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So worried about my girl and no-one to talk to

(32 Posts)
MeggysMam Fri 08-Jul-11 19:31:01

First post - so here goes...

I have a gorgeous 8 week old girl and I should be enjoying her but can't stop crying and worrying about her. She rarely smiles and hardly ever makes eye contact which the 'baby bible' says is a must at 8 weeks! I'm a natural worrier and worried about everything going wrong in my pregnancy but have gone into over drive since she was born. I have a HV who jumps on everything and agreed with me on Weds that she seemed 'vacant and with no warmth to her gaze'!! Mind gone into overdrive ever since - could she be Autistic?! I have no friends near where I live and had no-one I could talk to so here I am. My husband thinks I'm worrying over nothing but I just want her to love me as much as I love her. The worry is so great I haven't slept since Weds and spend all day trying ANYTHING to get her to react to me but she won't gaze at me and it's breaking my heart. I just want to know if anyone else had an 8 week old that wasn't smiling and making eye contact?

mrsallright Fri 08-Jul-11 19:39:43

sounds quite normal to me as I have had two premature babies and have found all the books that tell you when they will do something next quite irrelevant, was she on time or late? I mean even if she was born on the day she was due, it is still very early days, I am sure everyone will tell you, but they all develop differently are oldest was pretty vacant as a baby and is now counting up to 20 aged 2 and a half, our new baby is really alert in comparison, but maybe won't be so book-smart? We will have to wait and find out! If she has any kind of developmental problems you won't actually know for ages, so it's not worth worrying about yet. If you are looking really stressed she may pick up on that a bit, so if you can listen to a relaxation CD (Recommend Paul Mckenna or something similar) or do some yoga or anything that will switch you off a bit, it might help you get some more sleep. Don't forget sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason! If you are feeling worse in a couple of days, get yourself to the GP just in case you are properly depressed rather than just normal depressed about the shock of being a mum! (PS I love my kids alot but it is hard at the beginning!)

Hunterswish Fri 08-Jul-11 19:42:23

Hi smile
I don't know if I will be of any use?
Did HV do a referral for hearing test or to the hospital or Dr at all?
I mean it is all very well her making the statement that DD seems vacant but she has the ability to advise as well as make referrals?
Did HV put any comments in the little red book?

Does she startle at all with loud noises?

I wondering if she passed her hearing test , has she had her 6 week check? I know they say 6 week but they round it up to when the 1st injection is due.
That would be a perfect time to mention to GP.

I know you are worried sick, all babies develop at different rates and you may well find over the next few weeks she will just suddenly catch your eye smile

If none of the above has happened then by all means go to the GP and have DD checked over, no point you worrying yourself silly when the GP can hopefully put your mind at rest smile

Take care keep us posted smile

thisisyesterday Fri 08-Jul-11 19:43:38

well first off i would stop seeing your health visitor!

'vacant and with no warmth to her gaze'??? really???? what a fucking idiot (scuse my language)

can i ask, did she suggest anything? or did she just tell you this, worry you half to death and then leave you to deal with it?
yes, thought so

she is a tiny baby. they do things at different times. if she has smiled in the past then I can almost guarantee you that she will smile again, and that those smiles will become more and more frequent.
she probably doesn't hold eye contact because she is so busy looking at everything else around her. the entire world is new and exciting to a little baby.

forget the books, your baby hasn't read them and doesn't know what she is "supposed" to be doing. they're fine as a rough guide, but not all babies will do things at the "right" age, and if you're becoming worried about her then I think it would do you the world of good to stop reading htem.

I know it's a cliche and it's easy for me to say, but just enjoy her!
you know what, there is a small possibility that she may turn out to be autistic. there is a small possibility of anyone's baby turning out to be autistic, but based on your post I would not say that she is any more likely than any other baby to have autism. It's certainly not something that can be picked up as early as 8 weeks.
and even if she does turn out to have autism, or anything else for that matter then you won't care, because she is still your lovely little girl... isn't she? she is who she is

one last thing, have you spoken to a GP about how you're feeling? if you're feeling excessively anxious or upset and if it's spoiling this time for you then it might be worth exploring the possibility of PND, or some kind of anxiety issue?

TheOriginalFAB Fri 08-Jul-11 19:45:19

I don't mean to be flippant but your baby hasn't read the baby books so doesn't know what she "should" be doing. All babies do their own thing. I have 3 and they have done things at the same age and then others at completely different stages.

You need to sleep and try not to worry so much or else you will be a candidate for PND and that is no fun for you or the baby.

