Screechy baby back then - how did it turn out?

Hi,

Our girl has been doing high pitched, ear blasting screeching (not crying, just screaming) from 5 months. Now she is 9 months and it is still continuing. For parents who have already luckily graduated this phase...how did it turn out? We are worried that this is indicative of a psychological/neurological/something deeper than just screaming for fun. She does frown a lot when she is screeching so it definitely doesn't look like she's having fun. How old is your child now, when did they stop screeching, and was it anything deeper? We are partially looking for mental reassurance and solidarity haha.

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Our daughter (now almost 12) screamed (and cried) a lot as an infant. She was so screechy that we were surprised when a Kaiser RN said she was colicky, since we thought that was just about crying. But that reframed "colic" for us as a personality type not a temporary condition. She dropped her nap by age 2 and didn't sleep through the night until she was around 4-5. She remains what I would call a "high-needs" person, and much quicker to cry/yell than our other child who was different as an infant. She has been diagnosed with anxiety, and very close to meeting the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, so you might be on the right track with the screeching being a pointer to bigger/more global issues. I guess the point is, for her anyway, her personality as an infant was very much the same as it is today, with some of the edges sanded off. I think going to school helps (peer interactions show more of what is appropriate). Of course we are used to her and her big personality now (and she's a world class sleeper now - that helps!) but I agree that it is very challenging to raise a tot like this. Get her out of the house to parks and playgrounds as much as possible during the day; we always tried to take an evening/twilight walk to reset her body clock for sleep; and get her into a toddler preschool program as soon as she's old enough (if she's not already in daycare). I think kids like mine and maybe yours, are super smart, super sensitive, and wear their feelings very close to the surface. It is exhausting but she's not doing it on purpose (I know you know this, but I had to remind myself of this daily when my daughter was little... and weekly now!).

Our child was the loudest baby in the new baby group, and cried more than other babies for the first 2 years. They also were the first one to talk. One babysitting share didn’t work out because of the crying. On the other hand when we found the right preschool, they connected well to the teachers and other children. They continued to be intense, but were interesting and delightful by elementary school. 

Our son was like that too. One thing I wished I had tried back then was to remove all milk and gluten right when he was a baby. If you're breast feeding, then you have to remove it from your diet too for at least 2 weeks to see if it helps. If it does help, the hassle will be well worth it. We didn't do this til he was 3 and removing all dairy was huge for us. It's the dairy protein casein that is the problem or gluten).

Does your daughter try to stand, arch her back, or bloating - anything that may indicate belly pain? Does she have eczema? Does she cry more at certain times or in certain positions? Is she sick often, frequent fevers or have sniffles?

We ended up on a biomedical plan when he was about 3 years old. Although the crying had stopped by then, he still had many tantrums so I was very worried.  But by then he also had physical signs too such as he was chronically sick (almost never not sick), cycling from colds to high fevers. His fever was up to 104 so many times we no longer saw it as a unusual, which is scary looking back. It never did go above 104 though.

But the big sign was the frequent ear & throat infections. He had to have surgery just before 3 to have his adenoids removed and was borderline having his tonsils out. The enlarged adenoids caused sleep apnea (was sleeping with his head tilted back almost at a 90 degree to open up this breathing while sleeping, very loud snoring, but there are many signs in babies/toddlers such as excessive urination at night etc it's very important to have sleep apnea fixed). 

It was only from mother's groups I found learned that these were common things that were linked together, along with colic and eczema. All are connected and go back to gut health and immune system. Yes it sounds crazy but true.

You should join mothers groups for mom's with colicky babies. You'll get the most info from other mothers that you can then discuss with your doctor. Take the diet seriously. Doctors will say it's not so important. Yes it is. I really wish I had started this when our son was 1-2 months as it was clear then that there was a problem (he urped up so much after breast/formula feeding that his doctor added solids in by 4 months to make sure he kept weight on), belly bloated, just very stressed out baby.

He's a teenager now and definitely still overly sensitive and has ADHD that we really struggle with. But he's a lovely young man and the joy of our lives. He's not easy and never was but would I trade him, no never.

I really feel for you though. You want to have the fun, the joy, the easy smiles of a calm baby and it's a bit of a mourning not to have that type of baby. It's also exhausting and discouraging now because your daughter can't speak. Once you can communicate more, it will feel a lot less scary. But I would highly stress to join a mother's group right now. Look for physical signs. Make changes in diet now if you need to so that you don't regret it. After our son's surgery, we went gluten/casein free and removing casein made a huge difference both with his verbal skills and he went from being sick literally 90% of the time to almost never. That's right, almost overnight he stopped getting sick, no cold or fever for years. 

You're getting hugs and good thoughts from a fellow mom of an intense baby! You will make it through but see what you can do, get wisdom from other mothers.

