Not coping - bad mother

(38 Posts)
aliphil Wed 05-Sep-12 21:58:42

DD is nearly three weeks old, and since we got her home has screamed for at least an hour after every night feed. I'm pretty sure it's wind but nothing we do seems to make any difference. Most nights she won't settle for long anyway. She is better in the daytime but only if I don't put her down, so now DH is back at work it's hard for me to catch up on sleep when she sleeps as everyone keeps telling me to do.

DH has a work meeting tonight and I ended up screaming at her to shut up, so I'm hating myself for being a bad mother and frightened I'll end up hurting her. I want to love her and cuddle her and play with her and generally be a good mother, but I'm so tired. I seem to spend all my time trying to calm her down so I can just have five minutes to go to the loo and make a drink. My arms ache from having to hold her all the time, and my back starts aching if I hold her unsupported for more than a few seconds. It doesn't help that my stitches aren't healing properly so I'm in pain from that. The midwives are doing all they can for the stitches but have no helpful suggestions about DD. I don't know what to do or how much longer I can go on.

Belmo Wed 05-Sep-12 22:08:43

Oh love, of course you're not a bad mother. There is nothing more stressful than a baby crying, and with wee ones there's often not a lot you can do about it.
If you are feeling really stressed, put her down somewhere safe and go and have a breather for five minutes.
I'm crap at giving advice and had quite an easy baby but didn't want to not answer, I'm sure more useful people will be along.
Have you tried a sling? A stretchy wrap sling was a lifesaver for me in the early days. A dummy?
You are not a bad mother at all, the early days are so hard and the tiredness is unbearable. (hugs)

Belmo Wed 05-Sep-12 22:11:02

Have you seen cry-sis, they've got a helpline too.

ILovePonyo Wed 05-Sep-12 22:14:56

You are not a bad mother, agree that putting her down for 5 minutes won't hurt her, even if she does cry the whole time!

Have you got a car seat? Maybe sit her in that for a lite break too.

Things will get easier and the lack of sleep is horrendous, I was always told to nap in the day when my dd was asleep but found it hard to switch off, have it a go though and if all else fails, look at your dd when she is (finally) asleep, they're much more adorable when snoozing!

PavlovtheCat Wed 05-Sep-12 22:20:08

you are not a bad mother. you are tired and in pain.

I would echo what belmo has said re sling so you can move freely. I had one for both of mine, and when they were not settling I would walk with them, hoover, do chores etc. Sometimes it settled them, and when it did not it would at least mean I was not stuck in one place.

And also putting her somewhere safe, and have some time out. 5 mins to make a cuppa will not hurt her, she cannot go anywhere.

Can you call on anyone to come over and sit with her while you go for a walk?

And you should definitely keep the mantra in your head when you feel like it is all too much 'this too will pass'. Promise it will not go on forever and it will get easier, you will love and enjoy your baby and she will nothing of how hard these few weeks have been!

Banjogurl Wed 05-Sep-12 22:20:14

Gosh really feel for you... Your not a bad Mum, just human and tired. Get someone, a friend or relative to come and hold her during the day while you catch up on your sleep. Not sure what to suggest re the screaming after feeds - colic? I'm sure plenty of others Will offer advice.
I have a nearly 6 week old dd and also have a back pain and wrist pain from holding her while (endlessly) breastfeeding her. Are you able to feed her lying down? Get plenty of cushions under your arms when sitting to hold her.

madwomanintheattic Wed 05-Sep-12 22:25:32

All v normal.

Try a sling, that way you have your hands free at least. Or find a friend with one of those rocking swing things with a motor. One of mine liked them and it gave me some respite, the other two didn't.

I danced for three hours every night for six months with ds1, as he wasn't quiet unless feeding, or upright and moving. I was well skinny, if slightly deranged.

She's so tiny, it will get easier.

Don't be frightened to put her down and go to the kitchen to have a cuppa if you can feel yourself getting fraught.

If things don't settle you can ask the hv about whatever the current infacol is...

Dd1 was a screamer, too. She's the only one that would take a dummy (I succumbed at 6 weeks when a friend found me sobbing into the washing up whilst she screamed herself into oblivion in the living room) but it was, I kid you not, a lifesaver. Said friend scooped dd1and I up and drove us to another friend's house, who had a wee boy a week's older. We spent about two hours listening to her scream, and then friend no. 2 produced a sterilized newborn dummy. She popped it into dd1's mouth, and we all held our breath. Dd1 shut her eyes and went to sleep.

I went to boots.

greenhill Wed 05-Sep-12 22:37:42

You are very tired and are uncomfortable all over, including your stitches, because you need to get some rest. You are not a bad mother. Just a very tired one.

