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Thread: Chained to a wheel

  1. #1

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    Default Chained to a wheel

    For the last 3 months I really haven't been able to function. I exist on minimal sleep which for me is a big deal because I've always been one of those people who needs 9 hours of sleep each night to get through the next day.

    Jude has never slept well since leaving hospital on day 5. He doesn't sleep during the day, or he does but for just up to 45 minutes and then he wakes up even though he's still tired, he just screams and cries until I pick him up and carry him around. My back and shoulders ache constantly - I'm on so much pain.



    I feed him about every 2 hours and I don't have enough breast milk so I am now supplementing some feeds with formula. I don't know if he needs to be fed that often, I don't feel like I have any clue what he wants, since he won't sleep when he's tired how am I supposed to keep him happy all day while he's awake and crying?

    I rarely leave the house, I don't really have anywhere to go. I don't have any family and very few friends here on the Gold Coast. I missed the mothers group when Jude was born and now I'm going to go to one with Jude being 3 months old and all the other babies will probably be 6 weeks old.

    It seems to me that every single person I talk to with babies the same age as Jude are getting some good long stretches of sleep every night. I can't even go near my baby buddys thread because they're all in heaven with their babies. But here's me, waking up several times every single night for 3 months to feed Jude and then I can't sleep during the day ... I'm so exhausted by the end of every day I feel like walking away and I tell myself I don't want to be a mother anymore, but there's no way out ... I'm stuck chained to this wheel that keeps going round and round and round with no end in sight.

    I don't know what to do. I love Jude and I don't blame him for this, but when do I get to sleep??? I know that if I could just rest a little bit I could function. I saw a psychologist but it didn't help, it all seemed so hollow. I don't think anyone understands how I feel.

  2. #2

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    I'm really sorry you are feeling like this. As our babies are the same age I really have no practical advice! .

    Do you have a sleep school that you could contact in your area?? Or even contact the Midwives at the Hospital? I have phoned our local hospital with loads of questions and they have only been too happy to help!

    I'm sure someone will come and give you some advice that helps. I hope things improve for you very quickly!

  3. #3

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    Oh, sending you a great big hug . You will be amazed at how many mums understand how you are feeling! You are one of the few who are brave enough to express your feelings. Most mums keep it to themselves because they think everyone else is coping and they are the only ones who aren't.

    You are doing a fantastic job looking after your bub and his needs. It is a lot of hard work in the beginning, but I promise you it WILL get better very soon. Some suggestions from one frazzled mum to another LOL - Do you have a baby carrier/sling that you could wear your DS in so your arms get some relief? My DS1 LOVED to be worn when he was tiny. Another suggestion - have you tried a baby hammock? My DS1 would only day nap in my arms until we bought him an Amby baby hammock - it changed our lives! He loved the motion of the hammock and he slept happily in there.

    Do you have a MCHN you can talk to about your worries? Don't be afraid or embarrased to ask her lots of questions, it's her job to be there for you.

    I just want you to know that you are not the only mum who has felt the way you do, it is a very tiring time and a huge learning curve. This period of your lives will not last for much longer and you WILL start enjoying yourself really soon, again - I PROMISE!

    I hope you start getting some good rest soon

  4. #4

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    How much longer is "not much longer" and when is "really soon" because I keep waiting and waiting for that time to come ... first it was 6 weeks everyone said it would get better, but it got worse, then it was 12 weeks, then 3 months...

    Just last night, for example, Jude wanted to be fed at midnight, 2.40am, 5.40am, 7.30am ... I'm at my wits end and my hair is very literally falling out in huge clumps.

    I have a wrap and Jude likes to go for walks if there's a cool breeze but he hates it at home and it's so hot here. I can't afford a hammock. We're not really making ends meet financially as it is.

    I made an appointment last year for the MCHN to come help with sleep and they rang this week, the 1 day I had other plans they could fit me in so I had to cancel and I was too tired to deal with it, and now I'm sure I can't get another appointment for weeks and weeks. I don't really like the idea of someone coming and watching me all day critiquing my parenting and telling me that Jude should be sleeping longer, because I know that I just don't see how I can help it if he won't sleep for more than 45 minutes. What can I do about that?

