How I feel 8 months on - normal?

(27 Posts)
exhorsted Tue 29-Dec-15 15:56:26

So 8 months ago, we had a baby girl. Fairly traumatic birth lasting 4 days from start of induction to birth with very little sleep. She's never been an easy baby, never wanted to be put down, never slept, constantly attached to the boob, hated the car, hated the buggy etc. Every time we went out, I'd be terrified she'd have a meltdown - she usually did. Took her to a cranial osteopath who couldn't find anything wrong. Just a 'live wire'. Super alert blah blah blah

Fast forward 8 months, she will wake anything from 2-8 times per night and my whole day revolves around her naps (which are shit anyway). I am so so tired. I look like shit. I never seem to do anything for myself anymore. I find myself wishing for my old pre-baby life so much, to sleep, to have interests, to do sport (used to run and/or cycle and/or gym pretty much every day. I do love her so much and so it feel awful to wish for my old life as, by extension, I am wishing she wasn't around. When she doesn't sleep, I get so frustrated. I try so hard not to be angry when woken for the umpteenth time, but it's shit and I just want to not have to be the one that gets up to her. My husband does help but he finds it hard to settle her/she won't settle for him.

Why am I finding this so hard? Everyone else seems to cope? We are about to start on sleep training her I think and I feel shit that we have to, but I am so tired of being up for hours at night.

Not really sure where I'm going with this, I knew the newborn stage would be hard (and it was), but I thought I'd be having more fun than this by now. Is it going to get any better? Have I made a massive mistake in thinking what being a parent would be like?

splendide Tue 29-Dec-15 16:28:21

I think it probably is different for everyone so I don't want to give you false hope but I think 8-10 months was when it started to improve for me. Mine is 14 months now and I do sometimes pine after my old life bit he's loads more interactive and generally worth it now. First 6 months or so I thought I'd made the worst mistake and had terrible PND.

We had a break through when I started doing naps together - so we would both get into my bed and sleep. That helped hugely as we were both more rested. DH and I also instigated a strict thing whereby he handled the night wakings until midnight and that was great - I used to go to bed at 7 sometimes with a good book or just watch TV.

I really feel like it is all getting better for me, I am sure it will for you. I'm not having another though!

Luckystar1 Tue 29-Dec-15 16:40:57

Nope I know the exact feeling. My DS is 14 months now and I'm so tired (he sleeps fairly ok, but I didn't have one single full nights sleep until he was 10.5 months, and realistically we have a bad night or two at least every 2 weeks).

I have no wise advice, but just to let you know that you are not alone. I think it only recently dawned on me that I am usually indoors every evening form 4.30pm, with little prospect of getting out. It's rather a depressing thought to me.

We have no family at all close, so we have to pay for freedom! I feel your pain. Although I will say, it gets a lot better with improved sleep!

Zeitgei5t Tue 29-Dec-15 18:39:17

Sounds normal to me but then dd was an awful sleeper, my maternity leave was mostly spent in a zombie like haze. If dh is good to help then try to ask for him to take her even just half an hour a day so you can go for a run etc, have some you time.
I went back to work at 12 months p/t so that helped me feel a bit more human too even though she was still waking 2-4 times a night at that point.
She's 3 now and its definitely just personality rather than anything is wrong.

na5ima Tue 29-Dec-15 23:23:22

I felt like that but kinda got better for me after 3month..

The thing worked for me is white noise.. If he was sleepy and he was being extra I use to put the vacuum noise at it worked for me (there is an app you can buy sleep4baby) it made my life a lot better-his now 6month and 3weeks.

Initially i was too scared to get out, was a living zombie and thought if i made a mistake having a baby and kept on crying crying crying but it does get better and hope it does for you.

Ughnotagain Tue 29-Dec-15 23:44:36

Totally normal, I think.

Re pining for your old life - DH and I were talking about this only recently. My 7mo is a relatively easy baby (doesn't care for naps but aside from that, can't complain too much), but there's no getting around it, being a parent is fucking hard. I don't think anything can prepare you for it. It is completely normal to wish after your old life, I know I do it all the time.

ruthyless Wed 30-Dec-15 08:43:02

Anyway you can get out in the evenings? My little girl is 6 months and I try and go for a gym/swim 2 or 3 times a week! It means leaving her with my husband for a couple of hours, sometimes she's settled with him, sometimes she's not but it does me a lot of good! It's tough when they don't sleep!

