What did you struggle with most when you had your first baby?

(197 Posts)
GummyBearGrandad Fri 23-Mar-12 14:32:45

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.

Beanbagz Fri 23-Mar-12 14:43:55

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.

GummyBearGrandad Fri 23-Mar-12 14:54:16

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?

headfairy Fri 23-Mar-12 14:58:35

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!

Plaguegroup Fri 23-Mar-12 14:58:41

Colic definitely.

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. smile

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.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 23-Mar-12 15:09:57

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.

MrFluffy Fri 23-Mar-12 15:15:02

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. grin

MrFluffy Fri 23-Mar-12 15:16:34

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.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 23-Mar-12 15:17:21

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.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Fri 23-Mar-12 15:18:05

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.

Sleep deprivation
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> smile

TheCountessOlenska Fri 23-Mar-12 17:44:59

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.

DaffodilsAreMyFav Fri 23-Mar-12 19:56:42

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.

LackaDAISYcal Fri 23-Mar-12 20:16:42

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 grin

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 24-Mar-12 05:50:38

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.

MarjorieAntrobus Sat 24-Mar-12 06:17:04

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).

BellaOfTheBalls Sat 24-Mar-12 06:30:33

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!

vvviola Sat 24-Mar-12 06:39:02

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 grin I hated not being able to pop to the cinema &'resented the cost of a babysitter for dinner and a move!)

ProlificYoungGentlemenBreeder Sat 24-Mar-12 06:39:34

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 blush

motherinferior Sat 24-Mar-12 10:26:46

Absolutely everything. The wreck of my life, sleep and body. The pain. The misery. The boredom...

ABigGirlDoneItAndRanAway Sat 24-Mar-12 21:59:17

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.

Sandalwood Sat 24-Mar-12 22:02:34

Being tired and the relentlessness of it all.

Arcticwaffle Sat 24-Mar-12 22:03:49

The breastfeeding was pretty grim. My nipples still shudder at the memory of it.

heliumballoon Sat 24-Mar-12 22:13:16

The relentless and painful breastfeeding.
The fact that the books never seem to tally with what your baby is actually doing.
The fact that DH would walk back in the door after 10 hours away at work and would ask what I had done that day and the answer was literally, care for baby and nothing else. Not even time to post a letter or buy a carrot.

ceebeegeebies Sat 24-Mar-12 22:20:58

I was just thinking about this today - I think that one of the hardest things I found is that time is just not your own anymore.

For example, when you might be thinking about winding down at around 6pm, you suddenly realise that you have bath, feed, bedtime to do before you can even think about sitting down with a glass of wine to relax or eat tea - and this is relentless, every night (or almost every night)

No advice as it is just one of those things that life with a child brings - took me a while to properly grieve the loss of the freedom.

Definitely the colic. I would happily have held/cuddled my babies 24 hours a day if it had stopped them from crying. I found it very hard to be around a baby who screamed for hours and hours at the end of a tiring day, just when I would have given my right arm for some time off and a bit of peace and quiet.

Once that was over (by about 8 weeks with both of them, mercifully) the rest seemed an absolute doddle in comparison!

Sparklyboots Sat 24-Mar-12 23:42:59

I struggled with BFing for ages, but cracked it now (he's nearly 15mo and still BFing). I also struggled with feeling so vulnerable physically and mentally after the birth - I felt invincible until I had a baby. My body still isn't as fit as it was - but that's as much to do with simply not having the freedom to hop out for a run/ do a class/ choose mealtimes/ sit quietly eating my breakfast/lunch etc.

To this day, I struggle to hear the news without thinking that all those people who are going through whatever are/ were someone's cherished babies. Ditto homeless people, or people obviously struggling with difficult circumstances/ emotional pain. What if that were my cherished baby? I can hardly bear the news etc.

Practically speaking I do not relish having to arrange childcare to have a poo on my own.

MyDogShitsShoes Sun 25-Mar-12 00:32:35

I actually found all the day to day stuff really easy, too easy.
Just got on with it like it was one of the many household jobs.

Looking back it scares me just how detached I was. I also feel I really missed out on the "newborn fuzz" everyone talks about. I have no idea what that feels like.

Despite ttc for 4 years, being horrendously ill with HG throughout my pregancy, a traumatic labour & delivery and a re-admission for a post dural puncture for 4 days when ds was less than a week old I just "got on with it".

I ignored all the pain and tiredness, did every nightfeed, did all the housework (it was always immaculate), entertained endless visitors, wore nice clothes and did my hair/make-up every day.

Everyone kept saying "you're obviously a natural", "you look amazing", "you're coping brilliantly" but I just didn't get it. Genuinely didn't understand why anyone found it difficult when it was clearly a doddle.

Looking back it's blindingly obvious I was borderline PND. It makes me angry that nobody noticed, especially stbxh but mainly I just feel sad that I missed it all.

What's bizzare is that ds formed his own strategy. From about 6 weeks to 4-5 months the only way he would sleep during the day was if I held him. I would have to sit for 1-2 hours at a time cuddling him at least twice a day. It was bliss! Initially all I thought about was how many jobs I needed to do and how I didn't have time to just sit down. But after a while it all sank in.

Now I just feel sad that I missed out on so much.

I think what I'm trying to say through all that waffle is that it is different for everyone. Everyone finds it hard but for many many different reasons. The guilt is always the same though, the "I shouldn't be feeling like this, I should be feeling so grateful that I have been blessed with a child that I am loving every second".

It's hard, bloody hard. Totally worth it but hard.

The only thing I really struggle with now is that I still feel angry with ds when I can't work out why he's crying. When he's fed, changed and well rested but still whinging I feel cross with him. Then feel so horribly guilty for feeling like that because it's not natural.

Without MN to restore my sanity I really would be a basket case! Get your DN on here, she'll never look back smile

weedoll Sun 25-Mar-12 00:43:17

Uuurgggh!! Not being able to just 'jump' in the car and go!!! Having to pack nappy bag, put all-in-1 coat on baby(as it. Was winter), THEN change his nappy once you realise he has shit up his back, strap him into car seat, then into car..... What was I nipping out for again??? People used to say to me 'suppose u think what did u do b4 children?' me:" eh no! Loved running about without a plan or nappy bag for that matter!"
Ds1 is 3 now and have 2 boys to get out of a day and wouldn't change a single thing smilesmilesmile

Greythorne Sun 25-Mar-12 00:49:17


FizzyLaces Sun 25-Mar-12 00:53:21

I can't remember - was a young single Mum (15 years ago) and have spent my whole adult life being somen's Mum. However, my friends seem to find loss of freedom the hardest wouldn't know as never had it

FizzyLaces Sun 25-Mar-12 00:54:08

Greythorne sad

PaigeTurner Sun 25-Mar-12 13:15:39

Relentless boredom - pushing DS round the same park seven days a week for six months on my own (I moved after that, to a place with more parks)
Having a crap sleeper who at 15 months is still crap, no matter what I do
Friends fucking off or suddenly being too busy to call, no more invites out as usually I can't go
DS being constantly ill. I conceived outside of a relationship so I have had no help at all with nights and minimal help with days
Losing my identity, having to give up my job as it was not child-friendly.
I could go on...

beela Sun 25-Mar-12 20:25:59

sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep.

That is all.

gobbledegook1 Sun 25-Mar-12 23:28:25

First child:

The lack of sleep.

The loneliness - I was young and all my friends were childless and care free they just seemed to ditch me when they found out I was pregnant because I was gonna have a baby and probably wouldn't be free to go out even of they asked so they just didn't bother also taking a baby out during the day would just cramp their style.

My then partners interfering family always at the house uninvited taking over and telling me what I should be doing and how I should by doing it, really got me down and made me feel like I had no time to myself with my DS to just be able to relax and bond (one of the many things I contribute to the severe PND I suffered which left me feeling very detached from it all / him).

ImJustSayingLike Sun 25-Mar-12 23:34:58

knowing what was normal and what was not and SHOULD have demanded a trip to the GP in terms of exhaustion and energy

Same for BFing, not knowing when its just not working

Knowing when to ask for help or do something to make life easier in general

deviladvocate Sun 25-Mar-12 23:46:54

I was shocked by the relentlessness of it - and that you're never on your own. 7 years on and I still rarely have a shower or a wee without one of them ambling in.

However, although the early days are hard work it's important to switch off from chores and what life was like before and just let yourself sit and gaze at this gorgeous little creature that has changed your life utterly and allow yourself to enjoy it - the snuggles and the contented little sighs when you let everything else go and just be there for them.

akaemmafrost Mon 26-Mar-12 00:00:12

Lack of sleep. The never having a lie in. The crazy panic to get to sleep as soon as ds did because I knew how awful the next day would be otherwise.

The worry. Is he putting on too much/not enough weight? Why won't he finish that feed? Is he weeing enough? Is he too hot/too cold, how many blankets? Does he need a cardigan, shall i take a layer off????? And so on to infinity and beyond!

pohara Mon 26-Mar-12 10:40:05

The things I remember most vividly were:

* being so thrilled when she went to sleep and feeling, yay! now I can go out! Only to then realise that no I couldn't go out because I had a baby asleep in her cot. I felt quite trapped and as though everyone else was out and about.
* going for long walks with her in the pram. I just loved that.
* having to work backwards to figure out what time to start getting ready
* wondering how anyone with a baby ever managed a shower

bringmesunshine2009 Mon 26-Mar-12 13:14:33

Definitely loneliness. That and the feeling that I had totally lost my identity. No longer was I foxy, but regarded myself as mummsy with no style or body.

I care less now, but feeling so invisible and unattractive was belugh. I went back to work sharpish, for the company.

pollyh Mon 23-Apr-12 22:59:16

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

RedHotPokers Mon 23-Apr-12 23:09:21

Being on a 3hr loop/groundhog day. Same three hours over and over.

Lack of spontaneity.

Lack of space/peace.

The last two on my list still hold true nearly 6 yrs later, only in a different way!

festivalwidow Wed 25-Apr-12 10:19:07

Breastfeeding. The feeding itself wasn't so much of a problem (though DD had colic so I ended up having to feed her in a semi-upright position, which gave me pins and needles), but what irked me what how everyone told me how magical and bonding I must find it. I didn't. It was boring, it was sore and I hated the feeling of being reduced to what felt like a tap.
The isolation was bad, too - the baby group I originally went to was very MC-earth-motherish (the 'magic' of breastfeeding was the sole topic of conversation) and it made me feel even worse for missing my old skinny self. Eventually a friend introduced me to another one which was a brilliant laugh with really friendly people, and it became a highlight of my week.

