New mum finding it hard...any advice please(41 Posts)
New on here. My dd is just over 2 weeks so I know it's early days but I feel that I am really finding it tough to adapt. She is a much wanted baby and we went through a lot to have her and I feel that I should be much more grateful and enjoying it.
I just feel so lost and have no idea what I am doing. At the moment she will feed loads...have moved mostly to formula but doing bf during the night. But after feeding, night or day, she's calm for about ten minutes then just will not settle. She is crying, flailing her legs really agitated. This can go on for an hour or more and we have to do everything possible to get her to sleep.
I just feel like all she does is eat then cry till will manage to find something that gets her to sleep. Am worried that we are already teaching her bad habits eg that we either feed her to sleep or rock her to sleep.
Am not enjoying new motherhood at all and if I am honest have had times when I have wondered if I have done the right thing having a baby..feel awful admitting that because I have bonded with her and I do love her but I do miss my pre baby life.
Can anyone offer any advice about whether we are doing the right or wrong thing and whether the way I am feeling is normal.
Thank you in advance x
My DD is 5 1/2 weeks. Already things are easier. You are doing fine, just do whatever you need to to get through, as others have said.
I second above about going out, apparently some sunlight in the afternoon also helps them sleep at night (obviously done safely)
The thing that really helps me when she is crying for no reason I can determine (ie, clean fed winded right temperature etc) is to think that sometimes she just needs me to be there for her while she is crying. If I know everything important is done this helps me cope, otherwise I start to feel I must be missing something/there's something wrong with me etc, when sometimes there is nothing to fix but to cuddle them and make them feel secure.
My DD (PFB) is 3.5 weeks and I've ha v similar issues with fussing and flailing arms. I started this thread which has some great advice.
Even in the last week I feel slightly more in control and slightly more confident too - it was such a shock to the system! I second the advice to go out, even if just to walk to the end of the street and back til you have the confidence to walk around town and go for a coffee...
Good luck, relax and be good to yourself
I would also agree with previous posters. One thing that helped me was to try and get out of the house everyday! Even if it was just for a 15 minute walk with baby in sling. If you have a garden could go out there for ten mins. Fresh air helped me and the baby and you might be able to stop in a coffee shop to get a drink while they sleep
Good luck xx
You're probably in bed now, but as a Canadian MNer who has been there as recently as a year ago, I can tell you that YOU.ARE.NORMAL.
And a good mum. The fact that you want to be the best you can for your baby means you are.
The first weeks are hard. Think of it this way-your body just went through a major trauma. If this were appendicitis, no one would expect you to be 100% and be in any kind of groove.
Or, if this were a new job, you'd still be on probation. It would be EXPECTED to make mistakes, ask questions and feel lost.
As someone who is a compulsive reader and worrier, my best advice is this: Just stop reading. Whenever you
feel like reading, cuddle your baby. You made something amazing. Enjoy every single moment with your baby. She's been long awaited, so you've every right to hold and snuggle her as much as possible.
Congratulations! It sounds firstly like you are doing an amazing job already and secondly, that what you are going through is something many of us have shared. Lots of supportive comments but I wanted to add a couple of cents for what it's worth....
1) try not to put too much pressure on yourself, easier said than done but for the first 3m try not to think too far ahead, as others said it's too soon for any habits. If I am honest? It will get harder before it gets better... 6 weeks is v optimistic although some people do see a big change then. Expect the settling to come around 12 weeks (for us it was 10) and you're less likely to be let down. You WILL get there though and it IS worth it!!
2) trust your instincts more than (sorry...) your HV. I know so many people who have turned to HV at vulnerable times and been terribly let down. I know some can be amazing but don't take their word as gospel, try to find a small community of other new mums if you can (even online) and always believe in yourself and your instructs. No one knows baby better than you, even if you think you don't know parenting yet!
3) don't forget your own health and needs, if you start to feel more pressured or down than you expected to or feel is manageable, talk to your HV or even better, doctor. They are ALL there to support you.
Good luck xxx
You sound like a great mum in that you're trying so hard to do the right thing for your little one. I agree with everyone else - ditch the baby guru books. I've never yet come across a baby that conforms to their ideals but know plenty of mums who've felt bad after reading them. The only book I found really helpful was Your Baby Week by Week. It doesn't try to push any particular theory or viewpoint but rather explains what you can realistically expect each week within the large range that is 'normal', and also what isn't normal and therefore needs professional attention. It has lots of advice for things such as colic and teething, and has a very easy-to-read format for the seriously sleep deprived.