    The stupid community health centres are now centralised and I can't even call them to ask a question, I have to ring the central body and speak to an idiot and try to make an appointment I know I'll have trouble keeping.

    I just find talking to anyone so demoralising. Jude's so small he's like a 1-month old in physical size and I don't think anyone gets how completely demanding he is when at 3 months he should be feeding and sleeping better. Why did I get the baby that won't sleep?

  5. #5

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    Hi Kuraiza Do you think he could have reflux? A baby with reflux will act the way Jude seems to be acting, with the constant crying and not sleeping well and nightly wakeups and wanting to be upright all the time and from the sound of it he isn't gaining a great deal of weight, which can happen in some reflux babies. Babys with Reflux can be a bit confusing in that they seem like they are hungry, but really they aren't. Have you tried any of the reflux/ colic meds like Infants friend, Brauer's or infant gaviscon? Is he a spewy baby? Is he content for any period of time after a feed at all? I think maybe you should take him to your GP or Paed for a check up and see where to go from there because I don't think this is a sleep issue that will be solved by going to a sleep school - the wont help you with any underlying issues, only give you tools to help him sleep (which can often involve crying) and many Mums come away feeling like they've learnt nothing at all that has helped.

    I really think that there is something else going on with him - maybe even seeing an osteopath or chiro for him may help too - how was his birth? Do you think that it was a bit rough on him that could be affecting him?

  6. #6

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    Firstly a huge to you right now. I do understand exactly how you are feeling, I have been there not that long ago. I know it's frustrating, exhausting and demoralising to be screamed at all day by a small person who you are trying to do your best by. I understand the resentment it causes- all you can think "i'm doing all this for you, and you can't just give me a break!! If you would only sleep everything would be better".

    I can't tell you when it will end, and tbh honest, it might not be soon. My ds has never slept through the night, ever. What I can tell you is that very soon your body will kick in and you won't feel like a zombie anymore. Suddenly you will just be coping better- it generally happens around the three month point. And bubs might start feeding quicker soon, so you won't be up at night for so long.

    Is it possibel to co-sleep, with bubs in or next to your bed? You won't be so tired if you don't have to pysichally get up at night and can tend to bubs from bed and feed lieing down.

    SOme things that might be helpful- ring the Australian Breastfeeding Association and ask them about the feeding. They have a toll free number that anyone can use and I highly recommend getting there help, they are fantastic.

    Karitane might also be helpful- their number is 1800 CARING. I don't know where you sit on the controlled crying debate, but they did have some very gentle suggestions that helped me a lot. One of those was figuring out the right time frame for sleeping- when bubs is tired enough to sleep, but not overtired.

    Lastly, it must be hard to feel stuck at home all day. join the mother's group when it comes up- 6 weeks when they are little is really not that big of an age gap and they will all think you are expert!! Try going to story time at the library- lots of people take their bubs there from when they are really little. Even just get out for a walk every day, or go to the shops and have a cuppa. Have you considered going to the BB Gold Coast meet-ups? I'm sure they would welcome you with open arms.

    Hang on in there. I promise you are not the only one with a non-sleeping baby. Maybe this little one was given to you because a higher power knew you had the strength to cope with it. Keep your chin up. The first six months of my ds's life were absolutley the hardest, most difficult, challenging, torturous thing I've ever gone through. But this too will pass and you will start feeling human again soon

  7. #7

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    Big hugs for you kuraiza. My Ds is a few months older than yours, but he was a bad sleeper from the beginning too. He was feeding every 2 hours both during the night and day, and like you, I found it all so exhausting. It was even harder when you would tell people how he was a bad sleeper, how many hours he would sleep for etc, and they would look at me like I was lying!

    We even went through a period over the September school holidays, where he woke every half hour! He did this every night for 2 weeks solid.

    Can your DH help out? Maybe make a bottle and go to bed early, and get DH to settle him in for the night. You might get a couple of hours extra sleep. I found that when DH could do this, I would get a bit extra sleep, and felt a bit better. Also, DH would sometimes do this of a morning when possible, and I would have a long shower, clean my face etc.. and feel so much better after that as well.