I would say a) it's OK to feel bored out of your tree - the real magic for me came when DD started responding to things; and b) try a few groups - the mixture of new mums will be very random and one will probably suit you better than others. If I had my time again I would probably buy myself a sling and have some days out - I was a bit apprehensive about leaving the house without preparing for every eventuality, but in retrospect I didn't need half the baggage I thought I did!

festivalwidow Wed 25-Apr-12 10:25:11

Oh, and a postscript - I recently ran into one of the mums who had been very scathing about my return to work ("how could you leave your little angel with strangers? I could never do that..."). She hated the toddler stage with a passion,missed having a tiny baby to cuddle all the time, hated the idea of preschool and wasn't sure that she might not go back to work herself. I, meanwhile, realised that I'm having a ball with my eccentric two-year-old and much prefer the sort of hugs where they hug you back!

notcitrus Wed 25-Apr-12 11:03:43

The emotions. Ds looks and acts like me to a scary extent so whenever he cried it was like I was upset too. He seemed like such a forlorn little creature and I couldn't bear the idea that I couldn't make him happy.

Luckily he cheered up around 3 months, or I'd definitely have gone over the edge into PND. But being reminded so much of so many details of my own childhood is still really hard - not that my childhood was bad, just that it brings back the terror of slimy food, fear of the dark, etc.

The fact that he was MY responsibility. The first time he cried when we were still in hospital, I buzzed for the midwife. "Baby's crying, I don't know what to do?" To be fair I had had no sleep for three days and a godawful birth. She shrugged - "it's YOUR baby....." And he was, my responsibility to feed, soothe, change nappies. No one else was going to do it. His physical dependence and vulnerability terrified me. And the noise of him crying, it seemed to be relentless and the sound of a crying baby/toddler still makes my guts wrench - I've just heard SO much of it over the last 18 months.

Sleep deprivation too - I explain it to childless friends by asking them the last time when they were really really knackered and how they felt just before they collapsed into bed. "Now imagine, you're not ending but STARTING your day like that - it will be fifteen hours before you can go to sleep again. Oh, and imagine you have a tough day at work ahead of you.... And do it all again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that....."

PND kicked in around 5 months and lasted until DS was a year when I went back to work. I was so happy and grateful for the "break" (and my job is demanding so no picnic really) I practically cried with happiness walking through the swing doors on my first day back.

Revolving doors, I meant to say, I don't work in a saloon bar grin

GreyGardens Wed 25-Apr-12 11:50:25

Boredom, non stop crying baby, and lack of sleep.
I stopped at one! grin

tightwad Wed 25-Apr-12 11:52:12

The bone drenching utter utter unexpected exhaustion
which was almost constant for the first 5 years of my childs life.
colic...living torture for all concerned
followed by
teething & injections
followed by
worry..about just about everything possible of every minute of every day & night.
The lonelyness, and how long the days are when feeling so alone.

I also remember feeling something akin to hatred towards every woman that i knew who had had a baby and who had not told me any of this stuff.

Its alright now as i have mumsnet smile

ChunkyPickle Wed 25-Apr-12 12:18:05

Like a couple of others, I didn't find the baby himself too bad, it was the adjustment that everything I had to do now, I had to do whilst factoring him in - so I couldn't pop down the shops if he was asleep, I couldn't go to sleep if he was still awake, I always had to be armed with nappies and wipes.

I found it worse once he started eating solids, and I had to remember food/drink as well..

And now he's hit some kind of developmental leap and I have to be watching constantly because he's climbing everything, tall enough to reach the kitchen counter-top etc. TBH this is the most challenging I've found it (20ish months) so far!

yorkieg Wed 25-Apr-12 12:29:37

Oh where to begin.

I remember pacing the hallway in the hospital when DD was 2 days old (and I had had a section) trying to get her to stop screeching and thinking I wanted to give her up for adoption but was too embarrassed. She was just cried and cried and practically all the staff that dealt with us in hospital commented on it. I cried too. No one offered any suggestions though. Looking back it was clear I had PND.

I found the first 6 months relentless. But after I got help for the PND, I stopped being so anxious, toughened up a bit and things became much much much better. It really has gotten better ever since. I hated being a mum before and now I love it and really enjoy spending time with my wee sidekick.

mercator Wed 25-Apr-12 12:30:39

As an older mom it came as a total shock this little whirlwind that entered our lives and I suffered from panic attacks the first night home, but that was possibly due to the drugs post op.

I'd gone from international traveller and career girl to SAHM which to be honest I found quite lonely but you do settle into the role but I struggled as had few friends or family locally.

Lack of sleep is a killer but hearding into my 2nd I now know what to expect and that bit I am dreading!

Also the crying and not going to sleep which can be exhausting especially when you oh is away!

I must say the shock to my body even after a c-section was something I hadn't anticipated but it does bounce back - thankfully.

DialMforMummy Wed 25-Apr-12 12:34:04

Colic was the worst bit for me. Then feeling frumpy and unattractive (that came a few weeks after the birth). Then boredom. I missed work.

cuteboots Wed 25-Apr-12 12:39:32

For me it was the tiredness and the colic as I had never heard a tiny baby screaming that loudly . They never even showed me how to bath or wash him when I was in hospital so thank god my mum was on hand to show me the basics!! I do remember a few nights of thinking oh my god what have I done but thankfully he did start to sleep through the night and I stopped walking around looking like the living dead!

AngryFeet Wed 25-Apr-12 12:39:34

Breastfeeding for me too. I didn't find it painful or particularly hard but she fed every hour for the first year and every 2 hours for the second so I was tied to her 24/7/365. With my son I stopped at 15 months as I needed to get myself back! (I bfed her up to when he was born so it was non stop for over 3 years).

troutpout Wed 25-Apr-12 13:14:27

All of it
Pnd,Loneliness, boredom..the endless dreary days of screaming and sleeps and nappies and the strain of pretending it was all ok.

parques Wed 25-Apr-12 13:30:05

Going back to work f/t when DS was 5 months old. Ended up exhausted with PND

That heart stopping moment of realisation that your life and you as you knew it has gone. There is life before and life after having a child. The overwhelming responsibility of being a parent is too enormous to explain to anyone that does not have children. I asked my OH to take ds to live at his parents after about two weeks as I just couldn't imagine doing it for one more second and ds was a pretty easy baby. Luckily my OH realised that I needed more support and I was diagnosed with pnd and things improved a lot after about 3 months. I joined ^an ante and post natal group on here which was brilliant and the advice I got really saw me through sometimes.

I couldn't imagine my life without ds now, he is incredible and I feel so lucky but in those early days, wow, I felt differently.

Get your dn on here now, it should be recommended by midwives, health visitors and gps!

LillianGish Wed 25-Apr-12 13:37:01

Sleep deprivation and never being able to have a lie in to catch up. Neither of mine were even particularly bad sleepers - I just hadn't realised how relentless it would be.

Treadmillmom Wed 25-Apr-12 13:38:30

Trusting my own maternal instincts!

Listen to your inner voice and your heart - you're the mummy, only YOU.

What NeedToSleep said. DS is 4months and I can barely remember what it was like to do what I wanted when I wanted.
The fact that childless friends can't understand that just because you've palmed the DC off on someone does not mean you're able to do anything other than sleep.

issimma Wed 25-Apr-12 13:39:47

Breastfeeding, boredom, sleep deprivation.
DD is pretty much a toddler now, and it's much easier, although I still find it challenging sometimes.

Colic. There were a couple of times I had to put ds down on his cot and walk away as my temper was fraying and I was seriously worried about hurting him. It sounds terrible now.

The impact on my relationship with exp. He will only admit now (ds 4) that he had no interest in ds when he was a baby. I did everything and it played a major part on our breakup. Without sounding bitter being a part-time father suits him better.

Boredom and loneliness. I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby so everyone else was at work. Ds was prem and got out of hospital end of November. I was told to avoid taking him out and mixing with older kids in those winter months because of the risk of catching RSV. My parents at the time lived abroad and no in-laws.

How ds didn't follow all the developmental milestones. He was ages in catching up so we had the non-feedback baby stage for much longer and of course I worried myself over it, comparing him to other ones his age.

I'm pregnant at the moment and I have to say I'm not looking forward to it the same way I did with ds and am feeling a bit of trepidation towards the baby months. For me the baby stage is something to be borne blush

Sleep deprivation, loneliness and loss of freedom.

Iggly Wed 25-Apr-12 13:44:40

I got bored...

Also DS had silent reflux. and went on nursing strike for months. And couldn't have formula without being sick so that wasn't an option for me.

Getting ready to leave the house was tough but now I've had DD (second one), I didn't bat an eyelid at having to be somewhere for 9am. Baby will be fine! Get a sling, they'll sleep most of the time especially when newborn.

Remembering to eat properly. Again, I didnt feel happy leaving DS to make a proper lunch until he was about 12 weeks old. With DD, into the sling she goes and I cook and eat.

Oh and the baby books, the bloody baby books. Telling you that you should just swaddle your baby, pop them in the cot, lights off and that was it. Er no bedtime is more of a feed, wind, feed, rock, feed some more until they pass out grin

Iggly Wed 25-Apr-12 13:45:50

ballroomblitz I've found the baby stage easier this time around because of the older DS to look after. DD is nearly 5 months now and I'm not sure how that happened!

Longdistance Wed 25-Apr-12 13:47:09

Bf 4 me was a struggle. But am sure the relentless bottle washing, sterilising, making up bottles monotomy is getting 2 her 2. I didn't get any support from my dm, and she was really shitty towards me. My mil helped, and dh was an absolute shit 2, and didn't take his full paternity, and 'worked from home' angry
Colic is was bad in dd2. I tried lots of things, but the best was 2 go see an osteopath, and get dd treated. The earlier the better. It's all 2 do with the birth of baby, and the forming of the skull/bones in babies body after birth. Made the world of difference, and only needed 2 appointments.

revolutionconfirmed Wed 25-Apr-12 13:49:42

Breastfeeding was difficult for me. Nobody yold me that the first few seconds, even with a correct latch, can be painful. I thought I was doing it wrong and since DD1 was a big baby born the health visitors kept telling me she was hungry and to bottle feed. After 4 months of relentless cracked nipples, mastitis, pushy midwives and cluster feeding I gave up.