Bellejournee Wed 30-Dec-15 08:58:43

Op - you could well be describing my first 8 months with my eldest. It was incredibly hard and no one could quite get what I was trying to describe - mil liked to tell me she didn't understand howmy baby only wanted to only nap on me, would fuss at everything (pushchair, getting ready, bathing, washing hair etc etc), that there were days I couldn't even get to the toilet, fuss and hysterics at every baby group. It did seem everyone else had such 'easy' babies - what was I doing wrong?? .

My eldest is 3 now and it is easier. He is still a live wire, but things are most definitely more manageable and life is in small parts returning to some normality ;-). Not a stealth boast, but he's showing signs of being a very intelligent child and this was always mentioned to me when he was a baby as why he was (and still at times is!) so difficult - I just wanted him to sleep and be less fussy!

For the record...I've had a second child and their temperament is very different. I can see now it was nothing I did 'wrong ;-)

mamaneedsamojito Wed 30-Dec-15 09:01:49

Believe me, it might look like everyone else has it together but they don't. Some people are just better at hiding it than others. I have a friend who comes across as a real earth mother but when you talk to her you realise she's still up two or three times every night (he's 14mo now) and he'll only feed to sleep so her husband can't even help out. You'd probably look at me and think I'm the same (and I KNOW I am a great mum 99% of the time) but I have moments of punching a pillow in frustration or swearing in the middle of the night when I'm knackered and grumpy. I've lost count of the times I've growled 'I just can't cope!' at DH in the wee small hours.

Being a parent is a hard job. It's amazing, but hard. We all have moments where we look back wistfully on the days we didn't get up until midday or went on a boozy carefree holiday with our partners. That doesn't make you a bad parent, it makes you normal. Those days aren't gone forever. You will gradually reclaim more and more of the old you. My DS is nearly 2 and sleeps through most of the time and my 'grown up' social life is starting to pick up... And we're TTC #2!

DS has never needed much sleep so I understand how hard that can be. He used to get up for the day at 4.30am sometimes. We didn't do any sleep training - we cuddled to sleep and got up in with in the night as much as he wanted, he just got it when he was 'ready'. If you're already feeling delicate/guilty I really wouldn't put either or you through any sort of sleep training - the instinct of babies to look for Mummy is natural and personally I wouldn't fight it. It's hard but it's not forever.

Honestly, it WILL get easier. Hang in there.

ilovepinecones Wed 30-Dec-15 09:22:30

Normal. Hugs! It's really hard though when you think everyone else is doing ok and loving it. But I guess you never know what's going on in their world either. Plus people lie. They don't want to say they find its tough as it does seem to be a bit of a taboo. You've had a baby! You're on mat leave! You should be glowing and maternal and living every moment!
I had such terrible terrible dark times. But but but it does get better. Please believe me. You are not alone either - that gave me some comfort. You have a challenging baby and you are managing so well - well done you!! They do change and I hope your one settles down soon. It's all so gradual though. It's not overnight. To be honest it took me over a year to feel like me again. My baby was awful to manage up to about 5 months and even after then I craved my old life back. It does get easier if you go back to work, or even whether they become a bit more independent and you can leave them with DH, family, childcare and get some space and well earned me time. What helped me was that good old mantra "it will pass", plus doing something nice for myself like having a bath or glass of wine or getting out for half hour on my own. Getting out to see people really does help even if you don't want to. Or failing that just getting out the house somewhere. Oh and wailing in the toilet is also just fine. You need to let off steam.

SunsetSinger Wed 30-Dec-15 09:32:31

I could have written your post. I am also 8 months in and struggling like hell. I look at people whose babies are sleeping through and it's just unbelievable. I feel they are having such a different experience of parenthood to me. I have PND ...apparently you need 6 hours unbroken sleep a night to be mentally healthy, ha! I haven't had that since I went into labour. No wonder.