It will get easier. For me, I found that when DS started to smile it made a huge difference. It felt like he was acknowledging all my love and hard work and a two way relationship was beginning to emerge.
Ooh forgot to say, and perhaps this is the reason that I sound so nauseatingly happy in my previous post, over the past 7 days we have risked catching up on a new series of our favourite TV show that aired quite a while ago but has been sat on our Sky box unwatched and taunting us. Aside from having to pause it on Sunday night following a fountain of vomit (as a side note, do treat yourself to some nice clothes, if you need any for the transition from maternity gear back to pre-preg clothes, and get two pairs of jeans so it doesn't matter if one is covered in vom!) we have managed to have a few nights catching up on a great series with a glass of wine or two whilst our daughter slept happily.
Keep posting x
Irish, I felt the same way in those first few weeks. My DH did too. No one had told us that we would have to do shifts in the first few weeks to ensure we could sleep, that she wouldn't sleep anywhere but on us until she was 3 weeks old. Family were hysterical and pushing us to take her to a doctor. I then read loads of threads on Mumsnet where people had exactly the same experience. Personally I think the body releases a bucketload of hormones after the baby hits a certain age so you forget the horrors of the early days, meaning you intentionally go on to produce further children and also you don't warn your friends off doing it.
Our DD is now nearly 14 weeks and I feel lighter in myself (history of depression here also so was watching myself like a hawk) but also that initial bond that was perhaps an invisible string between me and her is now like a bridge made out of cement, it is indestructible. As soon as she started smiling back, between 6-7 weeks, it's like somebody turned the lights on, full whack. Her smile still makes me teary at times.
Previously I was terrified by my own capacity for misery. It seemed bottomless. Now I see that was a drop in the ocean compared to the feelings of love and wonder and bewilderment I feel on a daily basis now. It's hard, but you talk about it, you let yourself cry if you need to get it out (crying is normal and OK!) and you ask for support and help.
Yes, it can feel like an endless drag of wake, feed and struggle for ages to get them back to sleep and then start the cycle all over.
What meandtheboys has said reflects a lot of what I would have posted.
It really can be about survival. But, every day you are on track to getting to a time when you get a smile, a quiet time, a cuddle, an easy night, an easier day....a little "chat" .......it's worth it. No-one told me how tough the early days can be and it really knocked me.
Keep posting on here and just tell yourself "it will get easier" "it will be worth it"
Soya formula is no longer recommended by the NHS by the way, so I wouldn't switch to soya formula without checking with GP/HV first. Here's the NHS page about soya formula:
Hi both my children had this and it was because they could NOT tolerate ordinary milk. try switching to soya. Its the fat in milk some babies find hard to digest. there is nothing wrong with proper baby soya (boots) good luck
Hope you're doing ok irish
I noticed you said again that your dd cries a lot after feeds... afaik this isn't the norm for newborns and it does suggest she has either trapped wind or reflux.
If this doesn't improve, and if getting burps up doesn't seem to relieve her, do go and speak to your GP about whether she might have silent reflux. If the GP thinks it is reflux, medication can help enormously (gaviscon is usually given first but ranitidine is a lot more effective).
Congratulations on tge birth of your little girl
Dont worry about bad habbits, at this stage do what works for you and her ( I say this with my 8 month old napping on me, they are only small for a really short time)
I second the poster who suggested a sling, ds lived in the Moby wrap tge first couple of months.
Are you getting lots of skin to skin? I found that really relaxed ds and lifted my mood when I was feeling down.
At 2 weeks post birth I was still very hormonal and emotional, I did find that the only time I felt ok was whilst breastfeeding. One ray the cloud of emotion just lifted and I felt normal again!
It sounds like you are a great mum, really trying your very best
I promise it gets easier. I posted an almost identical message about 12 weeks ago (when DS was about 3 weeks old).
As he's got older all of the problems slowly started to get better.
We're now at the stage where he (very nearly) sleeps through the night and DH and I get a few hours to ourselves every evening to eat dinner and watch a bit of tv. DS also smiles, coos and plays which makes it all much nicer as well. I also said I wasn't enjoying being a mummy and now I love it .