Listen to your instincts and ignore HV who spout nonsense without backing it up with facts and help.

wilbur Fri 08-Jul-11 19:45:33

8 weeks is still so very young for smiling and eye contact - all my ds1 did at that age was stare at our window frames which was probably about all he could see. He did smile sometimes, but certainly not gazing into our eyes lovingly. Give her another month or so, and see how she is then, babies develop at such different rates. What I would say though, is that she will pick up on your worries so perhaps you should think about talking to someone about your anxiety levels. I say this not to lecture you, but out of personal experience - my dd was born a few weeks before my father died, and so I spent much of her babyhood sad and depressed. She was a very solemn baby, good-natured and not one for smiling much and I am sure that is because she saw so little happy relaxed behaviour from me. She's now 8 years old and sitting here laughing her head off with her brothers, so there's no permanent damage done, but it does show how sensitive babies can be.

itsraining Fri 08-Jul-11 19:49:54

What you've described to me sounds quite typical for an 8 week old baby. Mine were only just starting to make the occasional smile at this age and mostly stared into space, very little mirroring of my smiles. It doesn't sound like anything to worry about to me.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 08-Jul-11 19:52:40

congratulations and welcome. grin

Throw away the book. Your dd hasn't read it and will smile etc in her own time. It probably won't be long now.

Your HV sounds deeply unsensitive. If you hang around here you'll realise that is saddly common. You can ask to have a different hv i believe. They often do "jump on everything" imo it,s to make themselves needed and so justify their job (sorry any hv's reading!)

Do you think there is any chance you could have pnd?

Are you getting much sleep (prior to weds) and a break sometimes? Eating ok? Lots of cake...

Your dd does very much love you, but at the moment she doesn't even realise you and her are seperate beings! She can't smile yet, but that doesn't mean she doesn't love you, she just can't show it...but she will!

I think autism doesn't show up for a while yet.

Please stick around and keep posting. There are lots of people on here who will be able to offer you support. smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Fri 08-Jul-11 19:56:56

Massively xposted. Clearly the baby not reading the book is an mn favourite. smile

monkoray Fri 08-Jul-11 19:58:22

Poor you, you sound really stressed and your idiot of a HV sounds like she has made it ten times worth, what ridiculous language for her to use.
I'm sorry but i can't remember when DS started to smile or look me in the eye but even if she is late most babies catch up. I think for your own peace of mind should take your DD to your GP and ask about her progress. And I agree with thisisyesterday that while you are there you should just enquire about PND. If nothing else they may be able to do something to alleviate your anxiety. Are you going to any mother and baby groups yet - NCT or sure start or one run by the PCT? Sounds like you could do to have some other mums around you who are going through similar stuff - you can compare babies and you may be pleasantly surprised.

CrapolaDeVille Fri 08-Jul-11 19:58:56

I wonder also about your health, emotional and otherwise. Go and see a nice GP about it, take your baby. Hopefully they will treat you as a pair and reassure you. One of my dcs didn't really smile until he was 10 weeks old......

neolara Fri 08-Jul-11 20:04:28

Neither of my first two dcs smiled before 9 weeks.

alice732 Fri 08-Jul-11 20:07:28

sounds normal to me. your hv sounds like a jerk. get another one. i know there are some v. positive experiences with hvs but personally i have always taken mine to a doctor if there is a concern.

fuckmepinkandCALLmegoran Fri 08-Jul-11 20:09:12

I was going to post the baby hasn't read the book - but half of MN beat me to it smile

Ignore the health visitor, your baby seems perfectly normal

I never yet met a baby who did everything on time according to the books - they'll all do some things 'early', some 'late'

Please please don't upset yourself or worry.

ib Fri 08-Jul-11 20:10:51

I'm really sorry, but although I think your baby is probably fine I think you are not.

The way you are feeling is not really that normal. Yes, worrying is part of being a parent but what you are going through sounds way over the top.

Perhaps you should see your gp about getting some counselling to help deal with your anxiety problems?

MrsGravy Fri 08-Jul-11 20:13:48

It doesn't sound like there is anything at all to worry about with your baby - the books I've read suggest between 6-8 weeks for smiling which means a few weeks either side is perfectly normal.

You reaction DOES sound worrying though, I can understand a niggling worry, a bit of fretting, particularly with your first child, but to be unable to sleep for 2 nights and crying constantly...OP, I think you should have a chat with your GP about YOU. And I mean that with concern, you sound more anxious than I would expect.

theliverpoolone Fri 08-Jul-11 20:15:03

I could have written your post (if I'd known about Mumsnet!) back when dd was that age! I was so anxious that she didn't make eye contact - 'like the books said she should' - I used to move my face to where her eyes were looking and she'd move her gaze to over my shoulder or up to the light, and I'd be distraught. Being with other post-natal mums didn't actually help me, as all their babies seemed to be making permanent eye contact. I scoured the internet for articles about babies vision, which just made me even more anxious. I ended up asking for her eyes to be tested blush and got a hospital appointment at 10 weeks - but by then I'd stopped worrying as she'd started to focus on my face, and smile smile. Please don't worry yet, I so wish I hadn't spent all that time being so stressed. You could talk to your GP and maybe ask for a referral to test her vision, but I really would say that it's very early days still, regardless of what the books say, and my guess is that she'll turn out fine.

