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Don't shoot me but... what exactly is so hard about having a baby?

(497 Posts)
Naivenewbie Wed 25-Nov-09 14:56:27

Ok, I know that sounds like I'm be deliberately provocative. I'm not really. But I'm expecting my first baby in 10 weeks (eek!) and am just wondering what specifically it is that turns your world upside down? Don't they just eat and sleep at the beginning? Seriously, don't think I'm taking the piss. I am just genuinely wondering why my house has to turn into a pig-sty, why I apparently won't be able to get out of my pyjamas before bedtime, cook a meal, wash my clothes etc. People keep implying these things to me and, whilst I am open to them (rather like my PJs actually), Im just wondering why it's the case...

I said to my friend recently about her new-born, can't you try to sleep when he does? And she said it's not that easy, you find so many things to do. And I'm wondering - WHAT?

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 25-Nov-09 14:59:07

Oh dear... Please print out a copy of this post and read it every day after your little one is born. I thought like you do but you will find (possibly) that you get a little bit of a rude awakening.

Of course, if you have a live in nanny from day one you may find things a little easier.

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 25-Nov-09 15:00:24

Oh and congratulations! Also, re the birth, do what you want/ask for what you need and don't worry about what anyone else thinks/advises. Do what's best for you. I had a very lovely birth experience but I had every drug going including an epidural!

malfoy Wed 25-Nov-09 15:01:28

It's just hard to switch off. Your time is no longer your own even when the baby is asleep you are always aware of time/ the baby/ what next. You don't just potter around in the same way/ jump into the shower when you need to/ leave the house with just your coat, purse and keys.

Nothing is hugely complicated but you can't just "be".

If you could please come back to this in 3 months that would great.

They do generally just eat and sleep to start with yes, but the eating can take a lonnnnnnnnnnngggggg time, then the sleeping might be for hours or might be about ten minutes until you move them, or think about getting your head down, there is no longer day and night just a constant feed and sleep.

I found that I could fairly easily get dressed at a normal time and keep the house looking reasonably neat and tidy....looking back I wish I hadn't bothered, what a stupid thing for me to feel proud of. What I should have done is stayed in my pajamas all day and concentrated on cuddling my lovely baby, they grow so quick and you never get that time back again, even if you go on to have another baby it is never the same as that first special time with just you and one baby.

The main reasn though that you can't sleep when your baby is sleeping is that you are too busying watching them sleep.

ellipsis Wed 25-Nov-09 15:05:22

Two words: sleep deprivation. You may be able to sleep when the baby does, but it will only be 1 or 2 hours at a time. Even if you can total it up to 8 hours it is not remotely the same as having a full night's sleep. Personally, I spent the first 12 weeks holding DD through the night from 11pm to 4am because she wouldn't sleep lying down. I have only just emerged from zombieland and she's 12 months!

ShowOfHands Wed 25-Nov-09 15:05:41

Okay, I was bfing. So dd was latched on for 45 minutes at least at a time and was feeding every 2hrs at least. And I struggled with latch problems and cracked nipples so I was frightened to move once the latch was right. DD would only sleep in my arms at first, so I couldn't put her down, therefore I couldn't sleep when she slept because of the risk of suffocating her. When she was awake she was either feeding or pooing or needing to be winded and as I was bfing only I could feed her. So sleeping was only possible when dh was there to hold her for the 15 minutes a day when she wasn't feeding/sleeeping on me/pooing/being winded.

Severe sleep deprivation of this sort means that when it's time to sleep you can't because of the adrenalin and something happens when you have a baby that means you never sleep properly anyway. You're too focused on every little noise. Taking your pyjamas off becomes a gargantuan effort.

Like me, you might be recovering from a 2 day labour, an episiotomy and an emergency caesarean so exhausted, sore and incapacitated.

Don't shoot me but... what exactly is so easy about having a baby?

spicemonster Wed 25-Nov-09 15:05:50

I suggest you set your alarm clock to go off every 2 1/2 hours tonight and then stay awake for an hour, then go back to sleep. Do that for about a week. That will give you an idea of sleep deprivation you will feel. Then, using that as the basis of your timetable, only ever eat, drink, shower, do anything during the 2.5 hour period. If you are hungry or need a wee or anything during the hours in between, tough.

Do you sort of see what this might be like?

SuperSoph73 Wed 25-Nov-09 15:08:15

Naivenewbie - I can completely understand where you're coming from and I think most of us think this before we have children. However, even if you are blessed (like I have been) with 2 almost perfectly behaved babies in the last 7 years, the way you change in yourself can affect how you deal with motherhood.

I have a wonderful husband who really got stuck in from the very beginning & because I had an emergency c-section and we had no-one else around to help us, he did practically everything.