Everyone's kind advice on here really helped me too. x
Irish, I completely agree with everything everyone has said on here. With my DS1 the worst things I did were (1) to compare my DS1 with other children of a similar age whose parents would all be saying he/she sleeps through the night and is an absolute angel (I have since found out this was all a complet load of rubbish anyway) and (2) checking what my little one "should" be doing in books and online and then worrying/trying to force him to do it. We both became far happier when I just accepted that he wasn't going to do what he 'should' and decided that we would both just go with the flow! The simple facts are all new mothers feel at times like they can't cope and have to have a good cry - that's completely normal. It is also completely normal for newborn babies to cry - alot. Don't panic I am sure you are doing a great job and just try to enjoy the special snuggle time you get with a newborn. As for getting them to sleep I firmly believe that you should do what it takes - after all they need their sleep and you need a break! I used to walk my DS1 round and round till he fell asleep. One night when he woke at 3am I counted and I did 76 laps of the bedroom before he fell asleep again!!
I have never cried so much in my life than during the first few months of my baby's life. But I've never laughed so much, or been so happy, than during the time since then. It gets so so so much better. Think of it as walking up a mountain - you're getting there!,
DS1 cheered up gradually every new milestone he hit, once he could sit up, crawl, stand, walk, etc (sorry I know that must seem forever away for you now but you will get there.) By the time he was able to talk he's been lovely and never had tantrums or went through terrible 2s, he's such an easy child now. He did sleep through the night 11 hours from 10 weeks though which meant although he still cried a lot in the day and struggled with naps, at least I had my evenings to relax and I wasn't so exhausted.
DS2 cheered up dramatically after being referred to paediatrician and stopping his dairy intake at about 12 weeks. He still had to be wrestled and rocked to sleep til about 8 months but it gradually got better. He's 19 months now and settled himself for naps and at bedtime and sleeps 13 hours straight every night. I promise he doesn't scream all day now!
I can definitely relate to you dreading her waking up for a feed! Both my boys woke up so angry and I couldn't work out how to get them back to sleep. With DS1 he'd sometimes feed back to sleep. DS2 would just cry and cry.
The problem was that they both cried so much and I couldn't work out when they were hungry or tired or what was wrong. In time as they grew and fed less, needed less sleep, learned new ways of communicating, I learned how to distract them or settle them, it all got better but very slowly.
For me, the first 4-6 months was just hard work. Some people find it gets easier after a few weeks. Some after 12 weeks. It depends on the baby. Colic lasts for about 4 months and is horrific but it goes away eventually. If it's reflux then medication may be required, also try keeping her upright after a feed. If it's intolerance then dairy free diet will fix it. If like my DS1, she's just over tired and stroppy then she will grow ouf it. There's no hard rules but it does get better eventually.
Please take care of yourself and don't be ashamed to ask for help. Speak to anyone who will listen. Talking really dos help you feel less alone. Don't bottle it up and pretend you're happy (like I did with DS1!) I would feel so embarrassed when people came round and saw me struggling and him crying. I should have just said 'he cries all the time. I need help!' but I didn't which made it worse. You'll get through this. x
No you don't sound like a miserable cow at all! I know it can be different for each one, but how long did it take to get through it? It's only been a few days and I am alaredy in tears most of the time!
This sounds so much like both of mine. DS1 would only be soothed by me holding him on my chest with his head over my shoulder whilst I walked about for hours. I could never put him down and he screamed the second I stopped walking and stood still. DS2, nothing and I mean NOTHING would soothe him. He just cried for hours and hours for weeks . I know it sounds horrible but when they were babies it really was the saddest most anxious time of my life which is hard to admit when it's all meant to be so magical and beautiful (so I thought!) I felt robbed of this happy gurgling baby like the ones you see on the nappy adverts. That was nothing like our experience at all.
Both of them did stop screaming eventually! We tried everything and with DS1 only time helped, he just learned how to sleep and became interested in the world instead of angry at it! DS2 required a dairy free diet and to be honest, again a lot of it was just time and him growing into the world.
I didn't enjoy it either time. I probably sound a right miserable cow haha. They mean the world to me now! DS1 is my best friend. DS2 is becoming such a character. They really aren't babies forever.
Meandtheboys. Thanks for your reply and your honesty. I feel so down about it all so it's so lovely to hear other people's stories. When she goes down she usually stays asleep for a few hours...during the day at least...it's just getting her to sleep that's the problem. Last night she woke about half 12 I think to have her wet nappy changed, but of course doing it woke her up and I couldn't get her settled again for three hours. I tried everything rocking, feeding, a dummy..even letting her cry it out for a bit but nothing seems to work. Once she did go off she slept for about two and a half hours but then it all starts over again.