    We had DS sleeping in a bassinette in our room, and then went and bought a Amby Baby Hammock, to see if it would help with his sleep (plus he had this need to be held as much as possible, still does infact) He didn't take to the hammock at all sadly. Our next step was to buy a 'Sleep Sheep' this helped a little, but mainly when we first put him into bed.
    We did the bath before bed thing, the massage thing, the bath then massage thing. Going to bed early, late or whenever!

    I found people were forever telling me that it would get better! I hated it, how did they know it would get better? And when would it happen?? I felt bad wishing he would just sleep and be quiet, especially after we had been through IVF to have this special little person in our lives. But coming in here and finding that other mummies out there had been through it all and felt the same, made me feel not so alone anymore..

    We were advised by DS paed at his 7 week check up to sleep him on his tummy during the day, due to his head being a little lop sided. The first time we did this he slept 4 hours!! I then found myself when he was around 3 months old, putting him on his belly around 5am after a feed. Gradually I found myself putting him on his belly earlier and earlier during the night and now at 6 months he is a fulltime belly sleeper and sleeps for about 3-4 hours at a time. Just before christmas he started sleeping at 5-6 hour intervals and it was absolute heaven. then we went away and it all turned bad again lol!

    Last night he went to bed at 6pm (something he never does) and woke at 4.30 am I was of course having trouble sleeping, because I was waiting for him to wake. I bet you he doesn't sleep like that tonight.

    Hope your DS starts sleeping better soon, kuraiza. Thinking of you...

    Nic

  8. #8
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    Kuraiza, hopefully after all of the previous posts you are not feeling like you are the only one. Being a new mum with an unsettled baby puts you in what feels like the lonliest place in the world. I am on the Gold Coast. Please pm me if you want someone to talk to. Even if it is just for a quick coffee, to get out of the house... I am always keen for a coffee.. especially if it comes with cake!! Oh, and I am a pretty good listener as well!!

    M

  9. #9

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    I wish I could tell you when it gets better, but it's different for each baby. I found with both my boys that by 6 months we were cruising along, but it was getting easier each day before then. I agree with Trillian that it sounds like he could have a problem like reflux? DS1 would cry all day and not sleep unless I held him. I was going crazy and was in tears a lot of the time - at my wits end I took him to a paediatric chiropractor and it turns out that his right shoulder had been dislocated since birth and no one else had picked up on it . He was a MUCH happier baby once it was rectified. Chiros can even help with reflux babies, I took DS2 who was diagnosed with reflux and after one session and also following the chiros advice regarding feeding, his reflux was gone within 5 days.

    I should have mentioned the chiro in my previous post, but I was kind of rushing to make dinner and I forgot .

    I wish I could come over and give you a hand .

  10. #10

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    It is reassuring to know I'm not the only one, but there's so many different stories here it only goes to show how confusing the issue is.

    I thought about reflux and I started giving him more upright time, I even bought a bouncer. I'm not sure it is reflux because he does enjoy lying on his back on his playmat for a while and doesn't seem bothered even if it's right after a feed.

    I don't know if he had a stressful birth but I don't think so. From the moment my waters broke (before contractions) to the time he was delivered it was only 9 hours, but I had it sped up with loads of syntocin because I had preeclampsia. I don't know how I feel about chiros, but I don't think Jude's in pain... that wouldn't be an obvious cause for him not sleeping to me.

    It's not that he cries all the time, he has his feed - play time when he's happy which could be an hour or more, then he'll go to sleep but only sleep for 45 minutes which means he wakes up too early for his next feed and that's when all hell breaks loose and I end up feeding him even though my boobs aren't ready, and so begins a bad cycle every day.

    By the way his weight gain is actually fine, he's just a small baby. He's riding along on the 3rd percentile with the appropriate weight gain. He was born at 2.56kg and he's now 4.73kgs.

  11. #11

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    Hun just a couple fo questions with the 45 minute sleep thing- does he have a dummy? Where does he do his sleeping (in his cot or bassinette?) And how do he go to sleep?