The one thing that I will never forget though is bringing DS1 home from the hospital, putting him on the sofa, looking at him and thinking "shit, what have I done & what the hell do we do now." And I didn't suffer from PND

Trust me, these little ones turn your life upside down ...... however, when you have your second it's a lot, lot easier

BellaBear Wed 25-Nov-09 15:08:28

sleep. or lack of.

and PND.

sleeping when they do is not so easy when they only sleep 30 mins at a time and that's only when attached to you.

(disclaimer: many of my friends' babies slept longer than this.)

PS good luck

PPS hope you don't get PND. Not meant to snide at all. really hope so.

nickytwotimes Wed 25-Nov-09 15:08:59

<chuckle>
They do sleep a lot, but not for long so you never get any rest.
THey feed constantly and it can be very difficult at first.
You constantly think you are going to do something wrong and they will stop breathing/choke/etc.
You have to recover from giving birth - sometimes that takes no time, other times it takes ages and there is no way of knowing.
You have no control over when the baby wakes or sleeps or is hungry.
Visitors will not leave you alone and arrive at inconvenient times, like when the baby is asleep and you could do with a kip. They then give you helpful advice like 'sleep when the baby sleeps' and you sit there thinking 'I would if you would all just piss off'
Everyone thinks they know how to do it better.

Trust me, it is hard!

The hardest thing is lack of sleep imo. Your baby will come out and will not know the difference between night and day, therefore you will be awake every couple of hours (at best). You will also probably already be exhausted from the last few weeks of pregnancy and labour/birth. The exhaustion is relentless and even the simplest tasks can seem monumentous

When they sleep in the daytime, you will feel like you should "just" do something before you nap. So it'll be - I'll just put this wash load on and just have a cup of tea and grab myself a sandwich and then by the time you've finished and settled down to nap, then the baby will wake up. This will happen almost every single time your baby sleeps.

The good news is, once they're in a bit more of a routine and you have an idea of when and how long they nap for, then you'll be able to plan around it more but until then, the first few weeks are really hard.

Obviously - all babies are different and some sleep better than others and can be put down so you can do other stuff - but a lot aren't.

CuppaTeaJanice Wed 25-Nov-09 15:09:22

Are you talking about the first couple of weeks?

It's all overwhelming, the hormones will turn you into a pessimist and you'll probably be in a zombie-like state from the co-codamol, plus you've got a new being that you love in an all-consuming, but scared way.

Plus you don't realise how much you use your pelvic floor muscles just for getting up, standing up etc. Nobody wants to rustle up a Michelin style feast when their nethers are so painful.

ShowOfHands Wed 25-Nov-09 15:09:50

Actually I'd set the alarm for every hour and for the hour that you're awake have somebody pull your nipples about constantly. Also have the heating very high to simulate the night sweats that you'll have. And have some music that makes your blood run cold to play loudly at intermittent times when awake and asleep. And just as you're falling asleep a couple of times get somebody to wake you up suddenly. Pour water all over your tops regularly to simulate leaking milk. You might need to be kicked in the fanjo for a prolonged period before you start this experiment btw and/or have abdominal surgery.

theyoungvisiter Wed 25-Nov-09 15:10:12

It depends. I was up and about within hours of my second baby and found him really very easy, but recognise that I was pretty lucky. Certainly my first baby was harder.

In part it's just the immense shock of realising that you have a tiny being dependent on you 24/7 who you really can fuck up big style if you don't get it right. I know you know that already, but personally I found that it didn't really sink in until after the birth.

If you have a hard labour and an em CS, then perhaps get a wound infection, it could be 6 weeks before you start to feel human again. By which time the baby will be at maximum demanding level.

You might have a baby with colic, in which case you may not be physically able to put him/her down for more than a few minutes. Try eating one handed, going to the loo one handed, making a cup of tea one-handed.

If you are establishing breastfeeding it may go swimmingly, or you may have hour-long marathons of trying and failing to latch.

Even if you have a fairly easy baby, it's not that easy to switch off. You may only have 20-30 minutes before they are up again for the next feed/wind/poo or whatever, so that means in practice by the time you have gone to the loo and had a cuppa, and just started to fall asleep, they are up again and ready for the next round.

Also they usually feed every 2 hours round the clock for about 30 minutes at first, and they usually poo with every single feed, which means they require a nappy change which takes about 10-15 mins at first. So JUST feeding and changing takes up 45 minutes every two hours, and then you have an hour and 15 minutes in which to: Sleep, eat, bath, dress, pee/poo, cook, clean, washup, do the huge mound of washing newborns mysteriously generate, talk to your partner, feed the endless stream of relatives who will descend on you... you get the picture.

