Coping alone with newborn once paternity leave ends - am I mad?

(27 Posts)
eagleray Thu 07-Feb-13 22:35:11

I have 10 day old DD, and currently sharing care with DP while he's on paternity leave. We've had a few problems - I had forceps/episiostomy, and am currently on antibiotics for minor infection. Baby has had feeding problems/tongue tie and we are still trying to get up to speed with BF, and topping up with formula feeds (DP sorts out the FF, plus shares the nappy changes, and does a lot of the cooking)

In the first few days, we probably overdid it with visitors and there's been lots of MW visits too, so feel like the house has been permanently occupied with various people coming and going. I've also struggled to get enough sleep and do get a bit overwrought at times!

Anyway, DP is back to work next monday, and because he works at least two hours away, is normally away all week, although I think that now the baby is here he will try to come back midweek for an overnight visit.

I am slightly split between wondering how I will cope on my own, but also looking forward to having my own space/peace and quiet and getting into a routine with DD.

Anyway, I found out this evening that my mother (who lives 1.5 hours away) assumed I would just need help immediately and was planning to turn up Sunday evening and stay for a few days. However, she's in her 70's, can't drive and frankly I'm terrified of having an extra person to 'look after' and also feel my space is going to be invaded! We get on ok, but am a bit worried about overreacting to comments/criticisms around DD's care etc.

Can anyone out there give me any idea of whether I can expect to cope on my own next week, or should I just be accepting any offer of help that I can get? Clearly lone parents just have to get on with things, so I guess it is possible? I have suggested that mum comes mid-week instead, so that I at least have a couple of days by myself to see how things go. I don't have a vast support network close by, but have a few friends/neighbours to call on if I need help.

Thanks for any advice anyone can give!

eagleray Sun 10-Feb-13 17:03:54

Thanks for all your replies - some interesting perspectives!

BBD - I think I am lucky in that Baby Eagle is pretty good at settling herself and I do get little gaps when she's sleeping where I can run around and do things. However, the feeds take a long time thanks to the BF/expressing/formula regime! It's good to be reminded though that she won't be this size forever and I should make the most of close contact with her.

Chunderella - we are already using the premade formula - no idea how we would cope if it didn't exist!

I feel a bit more able to cope with DM's arrival now that I've had a bit more time to get used to a routine. It's a sign of the times I guess that we are no longer automatically surrounded by family members and have help to hand when babies arrive. Also, because I am an older mum, this means my mum is older too and therefore the dynamics are a little different!

I will keep you all posted as to how it goes... smile

blueblackdye Sat 09-Feb-13 17:00:38

Eagleray, as you know I stayed at my Mum's when DD was born as I also had DS to look after. It is hard as you put yourself in the daughther situation again. I did that actually for both kids. the first time was difficult, easier the second time. My Mum was not for BF and expected me to help her, or so I thought. We had a bit of arguments but eventually you are now a Mum and the Mum of baby Eagle. Your Mum will help, cooking, cuddling, tidying up a bit. You will have company. And if you two disagree, well you can always retreat in your room with baby. But tbh it s very nice to have someone with you. Elserly and experienced people are interesting, they have things to tell you about raising kids, whether you agree or not. Baby Eagle is still tiny, unless your Mum is a threat to her, which I don't suspect, she won't get any bad influence from your Mum if your parenting style differs from hers. Surely there will be times you will snap at her or DP, sleep deprivation, tiredness, clueless about what to do when baby still cries and you have tried everything, hormones, feeling down.... All that is normal. Don't beat yourself too much. Motherhood is hardwork. But it will get easier. See, she has already accepted to sleep in her cot ! Congratulations ! I think during the first 5 weeks, I have barely put DD down, could not sit down and have a proper hot meal, she was sleeping on me, feeding all the time, needing my presence day and night... Try to enjoy, these moments will pass. Too quickly. I know, you think I am mad, you just want to be able to go to the loo or have a shower without rushing ! And I understand that. She now hardly falls asleep on my shoulders, wants her cot, she has enough trust and confidence to settle herself down to sleep on her own. And somehow I miss the physical contact.
Big hugs from BBD aka Hpbp

Chunderella Sat 09-Feb-13 16:05:51

Congratulations!

For the ff top ups, you may want to consider using premade formula rather than mixing your own, if you're not doing that already. That will save time and hassle, it is a bit expensive though.

AngelGeorgie Sat 09-Feb-13 08:32:10

After my first day on my own after DH returned to work slightly panicing I loved it. It gave us chance to establish our own routine. My parents live 200 miles away so not practical to keep popping up & down the M1. I had a section with my DD 2 weeks before . Having returned to work 5 months later I cherish the time we had on our own.

Blowninonabreeze Sat 09-Feb-13 08:25:29

I'm going to go against the grain here and suggest that she doesn't come.