I struggled with getting out of the door (and still do). Everything took half an hour longer, I was armed for every possibility and it was such a nightmare I stayed home a lot. Now DD1 helps with DD2 i's a bit easier but I still try to run errands/do the school run without DD2 in her pushchair.

issimma Wed 25-Apr-12 13:50:38

I bloody love mn. DM has been making me feel like a right freak for not loving the baby stage!

nickelhasababy Wed 25-Apr-12 13:52:01

i struggled most with trying to find a solution.

okay, DD wouldn't go down in the cot, so because we'd been frightened about co-sleeping, so dh spent ages pacing the room with her.
i'd then feed her and try to put her down again.
eventually, we just decided to try co-sleeping and haven't looked back.

i panicked about a lot of things, in case i wasn't doing them right.

Thanks Iggly Good to hear you found it easier smile I have a lot more support around me this time and ds looking forward to being a big brother but have my eek 'what have I done moments??' thinking back at times.

ragged Wed 25-Apr-12 13:53:46

Sleep. I've always had insomnia issues but it was never a problem in my life until I had kids.

GooseyLoosey Wed 25-Apr-12 13:55:41

The utterly unrelenting nature of it all. The need for attention nearly 24 hours a day and the fact that I could see it stretching out for months in advance.

On the other side it is all worth it, but I struggled to see that at the time.

WheresMyCow Wed 25-Apr-12 13:56:19

Definitely the loss of freedom and not being able to do thing spontaneously...like nip down to the shop or to the post box which would have only taken me 5 minutes before, but was now a military operation.

Oh, and the sleep deprivation and what giving birth actually does to your body. I was not prepared for that!

I did have problems with breastfeeding, and I was doing it right and it still hurt (sometimes still does and DS is 18 months now shock). But one day it all just became very natural and I don't even know when!

AceOfBase Wed 25-Apr-12 14:07:08

Loneliness. Dh never understood that as he has loads of friends. I have one. I see her once a month maybe? Because I live in the middle of nowhere I can't go to any groups as getting anywhere is impossible in the morning (two dcs in nursery now so bump probably won't go anywhere). It's terribly lonely. But mn makes ur slightly better.

TiddlesTheNaughtyTortoise Wed 25-Apr-12 14:08:17

The loss of identity, the crippling self doubt and the bone-crushing tiredness.

The books just don't mention that you are no longer <insert name here> you are MUM.
I think I started to get a bit of 'me' back when dd1 was about six months old. I thought I'd still be the same person and that the baby would just slot into my life, I had absolutely no idea how much she would takeover. I struggled at first but found it much easier to cope once I just gave into it. Now I have dd2 and I don't know who I'd be without my girls, but I still grieve sometimes for the person I once was. She's coming back slowly, just with a dodgier haircut, mum jeans and yoghurt kisses on her clothes grin

I can look back and laugh now but I thought I'd know what to do because I'd read plenty of books! Ha! And even when you know what to do really you are possessed with just so much self doubt that you agonise over the tiniest little decision. I found I still do this with DC2, albeit less so.

And the tiredness! You will now understand why sleepdeprivation is used as a form of torture. When you have a bad night pre kids at least you know at some point you can have a nap or early night to catch up. But when you know there is absolutely no chance of this in the next five years or so, it really can be enough to make you want to cry.

happynappies Wed 25-Apr-12 14:08:36

Breastfeeding - nothing prepared me for how difficult it would be, but we got there in the end. I just expected it to come naturally.

Getting out of the house - I used to be thrown into a spin by the prospect of visitors arriving before midday. Now having to get out of the house, toddlers and baby dressed and get to the school gate by 8.40 am puts things in perspective, but at the time I would get caught up in a cycle of feeding and nappy changes and would be incapable of leaving the house.

The fact that nothing stays the same for long. Just as you've mastered one problem/issue/crisis, things go and change and you're back to square one again. I can't believe how quickly they grow, you move onto the next stage and forget about what went before.

Reflux. When ds had this it nearly pushed me over the edge. Definite contributing factor to my pnd. So difficult to deal with when completely unprepared and knew nothing about it.

Post-pregnancy body - I couldn't believe how bad I felt, physically couldn't walk because of SPD-related stuff exacerbated during the birth. Trying to care for a newborn whilst on crutches was difficult, hobbling around for months afterwards, stitches, all the unmentionable stuff that happens after the birth, totally unprepared for it!!

Losing touch with so many friends, gradually at first but a very definite change in my priorities (and capabilities!) meant that old friendships fizzled out, some quietly, some with a bang, but lots of new friends who were a whole lot more understanding of my new life, and lots of old friends who understood perfectly!

Change in identity - from the minute I went on maternity leave I was no longer defined by my job, and from then onwards my confidence has been affected and I've struggled to come to terms with my new role. Still work, but part-time presents its own particular challenges, and the feeling every day that my brain might have turned to mush and I just deal with nappies on a 24/7 basis - whereas dh's life is relatively normal in comparison!!

The ups and downs - and the speed of them. Forget taking each day as it comes. Sometimes you have to take each hour as it comes, or even a few minutes at a time. You can have a wonderful moment where it all comes together and you feel on top of the world, or you can be standing in the centre of a 'crisis' sobbing, and half an hour later it is all forgotten about as you move onto the next thing.

I think thats about it!!

Kaekae Wed 25-Apr-12 14:16:12

I think the freedom, independence and just not feeling part of society anymore. Not being able to just sit and read a book, do things when I want to and do things for just me. The bordom!

I had a terrible labour, bad emergency csection, I couldn't get out much at all and felt so lonely. DP and friends at work all day, no local family around. Spent days in the park, but how depressing and boring that is sometimes.

BF was also a real struggle and looking back I didn't get any support at all. I had no confidence to just get on with it. My milk didn't come through for two weeks. Everything was so different when I had my DD two years later, by that time I had made lots of mummy friends, I could BF, was used to surviving on little sleep, things were brighter.

mmmerangue Wed 25-Apr-12 14:22:34

The stuff that really got me offguard was the labour stuff - I think less 14 y-os would be getting pregnant if they knew about afterbirth, being torn open by your DC's head (and resulting stiches), mycolneum, etc... and indeed mastitis, and the rank bit of belly button that has to fall off, colic and the other bits you mention! (I guess OP your niece has dealt with all of this already...)

The absolute deadly tiredness and soreness in the first few weeks was the worst for me. I got an infection and felt like crap for about 4 weeks (the whole time DP had off). I was just about recovered when he went back to work. Then I had to get out and visit people as much as possible although still a bit sore, just to make the days go by and to get DS to sleep in his pram (ahhh sweet peace!)

But that all passes so quickly smile They learn to smile or sit up and you feel like the queen of everything - 'I, yes I created something that can sit up all on its own!' I had in fact forgotten all about belly button weirdness till yesterday when a friend from uni mentioned her newborns' smelly stub coming off! My broodyness cured for another few months haha!

BigusBumus Wed 25-Apr-12 14:24:00

Not been able to go out for the evening with my husband whenever the mood took us.

dixiechick1975 Wed 25-Apr-12 14:31:03

Dealing with a disabled child.

I had a straightforward pregnancy, all scans etc - everyone expects to end up with a healthy baby. Not everyone does.

On top of dealing with all the usual new baby stuff you are dealing with numerous hospital appointments plus your emotions.

TBH I found the baby care side of it very easy - I had no experince of babies, hadn't changed a nappy before. I suspect because I didn't have the head space to worry about the 'small' stuff.

I was super prepared for DD which helped immeasurably at a very stressful time. No needing to go out and buy x or y. Had a fully stocked freezer, at least 50 loo rolls!, plenty of baby clothes, steriliser etc

BlackSwan Wed 25-Apr-12 14:36:19

Breastfeeding and sleeplessness. And PND. And reflux. And not having any help. Yeah... those things.

FatherDougalMcGuire Wed 25-Apr-12 14:46:15

What everyone else has said about the unpreparedness of it all and how it consumes and takes over your life. Looking back I probably had PND, but I wider at how most people DON't when faces with a total loss of normality, life, freedom and sleep!

the hardest bit was how easy everyone else made it all look. Even now when a friend has their first baby and doesn't appear to struggle half as much as I did in the early days I feel embarrassed at how crap I was at coping. I had always been the one who was 'great with kids' too, so it was a double shock to realise I wasn't with my own' and how resentful I felt about that.

luckily it all worked out just fine though, I adore my firstborn now, and we even have a second! MUCH, much easier second time around!

Taffeta Wed 25-Apr-12 14:47:57

OP - What a lovely thoughtful thing for you to do for your niece. I wish I'd had MN as a first time mother.

It all knocked me sideways, as others have said, the relentlessness of it. No escape. I felt angry and resentful, and 8 years on, if I'm honest, still do. To get to age 36 and not know! The silence of the sisterhood. I think people don't want to scare new mothers so keep quiet but I would much rather have known. It is hard to explain and it is different for everyone but reading threads on MN over the years makes you realise you're not alone. I really hope your niece registers, it can be such a lifeline.

What helped? Giving in to it, relaxing in to it, realising that as you sit there cuddling or feeding for the zillionth hour and your mind races with other things you "should" be doing that you can't do them, they will have to wait.

Get a Kindle, get an interest that you can learn about/do whilst you while away those endless hours sitting on your bum!

A wise friend said to me that when they are little the minutes drag but the years fly by. So true.

PineappleBed Wed 25-Apr-12 15:09:37

Thanks for this thread I feel so much better reading it. Hard stuff

-feeling like a fat frump
- lack of sleep
- boredom
- loneliness
- worrying "I'm I doing this right/damaging her forever
- constantly doing stuff for others, no time to just stop
- friends have disappeared I'm the only one with a child and they all seem to think children and dolls are the same thing

But, I am her favourite person ever and its great having a Sunday morning family cuddle in bed

GreyGardens Wed 25-Apr-12 15:14:55

Forgot about the fatness, that's crap too.
First six months/year for me boiled into one big pot of mind-numbing tedium, and I don't even think I had PND, just assumed that was normal!
Thankfully I had work to take my mind of it, and of course they are worth it in the end. Just. smile

NicolaH21 Wed 25-Apr-12 15:21:21

Not realising that breastfed babies won't take a bottle (even of expressed milk) unless you introduce it during the first few weeks and keep it in place! Very restricting in terms of getting out for mums of exclusively breast fed babies - and it is really important to be able to get out for the odd evening...or even out of the house for a few hours to spend some time on you own/away from the baby.

Olivetti Wed 25-Apr-12 15:25:15

Breastfeeding! And feeling I would be letting my baby down if a drop of formula so much as passed her lips, due to pressure from MWs, NCT etc. I'm pregnant again, now, and I am mix-feeding the next one, that's for sure!

Sariska Wed 25-Apr-12 15:27:31

Suddenly no longer being me, and instead being permanently on duty for this tiny thing (who was so, so, so much smaller than I'd imagined) who would only sleep when held upright and screamed non-stop (silent reflux). I thought I'd never sleep again.