    I had a big issue with my ds when he was younger- he wouldn't sleep past 40 minutes. I think a lot of that was because I used to rock/hold/feed him to sleep. I know how lovely it is to hold your sleeping baby- that's why I used to do it all the time! And I know there are a lot of babies who are just fine to be cuddled to sleep and stay alseep for ages. Unfortunately, my ds wasn't that way inclined As soon as I started putting him in his cot to settle himself- never leaving him to cry, I always sat there next to him and rubbed his back and talked to him if he was distressed, which he wasn't very often; he started to sleep for an hour and a half during day naps. It helped a little bit at night too.

    Just a thought...

  12. #12

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    I always put him in his bassinet to sleep, although he does fall asleep on my boob very suddenly so I can't stop him doing that because there's no warning and once he's asleep I can't wake him, then I put him in the bassinet but he still wakes up soon after.

    He has a dummy but he spits it out once he falls asleep. I don't always put the dummy in his mouth, sometimes he's not interested but if he's having a tantrum and refusing to sleep even though I know he's tired I'll insist on the dummy and I stay with him, stroking his hair and singing to him, or reading to him until he falls asleep.

    Getting him asleep isn't really the problem (although sometimes it is incredibly difficult), it's keeping him asleep. Maybe he's hungry ... maybe I really don't have enough boob milk but it doesn't help that he falls asleep while feeding and suckles instead of feeding. Sometimes I think it would be better for him if I gave up breastfeeding and just gave him measured doses from the bottle. I can't express so there's no way I could feed him EBM, so it's formula or boob.

  13. #13

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    it can be hard, bloody hard when you can't get enough sleep. It makes everything worse, I know as my DS didn't start sleep much at all until he was about 6 months. He still doesn't sleep through now.

    A book that helped me out was Save Our Sleep by Tizzy Hall. It has suggested routines for babies of all ages. I found it very rigid and didn't bother trying to put DS on her routines but I found her self settling techniques very helpful as it is a friendlier alternative to things like controlled crying. I am happy to post you my copy if you want a look at it.

    Is there a play group you can go too. I left my mothers group at 8 weeks (as long as it went for) and joined a local PG. Give the Playgroup association in your area a call and they can direct you to one for bubs. I found at 2 months DS didn't really care about it but it was a great social occasion for me. Got me out of the house and gave me the chance to chat with others.

    Just another gentle suggestion, maybe you are suffering from a bit of PND? Could be worth exploring as it comes in many shapes and forms and effects women in different ways.