Have you got a bouncy or vibrating seat for your DD? A sling would help your back and keep your hands free to make yourself a drink or some food. Making sure that you look after yourself is the first step to winding down and allowing yourself to relax too.

Try lying down on the bed with your DD and rubbing her tummy, it will take the weight off you and could help move her trapped wind about.

The first few weeks can be tough if you are too tired to enjoy them. I hope you get some sleep tonight, things start feeling better when you get a few hours peace.

Bigwheel Wed 05-Sep-12 22:52:03

Your not a bad mum, just a tired, stressed one which is perfectly understandable. Get yourself a moby wrap or Kari me sling. They look complex but you soon get the hang of it. Have you considered co sleeping, your hv should be able to advise you on doing this in the safest way, or there's the book '3 in a bed'. Forget about the housework etc, just concentrated on one day at a time. It gets easier :-) x

numbertaker Wed 05-Sep-12 22:53:43

its not bad mothering, its colic, it will pass.

Fairylea Wed 05-Sep-12 23:09:24

Its really really hard having a newborn. No one tells you how utterly shit it is when they scream and scream. Or the utter relentlessness of it all. My ds is 11 weeks and he is my second baby and I still felt the baby shock of it all for the first few weeks.

Explore the following ideas - silent reflux (ds had this, medication really helpedy, dummies, swaddling with muslin squares, vibrating bouncy chair, sling, changing formula milk if not breast fed - maybe try a comfort formula...

You will find by about 6/7 weeks you should be coping a little better. My ds started to get in a routine and now sleeps 7pm till 6am or thereabouts... I've been lucky - I never imagined he would!!!!

Hang in there. You're not a bad mother.

lola88 Thu 06-Sep-12 08:02:24

Poor you i had a horrible time with DS too screamed for the best part of 3 weeks due to lactose intolerance my stitches didn't heal i was tired and in pain all the time. It does get better but in the mean time do whatever you can to get some peace.

I used to walk DS round the block to get him to sleep then leave him outside in the buggy to sleep while i sat on the step because he liked the fresh air, also his swing was a god send it was the only place he would sleep for more than a short time. I also done the controversial thing and had him babysat from weeks old it was really hard to let him go but it saved my sanity and our bond my mum would take him for a couple of hours in the day then took him over night at 3 weeks old. Do you have anyone who can watch him?

Allegrogirl Thu 06-Sep-12 13:05:10

I was in your position nearly 5 years ago. DD1 has reflux which wasn't diagnosed until nearly 4 months old. My DH was doing a full time degree and working weekends and I felt utterly hopeless at times.

Things started to improve at 4-5 months for us but others with screaming babies improvement happened more quickly. We found cranial osteopathy helped although I really don't know how.

I got very anxious and down and ended up having CBT counseling when DD was about a year old, despite the fact she was a perfectly happy settled baby by then I didn't really forgive myself until DD2 was born. Did exactly the same things and she didn't scream. It wasn't my fault after all.

I would also recommend getting a sling to save your arms and back. Get out walking when your stitches get better and hand baby over when you can. The comfort you are giving is helping to establish a wonderful bond with your baby.

You are NOT a bad mother. Some babies just scream and it really won't last forever.

SilkInsideAChestnutShell Thu 06-Sep-12 13:08:37

Just reiterating everyone else - you are not a bad mother. A bad mother would hurt the baby and not give a shit about doing so.

If you feel angry, pop her in her snuggly bed and make a cup of tea. Crying for 5 minutes is better than risking hurting her. Tell your mw/HV how you are feeling - the earlier PND is picked up (if it's that rather than just being knackered and in pain), the better.

It does get better. Honestly.

If you're local to me (E Mids), I'm happy to help, just send a pm.

SilkInsideAChestnutShell Thu 06-Sep-12 13:09:52

Oh, and take it an hour at a time, not even a day at a time.

(In fact, I think there were times I took it in 15 minute slots at a time!)

You are not a bad mother.

My DS1 had silent reflux, which was not diagnosed until he was 4 months old. So he screamed continuously for 4 months, didn't sleep for more than an hour, it was a nightmare and I actually hated pretty much every minute of it.
Nothing I did comforted him.

So...maybe it's colic, maybe it's reflux but I can assure you it's not your fault.
The next piece of advice I ever got was not to lay him flat because it causes them pain if it's reflux hence the screaming.
So you could try putting a rolled up towel under wherever baby sleeps so they aren't flat. Try and keep her upper body raised a bit as much as possible.
White noise helped a little bit, have you tried that?
Also car seat was not too bad.
Pram was a nightmare, how is your Dc in the pram?
You could try propping that up as well?

It will get better, they cannot scream forever.