Two children and four years in - and I don't regret them for a second. I do still have flashes of longing for the old me but I wouldn't swap what I've got now. I also feel awe-struck at my naivety. How come I didn't have even the first clue of what it was going to be like? Why did no one tell me? Why, pre-birth, did I focus so exclusively on the labour?

mmmerangue Wed 25-Apr-12 15:37:28

GreyGardens, I didn't call it PND either, I just did not magically become 'a baby person' overnight. Babies are boring. Being stuck in the house all day with a poop-and-sick maker is boring. Even going out to the sort of places you can take said poop-and-sick maker is boring. Toddlers are much more fun!!

Dyeingforachange Wed 25-Apr-12 15:41:41

Hated breastfeeding - felt like I'd turned into a cow. Put up with it until went back to work. Would say to a new mum that lots of people have problems with breastfeeding, pain, not enough milk, not latching on so don't believe the people who tell you that everyone can do it if they get the technique right.

Lack of sleep. If your child sleeps well be very grateful.

Listen to advice but do what seems right to you.

Get used to not being able to do anything on the spur of the moment, but do keep a bag of essentials packed at all times to speed the process up.

I BF in the hospital but found it unbearable to sustain at home. I was in the hospital for a few days too. I switched to FF at home and don't even think about it now.

The main thing for me was an overwhelming feeling of being On Duty. At All Times. I even have a very supportive DH who will take DD out, do feeds, get up in the night etc etc. But for at least the first month, I almost felt I couldnt breathe as I didnt have room for that. If that makes sense. I used to ask "can I go in the bath?" DH would be hmm ermm....why are you asking??
I would go to bed in the evening with the baby as I was exhausted but not be able to sleep incase DD woke and needed me (erm....you'd hear her wake, and newborns are very rarely awake).

Once I got to around 6 weeks, I felt a lot more free, and when taking time out actual felt the benefit of it.

In more recent weeks, DD is now 18 weeks, I have struggled through her being unwell twice while being poorly myself. That has been hard. When I have had flu in the past (pre baby) I could take myself off to bed for 24 hours and sleep it off. Well, helpful DH or not, its really not an option with a 4/5 month old. She has been whiney and fluey, needing to sleep but not being able to and I just sit there saying "mammy knows how you feel" as I feel exaclty the same.

So to sum up grin
*The overwhelming feeling of responsibility
*Both mum and baby being ill at the same time

0-3 months - the constant breastfeeding. I often barely had time to have a quick shower/eat a sandwich before DD was crying for another feed. BUT, I'm so glad I did bf. I've never worried about how many ounces of milk she's had and whether it's enough, not to mention never having to bother with washing up and sterilising all the bottles!

3-12 months - literally spending hours rocking/pushing DD to be rewarded with a 40 minute nap. Now she's almost 15 months and she still won't sleep unless bfed or pushed in the pram. But she will sleep for 90 mins.

Thumbwitch Wed 25-Apr-12 16:09:17

First and foremost was the feeling I got every time I stood up after having given birth, that my innards were going to fall out. I felt like I had to keep my hands underneath me to hold it all in. That lasted a couple of days.

Breastfeeding was hard to establish because DS had a tonguetie - once that was snipped it got much easier - but those first two weeks were not only agonising but it took so long to feed him each time! (about 2 hours).

DS wasn't much of a napper in the day - too much going on! - so I had very little time to do anything except look after him. I actually enjoyed this but it meant lots of other stuff went by the wayside.

The Fear. I kept imagining myself falling downstairs with him, or dropping him, or other things like that. Oh, and poking him when he had been asleep for longer than normal because he was a silent breather and I was scared that he wasn't actually breathing.

Think that was mostly it...

CaptainHetty Wed 25-Apr-12 16:12:28

Someone mentioned loss of identity, and I can completely relate to that. I had my son at 18 and none of my friends had children, I felt isolated, and lonely. My mum always told me the first few weeks were the worst, and buggering hell was she right. The monotony of it really got to me, the fact that I couldn't leave the house without a 15 minute preparatory exercise and checking I'd picked up everything I needed, only to get ten minutes up the road and realise I'd forgotten something anyway; drove me mental. I'd been preparing myself for this bundle to be handed to me for 9 months, yet I had this overwhelming realisation that I was responsible for this child and I didn't know how I was going to do it as soon as I met him.

I'm now... Well, quite a bit older wink ... and expecting my fourth child in October. I'm still absolutely bricking it.

Breastfeeding and the two hour awake slot between 3 and 5am.

In more general terms the shock and the inability to see ahead. It felt like she'd always be 3 weeks forever and I would never be able to sleep or do anything ever again for the rest of my days. The knowledge that 'This too shall pass' is actually true makes the same things with the second bearable imho.

Juule Wed 25-Apr-12 16:28:45

Going back to work f/t.

SomebodySaveMe Wed 25-Apr-12 16:36:47

How much it hurt to wee grin

And like others have said- how long it takes to just pop and buy milk!

MarySA Wed 25-Apr-12 16:49:19

I found the colic very hard to deal with as DD had it a lot. Not so much DS. And also baths in that first few weeks. DD was quite tiny (to me anyway) 6lbs 4 ozs. How on earth could I hold a baby hold the soap. wash the baby , and then dry with only two hands. Sheer impossibility!

TooImmatureTurtleDoves Wed 25-Apr-12 16:51:00

The Night Dreads...the knowledge that you are not going to get to sleep much at all - maybe an hour here or there - when you are already so tired you cry at nothing. That and the loneliness in the middle of the night. I don't know about the rest of you, but DH was useless at getting up and acted like I was personally torturing him and he couldn't be expected to function on so little sleep hmm. This was before he went back to work, as well. It was easier to stop waking him and do it myself. Mind you, DD is nearly 7 weeks now and has been sleeping 4 or 5 hours a night for the last week. It's not forever!

My confidence was also really knocked by DD losing 12% of her birth weight by Day 5 - I had to start doing 3 hourly feeding, expressing and topping up with a syringe and it was hell. Being able to stop doing that when she chubbed up a bit was bliss.

ReallyTired Wed 25-Apr-12 16:51:33

Losing a very good career was (and is!) the hardest thing.

I also tried to be super woman and I had horrenous postnatal anxiety.

WellHello Wed 25-Apr-12 16:59:54

Just the other day I was telling my mum how Ive only been able to really enjoy dd for the past few months, she is almost 9m.
The first 3m were so hard. I spent most of it crying, sleep deprivation is just awful. I was very ill and the breastfeeding was relentless and so difficult. I can remember wishing her life away to when she could sit up/crawl and was bottle-feeding, and responsive and fun sad
Totally agree with everyone re the loss of independence. Wanting a nap and having to plan for it! It is such a huge shock in so many ways... but of course, so very rewarding and wonderful as they grow and learn.
Even after all Ive just said, I would definately have another (but not yet!)

To me the most difficult thing was to understand that I was responsible for someone. Not only that, I was the ADULT, responsible for a CHILD. So now I couldn't feel crap, I couldn't freak out when things didn't go my way, I had to stop everything I was doing - immediately - when the baby needed me. Several times a day. I had to be the mature one, 24/7 (sounds obvious, but it's not easy)

Then I figured out that I had to remain CALM and centered all the time, and if I did that the baby would be calm too. DS is 2 now, and basically when he gets cranky and annoying is because I'm not very well. If I manage to keep my cool everything falls into place.

I do a lot of breathing, use CBT type-techniques, speak in a low voice... Everything that helps me keep calm.

And of course, the most important thing of all. YOU ARE THE EXPERT. No one knows your baby better than you. Not the books, not the expert, not the health visitor. Listen to them, but remember the last word is yours.

Every baby is different, every mother is different, and every combination of mum and baby is unique. What works for the others may not work for you. I think mums have to learn to trust themselves. I see so many women who can't trust their own instincts... If your instincts tell you that something is wrong, then it's wrong for you.

somewherewest Wed 25-Apr-12 17:14:49

Sleep deprivation (and DS isn't even a bad sleeper) and breastfeeding, which of course didn't exactly help with the sleep. Luckily DH is very supportive and does as much night settling as he can.

happynappies Wed 25-Apr-12 17:15:28

This thread has got me thinking - although I can now look back and see that you get through it, things get better, and life returns to a new kind of normal, all my attempts to support friends having babies for the first time haven't exactly been great. People say that nobody talks about the reality of breastfeeding, or childbirth, or the impact on your life afterwards. Having breasted for the last 5.5 years pretty constantly, tandem feeding etc and feeding through three pregnancies, I've tried to let friends know without being pushy that if they want to know any tips or have any help, I'm more than willing to talk them through anything, or go with them to support groups, or just sit and have a cuppa and listen. Nobody ever does, and some weeks later I usually hear that it didn't work out - but how can you be supportive and give advice without sounding judgmental or too pushy? A friend has just had a baby literally last week, and through the pregnancy I tried to say, "I'm here if you need anything" but got the distinct impression she wanted to do things her way, and she didn't ask anything all along the way. I also got the impression from her partner that he didn't want her 'scared by horror stories' about childbirth - not that I'd do that, but I think he wanted to avoid any talk whatsoever about what was to come. I know hear she's had quite a difficult time, and she's still in hospital. I've sent texts, FB messages and a card with lots of friendly, supportive stuff, but I get the impression that everything is fine. Is it just me or does everyone who has a baby want to find out everything for themselves rather than ask people who've been there, and when baby arrives they don't want to admit when things are difficult and carry on another facade that all is rosy. I don't mean to sound bitter - I'm probably too sensitive and just expect everyone to feel like me, like I'd like to have as much information as possible, that I don't mind hearing everyone's advice because at least some of it might be helpful, and I feel loads better for sharing my moans about the hard times as well as celebrating good times. Its not just the breastfeeding thing, which I know is a particularly emotive issue and laiden with expectations and sensitivities - its general stuff about childbirth and the coping afterwards. I know I'm preaching to the converted here, because people come to Mumsnet precisely because they do want advice/help/support and from as many people as possible. I wonder how many people find it hard to strike the balance between letting people know what motherhood is really like, and being thought of as harbingers of doom, spoiling the lovely fluffy image of having a perfect baby? I think it is one of the hardest things in the world to adapt to, and wish all new Mums lots of luck as they try to adapt to such a huge life change.