  14. #14

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    this can be such a challenging time in a woman's life! I know it's hard to think about - picture yourself if 5 years' time, remembering how difficult it was and wondering how long it's been since it was like that cos you're not in that space anymore! Actually, it doesn't even take 5 years to get to that point - DS is 2.5 yo and whilst I remember a baby who didn't want to sleep for long, it seems like a lifetime ago.
    First, don't be afraid to 'rely' on your wrap. When I finally was lent my HAB, I absolutely relied on it to get stuff done whilst DS slept for an hour or two, finally!
    Second thing is that recently I've been doing some reading into Elimination Communication, which I want to practice for the next one (which as far as I know hasn't even been conceived yet). I'm not saying you need to do this, before I go on - I read something in my readings that was very illuminating. Part of his waking may be that he's wetting himself or needing to do a poo and he is letting you know. Babies are born not wanting to soil themselves and we train them out of this by keeping them in nappies (because of our lifestyles, where we are often in a situation that doesn't allow us to pull a nappy off to let baby 'go' in a nearby bucket etc). I have read in various sources anecdotes about babies who ceased crying immediately after waking up and being allowed to toilet, or to have a nappy change, and gradually sleeping for longer when they knew their parents were on the same page and would see to them having a dry nappy on at all times (or no nappy, whichever method they were using).
    Anyway, my point is that even if you're not into EC, it could well be that after that amount of time in bed, your little one needs to do a wee or poo and doesn't want to let it go because of the discomfort of having to eliminate in a nappy. Some babies are more sensitive to this than others. The anecdotes suggest that there are lots of babies who's undiagnosed 'unsettledness' has disappeared with more attentive nappy changes (or just not using them, where practical). I'm suggesting keeping a real eye on nappies, disposable or cloth, and when your baby is really upset, pull the nappy off and give him a chance to be clean. The worst that can happen is that you discover this is not the problem and you can discount this as a reason!
    Now, I'm going to second the ABA idea and suggest that not only you call them about the feeding, but also go along to your local group meeting. There will be babies of varying ages, there will be first time mothers as well as mothers of more than one baby. This was fantastic for me when DS was little because my mothers group wasn't formed till he was 4 months old and I started my ABA group when DS was 2 weeks old. I loved the wealth of experience my group offered, as well as the company of mummies to babies the same age as DS.
    I was able to ignore all the 'shoulds' and the 'rod for your back' comments because my Booby Club was 100% behind me and believed in my instinctual skill to mother my baby against the prevailing wisdom of routines, sleep schools etc.
    Anyway, you're in such a fuzz right now and it sounds like you need to give yourself a break from the self-beatings. I've known women here on BB to recommend and swear by deciding on a day to just nude up and stay in bed with their baby (also nuded up to a nappy or less) and let the baby have unrestricted access to boob and cuddles for that whole day. Clear the decks in your diary for that day so that you're under no pressure to be anywhere or to be anything to anyone except mummy to your baby.
    It really sounds like you want to reconnect with your baby and the pressure to conform to all the 'should' messages we get from health nurses and baby training books is overwhelming you, hun. Your baby actually knows a hell of a lot more than he will ever be aware of and all he is doing is responding to some very compelling messages his body is giving him...we just have to trust and figure out what is going to alleviate their discomfort...it's not easy, and we're here to support you whilst you go on this journey.
    Sorry for throwing more things into the mix. There is no 'one size fits all' method for babies. Similar signs and behaviours from other babies don't necessarily mean the problem is the same - just the reactions to the problem are.
    again - you are doing the best you can and that is all you can ask of yourself, and your baby wants just that, you and your best (not someone else's best). You are his world, hun - it starts and ends with you, as far as he's concerned, and that's just how it is
    ETA: was thinking about it some more in the shower and forgot to mention that hair falling out at this stage is completely normal! During pregnancy your hair doesn't fall out and some months after the birth the ones that would have fallen out otherwise start to shed. I lost heaps of hair (not that I cared, cos my hair is normally incredibly, impossibly thick!) at this time, and I had been forewarned that it would happen, too, from the wonderful mummies I got to know who had previous children.
    I would really caution against using baby training books at this stage. For both of your wellbeing in the short and long term, it can lead to maladaptive behaviour if you override whatever he's trying to tell you by teaching him to ignore it and to 'self-settle' instead. It's very rewarding the first time you pick up on something your baby is telling you and you realise that you've done something to alleviate their stress, just by listening to them and trusting.
    This last bit may attract flak from other members and I'm posting it because this site's original aim was for gentle, instinctual parenting (as a reaction to PND and the disconnectedness from instinct and your baby that baby training can create, by the site's creator).
    Many women have walked the path you are walking now. Knowing that may or may not inspire you to get through this time more peacefully and patiently.
    This time with your baby is such a blip on the timescale of his life and the time that you will be actively caring for him. If you wish away this time, you also wish away the precious elements that are embedded in it that you don't get at any other time of your child's life. I'd urge you to speak to a counsellor to keep on top of your feelings (especially as you describe yourself as being socially isolated - not a natural situation for human mummies), make sure you don't have a form of PND and get into some kind of sync with Jude, who just wants you to be you and no-one else.
    You have empathy here a squillion times over in BB!
    Last edited by Smoke Jaguar; January 11th, 2009 at 12:31 PM. Reason: added stuff

  15. #15

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    Have you tried sleeping him on his tummy for his day sleep. DS would only sleep for about 40 minutes at a time. At 6 months I put him on his tummy to sleep and his day sleep increased to 2+hours. With the next bub I will be doing it alot earier if s/he isn't a good sleeper.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuraiza View Post