I don't think everyone does cope though. People probably look at you and see you coping even though you don't think you are.

mamaneedsamojito Wed 30-Dec-15 09:53:44

Can I just say on the sleeping through front...

People talk BOLLOCKS!!

The afore-mentioned earth mother used to post on FB about her baby having lie-ins and it transpired that he was sleeping until 10am because he wasn't going to bed until 11pm.... And he was waking 3 times in between!

Several of my friends and I all had babies at the same time and not one of them 'slept through' (by this I mean an uninterrupted night) for many, many months. My DS was well over 14 months. Set your expectations low and grit your teeth! thanks

Luckystar1 Wed 30-Dec-15 10:31:37

^^ totally agree. I had to listen to this bullshit from other nct mums (one in particular is a competitive pain in the arse) and from lots of other people also (usually accompanied by the beginnings of their own bullshit about breastfeeding).

Don't listen. Even when they do sleep through, there are colds, and teeth and god knows what else that wakens them up (sorry!!). No one is getting as much sleep as they'd like.

Allyearcheer Wed 30-Dec-15 10:39:51

I hear you. I had a very troubled baby, he had lots of pain, terrified of feeding, total meltdowns. I became very isolated as you can't go anywhere with a screaming, terrified baby. Woke 5 to 7 times a night. Our son was clearly tired but wanted to sleep more, but wasn't able to as he needed to be held to sleep and so wasn't able to resettle when he woke. Here is what worked for us. We put him down, and one of us stayed with him, by his cot until he fell asleep - we did 30 min shifts each. It took only 45 mins and he went from that night to only waking twice a night. I found this method easier to stomach than leaving him alone to go to sleep. He was 7.5 months when we did this.

Duckstar Wed 30-Dec-15 10:59:55

I could have written your post 4 years ago. DS1 could not be put down. Would not go in a buggy, hated the car, woke regularly at 8 months… I even tried the cranial osteopath - no help. I got a sleep nanny in at 7 months - best money I have ever spent. I was too tired (and so was DH) to do it on our own. Sleep deprivation is just such a killer. The sleep nanny advocated a gentle sleep training method.

All my friends seemed so sorted by 8 months. One was already pregnant with no 2, all I could think was, "how do you have energy for sex?" I felt exhausted, overweight (I put weight on, because I was just grabbing rubbish food as I couldn't put DS1 down).

The only good news is DS1 is now a 4 year old and still has lots of energy, but is an incredibly thoughtful child. From about 18 months he actually has been very easy. Potty training was cracked in a week. He picks things up incredibly easy. DS2 arrived 2.5 years after DS1 and was an angel baby. A lot of friends struggled with the change from 1 to 2. I actually didn't find it that bad. I had a baby that slept and a toddler who was very helpful. I use to have to check DS2 was not dead in the buggy as I wasn't used to a child not sobbing in it!

It will get better. You will get through this and just remember in the interim that a lot of us have been there!

exhorsted Wed 30-Dec-15 12:51:29

Wow- ok so it's not just me. Thank you all for responding and making me feel less alone. I guess part of the issue is with me, I'm used to 'doing well' at things if I try hard enough, and no matter how hard I try, how much I give, it just seems never ever enough. It makes me sad to be looking forward to her being someone else's responsibility when I go back to work - I don't even really like my job so I can't believe I'm looking forward to it.

It just always feels like I'm the one dealing with the meltdown baby, the one that isn't happy. I know deep down everyone has bad days, just mine seem like every day. I am trying to do things for myself but I have so little energy, I just end up sleeping or eating crap. DH often not home until 9pm anyway.

Still, 'it will pass'...eventually I guess. But the thought of taking the risk that a DC2 may be anything similar is just laughable right now, which all makes me feel bad that my lovely DD has basically put me off/scarred me! God I am so bloody fed up, this shit was never in the parenting books (not that I'd have listened most probably) confused

Luckystar1 Wed 30-Dec-15 13:13:53

I'm currently 9 weeks pregnant with DC2. I have to say, I do cry sometimes worrying about how I'll cope with 2. I just pray the next one is calmer, although I do sometimes wonder if I just had unrealistic ideas of what it would be like (the daily grind that is!), so perhaps with no 2 I'll have had my eyes opened a bit!