Columbia999 Wed 25-Apr-12 17:24:42

Stupid, selfish, jealous husband who was convinced that the baby was crying on purpose to make him crash his motorbike through tiredness; even though he never got up to him, apart from to follow me to the living room shouting that he'd woken him up AGAIN. (I ditched him a year later)
Having had two fibroadenoma removed previously from left breast, which seemed to have mucked up the milk ducts, so I had one boob like a melon and one like a tennis ball sad
The endless crying when I'd done everything I could, and aforementioned idiot husband demanding to know why I didn't know what was the matter.

naughtymummy Wed 25-Apr-12 17:38:39

Someone else said the wreck of my body, awful and totally shocking. I quite enjoyed being pregnant.

kdiddy Wed 25-Apr-12 17:47:22

The fact that BF could be so difficult, that the baby just might not latch on at all, that in spite of the whole breast is best message from midwives, doctors etc. there's often very little or no real practical support when you are struggling and need it most. In hindsight the guilt i felt at eventually choosing to FF is ridiculous, but at the time I felt I'd let my son down almost as soon as he was born.

That most of what midwives and health visitors tell you is their opinion, not well researched fact, so take what they say with that in mind, do your own research and apply what's right for your baby. Obviously there are some things that are demonstrably better e.g. Sleeping on back, but even then I have friends with babies with severe reflux who could only ever sleep on their front.

Best advice I had - do whatever works.

The soul-destroying awful hell of the hormone crash in the days and weeks after birth. I hate the term 'baby blues'; it sounds so cutesy and innocent. I wasn't prepared for feeling like my world had caved in, and that i didn't know who I was anymore. I felt like I was losing my mind, resented my son and felt we'd made a terrible mistake. Which then makes you feel guilty for having those thoughts in the first place. All fine now, but I genuinely think you cant be held responsible for anything you think during

BellaCB Wed 25-Apr-12 17:51:47

Boredom. The mind-numbing, repetitive tedium of washing, sterilising, making bottles, changing nappies, rocking to sleep, feeding... as someone mentioned before, its Groundhog Day on a 3-hour cycle. And not realising at first that it really is ok to be bored during the first few months. Babies don't do much. Even the excitement when they smile and laugh and 'talk' to you only lasts a few minutes, and then you're changing a nappy. Again.

Losing my identity. DD is 3mo and I still kind of hate the fact that I am no longer me anymore. I think it can take a very, very long time to adjust to that, and nothing prepares you.

And getting other people to understand how you feel. DP is great and supportive, he's hardly been out socialising since DD was born either, he works all the time - but he can't understand that I am sickeningly jealous of the fact that he can eat lunch when he wants (and what he wants, not just what can be eaten one-handed/in 3 minutes) and his 30 min train journey to and from work. A childless, thinking of ttc friend spent the day with me the other week and was gobsmacked by the end of it. She just stared at me and said, is this really what you do all day, every day? Yep.

LillianGish Wed 25-Apr-12 18:13:33

Happynappies I think it is difficult to give advice to anyone before they have a baby. Nothing can prepare you - it is quite unimaginable until it actually happens and it depends on you and on what sort of birth and what sort of baby you have. Everyone is different - lots of people on here are moaning about the grinding routine, I quite like routine so I rather welcomed that aspect, I was also happy to stop work and embrace domesticity for a bit. I found the tiredness crippling - I didn't have any family nearby - but someone who has a sympathetic mum or mil on hand to give them a break every now and then might cope much better. I think a mum who is going back to work ft three months after giving birth will have different challenges to one who has nothing to rush back for (but might be bored with nothing but a baby for company). How can you be supportive and give advice without sounding judgmental or too pushy? I think the truth is it is quite hard. People have to find out for themselves.

Windandsand Wed 25-Apr-12 18:21:54

realising it was OUR baby and we could look after ds as we wanted, you get given lots of advice, but as the midwife eventually said ,you don't actually have to follow it. took me a while to work that one out. "that;s a good idea" i said and totally ignored any advice which just felt wrong.

also, there is a first time for everything, and being stood over by a well meaning mil/ friend/ mum won;t make it easier to bathe or change your babysmile especially when they shove you out of the way for "dithering" time alone with baby, dh and me worked for us, (finally!)

BonnieBumble Wed 25-Apr-12 18:30:18

It was bfeeding. Once I switched to formula I didn't actually find it that hard. The hardest part for me is from 1 - 2.5 years. I find it hard not being able to do a simple task like empty the dishwasher or go to the loo without it turning into a battle.

What kept me sane was getting out and about. I went to as many mother and toddler groups as possible, I wasn't bothered about cliques, as long as I could get 5 minutes with a cup of coffee whilst my child played with the toys I was happy.

Yy to the boredom. God, babies are dull. Even at 18 weeks, and with her trying to learn new things, I pray for a bit of excitement to break up the monotony. I find myself popping out to get that never used, out of date essential vanilla extract, not knowing what for, just for something to do.

I dont mind an hour lolling around on the floor with DD, but cant do anymore than that in one go. Sometimes I whistfully look back to the first few weeks when all she did was slepp and think oooooh, I could have read loads of books then; watched loads of films; lolled in bed all day. Not that I felt I could at the time.

I also agree on the "advice" front too. I could have had a million people try and prepare me and it wouldnt have made much difference. I only feel prepared for it now, after the fact.

Happynappies that's a hard question. I think it's useful to hear about the difficulties of the others, but I used to be very angry at the doom-sayers who insisted I was going to have trouble with this and hate that. Just because they hated something or felt unhappy, it didn't mean I was going to.

And I enjoyed things other mums hated, and hated things other mums loved. I find a breeze some things other women struggle with, and vice versa. It's all about getting to know ourselves as mums and knowing how it works for us. Things are not equally hard for everyone.

And in some cases, ignorance is bliss. If someone had told me I would be woken up a few times a night, every night, for two years, I would have killed myself. But hey, here I am, sleeping badly for two years, and I survived. It feels less bad when we look back.

Re BF it's hard to know how much people really want to bf, and how much they think they "should." So it's hard to know when to step back. I'm very pro BF (still BF DS!) but I think feeling guilty for switching to formula isn't good for anyone. I once told a friend that "a depressed and stressed mum is much worse than formula." I don't know if it was the right thing to say, but I said it with the best intention...

happynappies, you raise a really pertinent question; should we 'warn' , for want of a better word, expectant parents about the realities of those first few months?

A close friend of mine is pregnant with her first dc and I've tried to strike that line between being honest without scaring her. I hope that by doing this she feels she can confide in me if she should need to when the baby arrives. I really felt alone with it and was so ashamed of not feeling the 'rush of love' I expected to feel. The first time another mum admitted she felt the same was a huge relief!

HappyJustToBe Wed 25-Apr-12 19:29:59

I struggled most with everyone else's opinions. People think that as soon as you have a baby they can dissect your choices constantly. I have a real chip on my shoulder especially with my DH's auntie who told me I was selfish to breastfeed because it meant DH couldn't help me. She obviously failed to see that he did everything whilst he was on paternity leave and then almost everything up until now!

ipanicked Wed 25-Apr-12 19:30:43

The constant anxiety and guilt about what I thought I was doing wrong and therefore I was going to scar my DC for life.

The waking every hour to feed to sleep for a year.

The struggling for months to feed a tongue tied colicky baby and the excruciating agony of bf before the problems were resolved.

But happily almost 3 years later I realise that if you can get through that first year and you are both alive that's a massive reason for celebration and it's been absolutely lovely since! (tantrums are a doddle in comparison!)

Dont be afraid to ask for help - if somebody comes to visit give them the baby and get a shower or Hoover or do thos few dishes, I know a few of my family members used to come and follow me round with my DS whilst we chatted and I got stuff done!

And don't be afraid to go to sleep when they do! Best thing I ever did! When my DS was about 8 weeks old he would get up at 7 am and go back to bed at 9 for 2 hours like clock work, I would have a nap for the first hour then do some dishes or washing or make the phone calls I needed to then jump n the shower if I had time - also don't spect to be able to shower and do make up every day, you ge a shower at every opportunity because tomorrow they might nt nap or that call might take longer than you thought! When you get ready to go out one way I found to make it quicker was already having everything ready - so both your clothes ready, the changing bag ready and all the other bits and pieces done - takes the edge off the rush

sheeplikessleep Wed 25-Apr-12 19:45:47

That there is no distinction between day and night in the first few weeks. It felt pointless to me to even get into my jim jams, as I knew I'd be up in an hour or so. That dread going to bed at 9pm or 10pm or whatever, shattered, thinking I'll be up again in an hour.

The breastfeeding and how much it hurt.

Colic and reflux. That DS1 screamed 5pm - 1am every night and for the glimpses where he did fall asleep (upright), he woke up a minute or two later screaming again. The powerless that I couldn't help him get to sleep, when nappy changes / feeding / cuddling / winding didn't work.

Your life turns upside down totally and utterly. But it gets easier.

trixymalixy Wed 25-Apr-12 19:46:52

The lack of sleep. The utter relentlessness of it all.

sheeplikessleep Wed 25-Apr-12 19:47:32

As a newborn, DS2 was a breeze! Fed, cuddled, slept. They are all so different.

Emotional fall out from the birth and post natal care. Still struggling now 3 months on. Though the mastitis was also a big low point.

elizaregina Wed 25-Apr-12 19:53:03

I struggled mostly with my PIL and in particular my MIL, interfering, had me hoovering, cleaning etc....tried to take over.....

Next just plain worry, can i really keep this baby alive! Then breast feeding, it was an awful lot harder with pain, routines etc than I ever thought it would be, also the fact you are sort of stuck there unable to do anything!!!

Ahh yes the PILs. That was shit with dd1.

I still struggle with the fact mil wants to be dd1's mummy though!

ebbandflow Wed 25-Apr-12 20:13:48

When anyone babysat, because I was utterly exhausted, I spent the time apart worrying frantically and checking up all the time.

dribbleface Wed 25-Apr-12 20:31:07

I struggled with DS1 (in hingsight I too had PND) since i've had DS2 many people have commented how i wasn't right after I had DS1. I wish someone would have said, I knew i wasn't ok but couldn't say it.

On a more practical note the best advise I was given was dry shampoo is your friend!

Kerb252318 Wed 25-Apr-12 20:42:00

Sleep likes I'm jealous the hardest thing was my DD she was a terrible baby so screamy just all the time ....she was just miserable I couldn't bond with her the lack of sleep just made it worse. My partner was no support didn't know what to do so did nothing . The hardest year of my life
Like people say it's the relentlessness of it day after day.... The weeks and days dragged.
Now at 16 m she has her moments and is very clingy but it a total joy and I love watching her change everyday. Plus I want another so that proves it gets better !!