I spent the whole of ds's paternity leave with dd1 panicking about how I'd cope when he returned to work. When It happens you just cope and wonder what the fuss was about.

With. Dd2 he split his paternity into 2 separate weeks so I only spent one week worrying how I would cope! He went back, I managed shock and was able to really enjoy his second week off a few weeks later.

I think if your mum comes straight away, you'll spend the time that she's here worrying about what it'll be like when she she's gone rather than enjoying her company.

kilmuir Sat 09-Feb-13 08:16:33

Depends if she will muck in. You will be fine on your own. You need to get on and get your routine for you and baby.
My mum surprised me. My husband had to work away 10 days after my section, had 3 other children under 10 years. She was in her element. She was discreet but a huge help

KnittedCharacter Sat 09-Feb-13 08:04:10

i would try and manage on your own and you will be fine. It feels daunting at first and it will be hard but its so rewarding. Once you get into the swing of things and find your own system and routine you will be great!!!

good luck and congratulations!!

take the help.

and please make use of her. remember, she's been through it too. it will come back to her how hard it is and i'm sure she'll make herself useful.

and also, every single day gets a tiny bit easier, i promise!

drjohnsonscat Fri 08-Feb-13 21:23:38

Rearing children was never meant to be a solitary occupation

So true soundevenfruity. Someone once told me that the thing that got them through the 3am feeding sessions was to think of all the other women all around the world up at the exact same time doing the exact same thing. I found it really helpful as a way of feeling less loney. Just the thought of it helps you feel like you are not the only person alive on earth - which you can feel at 3am.

soundevenfruity Fri 08-Feb-13 20:25:53

I loved having my mum there, she helped enormously just by being there. I will never forget a cup of tea and her company at 3am while I struggled with BF, pumps etc. I find it so strange that women want to be by themselves. Rearing children was never meant to be a solitary occupation.

drjohnsonscat Fri 08-Feb-13 20:13:57

my lovely mum used to spoon my dinner into my mouth while I bfed smile

drjohnsonscat Fri 08-Feb-13 20:12:31

You need her to make tea. My first weeks (lone parent) were spent stranded on the sofa attempting breastfeeding. All I needed was someone to bring me tea, sandwiches, the remote control in rotation. It's nice to have the company for tearful moments too.

waterrat Fri 08-Feb-13 20:10:16

I would advise taking the help - sleep patterns in newborns change all the time and you might end up not getting much sleep one night and really needing a helping hand the next day. When my partner went back to work I literally didnt eat while he was out of the house! He ended up having to make sandwiches and leave them for me....

YOu will need another pair of hands to make sure that if you are sitting down for a long breastfeed there is food and drink when you need it - I dont know if you have reached the evening cluster feed stage yet - but honestly, I could not have made myself dinner and eaten it without some help each night!

fraktion Fri 08-Feb-13 19:31:38

I felt (ironically) much better when DH went back to work although I had a physically easy time of it. I just stayed in bed with DS, BF as and when needed and watched lots of TV. It was bliss.

Get DH to do you food for the Monday/Tuesday and have your mum come midweek.

GraceSpeaker Fri 08-Feb-13 19:25:12

eagleray Had a very similar experience to you medically, also combination feeding and definitely overdid the visitors in DD's first week! Was also terrified about DH going back to work (we've just completed the first week of that).

My PiL came down for five days soon after we came home from hospital. They were incredibly helpful in lots of ways - they cooked, cleaned, tidied and minded DD while we got things done and tried to nap (it really didn't come easily to me at that stage). Nonetheless, I found myself in a right state at the end of the week really wishing they'd go home, because they'd essentially taken DD over during the daytime, leaving us to deal with her at night, which was much more stressful and making me feel like I'd had very little positive contact with her. I was also on antibiotics (and a load of other stuff), so feeling really crap, which didn't help.

Since DH's been back at work, my mum's been a real help. She doesn't live very far away and will usually pop over at the drop of a hat. I'd recommend enlisting all available help until you know how you're coping with the nights. Good idea to at least have a couple of nights to find that out, but even if your DD is the best behaved newborn, you'll appreciate someone to sit with her while you sleep/get lunch/shower.

eagleray Fri 08-Feb-13 13:08:38

Thanks everyone - I have realised now how prickly I am at the moment, although this is getting better after catching up on some sleep!

<waves at Littleredmonkey> sorry still no name yet! That was another reason for being a bit scared about DM's arrival as she keeps going on about it.

DM seems happy with coming to visit later in the week - I think the day or two alone will give me a chance to build up some confidence as am bracing myself for being treated like a 3 yr old when she arrives!

Rooneyisalwaysmoaning Fri 08-Feb-13 10:13:43

It depends on your mum really.

