to paediatrics in Crumlin, if I get no joy from the intervention team. I hope this helps.
Paula: He definitely needs to go to creche: He will become more sociable, and more adept at playing and sharing. He will see new things, new experiences, new foods, and new people. It will be harder on you than him to drop at creche; but definitely the way to go. It’ll take a few weeks, but a few mornings a week will help and you will get some sanity back, and time for yourself.
Laura: Try having a small 4 or 5 party at home, but introduce the other kids slowly every half hour or so. Have a chat to the parents, and let them know what you’re up to so none turn up late etc. I'd say he gets overwhelmed with too much going on at the same time.
Bx: I had a hard time with my first … it was impossible to go anywhere, without him getting into trouble (at 9mths old we were asked to leave a hotel!) He's an absolute dote now 4 years on; and all I can say is, for first 2years at least, some kids don't like to play with toys beside each other; but don't really need to socialise: Being with family is enough.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, get help: I found a girl to come and mind him twice a week for 2hours, so I could just recharge, and do something baby free. I now have an au pair, and it's really changed my life: Being less stressed makes our kids less stressed. Not everyone wants, or can have, an au pair; but it's worth considering some kind of help, as it takes a village to raise a child. Being a mom can be so hard sometimes, but with support you really can enjoy the rollercoaster: hang in there!
Find the right place for him
Caroline: I feel your pain! My daughter had severe colic until just after her first birthday: She never really slept until she started pre-school, and she didn't like being around strangers be they fellow children or adults. In the end, it took 3 weeks of dropping her screaming to pre-school (and me sitting in the car in floods) before she settled; but she did settle, and by the time she started school she skipped in.
It’s important to spend time picking your crèche: Go for somewhere smaller rather than bigger, and explain your concerns beforehand. They will then assign a key worker for your child, whose primary job will be to help him settle. Best of luck; it really does get better in the end: My daughter is off to university next week - still a bit moody but😁
Roisin: My middle child was exactly the same. Best advice was from my GP: Put him in crèche. It's took a few weeks, and a lot of guilt; but it worked wonders. Find a crèche that is excellent, and know what to do. When he turned 3 he turned into a fantastic little boy. Still some sensory issues, but now he can tell us.
Stephanie: If the child has sensory issues, maybe a registered childminder is a better option to a crèche as their numbers are a lot lower and it's a home from home environment.
It is often just a phase
Catherine: I agree with other mums about trusting your instincts; but some parts of your story strike a note with me: The colic, lack of sleep, teething etc; my little boy had the lot! He's about six months older than yours, and not a bother on him now. He now loves crèche as well, just took a bit of getting used to compared to being with you all day.
P.s. Do you have any help or support close by? I really struggled with the lack of sleep which made me overly worried about everything
Evelyn: If he is an only child, it's not unusual for him not to notice other kids if he’s used to adult company. I was worried about it with my daughter: I was reassured that they’re only interested in solitary play until the age of 2 or 3. She only started to play and interact with other children at 3.5yrs. She would notice other children, but didn't really have an interest in talking to them and playing until then. I think most of it was down to the fact she recognised they could talk, and she found them to be more interesting than babies.
Claire: My oldest son sounds the exact same. We never got more than an hour’s sleep of him, at a time: Worst sleeper, and crankiest baby you could meet! He's 10 now, and the most lovable normal kid you could find. Still wakes up at the crack of dawn, but he's old enough to make his breakfast and turn on the tv.
One for moms to remember:
Susan: I just wanted to say well done, and you’re doing a great job. It sounds like you’re a devoted mum, and I hope everything works out for you and your little one very soon. Every baby is different and parenting is a hard job, and it sounds like you have been through a lot. Good luck x
For more advice from our awesome Moms, check out our Facebook page. If you would like to post an anonymous query yourself, just send a private message to us; and we can post on your behalf.
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