But I do dread the baby bit the next one will be easier right???

dribbleface Wed 25-Apr-12 20:48:41

kerb252318 - DS2 was a breeze (6 months now), DS1 screamed from day one (yes i was that woman on maternity with the baby that wouldn't stop screaming). DS2 has slept better from day 1 (although not at the moment!). I'd have another 10 if they were all like that.

(DS1 is a lovely but still highly strung 4 year old now, wouldn't change him for the world but my word that first year was hell on earth)

Kerb252318 Wed 25-Apr-12 21:03:36

Dribble face that s good to hear I was so jealous of my friends with their loverly babies ...even some of my best friends thought I wasnt coping until they realised how bad she was! If one more person said she has a good set of lungs I would have murdered them. I used to think never ever ever again ....yet here I am now. She is to highly strung even now but it does make me smile when my friends angel babies have bad days and they fall apart! I feel ha welcome to my world not fun is it!

She is such a character now I look at her and melt I try and just push those dark days behind me it's such a short time although god it felt like forever..

Like the dry shampoo one!! And coffee is your best friend......the tiredness makes me weep thinking about it

Dyeingforachange Wed 25-Apr-12 21:20:14

pomme I have a MIL like that too! You have my sympathies.

sesamesep11 Wed 25-Apr-12 21:38:00

1. Breastfeeding:
It took me about 8 weeks and got mastitis twice to get the hang of it. I had bacteria infections on both sides due to incorrect latch-on from the very beggining. It was SO PAINFUL. Midwives in the hospital were either too busy to help, or couldn't tell me what it felt like because she never had babies before. It was DH who squeezed the first drop of milk out of my boobs. I am glad I stuck to it, watching my baby sucking away and getting satisfied is the sweetest feeling, but I wish someone told me about the pain beforehand. Besides, I still struggle with the fact that I couldn't tell how much exactly my baby has drank everyday. I know about counting wet nappies and weighing-in at baby clinics but personally I would really like to know just to be sure.

2. That you get to make new friends, and possibly lose old ones:
As others have said, I too found the feeling of being isolated terrifying. I did a NCT class beforehand so I got to know some local mums-to-be, my health visitor also introduced me to other mums, and going to baby activities (i.e. baby massages, play groups) really helped. Also I talked to acquiantances and colleagues who are also mums a lot more. On the other hand, some of my close friends are still single have grew distant because there are less things we share in common. They are still working full time and I am a staying at home mum. They find it hard to comprehend what is so difficult about sitting at home with a baby? Or I get dismissive comments about I worry too much about my baby. Sometimes I think they are envious after all.

3. Teething: my DS is 7 months old and there has been intensive crying for about 6 weeks now. He also became very clingy so I had to hold him a lot. I didn't know for certain it was teething until yesterday, when I saw two tooth buds in his bottom gum. It takes a lot of energy and trying to stay positive when my baby screams and cries, especially when we are out and about... To be honest I heard about this before birth, but I just didn't realise it can be so awful...

4. Sleep deprivation: It has wicked effect on me, but I struggled to nap when my baby naps. Nowadays I go to bed early so I can put up with waking up several times at night.

In saying all these, having a baby is one of the best things I've ever done, I won't trade the experiences with anything else in the world! smile

openerofjars Wed 25-Apr-12 21:39:26

Sleep deprivation. Until you've been through it, you can't really believe how bad it is. There is a reason it is used as a torture method. I used to be a ten hours a night person and wanted to die from tiredness at times.

I felt able to get on with it when I had the sudden, stunning realisation that it wasn't personal and that the constant nappy-feed-puke-sleep cycle of the first few weeks, with the attendant crying, was just how babies are and that This Too Will Pass.

A very wise friend once told me that once you've got your head round the fact that a tiny baby doesn't give a crap if you're tired, bleeding, sad, busy or whatever, and that it really is just a miniscule and often furious ball of basic needs, then you've got a handle on the reality of the situation.

reallypissedoffhouseseller Wed 25-Apr-12 21:41:26

Exhaustion. DS wasn't a bad sleeper till we hit three months, then for the next six he was up every two hours every night. I nearly killed myself. I literally couldn't bear to go on any more and the only thing that stopped me was that my exhausted brain couldn't work out how to do it without either traumatising a random stranger (train or bus driver) or leaving poor DH to find my body. It wasn't PND, it was sheer miserable exhaustion. It lifted the instant I got a solid night's sleep when we got a night nanny in for a week when DS was 9 months.

DS is a much beloved infant (nearly 2 now), but I'm never having another. I couldn't go through that again.

Breastfeeding was quite grim too. I struggled on for a long time, but I never liked it: it was boring, painful and miserable.

theduchesse Wed 25-Apr-12 21:54:01

For me it was the teething. DS was really chilled out for the first 5 months of his life so I thought we'd struck it lucky but for the last month he's been teething really badly almost continuously. Grumpy all day, lots of tears, easily frustrated, pain relief only helps for a bit. And STILL he has no teeth!! I didn't know it could work like that.

GreyGardens Wed 25-Apr-12 22:10:42

So many people have said the ultimate taboo on here - that babies can be boring. BORING. That is my over-riding memory, dullsville. Never again for me, thank god grin

GingaNinja Wed 25-Apr-12 22:12:46

Sleep deprivation. Still (DD will be 3yo in just under 6 weeks). A good day means that I'm only puking tired.

Plus silent reflux. Plus random vomiting while teething (all teeth arrived within 17 weeks, which included me going back to work...when the creche would phone me at work at least once a week to collect her). Plus DH deciding without consultation to take a job working away for 8 weeks that became 9 months - conveniently covering the bit between 4mo and 13 mo. Plus utterly unsupportive in laws (we don't live in the UK).

The first 18 months - the baby bits - were unmitigated shit, a war of attrition. As a toddler she has been/is FANTASTIC.

But it was definitely the sleep deprivation that I most loathed and continue to resent. And I am never EVER having another baby; would love more toddlers though. grin

Armi Wed 25-Apr-12 22:17:25

Definitely tiredness. And that awful feeling that your life has changed forever and you can never, never go back.

I also hated never being off-duty - coming home after an afternoon out and wanting to sit down with a cup of tea, but instead having to get cracking sterilising bottles, changing nappies, rocking a howling child etc.

Never mind. I do love that little girl now more than anything.

TaytoCrisp Wed 25-Apr-12 23:08:14

Mastitis which turned to horrific abcess requiring several hospital visits and drainage.

Loss of "free-time".

Beveridge Wed 25-Apr-12 23:12:23

With DC1, I remember bfing lying down for ages and thinking "this is driving me crackers. I need to get up, walk about, do something!"

With DC2, I'd find myself feeding lying down for ages and think "this is amazing. Some time to just lie down and not have to go off and get something or do something".

NapaCab Thu 26-Apr-12 00:52:54

Just how much work it is to FEED a baby, in any way, bottle or breast. Breastfeeding my DS was hell and I had to wrestle him to get him to latch on and even then he had a really odd latch where he would chafe while sucking. Painful! When we switched over to bottle-feeding, I had to wrestle him with that too and he just would wriggle away or refuse the bottle. And then the wind!! Burping him took ages, I used to walk around with him on my shoulder desperate for him to get his wind up, on the verge of total exhaustion. I used to want to scream with frustration. You would think that babies just feed naturally as it's something that must be instinctive but in reality it's not like that. Feeding was an absolute chore.

Every baby is different though - with some it's sleep, some it's colic, some it's feeding.

emmyloo2 Thu 26-Apr-12 08:10:18

It's funny because I have two friends (one is my best friend) who are about to have their first babies and I have tried to prepare them for the sheer difficulty of those first few weeks. I found the first 12 months very hard, particularly the first 6 months. I "knew" it would be hard because people tell you and you read it but until you have the baby and you are facing day in and day out, night after night of looking after this baby, does it really hit home. For me it was the utter loss of my previous life. The fact that every night, without fail, I had to do the bath, feed, sleep routine, night after night after night. Even now, with my DS being almost 18 months old, it still is quite a burden. But when he was a baby, it was shocking to me. I couldn't see an end in sight. Now he is 18 months it really is so much easier. The problem for me is I now worry about having a second and whether it will be as tough as the first. I am so scarred by those first few months that I am not sure if I can cope with doing it again.

Does anyone else feel like this?

But to sum up, my advice would be: ignore the books, do whatever works and whatever gets you through the night and know that in a year or so it will start getting better. It does get better. The anxiety does pass. It's just a tough slog but when they start talking and communicating, it is so heartwarming. I cannot wait for my DS to get older and to really form a relationship with him. I can tell already it is going to be amazing. Nothing can prepare you for how you feel about your child. Nothing is comparable.

BonnieBumble Thu 26-Apr-12 08:17:07

Emmyloo you are not alone but for me the first 12 months were relatively easy. The situation that you describe starts at 12 months and ends at 2.6 for me. During the older baby/toddler period I spend a lot of time crying and completely lose my sense of self.

I can remember when my eldest turned 1 all my antenatal friends said that they felt were coming out of the darkness whereas I felt I was leaving the euphoria and excitement of the first 12 months and heading into the darkness.

reallypissedoffhouseseller Thu 26-Apr-12 08:33:53

emmyloo, I feel so like that that we're definitely not having any more! DH would like to, but it's me who'd have to go through the breastfeeding and sleep deprivation again and I just can't bear it - I am actually scared that I'd go over the edge next time, and DH and DS need me so I can't risk it.

mmmerangue Thu 26-Apr-12 08:35:33

Happynappies - You do ask an interesting question. I have a very helpful mother and mother in law who offered advice at every turn - as we are their offspring, my partner and I are at a mid-way between the two parenting styles...

But I often prefer mumsnet or the Health visitor for advice because I think it is easier to ask someone who you don't know, as their advice is impartial. I have of course relied on Mum and MIL too at some points, and on the mums at baby& toddlers, and on other random forums, books, TV... I take it all in and pick what seems to suit my son.

It may be that the new mothers are taking in what you say but just don't have the wherewithal to thank you for it at the moment smile I'm sure your continued 'being there if they need you' is a comfort!

mermaid101 Thu 26-Apr-12 09:14:58


I have found reading your message very reassuring because I feel exactly the same as you do - right down to the bath/bed thing. It's just such a bind and even if you're feeling terrible, youcan't just lie down and watch TV: there's always something do be done!
My DH is the same as yours and is already talking about trying for another and my DD is only 7 months old. I really don't think i can do this again though.
It's good to hear that at 18m, you feel things are more manageable. What age was your DS when you started to feel that change?

whitewhitewine Thu 26-Apr-12 09:18:10

Lack of sleep. I have twins who have never been good sleepers and the sleep deprivation was pure torture, along with colic. Also feeling like every day is Groundhog day.