mamaneedsamojito Wed 30-Dec-15 13:15:22

Lucky is spot on; my DS has been 'sleeping through' for at least 6 months now but I'm still knackered all the time because it's interspersed with periods of teething or illness where he's back in my arms the entire night or waking up at 5am. Sleeping through is his default position now if there's nothing wrong... But there often is confused. Tiredness probably accounts for a lot of the way you're feeling - there's a reason sleep deprivation is used as a method of torture and personally, it makes me very emotional. After breastfeeding (long story) the lack of sleep has been the hardest thing for me to deal with. I'm back at work now so balancing home and work life is my current challenge (there's always something!).

I don't mean to be negative through - you have so much to look forward to. DS is bloody hilarious at the moment and as they get older they give even more back - hearing that little voice say 'I love you Mummy' makes every single sleepless second worth it, I promise. Just don't wish it away too quickly - I can't believe my son is almost two already. It seems only a couple of weeks since he was a squidgy 8 month old.

You're doing great, Mama. Try to get some time for yourself now and again. I recommend hiding in a spa with a friend all day!

karigan Wed 30-Dec-15 17:38:19

Snap! When DD was 8 months it was exactly the same story.

I went back to work just before she turned 1 and I was so sleep deprived. I'm a teacher and one week at the end of September I had less than 16 hours (broken) sleep across 4 days (she usually averaged about 2 hours sleep each night) I was absolutely knackered. (Throwing up with exhauscion by Friday evening.)

Then at 14 months she suddenly started sleeping through (not the 'my 8 month old sleeps through) but going to bed at 9pm- asleep 5 mins later and then waking up at about 6-6.30 am with no night wakings. This from a baby who had for the previous 13 months woken every 1.5/2 hours through the night and usually only had a total of 5-6 hours a night and 1 45 min nap in the day.
There was no change in diet- or routine. The only thing that changed was that she started walking confidently and I think she was wearing herself out.

Basically it's shite but it will get better. hugs

karigan Wed 30-Dec-15 17:39:31

*across 5 days. Random Autocorrect.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 30-Dec-15 22:36:13

Oh OP - you have my sympathies because I was I exactly the same position as you when my DS was that age. My life was consumed with his awful sleeping and I was exhausted. I would spend days and nights in tears because I was so, so tired, so frustrated and at times I felt like I hated him. Everything he woke up in the night I would feel so angry with him, and then I would hate myself for it. I dreaded every day and I dreaded every night.

He is breast fed and he would only nap if he fed to sleep and then I wouldn't be able to move again until he woke up. Sometimes he'd nap for twenty minutes and other times it would be over two hours. The nights were horrific. I would have to feed him to sleep and then transfer him into his cot but within 2 hours he'd be awake crying and the nightmare would begin. He'd be up 4/5 times a night, only going back to sleep if I fed him back to sleep and sometimes even that wouldn't work. I had resorted to co-sleeping when he was 6 months because it was the only way I could get any stretch of sleep but at least once or twice a night he'd be up for hours at a time. I remember once he was awake and crying from 2am until 5am and I just cracked. I forcefully pushed DS into my DH's arms whilst screaming "I just don't want him near me, I just need to get away from him" and I then took myself off to our box room, curled up in a ball on the floor and just sobbed. I was permanently exhausted and I was in a very dark place.

On about three occasions I was so upset and so on my knees that I had to ring my husband at work and beg him to come home. I would be sobbing down the phone and telling him that I just couldn't do it anymore.

I loved my DS but at the same time I resented him and I had stopped enjoying being with him.

DS was 9 months old by then and it had gotten to the point where I knew something had to change because I was genuinely scared that I was going to go crazy through sleep deprivation and I was scared that my feelings of anger and resentment towards DS would worsen. The knock on effect of DS's poor sleeping were also affecting my marriage and it felt like everything was sliding out of control.

I contacted a sleep specialist and she absolutely saved my life. With her guidance I had a baby who napped twice a day in his cot and slept 7pm-6am overnight. She completely changed my life.

Some people criticise sleep training but sometimes it is the only option. I emotionally and physically couldn't have gone on for any longer. I was absolutely broken.