HannahBumpana Fri 08-Jul-11 20:16:23


Please don't worry.

IIRC my son was making eye contact at 6 or 8 weeks. However, as a child, I didn't reach any milestones at the right time. My Mum had a traumatic birth with me and I nearly died 3 times before I was a week old and was in an incubator for 2 weeks. As I didn't reach the milestones at the right times, the doctors warned my Mum I may be brain damaged. Up to the age of 1year, I wouldn't move at all. No crawling, no cruising, no bum shuffling-nothing. They did say that they wouldn't know for sure if I was ok or not until I was older (1or2 years). However, one day I suddenly walked across the floor and astounded everyone. I also have a pHd, so I don't think there is much worng with me (others may disagree grin).

I just wanted to give a real life example of what the other posters said above. Don't worry, all kids meet different milestones at different times.

Re: the MW, get another one or take her advice with a pinch of salt. I listened intently to my MWs' advice (I had 3 on rotation), and they all had different views, so I suddenely realised that what they were telling me was mwrely opinion and not based on fact.

Good luck. Try to takw things easy and get sleep. Things always look worse when we are tired.

Ps I always worry incessantly about my DS (and like you worried from the moment I was pregnant).

MerryMarigold Fri 08-Jul-11 20:17:19

Hi. Just wanted to send a big hug. My kids are a bit older (the youngest only 2.8, but I've forgotten what they did and when!). It is pretty traumatic having a baby and can affect you in many different ways. If you are a bit prone to being anxious, it's no wonder a comment like that from a 'professional' would send you spinning. I would take her to the GP, and just say what the health visitor said, so that GP is aware you are not 'just worrying'. Hopefully they will be able to be more constructive in terms of doing some basic hearing/ vision tests, giving you advice of what to look out for. Most of all, please cuddle her a lot. Don't worry too much about eye contact, but touch is just amazing for babies - and for you. Loads of skin to skin contact is definitely the best way to stimulate her right now. Enjoy snuggling!

NurseSunshine Fri 08-Jul-11 20:17:45

Ditch the health visitor!

Think about it, babies are (teeny tiny) people and how often are people "average"? Are you average height and weight? Did you get married and have your baby at the average age? Do you earn the average salary? etc

I second going to a nice, understanding GP and outlining your worries. Talk to them about your feeling anxious, I would bet that that's of more interest to them than the fact that your DD didn't smile the instant she turned the magical age stated in the baby book smile

MeggysMam Fri 08-Jul-11 20:21:16

Thanks for all your messages! I was so surprised that anyone even bothered to reply!! It's so reassuring that others have had the same experience! I have spoken to my Mam but it was 25 years ago that she had her last and can't remember! I had been wondering about PND and to be honest it's only reading all your messages that I think I need to do something about it. I have a really nice GP so will go and see him on Mon and see what he says. Monkoray - I've asked my HV about groups but she told that she was new to the area and didnt know so will have a look myself.
Today is the first time I've 'talked' to anyone going through similar stuff which is really really nice. Unfortunately don't have the internet at home but it's nice to get out of the house and down the library. I'll keep you posted on hoe Monday goes. Thanks again to you all - the weekend doesn't seem so bleak now! x

NearlyHeadlessNigel Fri 08-Jul-11 20:26:21

Congratulations on your DD smile

As you have discovered, motherhood - especially in those early, sleep deprived weeks - is a constant rollercoaster of overwhelming love and overwhelming worry! "I just want her to love me as much as I love her" made me well up. She will, I promise!

Totally agree with everyone above. By all means read the baby books if they help but do take every "milestone" with a huge pinch of salt.

Your HV was totally insensitive and unhelpful. I do agree that if you can't relax for a few more weeks a trip to your GP wouldn't hurt at all. You can quote your HV if it helps you justify your visit to yourself but really I don't think you need to.

Good luck smile

NearlyHeadlessNigel Fri 08-Jul-11 20:28:31

Cross posted! I meant a trip to your GP re your concerns about your daughter "wouldn't hurt" (though I'm sure she's fine!) A trip ref suspected PND is definitely a very good idea.

Take care.

MeggysMam Fri 08-Jul-11 20:33:04

Nurse Sunshine - Hadn't thought about the 'average' thing. That kinda makes sense. Thanks!

Merri Marigold - I think plenty of snuggles will be grand for both of us - probably more good for me than her!

My husband has hidden all my books since yesterday so can no longer obsess over every single milestone - very tempted to take the 'Test your baby' book here from the library but will resist the urge!

You are all so lovely! I can't believe anyone bothered to reply! Pretty shy person so it's nice to come on here and 'talk' xx

theliverpoolone Fri 08-Jul-11 20:40:18

You sound so like me! Without wishing to worry you more grin, I've since managed to find something to fret about at pretty much every stage - you just learn to worry less intensely!
Have a lovely weekend with your dd smile.

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