Do you have anyone that can give you a break so you can sleep for a few hours?

lambinapram Thu 06-Sep-12 13:14:31

Have a look at this thread:

Maybe a trip to an osteopath would help?

I hope things get better soon.

SilkInsideAChestnutShell Thu 06-Sep-12 13:17:37

White noise or the sound of water running worked with DD (apps on iphone or on youtube).

MainlyMaynie Thu 06-Sep-12 13:55:03

Definitely get a sling and try feme pads on your stitches. It will get better.

Alwaysinlove Thu 06-Sep-12 13:56:54

I feel for you - those first weeks are so hard. We found that swaddling our son in a really soft, stretchy blanket helped. Infacol and Colief are fantastic. Most importantly, I promise you that this stage will pass and you won't be this tired forever. My son is nine weeks old now and we've definitely made it out of that hazy, shattered period. I can enjoy him much more now! Good luck - you're most definitely not a bad mother for finding this stage hard.

aliphil Thu 06-Sep-12 15:06:59

Thanks for the advice, everyone. We've got a Kari-me, but she won't always settle in it, plus carrying her in it for more than about 10 minutes gives me backache - but there's a local sling meet next week so I'm going to try and get to that so they can tell me what I'm doing wrong. She doesn't like the bouncy chair yet, I think because she's so small she slips down in it. And she hates being swaddled. I might try the car seat as she doesn't seem to object to that. She's fine in the pram too; DH has just taken her for a walk.

I feel a bit better today. DH cuddled her in the night for three hours so I got a bit more sleep, and the HV came today for the first time and was quite reassuring. DD has regained her birth weight plus an extra pound so I must be doing something right, plus the HV showed us how to massage her to help with the wind so we'll see if that does anything. Also two cushions have arrived - a Widgey for feeding and a doughnut one for me to sit on - so I'm hoping to get more comfortable.

aliphil Thu 06-Sep-12 15:11:55

We don't have any family nearby and pretty much everyone we know locally is through DH's work, so I'm not entirely happy about letting them know we're having trouble coping. I'm scared that if I tell anyone I screamed at DD and am scared of hurting her, they'll report me and get her taken away. sad

Silk, I'm not local to you, but thanks for the offer anyway.

MrsHoarder Thu 06-Sep-12 15:29:17

You don't have to tell them the full truth. Only dh knows how bad I was in the worst of the nighttime screaming phase, everyone else just was told I was finding it very hard.

But yes to just going and making that drink when you can honestly take no more. I used to give screaming ds a kiss tell him where I was going then run.

It will pass. And once baby is a little happier and you're gettingmore sleep, then it gets fun!

MrsHoarder Thu 06-Sep-12 15:31:39

I'd forgotten stitches. I suppose at first I more waddled!

And lots of feeding lying on my side i'm need because I was actually comfy there

Xiaoxiong Thu 06-Sep-12 15:40:06

Oh love, DS is nearly 9 months but I could have written your post back in January and a number of times since then (including last night!). You are not a bad mother, no one will report you or take her away. It does get better I promise. If you are in London PM me, a burden shared is a burden halved. xxx

Xiaoxiong Thu 06-Sep-12 15:43:27

Two other things: I got a thermos mug so tea stayed hot even when I had to bounce on the birthing ball with DS for hours on end or had one of our many marathon feeding sessions (mostly lying down like mrshoarder or in the rugby ball position with him lying on a cushion next to me on the sofa). And I tried to get out with the pram every day, even for 10 min, because that was the only way DS would calm down most of the time.

aliphil Mon 10-Sep-12 16:25:30

It's got a bit better already and I think I am finally getting fonder of DD! The car seat was an inspired suggestion; she will sometimes sleep in it, and I managed to get myself a hot lunch for the first time. The cushions for me help too. The mw said this morning that the episiotomy is starting to heal at last, so I should be able to get out more before long (climbing our hill at the end of a walk turned out to be a bad move).

Xiaoxiong, handily I don't drink tea or coffee, just squash or water, so don't have to worry about drinks going cold or burning DD's head!

LittleBearPad Tue 11-Sep-12 23:11:47

Ali, in May I could have written your posts but it got so much better as the weeks went by, particularly once DD was able to cope with her wind better. Massaging her tummy worked, as did infacol and bicycling her legs - also the dummy I gave in to giving her at 6 weeks.