I returned to work when DS was 10 months and although I absolutely missed him dreadfully, I cried a lot for the first few weeks, having that time to be me instead of always being 'mom' also did wonders for my emotional being. Don't kick yourself for wanting that part of your life back, it's normal flowers

WLmum Wed 30-Dec-15 22:48:00

Huge sympathy from me - I have been there! However, I also went down the sleep training route with all 3 of mine - I hated doing it but when I got to breaking point I knew that it was the only way. A broken mummy is good for no one. With dd1 I did v strict cc as I literally couldn't take another night. With dd2 &3 I was gentler and over the course of a week or so moved from bfing at wake ups to cuddling to stroking in the cot to a sshh from the door to SLEEPING THROUGH! They were happier as they had better sleep and I was happier as I no longer felt like I was going to die/ go insane.
I totally get that all this is easy for someone else to say and awful from your poor sleep deprived tortured place. Good luck with however you chose to move forward.

SunsetSinger Fri 01-Jan-16 06:37:39

Please writerwannabe what did the sleep trainer do? Was it CIO? I feel like at this stage I would do anything anything if she would just SLEEP she has to sleep! I can't go on like this!

I'm so angry sometimes like you said and I'm afraid of hating my own child. But it does feel sometimes like she is trying to destroy me.

icklekid Fri 01-Jan-16 06:50:59

I broke at 8 months to- ds was going to childminder at 9 months and I needed him to be able to nap without car/walking in buggy and to sleep better at night so I could function at work. It worked and I felt much much better like a different person. I also totally relate to the he is someone else's problem when I'm at work especially when he is screaming refusing to nap and over tired (we get that even now at 17 months!)

As for the getting out and doing exercise I found that really helpful and every sat morning I used to leave ds with dh for an hour. He would cry for most of that hour but I would run and start to get some of me back. Dh and him eventually learnt how to cope and the crying decreased but it took time. I then did exercise classes in the day that you can bring baby too- see if there is something like fitness 4 mums near you. Once ds was sleeping better (and I wasn't going to bed ridiculously early) I started running in eve too. You can have a life and it does get better but you are not alone!

BotBotticelli Fri 01-Jan-16 09:48:54

8mo is a great time to do a bit of sleep training.

You are not a bad mother if you decide to help your baby learn to go to sleep on their own. And to go BACK to sleep on their own when they wake in the night.

It's ok to let your baby cry when they're tired. It's ok. You are not doing anything wrong. It's ok.

Sleep trainers generally advise some variation on the Jo Frost super nanny controlled crying that you can google for free so look it up. It largely consists of putting them in their cot after a nice drink cuddle and story, and walking out. They will scream. You get a digital watch as leave her for 3 mins. Go in quickly say shh and lay hand on tummy/back for reassurance. Leave room. After another 3 mins of screaming go back in. Then leave it for 5 mins and then 5 mins and then 5 mins and then 4 mins till she is asleep.

If there starts to be gaps in the crying of longer than 8 seconds or so, this means she is starting to fall asleep but fighting it, so re-set the clock for another 3 or 5 mins.

You will think she will NEVER go to sleep o her own but she WILL. We did this recently at bedtime with my 5mo son.

Night one he screamed for 22 mins.
Night two: 8 mins.
Night three 2 mins 😀😀😀

Now we try a similar method when he wakes at night. We have an 80% success rate - normally he goes back to sleep within 15 mins ( with reassurance at 5 minute intervals). If e has not settled after 15 mins and it's after 2am, I feed him 😄

Try something like this at nighttime. If your baby is a nap-refusing handful during the day (my first baby was) you need to sort out the nights to survive!!

My first baby for a lot happier at 1yo when he learned to walk and had a personality transplant at 18mo when he learned to talk. So much so that I got pregnant again when he was 21mo. And now I have 5mo ds2 to contend with as well (who is a laid back dream during the day, it's just the luck of the draw you've done nothing wrong).

My first son just hated being a baby and cheered up immensely as a toddler. I also went back to work at 12 months (4 days) which I think helped my mental health enormously. The unimaginable riches of eating a Pret breakfast at my desk in silence 😀😀😀

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