New mum finding it hard...any advice please(41 Posts)
New on here. My dd is just over 2 weeks so I know it's early days but I feel that I am really finding it tough to adapt. She is a much wanted baby and we went through a lot to have her and I feel that I should be much more grateful and enjoying it.
I just feel so lost and have no idea what I am doing. At the moment she will feed loads...have moved mostly to formula but doing bf during the night. But after feeding, night or day, she's calm for about ten minutes then just will not settle. She is crying, flailing her legs really agitated. This can go on for an hour or more and we have to do everything possible to get her to sleep.
I just feel like all she does is eat then cry till will manage to find something that gets her to sleep. Am worried that we are already teaching her bad habits eg that we either feed her to sleep or rock her to sleep.
Am not enjoying new motherhood at all and if I am honest have had times when I have wondered if I have done the right thing having a baby..feel awful admitting that because I have bonded with her and I do love her but I do miss my pre baby life.
Can anyone offer any advice about whether we are doing the right or wrong thing and whether the way I am feeling is normal.
Thank you in advance x
Hi there, firstly congrats on your new baby! Secondly, you are not alone. Everyone finds the first few weeks a bit overwhelming especially when they are a first time mum. My DS is 13 weeks and I would say the first 8 were just a blur! If you are concerned about her health with the crying and arm flailing, can you speak to your health visitor or GP? But don't worry, feeling like you don't have a clue what your doing is normal. You will get the hang of it. Good luck!
Oh and she is far too young to teach bad habits so don't worry about that
DD was like this and it turned out to be silent reflux. Do you have a sling? DD slept in hers and I could eat! It made such a difference. I used a Kari-Me and a Moby until 6 months.
It is hard isn't it noone tells you how hard it is but its worth it when your cuddling them.
Anyway speak to Hv about crying, and arms failing it could possible be something like reflux or colic which you can settle for dd. give them a call they will come out today
Hello, firts of all congratulations!!
Sorry you're having a hard time irish, the feelings you describe are absolutely normal, as Welsh said it is an overwhelming experience especially with the first baby.
About the feeding issues it sounds like she may have colic or reflux, which is very recurring in newborns. My DS2 had it and it can be a bit tiring and frustrating but it will get better as she grows up.
Book to see your GP or HV and they will guide you.
Don't worry about teaching bad habits though, right now all she needs is lots of cuddles and comfort enjoy while it lasts, they grow up very quickly!
Of course it's normal, though there's a global conspiracy not to tell us till the little darlings are here I found the wilkinet soft baby carrier a godsend - it seemed to me easier to do other stuff in than a sling. And doing simple other stuff like watering the garden, feeding the cat, eating cake made me feel much more normal. And the huge love and enjoyment creep up on you till one day you realise they are overwhelming. Good luck!
Ladies thank you for your quick replies, I SO appreciate the support. Just another question, at this young age should we be aiming for her to feed then fall asleep again or for her to be awake and happy for a bit and then drift off? I have no idea what I should be aiming for?
Congratulations. Some people will suggest a routine which involves awake time after a feed (google EASY) but I think this time is simply about survival! I found early weeks really difficult and often thought I had made a terrible mistake in having my baby despite feeling massive love for him. It does get easier and time will fly by although you may not feel it now.
Hi Irishgirl. Congratulations. The first weeks are hard and you are full of hormones from the post partum period that make you feel all sorts of things and everything feels out of control. But it will get better. Don't worry about teaching her bad habits. Like another poster said above, it is too early for all that. Hold her, cuddle her and do what it takes to settle her. Get a wrap sling and carry her around the house in that and she'll probably feel so snug and secure she'll sleep nicely in that. Also buy and read Naomi Stadlen's book "What Mothers Do". I think it will help. Try and get as much rest as you can. If you can sleep when she sleeps that is beneficial. And talk ro your HV about how you are feeling. That is what they are there for and they can offer advice and help. Enjoy your lovely baby.
Hello OP, just to answer your question about what you should be trying to get your baby to do (ie eat then fall asleep), i think the answer in the early days is: don't try to do anything particular! Try to go with the flow. There really is no
method to the madness pattern or routine in the first few weeks. Sometimes your baby will fall asleep while feeding. Sometimes she will be awake for a while afterwards and you will have to rock her to sleep. A good piece of advice I was given was: do whatever you can to survive at the beginning. There is no such thing as a bad habit in a new born baby. Your baby will develop and mature and find it easier to settle to sleep on her own as she gets older. Some babies find it easier to settle as babies and some need a lot of help. If you have got a baby who's the latter you need to grit your teeth and do whatever you can to get through the day....and ignore 'helpful' people with angel babies who just drift off to sleep! Those people do my head in!
Don;t worry about how utterly random it all is: I promise it's normal! Things generally tend to settle down a bit at around 6 weeks. I know that probably sounds like a million years away at the moment, but I think a lot of women find that at around 6 weeks their babies start to spend more time awake (either after a feed, like my DS, who settled into a bit of a pattern of sleep-feed-'play'-sleep at around 6 weeks, or in between feeds if they like being fed to sleep like lots of breast fed babies). And then again at 12 weeks, they become even more settled and predictable. The first few weeks are a crazy headfuck, that's fr sure. I am convinced that if everyone told the truth about what newborns are like, the human species would have died out millions of years ago..!