    Getting him asleep isn't really the problem (although sometimes it is incredibly difficult), it's keeping him asleep. Maybe he's hungry ... maybe I really don't have enough boob milk but it doesn't help that he falls asleep while feeding and suckles instead of feeding. Sometimes I think it would be better for him if I gave up breastfeeding and just gave him measured doses from the bottle. I can't express so there's no way I could feed him EBM, so it's formula or boob.
    Hun, I don't think it would be hunger if, as you said, he is normally quite settled for play time after a feed. Putting him on a bottle may not help at all- it could give him bellyaches, the formula might not agree with him and washing, sterilising and making up bottles is way harder than bf'ing and may make you even tireder.

    Please give the ABA a call. The number is (07) 3844 8977 or (07) 3844 8166 for QLD (sorry, I htought it was a 1800, it's not). They can give you great advice and maybe some more insight on the feeding than what we can.

    Hang on in there. I am thinking of you. It sounds like, from your last post, you are doing everything right- everything all the baby books say and then some. I am thinking of you. As Mayaness mentioned, it will soon seem like all this was very long time ago (my bubs is only just one and already it seems like ages ago for me).

    'Cause I don't know what else I can do...

    ETA- Trying to give you some love for that last post Maya but I have to spread it around first... great post

  17. #17

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    OMG I firmly believe that having a baby that won't settle is the most demoralizing thing that can ever be.

    I had an unsettled one and I nearly lost my brain AND I had a Dp here 24/7. We had to tag team to get any sleep. I lived in PJ's for 4 months. We were both wondering what on earth we were doing that was SO WRONG for this child to cry so much.
    I tried every reflux remedy known to man, we rocked, we cuddled, we didn't.....

    Do try to get out once a day, even if its to the letterbox or up the street with bubs in a pram. That can really work and the screaming doesn't seem so loud outside)

    Please speak out in your baby buddies section. For all those posting from a perfect babymoon, there are probably about 25 going through exactly the same thing as you, and not wanting to post either. One of my Baby Buddies posted something similar to you, and I had the nerve to speak up too. OMG it was brilliant having someone to whinge to that really knew what you were going through.

    I doubt it's you milk, keep him on it. DS started to settle about 4 months, but then self-weaned when he was 5 months (I got pregnant again). THEN there was a whole heap of hassles with formula, it took us a while to find him one that suited, and it just got worse from there. I think dairy was a huge problem and it has been the same for many other mothers with unsettled bubs. My boy still can't drink milk and was adverse to it when it came to solids too.
    Some babies are just very very hard to settle, and sometimes its just their little personalities.

    HTH

    * I just had to go back and edit my smartarse comment about the length of Maya's post and mine ended up just as long...

  18. #18

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    Ah, no, Lulu, not quite as long...I win!
    I think my shortest ever posts were the ones I posted in my Baby Buddies section in the first 10 or so weeks of DS's life, when he had Tongue Tie (then got it snipped and had to get used to his new tongue), I had nipple damage and nipple vasospasm. It probably seemed that I was having a fantastic babymoon because I didn't dwell on these things in my posts (but I did mention them), instead focussing on the lovely bits - which were genuine and actually pulled me through that time that would otherwise have become a blur and wiped from my mind! Anyway, my point is that it might help for you to confess to your Baby Buddies. A few in our group had similar 'settling' issues, stopped BFing, regretted it cos it didn't help, and ended up being diagnosed with forms of PND. These beautiful women were also the ones who didn't have any support around them and were isolated from family and friends. Your local ABA group is not just there to sort out booby issues, they are very much there to provide mother to mother support in your parenting journey. Without my group, I have no idea where I'd be. They are amongst my trusted friends now.
    I also remembered another nugget. This one from my first MCHN - keep it simple. Go back to basics when things are going pearshaped - is baby fed, clean, rested, cool/warm enough? Then go from there. She was gold (she left the service, sadly!) and this saved me from overdiagnosing and overcomplicating our lives in those early days.
    We're all thinking of you!

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