It isn't forever though in any case, even if she does make things worse for a few days. And it might be really nice to have that help, even if she just sits holding dd while you do other things.

Fwiw I'm single and coping with a baby on your own, especially without other children to care for is not that hard. You can base your life around their needs - feed, hold, sleep whenever you are able. Bit of housework if possible.

I totally get why you want some time to adjust on your own. good luck x

ceeveebee Fri 08-Feb-13 09:36:38

Yes, I think you're right to leave a gap of a day or so before your DM arrives - I remember my first day after DH went back to work and my MIL arrived the next day - the day alone was bliss but I was pleased to see her when she arrived!

littleredmonkey Fri 08-Feb-13 07:50:22

Hi honey lrm here. Yeh get your mum down with ya. It may surprise you how you will enjoy the company. My mums the same and I worried about having her but it is fab. She did some cleaning which was great held him a bit for a sleep I had. I nipped to the loo and got food with out running. Your own routine will come dont beat yourself up these next few weeks go with the flow of baby eagle. By the way have you choosen a name yet? Hugs from lrm

ThisIsMummyPig Thu 07-Feb-13 23:26:44

I think you will be glad your mother comes. She will help, and you can send her out on errands when she gets too much for you. She may also take baby out in the pram for an hour while you get a proper daytime nap.

Just encourage her leave after three days.

bigmouthlala Thu 07-Feb-13 23:15:56

I can understand your desire to have some peace and quiet. Only you can judge how well you are likely to cope on your own.

For the purposes of establishing BF (sounds like you have had a rough ride there, tongue tie and all) there is some logic to having lots of privacy and space and not feeling you need to look after anyone else (be it DP, DM, visitors, whoever).

Having said this...I think getting your DM down for a short stay and seeing how you get on is a good idea. If it works, great: if it doesn't work, well..... at least you tried and probably had someone to make you cups of tea/ nip to the corner shop for you/ hold your baby while you have a shower/ eat regular meals/ wash bottles/ do laundry etc (this is hard hard hard when you are home alone all day and night with a tiny baby).

IS she supportive of breasfteeding? Knowledgeable about it? If so great; if not, you might have to explain gently to you that this is a crucial time for getting feeding establsihed and that you need to hold/ feed/ recline (!) with your baby for long periods.

Make things easy, practically. If she is coming by train, insist she gets a cab from the station to yours - you don't want to be picking her up grin, (inevitably) wailing baby in tow grin.

PS everyone who I know with small children says that the newborn days were home to some stonking rows with their DPs. I think it's par for the course -you're sort of in shock and it's natural to lash out at those closest to us smile

FairyArmadillo Thu 07-Feb-13 23:09:01

Hi. Firstly congratulations!

Reading your last post reminds me so much of my experience in hospital with too many visitors and staff. Not all staff respected privacy. My mum stayed to help me and part of me felt like there was a huge invasion to my privacy. I was also quite hormonal and all over the place emotionally, which one of the kinder midwives explained was normal post birth. Once my mum left I realized how much she had done for me to make my life easier. This included cooking and laundry, picking up the baby at 2am when I was so utterly exhausted I just lay there while he cried knowing she would get him for me.

Your mum could even help you deal with visitors. Mine told someone to go away when they turned up at 8am, while I was still in my nightclothes, exhausted, unwashed.

eagleray Thu 07-Feb-13 22:59:59

Thanks for your replies - I realise it sounds daft refusing an offer of help but I think it stems from getting v claustrophobic in the hospital (v hot room and feeling of having privacy invaded by to-ing and fro-ing docs, MWs etc) then feeling a bit overwhelmed by volume of visitors at home. Have to confess that DP and I have argued a lot as well since DD's birth and of course my retort tends to be 'can't wait til you go back to work', which of course isn't terribly constructive of me...

I think I will ask mum if she can come over on Tuesday, as then I will have monday to myself, and it won't be too long til help arrives if it all falls apart!

ceeveebee Thu 07-Feb-13 22:48:46

If your DH was going to be home every night then I'd just say you'd be fine. But I don't think I would have liked to be alone more or less every night for a week at a time.

Let your DM help - am sure she can make tea, cook, do some laundry and have a few cuddles while you shower etc

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Thu 07-Feb-13 22:44:26

accept the offer of help.

You are assuming there will be problems. Maybe there won't.

My mum is moving in with me for the first week post-op (c-section) as P and I are no longer a couple. His paternity leave is going to be spent here in the day, then mum takes over at night. I have a 9yo and have no idea how it wil pan out, but I think the best option is to see how it goes and make adjustments if/when necessary.

Ultimatley your mum can make sure you have food/drinks and also nurse the baby for the odd couple of hours between feeds, while you have a bath/sleep.

Don't leave yourself on your own if you have a willing minnion helper.

Congratulations and hope you get some rest soon.

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