Do come back and post when your little one is here and tell us how much spare time you have! grin

BelleDameSansMerci Wed 25-Nov-09 15:10:26

Spicemonster - fantastic. Spat tea on my keyboard!

heth1980 Wed 25-Nov-09 15:11:07

Personally, my house was a pig-sty, getting showered and dressed was a nightmare and I didn't even manage to eat lunch because I had a baby who refused to be put down for 3 months.....she would literally scream blue murder if I put her in her moses basket or bouncy chair and I just felt I couldn't leave her to scream for long enough to get showered and dressed. I couldn't sleep when she did because she would only sleep in my arms and would wake up screaming if I put her down. She also fed every 1.5 hours with each feed lasting up to an hour which kind of disrupts your routine a bit wink

Not that I'm trying to put you off or stress you out......just explaining what it was that I found so difficult (and you did ask!)

Bramshott Wed 25-Nov-09 15:12:19

I think it depends on what you want - if you are the sort of person who wants to be in control and get things done, which increasingly more of us are these days then it's very very hard with a new baby. However, if you're prepared to go with the flow, take them with you everywhere, feed them whenever they need feeding, sleep at random times etc, then no, it probably isn't that hard. Just wait till they start moving about - then you'll look back on the baby days with nostalgia!

shonaspurtle Wed 25-Nov-09 15:12:47

Ds cried every time I put him down, so although I absolutely embraced the "sleep when he sleeps mantra" and it kept me going, in reality those snatched couple of hours of sleep at a time were propped up in bed holding ds on my chest and fitfully dozing because I was terrified I was going to kill him.

Also feeding takes a while to get to grips with (whatever way you do it) and it takes forever to get organised to go anywhere, and they cry if you try to go to the loo, or make something to eat, or answer the phone...

But it's worth it, and it passes. The key is to cut yourself some slack wherever you can get it and don't think you're failing, or your baby isn't "good" if you find it really hard. Know that virtually every mother for all time has been in the same place no matter what sort of brave face they try to put on it.

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 25-Nov-09 15:13:06

Newborns very often don't sleep unless you are holding them. It is very hard to have a shower and get dressed whilst listening to a little thing screaming their tits off in a corner. It is not easy to do a load of washing ever day and get it all hung up to dry and put away again, when you never have your hands free. Let alone cooking or cleaning. Shopping is quite easy if the baby will tolerate lying flat in a pram.

Both my babies had colic from 2 weeks to about 10 weeks. This meant crying/grizzling/or actual screaming every evening from say 5pm to about 1am. That gets exhausting when its been going on EVERY NIGHT for two months, believe me.

MrsTittleMouse Wed 25-Nov-09 15:13:06

It depends a great deal on the baby. I was deluded enough to think that the baby was some kind of blank canvas, but I quickly realised that they are born with 90% of their personality complete.

In my case, neither of mine slept. There was nothing that was going to get either of them to sleep the amount that a "normal" baby sleeps. They just physically didn't need it (still don't). And they were both super-hungry so fed all the time.

I can remember thinking that having a newborn would be tiring as they wake up every 3 hours to feed, and so I wouldn't get more than 2.5 hours sleep at a time for the first 6 weeks. Ha! There were nights when they were very little, or ill, and I had no sleep as they didn't stop screaming all night. I had to do a lot of "this too will pass". And it did, of course.

You might get a super-relaxed baby that sleeps through before 3 months and takes life completely in their stride, in which case you will be able to get a lot more done. But then again, you might not, in which case, give yourself as much slack as you can. My DH says that just surviving the first 6 weeks is the ultimate goal. Anything that it takes is just fine - ready meals, no housework, DVDs at 3am, whatever you need to stay sane.

dear OP!just wondering... have you read any books on what to do after the baby is born? I guess that would give you an indication of what sorts of things might consume your time for a while.

Also i think IME (i'm on my third pg) much of how 'well' things are going depends on how the labour went. Assuming you have minimal help (you and dp or mum?), if you are in any way left with a lot of recovering to do (anything ranging from long labour to c-section), things are off to a not great start. I think it must be abit like running a full marathon and then going straight back to work whilst not sleeping for a year or so...shock

sorry hope that's not tmi...

Hullygully Wed 25-Nov-09 15:14:50

You're right. I have never understood why people make such a fuss!! Just slot that baby into the rest of your life and not the other way round!!! Show em who's boss from the beginning and don't take any silly nonsense!!!!

<runs off cackling maniacally>

spicemonster Wed 25-Nov-09 15:15:18

BelleDame - can you tell I did not enjoy the newborn stage very much?

Moth2 Wed 25-Nov-09 15:17:49

Oh. My. God. What have I done?

10 weeks to go.

Is it too late to change my mind?!

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