I would very much agree with the posters who advise getting out as much as you can- I would often just bundle mine into their pram and go for a walk to get some fresh air and kill some time! It does help to try and make some friends with people who babies a similar age or go to a playgroup if you find one you like.

Jdub Thu 26-Apr-12 10:04:49

Our first born was a total sleep dodger and perpetual feeder. Add to this our house was being knocked down and rebuilt around us (by us primarily!) - the Building Inspector raised an eyebrow as he said 'So you are still living here??' At one point, there was no roof, just tarpaulin, and no front door, just a panel nailed shut at night. There a drop of about 3ft to get the pram down before the steps to the front door were completed, and we had no kitchen for 9 months - just a microwave and a camping gas ring. I have to confess it was the sleep deprivation that compounded the whole situation and that lasted until he as about 2! It was HARD HARD work, but didn't put us off having a second baby (eventually - once the building work was completed!)

Goldrill Thu 26-Apr-12 10:10:49

Having a small baby full stop. Very hard work and very boring for quite some time. Then they get to be a bit bigger and can communicate and start doing stuff and it's brilliant! Am expecting DD2, and if I could have her handed to me at 9 months old I probably would do.

Agree entirely with Emmyloo.

Also, I have a lovely DP who is a thoroughly modern man and generally very considerate - but discovered he is utterly useless without sleep, even more of a worrier than I had previously realised and found the whole first year exceptionally difficult. It was a shock for me to see him being other than extremely capable and has changed my view of him as a partner (still wonderful, but different). I feel the weight of responsbility for both of them sometimes.

MotherofPearl Thu 26-Apr-12 10:25:13

Lots of these posts resonate with me, especially in relation to DC1. There is no doubt that it IS hard-going and exhausting. But while I think it's laudable to prepare new mums for some of the challenges of having a new baby, and at the risk of sounding smug or contrary, I also think it's worth highlighting some of the positives. Sorry to go against the grain here, but I loved BF both of my babies, and I find tiny babies so sweet and cuddly.

Am still currently BF DC2 and feel like his babyhood is slipping by so fast. I love his sweet downy milk-smelling head snuggling up to me, and know that in a couple of months he'll be sitting up, eating solids, and well on his way to independent toddlerhood. So I guess I would also say to any new mum-to-be, be prepared for the challenges, but also savour every delicious moment of new babyhood because the cliche about it speeding by is all too true.

GodisaDJ Thu 26-Apr-12 10:48:26

I have found first 8.5 months easy so far compared to some posters.

Pregnancy seemed to prepare me for lack of sleep, I'm tired but not reached exhaustion stage yet and dd still doesn't sleep through

My thoughts-

Breastfeeding - as hard as I thought it would be. But spoke to people and researched the 'science' behind it whilst pg (supply /demand) Also had support from local nhs group, sister and one friend who'd bf'ed her DS the year before for 10 months. I still say to people now, pg women need to research bf'ing if they plan on doing it (instead of researching the buggy they want to buy wink ) It is hard & doesn't come naturally to everyone and there are many many problems which you may have to overcome. Knowledge will help potentially overcome those problems.

Sick - lots of it from our dd. Changing clothes/ bedding 3/4 times a night got frustrating.

Friends - you loose touch with old ones but make new ones. A bit of a grieving process loosing old friends but it takes effort on both sides for friendships to last, I found I was making more effort unfortunately and it wasn't being acknowledged by some so called friends. Baby cafes were great for me, have never felt lonely since dd arrived (ive never been busier meeting people or having mums round my house for a brew!)

happynappies I agree with your earlier post about balancing between giving advice to pregnant friends and potentially bombarding them with info/scaring them. My friend (mentioned above who bf'ed) was fab, she text me her email address early on and her house phone number and told me to email / contact her any time. I hardly spoke to her during those first few weeks but many emails and texts exchanged at random times of the day - she was a lifesaver. I plan on being supportive to my friend who is a first time mum this summer (also will be single). She has already asked lost of questions so I'm happy to answer them, but I too don't want to scare her or tell her that her life is going to change dramatically, but I have been as honest as I think I should be at this stage

Long post - sorry! Back to my cold brew

Jdub Thu 26-Apr-12 10:49:39

That IS so true MotherofPearl , and beautifully put! My 2.5 year old is so independent, all babyishness has gone! I love the relative ease of a 5 and a 2.5yr old, but part of me feels sad that those baby days have past!

RidingHood Thu 26-Apr-12 11:47:53

Giving up my whole life and personality and becoming nothing more than somebody's mother. My best bit of advice, make sure you take some time out for yourself, even in those first few weeks, otherwise you will go insane. Like I did!

MandyM749 Thu 26-Apr-12 11:56:29

Lack of sleep! And trying to get a routine going.

Chateauneuf Thu 26-Apr-12 12:06:58

The feeling I had brought this perfect creature into the world, but was so far from being a perfect mother for her; a total feeling of inadequacy compounded by breast-feeding problems (I still suspect undiagnosed tongue-tie based on how different it was with DC2). I was PFB, but also set myself up to fail with impossible ideals of how it was supposed to be. Feeling generally crap that this wasn't something I was 'good' at or enjoying. Took me about 9 months to adjust (when DC1 started sleeping through...)

Armi Thu 26-Apr-12 13:03:47

Goldrill - my lovely DH was the same. He was brilliant (and still is) in many, many ways but absolutely couldn't function with disturbed sleep in any way that was pleasant to be around. We've been together 13 years and he has never spoken unpleasantly or unkindly to me in all that time, but after 4 nights with a newborn he snapped at me. I took over the nights - he was more use to me, functioning, during the day and I've always been good at coping with little sleep.

gourd Thu 26-Apr-12 13:22:58

Initially for a first week or two it was the mad hormones along with lack of sleep that caused awful, awful tearyness. Horrible. There was also the initial breastfeeding problems - nipple pain and terrible guilt/feeling like a awful Mother and feeling like a failure when it turned out everything was fine really and I was just experiencing fairly normal problems that were easily overcome with some research and experimentation. Hormones made that hard to appreciate at the time though. I also didn't know initially that is is normal for babies to want to feed all the time, literally, with very little time (a few minutes a day!) when they are not feeding or seeming to feed! Wish I had realised that! I thought I didnt have enough milk or something was wrong, and now wish I'd realsied that everything was fine and that babies just enjoy suckling all the time at first.
After that all was great for a good 6 months or so, then there was going back to work. Still on that one. Still hate it!

FaneFeyre Thu 26-Apr-12 13:56:41

BellaCB, I also have a three month old and could have written your post. Esp the part about DP. Wonderful and supportive, but still free in a way I don't ever think I'll be again.

emmyloo2 Thu 26-Apr-12 14:21:45

Mermaid - please be assured I felt exactly like you did. So many nights I spent crying because I would work a full day and then just want to relax and I would find myself walking the streets because my son wouldn't settle. My DH found it much less stressful but I just got so anxious. The hours od about 5.30pm to 8pm were so stressful for me. TBH it only started to get better a few months ago but it got exponentially better to the point where I now no longer dread the evenings as much. He goes to sleep much easier and he can talk now so he can at least say words to express what he wants. Putting him to bed is really quite easy. He still occasionally wakes at night or early in the morning but he asks for a bottle and he has this and then goes back to sleep. So the ground hog day feeling is slowly subsiding. However, from what people day - it really is after 2 or 3 that you start to feel your life comes back so I have some time to go.
That is what scares me about the second - you go right back to the beginning.....

I hope that helps.

tomverlaine Thu 26-Apr-12 14:29:59

More the emotional side- having severe baby blues (?PND) and finding it hard/difficult to leave DS for any time or have hom out of my sight. I remember DP suggesting that the crib went to the bottom of the bed (at about 8 weeks?) and being hysterical at the thought

Pendulum Thu 26-Apr-12 14:34:23

Apologies if others have said this:

Never being able to put my own needs or wants first. I feel really narcissistic writing that.

GodisaDJ makes an excellent point about pregnant women who would like to breastfeed to do some research before the baby arrives. Apart from one NCT session on breastfeeding, I didn't really have much of an idea. My NCT leader gave the impression that although the baby would need frequent feeding, it would come at regular 3-4 hour intervals. It therefore came as a bit of a shock that my DD would feed for hours at a time and then want feeding again almost immediately. Fortunately, all that sitting around on the sofa with DD attached to my boobs gave plenty of time to check out http://kellymom.com/!

Jdub Thu 26-Apr-12 15:34:21

That is a good point CharlieMouse . I naively had the impression that I would be able to express either first thing or perhaps during the night, whilst my baby slept, as we were informed that this was when your body made the best quality milk. This went completely out the window when neither myself nor my son had actually slept!

mermaid101 Thu 26-Apr-12 15:48:07

It's been so good for me to read this thread. I've really stuggled with becoming a mother and hearing that I'm not alone is so reassuring. I feel I'm surrounded be women who have taken to it so naturally and I think I feel almost ashamed to admit that there are things about having a baby that I just don't enjoy - everyone else seems completely blissed out.

Emmyloo, thanks for that. It was really helpful! I think we must be twins! My DH is just like yours too. I'm the stressy one. I wish I could be more relaxed, but try as i might it just doesn't happen!

kickingking Thu 26-Apr-12 16:06:35

How painful and messy breastfeeding was at first. I had no idea that 'when your milk comes in' can mean that you literally can't move without showering your baby, your clothes, your sofa and your husband with milk. And that when the books talk about breastfeeding making your nipples 'sore' that doesn't mean sore like a little patch of dry skin or something, it is a pain that makes you feel physically sick and shakey.

That not all babies cry all the time and don't sleep. Everyone told me that that was the case, but I was lucky enough to have an excellent sleeper who didn't cry much. Therefore, the whole baby thing was much easier than I had been expecting.

How bad babies are for your relationship. Seriously, it took us two years to settle into being parents together. Two years.