It will get better before you know it. Talk to your health visitor and GP, that's what they are there for. Good luck and take care of yourself.

eggsandwich Fri 21-Sep-12 21:31:56

My son who is now 12 years old did nothing but cry from the moment he was born, it got especially bad during the evenings, we gave him dentinox colic drops which we found to really help him, also gave him a dummy as well. But these baby swings that rock are a brilliant idea, wish I'd had one for my son, I felt like we were constantly joined at the hip, I still remember how tired and emotional I felt even now, so fully understand how you are feeling, just remember your a new mum, every thing is new to you and your extremely tired, but it will get better I promise you!

aliphil Sat 22-Sep-12 20:01:11

LOL, stopping the dentinox helped - she seemed to hate it, it made her scream even more. Can't say I blame her as it smells awful!

Gimblinginthewabe Sat 22-Sep-12 20:08:14

At three weeks she won't need dentinox, although I will say no other teething gel works a fraction as well and DS hated the bubble gum flavour ones like calgel, he seemed to love dentinox (but I don't think their taste buds are developed at that age so it may have simply been the fact it worked better that he liked)

When DS was tiny (I've only got one, this wouldn't work with a second) I just surrendered to the fact I was stuck to him. I made a nest on the sofa with some magazines, drinks, snacks and tv remote and stayed there. Lowering my expectations of what I was supposed to achieve was fantastic my schedule was simply to cuddle and feed him all day. Also - it meant that I made no mess so there was no housework. I'd put on a load of clothes and wash dishes when he went to sleep at night. During the day I slept when he did to keep up with his night wakings. I just worked to his schedule.

Saying that, one day he was screaming and not napping at all and I REALLY needed a shower. I put him in his moses basket screaming and had the quickest shower ever, buy the time I legged it back to him he was fast asleep!

Iggly Sat 22-Sep-12 21:07:51

I'm willing to bet its reflux if she screams after every night feed. Get we to a GP. My two has this. It Was Hell.

Sarahplane Sat 22-Sep-12 23:08:48

If she screams after every feed or whenever you lie her down then as others havs said it may be reflux. My ds was impossible to put down until he was prescribed ranitidine at 5 months and then he was like a different baby. He was so much happier.

Just take it an hour at a time, if it's all getting too much then put her in her cot for a few minutes and give yourself a breather. You're not a crap much, it's just bloody hard work. This is not something you're doing and it will get easier. Hugs. Can you get to bed as soon as you're dp gets home everyday so he can take over and you cam get some sleep before you have to get up during the night? And make sure he gives you as much break as possible during the weekends. Maybe just go back to bed and he brings dd in for a feed and then takes her back through to the other room.

Glad your cushions are helping. Best tip I got for my stitches was to have a bath not a shower at least once a day with some lavender and tea tree oils. Makes your stitches feel better but also a good excuse for some peace to relax every evening smile

aliphil Sun 23-Sep-12 16:04:14

She's not screaming after every feed, just for most of every evening; in the daytime and the middle of the night she's usually fine! Apparently I did the same for the first several weeks of my life. blush

Unfortunately it's not quite as simple as handing her over to DH in the evenings and weekends, as he doesn't have a 9-5 job. On the plus side, she has taken to going about 5 hours between the end of the evening screamfest and waking for the next feed, so at least I'm getting some sleep.

greenhill Sun 23-Sep-12 16:52:43

I'm pleased to see that you are getting a bit of a gap between the feeds/ crying and can get some sleep when she does. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You'll start to feel less exhausted as long as you remember that is always best to try and sleep when they do: putting the dishwasher or the washing machine on, before you do is fine, but doing the ironing when you need a lie down more, is not!

We had a swing chair that was marvellous, it was comforting and meant we got some hands free time, I used it with both my DC and friends borrowed it for their DC too. I'd also forgotten just how effective cycling their legs was for moving trapped wind around, it also made them laugh, so made them forget to cry too.

Have your stitches healed now? I hope so, if not you need to speak to a dr or your HV to get them checked out again. You can use paracetamol when you breastfeed too, so don't let aches and headaches go untreated.

Iggly Sun 23-Sep-12 17:23:40

Ah she's probably over tired then and screams in the evening. With dd I has to keep feeding in a dark room with white noise on very loud and she'd conk out. As she got older it got quicker then became her bedtime (around 6/6.30pm)

Sarahplane Tue 25-Sep-12 20:05:05

I'm glad you're getting a bit more sleep now. It'll get easier as she gets older too. But do keep sleeping when your dd sleeps.

In no way are you a bad mother, nothing prepares you for how hard the early weeks are, nothing.
My midwife actually suggested noise cancelling headphones for when you just need time to clear your head - you can see dc is fine and the skull shattering noise stops!
Stitches were the worst part of it all for me, I think I could have coped so much better with the sleep deprivation, crying etc if I hadn't have been in constant pain.
Talk to your GP or midwife/hv - a huge percentage of us have gone through what you are going through & help is there to be had.
Hope all is better soon.

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