What did you struggle with most when you had your first baby?(197 Posts)
My niece recently gave birth to her first baby and was complaining that no-one told her about the really difficult stuff of being a first-time mum. Such as colic, teething, reflux etc. I'm trying to get her to join Mumsnet as I think she'll benefit from the support so I want to link this thread to her (and it's also why I've changed my posting name so she will recognise it instantly).
So, be honest and tell me what you found most difficult with your first baby and what advice you would give to others.
For me, it was the colic and breastfeeding. I felt under quite a lot of pressure to keep going with the breastfeeding even though it bloody hurt and I got mastitis. I also remember the sleepless nights just walking up and down with her screaming over my shoulder and feeling so very shite, frustrated, angry and helpless. Then feeling guilty that I couldn't stop her from crying.
Breastfeeding for me too. We had trouble establishig feeding in hospital and in the end i discharged myself as i felt we weren't getting anywhere with the midwives there. My community midwife was loads better and my lovely MIL was great support.
I would suggest your niece gets out of the house and finds groups that will support her locally. I wish i'd known that there was breastfeeding support group near me but i didn't find out until after i'd stopped and at that point it ws too late.
She has chosen bottle feeding so I don't think she'll get the same problems. However I'm sure there are just as many issues around bottle feeding too!
Any more wise suggestions? Supportive stories?
I too found breastfeeding hard to get to grips with, I ended up paying for a private BFC to come round and sort me out I was so desperate. Also, how to calm a crying distressed baby. I used to pick him up and cuddle him, but I really thought that once he stopped if i put him down he would stop again. I can remember times when ds was crying for whatever reason (like at my friends birthday party, we were staying over in a hotel for the night) and I was just clueless. I ended up driving him around for an hour at 3am just to get him to shut up. Now I'm no super mother yet, but I'm fairly confident I wouldnt' need to resort to getting in the car in the middle of the night to settle him. But then I had a dd who didn't sleep for a year so I'm a veteran of co-sleeping and bfing to sleep!
Loneliness after DP went back to work, suddenly I had long days to fill and only a tiny non-talking person for company.
I would get out the house as much as possible, go to groups, keep talking to random strangers at them. Life definitely improved once I had a good group of friends to meet with during the day. Also knowing other people were going through the same difficulties helped make them seem less daunting.
DD was a breeze, but the lonliness still got to me. It felt particularly daunting as I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby and my mum was in hospital until DD was about 3 months old. I found joining an early baby group really helped, but I was still lonely.
It was the time taken from thinking 'I need to pop out and get a pint of milk' to actually walking out of the front door with me and baby DS in good order. Spontanaeity was a thing of the past. Everything seemed to take so LONG.
The crushing relentlessness of being responsible for someone else 24/7, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. Not being able to nip to the shops or stay for a drink after work or nip upstairs for a nap whenever I wanted without meticulous planning and asking things of someone else. I found that so so difficult but the actual looking after the baby part was a doddle. I think I'm weird.
Obviously I had ten months' warning, same as everyone else but it hit me like a ton of bricks at the time. I was just so unprepared.
Tiredness was major factor for me and the time it takes to do anything as you have to pack a bag every time you leave the house. Definitely recommend getting out of the house every day, even for just a 10 minute stroll round the block as otherwise you start to go a bit mental staring at the same four walls all day.
For me it was how much life changed. I always knew it would (obviously!) but I found the shift from 'carefree' to 'primary carer' really difficult to make.
I assumed I'd have sone kind of maternal instinct - nope! It was a very steep learning curve.
I didn't bond instantly with DS, there were times I wanted someone to take him away so things would go back to normal.
The constant worrying and guilt.
Being unable to sooth DS when he was crying - made me feel like an utter failure.
PND (goes without saying after reading the above I think?!)
I was also shocked at what a train-wreck my body was after giving birth - I wish someone had warned me about that! It went back to normal within a few days though.
On the bright sde, DS is now 2 and an absolute joy and I love him more every second <hugely relieved emoticon>
Exactly what MrFluffy said!
I got used to it after about a year
or two though!
Breastfeeding - so painful, so difficult. It gets so good if you stick with it, though. Get help early if you need it.
The effects of sleep deprivation - I used to try to sleep in the evening when dp got home from work and hallucinate that dd was crying.
Baby groups - it takes a while to be accepted, but if you keep going it will happen.
How to deal with unwanted advice and competative mums - smie and nod, then change the subject.