The 24/7 responsibility. Which, in some ways, I am still getting used to five years on. That I can't go for a drink after work, or get my hair cut without planning it all days before hand. Annoyingly, DH still does many things spontaneously. (See point above. I learned to pick my battles)

Cazm2 Thu 26-Apr-12 16:38:40

I am pleased I found this thread. My dd is 5 weeks old and up until 3 weeks old was brillany started going 4-5 hours a night. However now has silent reflux. I dread nighttimes. I too have been hullacinating after lack of sleep following terrible labour and 2 blood transfusions. Coming home still severely anaemic. Reflux is horrible and I am going to punch the next person who says she is playing up at night. I lie and listen to her grunt kick gag etx every night between 3 onwards eventually having her sleep upright in bed with me surrounded by cushions. I am exhausted trying cures and wish there was one to stop my dd screaming after every feed. I echo everything esle taking hours to get once out screaming for a feed. Just my independence gone. My Dh has been brill but as working sleeps however I am surprised how much he doesnt cope with lack of sleep. Everyone says it gets better so I am clinging ont that . I love my dd but so envious of people with model babies makes me feel I am doing something wrong!

all4u Thu 26-Apr-12 18:44:54

Yes do get her on MN - marvellous support that wasn't there when I had mine! I loved Penelope Leach but none of the books etc really get to grips with the fact that we are all similar but DIFFERENT! I was determined to breast feed - TINA - but now I am appalled that Mums are not told the basic fact that it is really really important that every baby has its colostrum and after that it doesn't really matter except for Mum's who cannot/do not observe proper hygiene! Every baby lamb gets colostrum - that magic first milk which primes their immune system and is tailored just for them but human mothers are told it is only 'watery first milk' with 'no feed value' - criminal.
Apart from that join the club and do your best!

BellaCB Thu 26-Apr-12 19:02:14

Ah, fanefeyre, its a relief to hear someone agrees! I feel so awful for resenting his bloody lunch, but I really really do... But I also hate the fact that he doesn't understand! I'm leaving him alone with DD for 24 hours next week, lets see if he gets it then <rubs hands evilly>

AngryFeet Thu 26-Apr-12 19:06:29

Agreed motherofpearl. My experiences of motherhood have been mainly positive. Was just posting in response to the question of struggling but mainly I have loved every minute! Now they are 7 and 5 and it is so much fun!

scottishmummy Fri 27-Apr-12 09:47:57

missed adults contact
lack of sleep
constant grind of tasks

FaneFeyre Fri 27-Apr-12 16:04:56

I guess it's the mental burden though as well BellaCB. I went out for 2 hours the other evening after DD had gone to bed. Had a nice evening but thought about her constantly; the worry was there. I think DP while being a lovely father is able to just do his work thing during the day without that undercurrent of...is dread the right word? cycling through his mind because he is away from baby.

And YY to the others who have been surprised at their OH's inability to function on little sleep.

reallypissedoffhouseseller Fri 27-Apr-12 19:10:49

Actually DH functions better than I do on broken sleep: he suffers, but he doesn't get into the suicidal pit of despair that I did. After I stopped breastfeeding we agreed that he'd do the nights and I'd do all the early mornings.

Lastofthepodpeople Fri 27-Apr-12 20:58:26

Sleep deprivation without a doubt. I was a zombie.

mumsrthebest Sun 29-Apr-12 13:26:06

Colic and lack of sleep.

Being tired and not being able to sleep when baby is asleep.

When he cries after we have covered the 3 B's (Breast/bottle,Burp, and Bum) and given cuddles, as he becomes almost hysterical.

Missing DP after having a lovely couple of weeks together.

The am I doing this right feeling. xx

catus Tue 29-May-12 13:49:31

I was shocked by how I physically felt on day 2, when I woke up after the first night back at home. I didn't know I would feel pain everywhere, it was like a herd of buffalos had stamped all over me.
Second, the relentless crying and refusal to sleep. Horrible times, lasted 6 months. I had a fantasy about leaving DS with anyone and go check into a hotel, and sleep for a whole night. I knew some babies were little horrors, because we had some in my family, but to actually experience it was something else completely.
As for advice, a few things worked for me: get out of the house everyday, because I think fresh air does make a difference to my mood. Do something small everyday to make you feel good, like wearing a nice necklace. Forget non essential housework. Accept offers of help.

BonnieBumble Tue 29-May-12 13:52:48

Breastfeeding. The rest of it was a breeze. The hard work for me started at around 9/10 months.

Lovethesea Tue 29-May-12 17:32:23

Losing me. No regular time off. No weekends. Isolation. Boredom.

Huge pain and damage from high forceps emergency with DC1. 10 months of physio and consultant appointments with small baby in tow. Trying to sleep while in tremendous pain and with catheter at times. Post natal ward staff acting shocked by my damage but not actually reassuring, helping or guiding me. Supporting Tena for life.

(DC2 was elcs 19 months later and a lovely birth btw)

BakingBunty Mon 04-Jun-12 13:46:04

Having a bottle refuser, which has meant that I haven't ever left DS for more than three hours, and have had to delay my return to work.

Feeling guilty for wanting to go back to work. Actually, feeling guilty about everything!

The overwhelming anxiety, particularly around feeding/weight and routine. I feel like my world has collapsed in on itself and naps/solids have become the most important thing in the world. I get really panicked if something threatens to derail the routine I've worked hard to establish, which means I miss out on a lot. I thought I'd be a relaxed mum who would just let my LO nap on the go, but I'm just not. I wish I was.

I also fear that I must be incredibly boring, especially to childless friends. I dread someone asking me about politics because I only seem to have a point of view on nappies and daytime TV.

SerenaS1030 Mon 24-Jun-13 11:23:11

There is an alternative for the people who want the best for their kids. Yes… the solution is Mothers Third Arm. The Mothers third arm is a baby bottle holder or a sippy cup holder which feeds your baby while you are busy doing something else.

Alanna1 Mon 24-Jun-13 20:51:29

Dd1: boredom. And getting baby to sleep. I got a maternity nurse in at 6m to help and to this day wish I'd done it sooner.
Dd2: balancing work with maternity leave to stop me going mad with boredom...and having too much work and not enough time with my baby.

Jergens Mon 24-Jun-13 21:00:50

I found it really hard to be apart from my baby. I appreciated the offers from MIL to take DD out in the pram so I could rest, but I just didn't want to bf apart from DD - for months!
I'm less like thus second time round and take up offers of help more readily! smile

Jergens Mon 24-Jun-13 21:01:51

*be not bf although she was BF! wink

Weezie85 Mon 24-Jun-13 21:20:56

Feeling tired, and grouchy all of the time at the start. Just the enormity of it all suddenly hitting me when home with just my husband and this tiny baby who was ours.
The lack of sleep was hard hitting for me though. I just can't nap during the day so it seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks by about 8pm. I agree with the impact on your body. Had a relatively ok birth but the feeling of being bruised down below, and the cramp afterwards.
I also remember feeling really angry at the fact that I sometimes could not stop her crying no matter what we did.


YoniBottsBumgina Mon 24-Jun-13 21:43:06

I found the baby part very easy and not difficult to adjust to at all, perhaps because I was in such a controlling relationship it was easy to have my attention fully focused on something. Plus babies are so portable and I wasn't interested in going out drinking etc anyway.

I have found it very difficult since being alone and seeing the freedom I could have had - the lack of spontenaiety, having to be aware every single minute of where your child is and that they are accounted for. I sometimes see people making casual arrangements and I feel consumed in a fit of jealousy because I just can't make open ended arrangements like that any more unless I can take DS with me.

YoniBottsBumgina Mon 24-Jun-13 21:44:11

Oh FFS this thread was bumped by a spammer! Still it's a good thread.

wibblyjelly Mon 24-Jun-13 21:58:18

Breast feeding was incredibly difficult for us. Thought we cracked it at 8 weeks, after a long struggle, only for ds to reject the breast at 12 weeks.
Sleep deprivation and the very dark thoughts that came with it.

flossyflo Wed 26-Jun-13 08:53:35

The constant never ending pit of worry in your stomach. Took me about 2 months for me to relax into it a bit and have confidence that I was doing it right. Felt really clueless in the beginning but getting out and about with different groups really helped. And mn.

minipie Wed 26-Jun-13 14:46:39

In the early months:

- worrying about what might be wrong with DD (she was premature and not breathing for a few mins at birth)
- trying to get her to sleep (total nightmare)

once she was a bit older and things had calmed down:

- the boredom and Groundhog Day nature of life
- never, ever, ever having a day off (still BFing at 8 months and counting...)

GlitzPig Wed 26-Jun-13 14:46:44

Actually hating my husband, because he got to go out without our baby blush when I was stuck at home all day. I used to be an absolute bitch if his train was delayed by five minutes, or he forgot to text to say when he would be back. I love DS dearly, but was doing all the nights, and obviously looking after him all day while I was on maternity leave, so by six o'clock was climbing the fucking walls and just wanted someone else to BE RESPONSIBLE for him, even just for a few minutes.

I thought when books say 'baby will find their own routine naturally!' that it would be obvious to me what that meant ie that he would go to sleep if he was tired, do feeding cues if he was hungry etc. It took a good read of Gina Ford to understand that if a baby is whiny and miserable at nine in the morning and they've been up since seven, they're probably ready for a nap, but you need to help them go to sleep (we never did cot naps, always in the buggy so I could get out of the house!) So when he got a bit cranky, I'd stick him in the buggy and he'd conk out before we got to the corner of the street. I felt like a MAGICIAN once I'd got the hang of that, and we were both much happier!

We had an awful couple of weeks-maybe three weeks?-when DS was about 3 months old (The Dark Time). He had a cold, and was sad and miserable and screamed all the time. I'd end up just weeping in Sainsburys because I didn't know what to do with him <am now dying of shame remembering this> and old ladies would bring their cups of tea over and be kind to me in the cafe. We visited my parents during The Dark Time, and my dad took him out for the longest walk ever, and my mum gave me a massive cuddle, and said 'Sometimes, babies just don't like being a particular age. They want to be able to do more things than they can, or they don't understand what's going on, and it upsets them. DS isn't possessed, he just doesn't like being 3 months old very much. He just needs to get through it, then he'll cheer up again'. It made such a difference-I think I felt like I was doing everything wrong, and DS hated me, and he had turned into a screamy baby and would always be like that-it hadn't occurred to me that he could stop as suddenly as he started. And he did! 4 months was an improvement, then he started crawling at 5 months, and was a different baby all over again smile

joyrocks Wed 26-Jun-13 15:53:45

I think the part where my baby cries in the middle of the night to change diapers and feed.

happydaze77 Wed 26-Jun-13 20:52:52

Spot on GlitzPig I can relate to your post completely, right down to the 'dark time' at 12 weeks. I wish my mum had been around to say to me what your mum said to you - it's so very very true.

opalescent Thu 27-Jun-13 18:09:45

Sleep deprivation. That and the weight of responsibility. Suddenly having NO free time unless it had been scheduled in and arrangements made in advance.

Both hit me like a tonne of bricks to be honest. It was hard at the start!

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