It's no secret that Daniel is a "high needs" baby and he cries a lot. In fact, some days, my sweet baby cries for hours at a time and I can't help him to calm down. He cries more after we get home from being out of the house for a while or after we've been around people he doesn't know (and therefore doesn't feel comfortable crying with). Sometimes we can make him stop by doing seemingly strange things, like taking him into the bathroom, removing his socks (or all of his clothing), turning him upside-down, or letting him pet the cat (or other very soft things).
Daniel doesn't cry when we're out and around people, and he usually doesn't cry if we hold or wear him constantly. Since he doesn't cry when we're out of the house or around unfamiliar people, this often leads to people joking about how we must be making up this whole crying thing, because he's just "so good," "so smiley," and "such a fun baby!" While I appreciate the well-meant intentions of those who joke this way, it feels really bad to have folks say things like this to me. I know it must be hard to believe that my kid screams for hours every day when he's grinning and flirting with you, but it invalidates my feelings to make these kinds of jokes. Plus, it makes me feel like I'm going crazy, when those around me are saying I must be making all this up. Fortunately, Jaymz experiences it, too, so I know I'm not inventing this in my mind.
So far, we've trialed Daniel on two reflux medications at the suggestion of our pediatrician, and we've taken him for chiropractic work and craniosacral therapy. Last week, we took him to an Occupational Therapist (OT) to be evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), or similar difficulties. From the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, "Sensory Processing (sometimes called "sensory integration" or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses.... Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses."
The OT we saw did not diagnose Daniel with SPD. She said that it's clear that he's having difficulty with sensory integration, but his symptoms aren't as clear-cut as they are in many kids with SPD. He's also very young to be diagnosed with SPD, and in fact, she hadn't even encountered such a young child exhibiting these symptoms. She told us that by six months, babies should be doing a little better than he is at regulating his own emotions and nervous system. She said that we're doing an excellent job of regulating him for him, but that we're obviously exhausted and this can't continue this way much longer, because we're all getting worn out.
So, we learned some new therapeutic techniques that we're trying on Daniel, aimed at increasing the serotonin and dopamine in his brain. Namely, we are doing thera-pressure brushing and joint compressions eight times a day (or every two hours while he's awake). Here are some photographs of the brush and rough description of the brushing protocol, designed to minimize sensory defensiveness. I recorded a few seconds of Jaymz brushing Daniel, so you can see some of what we're doing eight times per day:
He usually seems to like it, but sometimes he cries through it. I'm very hopeful that this will help him, but so far, we haven't seen any appreciable difference. Next week, I'll be taking him to see a Naturopathic Doctor to see if she has any insights, and I'm eliminating dairy from my diet starting today, which—to be honest—I'm not all that jazzed about since I've already eliminated wheat/gluten. The next step if these things don't work may be getting evaluated by Early Intervention, but hopefully something we're doing will start to make a difference soon.
We're having a very hard time. I'm not asking for advice, but I would appreciate any kind thoughts or positive intentions you feel like sending this way.