My daughter didn’t screech but she vocalized loud “ahhhh! ahhhh!”’s continuously, particularly  when on the bouncer. It started at that age, 5-6 months. She would just constantly make noise with her mouth, whilst strolling or on the swing, etc. She cried, whined and protested a lot. Ever since then, she has continued to be very vocal and very loud. She doesn’t make random sounds now, but articulates everything; like, every thought that runs through her head. She repeats most things she hears (in context) and often keeps repeating phrases consecutively. for example, when trying to make a point she says something five times in a row. As a result, her verbal skills are very advanced. The flip side is that she’s very whiney, occasionally screams and screeches in the same whiney fashion, protests verbally a lot. Not sure if this is helpful bc she isn’t so old yet, but I remember being confused/slightly concerned by the weird “ahhhh’s”. 

My son was a very difficult baby. I don't know if he screeched but cried very loudly ALL the time. He seemed like he was never happy, no matter what. We did have a tough few years when he was young, and I was worried about his future. Now he's 14 and I can say he is the sweetest, well-adjusted kid. Not sure why he hated being a baby so much, but he's doing great now. There is hope! This will get better!

My 13 year-old daughter screeched A LOT when she was in her first year of life. I can recall being in the grocery store with her and people poking her heads around the corners of the aisles, like, "what on earth is that noise??" One difference is that she mostly did not look like she was unhappy or in pain, more like she just liked to make noise and hear herself. So... I don't know if this is relevant to your situation. "Screeching" could be a lot of things! That said...

She was an early talker and has remained very, very, VERY chatty. This kid continues to love the sound of her own voice. She's smart, very social, and not shy at all. She is a VERBAL person. So... screeching could just be a form of communicating and precursor to talking. My daughter also started making cooing noises very, very young - it was just always clear that she wanted to talk like everyone around her. In preschool and early elementary, she continued to love to scream. Like literally, she would go outside and scream (like horror film shrieking) just for fun. It drove me nuts, but it somehow was very satisfying for her.

Hope this is helpful!

My son is about to turn 3 years old and it feels like he screamed every day of his first year and well into his second. It was exhausting. Things improved for him when he started to get more mobile. Crawling, then walking helped reduce his frustrations. Once he could talk things improved further. I remember at his 1 year visit the pediatrician asked me what he liked to do and I couldn't come up with a single thing. Now he is a really sweet, loving, generous, smart, inquisitive toddler -- who also still screams when he is frustrated, mad, or hurts himself, which happens pretty often. It's just who he is. As a baby I think he had an upset stomach a lot of the time. Now, who knows? He's just an irritable guy with a bad temper. But, we also see his good side. For us, it did get better. Also, he needs to be outside for a substantial amount of time every day. That helps. 

Our daughter (now 18 months) screeched A LOT when she was a small infant. She also didn't look like she was enjoying it. It was awful! She stopped screeching like that around 10-11 months and now is just very talkative (in the way that 18mo kids are). Her developmental milestones are right on track (incidentally though she is HUGE [size of a 3yo] for her age--not sure if the screeching could have been growth-related). She doesn't screech anymore but she does have a lot to say and shout and seems to have opinions on everything, even if we can't understand what many of them are. Our doctor gave us some pepcid at one point to see if she had some reflux that was bothering her, but in the end he just said she would likely grow out of it. Obviously she isn't grown up yet but we do seem to have graduated from the screeching phase. Has your pediatrician taken a look just to see that everything seems to be otherwise on track? If she's doing most of the things she's supposed to be doing for her age, try to stick it out, as miserable as it may be. I feel your pain though and I hope she moves past it soon!

Even if she's frowning while she's screeching, does she look at you while or after she does it? If it's not a health thing, she may be gauging your reaction or trying to get your attention.

My nanny told us that the screeching is a phase that many young babies go through. They can make a new sound - how exciting! And then they want to do it all the time until they get tired of it, or until they no longer get a reaction from you. I don't think babies necessarily smile or laugh when they want to do something again and again. (My baby is very engaged while using utensils, but it's not like she acts joyous when we hand her a spoon.)

My baby screeched a bunch around 7-8 months like "EEEEEEEEEEE", but stopped maybe a month later. Hilariously, she screeched the most around the nanny since the nanny would tell her calmly, "Ouch, that hurts." and then put some headphones on (her hearing was pretty sensitive). It wasn't a big reaction, but apparently it was enough. When the baby screeched around me, I was able to ignore it completely, no reaction whatsoever. And she learned pretty quickly that screeching was not a way to get attention from me. I'd give her attention when she cooed or did something quieter instead. It has to be a fast reaction and it has to be consistent, so your baby can get that positive connection from you.