Colic and sleep deprivation made the first 8 weeks the hardest of my life. When my DD started to settle and sleep well it was bliss on a stick! Going to a Baby Sensory class every Thursday was great - the highlight of my week - other Mums in the same boat etc.
Breastfeeding. I was a single parent, and although my exP (now DH) had been here for the first two weeks, he went home (over 200 miles away) so I was truly on my own. The nights/early mornings were so so hard, and with no-one to share the sleeplessness or to give me moral support do it was only a matter of time before it went awry.
That and being able to do things like housework as I had previously been rather fastidious. When he was having his six week growth spurt, it took me all day to change my duvet cover, in between the constant feeding and trying to do all my chores on the same day. I ended up calling my sister in tears, and when she got to me, the house was a wreck, lots of jobs half done, a sink full of washing up and no clean babygros or vests. I started to let go of my previous "bordering on OCD" tendencies then and took on a couple of different tasks each day rather than trying to do it all, every day.
Now after 3 children, and discovering MN my standards are surprisingly lax
Honestly? The boredom of it all. Did not enjoy the baby stage at all. The days just seemed to go on and on and there is so little you can do with them, not helped by the fact that my son also found the whole helplessness "why can't I sit up? Why cant i control my arms? thing frustrating and screamed a lot. I laugh when I read threads where people say "But they're so portable and easy- just pop them in the sling and go to an art gallery/out for lunch and they'll be content just to drink it all in." Um no. Not DS.
Far prefer the challenges of toddlerhood to the baby stage. Ds is so much fun now and we can do things in which he actively participates.
I remember how hard it was to get out of the house. DC1 was born in November, when the light starts to go at 3pm, and that would be the time I managed to get it all together to get out of the front door.
I felt quite invisible, as if I had been eclipsed by the baby. I remember walking past an acquaintance who just didn't see me. I realised I had just become a woman pushing a pram!
And another thing, I didn't feel as if the other pram-pushers were kindred spirits either. I found some eventually, but I remember the early days of baby groups were quite a struggle. There's absolutely no guarantee that women who have had babies in the same month are going to have much in common.
It came together after a few months though (she says, trying to end on a positive note).
The lack of sleep, the change in my relationship with my DP and the sudden realisation that I was never going to be able to do something completely impulsive ever again. That hit me really hard & I struggled to come to terms with it; it felt like losing my independence.
It does get easier! And you know what? That little person becomes your best friend in no time!
I was the first of my main group of friends to have a baby. So I felt very isolated. For quite a while I had nobody to bounce things off or get advice from. My mum was incredible, but a lot of her experiences were different from mine (and there was quite a few years gap!). It was so hard not having friends I could rely on (a large number of my friends freaked at the idea of one of us being a mother & cut contact. There are 4 of the group who have never met my DD1 who is now nearly 5)
I was 'rescued' by two old acquaintances who dragged me over to theirs for tea & to me some other Mums of new babies. We all had our first within 6 months of each other. I'd have been lost without them.
My biggest piece of advice is find a good group of mums - she'll never regret it.
(oh, and if she hasn't had the baby yet - go to the cinema lots I hated not being able to pop to the cinema &'resented the cost of a babysitter for dinner and a move!)
Colic and recovering from the birth- it was awful! I should have pushed for more help.
I think I went through a kind of grieving process for my old lifestyle. It's a big change and it's hard to say goodbye to the freedom you used to have. But what I say to all new mums us that it can be pretty shit at first, but then it gets so much easier and more fun!
Breastfeeding was awful - I just assumed I would be able to do it. Believed all the NHS propaganda about how it doesn't hurt if you do it properly and everything will be easy by six weeks. If only they had just told the truth I would have been much better prepared.
Also the taking three hours to get ready in the mornings in those early days. I was horrified as it usually takes me 45mins (including washing and drying my hair every day)
And lastly what a shit tip the house became. Stuff everywhere! I got lots of flowers when DD was born and I just sat in my living room willing them to die because they took up so much space
Absolutely everything. The wreck of my life, sleep and body. The pain. The misery. The boredom...
The reflux was the worst thing for me when DD was newborn, she was such a puker you knew that every day meant multiple outfit changes for both of us as she brought loads up after every feed and the covers were never on the moses basket, always in the washing machine. My advice if she has a refluxy baby would be firstly to keep them uprightish for a while after a feed, those bouncer chairs are good, we got a vibrating one which seemed to calm DD, but above all to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel and baby will grow out of it in the next few months. Everything passes with time, good and bad stages, and all the baby phases are so short even though it doesn't feel like it at the time.
Being tired and the relentlessness of it all.
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