I dread her waking for a feed because immediately after, she just cries and screams for ages, it's so hard to listen to and deal with especially in the middle of the night when you don't know what else to do.
Oh also at this age neither of mine could stay awake for more than 45 minutes without screaming and needing to have a nap. Basically by the time I'd fed them, burped them, changed their nappy, they were screaming. I realised if I soothed them to sleep straight away it stopped a lot of the meltdowns. It was hard work though, constantly either feeding or settling to sleep. It really is all consuming in the early days. I have blocked out a lot of their early months and what I do remember is mainly me sat in tears and them screaming as I paced around with them. It's OK that you feel this way. It will get better.
I felt just like this with both of mine! Everyone said it would b so much easier second time round but babies are exhausting and you're hormones take a while to calm down. Every baby is different and it takes a while to get to know them and what works. Don't feel guilty about that. Your baby is a stranger to you at the moment.
Please try not to panic about bad habits, routines etc. It's just about survival at this stage. I did whatevr worked, fed, rocked to sleep, held them both all the time.
Keep going. That's all you can do and one day you'll find things are a bit easier, then the next week things will be easier again. Babies change and develop so fast. Everything will work out and you will survive (and probably be bonkers enough to want to do it all again someday!)
The first 3 months are so hard. Mine both cried all the time and it's so hard to listen to when you're tired and I felt like a failure.
It really won't last forever.
Do speak to your health visitor or GP though. DS2 turned out to have milk intolerance which was adding to his misery and making him unsettled. (DS1 was just a misery guts!) But he's 6 now and fantastic. Such a lovely boy. What I'm trying to say is that this will be OK in the end. It is the worst feeling having an unsettled baby but it really does change and most parents have felt exactly as you do now. xx
By the way, OP, I saw you said you read the Gina Ford book....I made the mistake of doing this when I was pregnant as well. One of the things she gets really wrong is her theory of babies' naps. She says something ridiculous like "....and then you put your baby down for a 2 hour nap in the early afternoon".
This really screwed with my head, because for the first 7 months of his life, my DS would not sleep for longer than 35 minutes at any time of the day (thankfully, he slept a little longer in the night!). I got myself into a right old state thinking that I was 'getting it wrong' and 'failing' to get my little boy to have the 'proper' long daytime nap that he needed.
After about 5 months of torturing myslef about this, getting really upset and generally losing my marbles (!), a good Health Visitor gave me a good talking to, where she explained that
Gina Ford is full of shit a large proportion of babies takes lots of little naps throughout the day, at different times each day. And that a more predictable 'nap routine' is quite unusual among young babies. She suggested that if I just wait and watch DS's cues, he would probably naturally fall into a more set pattern, and take longer naps, around the 7-8 month mark. And lo and behold, he did!
Now he is nearly 9 months old and he has a 45 minute nap at 9am and a 90 minute nap after lunch - exactly what Gina suggests! But I have done nothing to make this happen....DS just gradually started staying awake longer in between naps, and napping for longer periods of time around 7 months old.
So PLEASE don't get stressed about your LO's daytime sleep patterns. A good rule I followed for the first 6 months was: DS will probably need a nap 90 mins/2 hours after he last woke up from a nap. So I watched him for tired signs (staring into the distance, rubbing eyes once he had control of his hands, yawning) from around the 1hr20 mark, and would then rock him to sleep, go for a buggy walk, or a drive, or swaddle him and give him his dummy in his Moses basket once he was about 12 weeks old and hope he would drift off.
Once I realised that frequent catnaps at different times of day was NORMAL for the first 6-7 months I chilled out immensely. Stressing about his nap times really ruined the first 3 months of my little boy's life for me though, so please burn that sodding book, and once these craze first few weeks are over, just watch for your little girl's cues and let her sleep when/where she wants during the day.
If it makes you feel any better I have two dc ten years apart and I felt like this with both!
I think the early weeks are absolute hell to be honest. No sleep, screaming baby, massive change in your life. It's horrendous and yet you feel bad for thinking that because you do love your baby and it's difficult to separate those feelings of almost resentment.
Some people sail through it and that makes you feel even more shit.
I remember it well.
It does pass though. Around the 12 week mark you find you get into the swing of things a bit more. Take a day at a time and just survive it and gradually it will become easier.
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