With regards to how unsettled your baby seems, crying, flailing legs etc, unfrotunately some babies are like this. Mine was, and it was because he had colic (basically, trapped wind after feeding). On our health visitors advice we put him on Aptimil comfort milk at 3 weeks old, and it did help a little bit. But we pretty much just had to ride it out until it went away at around 12-13 weeks old. We just cuddled, comforted, rocked, walked around with our little boy until the pains passed. We found that lying him on his back and cycling/pumping his legs back and forth helped stop him crying sometimes. There is also a chance it could be reflux, which I don't know so much about, but it's like heartburn and can lead to a pretty unsettled, unhappy baby too. If you describe your babies behaviour to your HV (or film it on your phone so you can show her?) she should be able to advise. If it sounds like reflux, they can prescribe baby gaviscon or some other medicines I think.
I think also some babies are just a bit more cry-y than others. My DS was definitely in this camp and I found the first couple ofmonths extremely hard. Please take it easy and get as much help as you can. As you're FFing, can you ask your OH to give you a night off at the weekend so you can catch up a night's sleep? Things always seem less bad if you have had a decent stretch of sleep. Also, bung your LO in the pram and get out of the house for a nice walk at least once a day - the fresh air will do you both good. And if she falls asleep in the buggy you can buy a magazine and sit in a cafe for 10 mins and have a few minutes of normality. Also very restorative.
Finally, tell your HV you're feeling overwhelmed: if you have a good HV she will look after you a bit more if you flag this with her.
months weeks are really really really hard work. it is totally normal to have a feeling of not knowing what you are doing. and not enjoying it is normal too. I only started 'enjoying' DD when she hit about 6 months old and even now at 9 it's not all fun and games (though it is about a million times better than the newborn stage). I just accepted that i wasnt going to enjoy the tiny baby stage and thought of it as something to be got through in order to get an older baby/child at the end, if that makes sense.
What I'm trying to say is that just because you're not enjoying the newborn period doesn't mean you won't enjoy having a baby/child once she gets a bit older.
and as others say, don't worry about bad habits. just get through this stage. at this age, getting her to sleep enough is way more important than how you get her to sleep. ignore
Gina Ford any baby book authors who think tiny babies will just go to sleep by themselves - most won't no matter how many 'rules' or routines you follow. pretty much everyone feeds or rocks their small baby to sleep.
wrt to the distress after feeds - it could be silent reflux but it's much more likely to be wind. try to hold her upright for a while after feeds if you can, this will help bring air up, and do all the usual winding stuff like rubbing her back and leaning her forward and back while supporting her chin. the more air you can get out after each feed the happier she will be. (all this will also help if it does turn out she has reflux). Putting her in a sling after feeds could be a good idea, the upright position and motion if you are walking will help bring the air up (plus it leaves your hands free to eat something...!)
best of luck, it WILL get better.
You are all just great and I can't thank you enough. I have made the mistake of reading a few books including the gf one and it makes it all sound so simple and that it should run like clockwork and then you feel a failure when it doesn't work.
I had the hb call round today and she is so lovely....much of the advice given is the same as everyone on here...that its mostly par for the course and to expect the unexpected. Am also going to see the GP tomorrow as I have a history of mild depression and I want to make sure that I nip anything like that in the bud as am feeling pretty low in myself...which I know is probably post pregnancy hormones.
Thank you again for making me feel almost normal.....that helps so much xx
Ps am sure this wont be the last you all hear from me!!
Definitely ask your HV to observe your baby after a feed, to check for silent reflux. Reflux is when they vomit a lot, silent reflux is when they swallow it back down so it burns their oesophagus. Symptoms are crying after feeds, writhing, difficulty in settling.
It's very tough having a baby that cries a lot and doesn't seem happy.
I remember exactly what you're going through. As others have said it gets loads easier/better, just hang on in there! Do you have much support from friends and family? Things got a lot better when I told people I was struggling, they were able to help, and those with kids would tell me how they felt the same so you feel less alone with your feelings.
My only advice is to accept the way that you are feeling now and don't feel guilty. And to not believe the ones who are all smiles and loving motherhood. It's tough and from my distant memory one hell of a shock to the system.
If it makes you feel any better I have two dc ten years apart and I felt like this with both!
I think the early weeks are absolute hell to be honest. No sleep, screaming baby, massive change in your life. It's horrendous and yet you feel bad for thinking that because you do love your baby and it's difficult to separate those feelings of almost resentment.
Some people sail through it and that makes you feel even more shit.
I remember it well.
It does pass though. Around the 12 week mark you find you get into the swing of things a bit more. Take a day at a time and just survive it and gradually it will become easier.
By the way, OP, I saw you said you read the Gina Ford book....I made the mistake of doing this when I was pregnant as well. One of the things she gets really wrong is her theory of babies' naps. She says something ridiculous like "....and then you put your baby down for a 2 hour nap in the early afternoon".
This really screwed with my head, because for the first 7 months of his life, my DS would not sleep for longer than 35 minutes at any time of the day (thankfully, he slept a little longer in the night!). I got myself into a right old state thinking that I was 'getting it wrong' and 'failing' to get my little boy to have the 'proper' long daytime nap that he needed.
After about 5 months of torturing myslef about this, getting really upset and generally losing my marbles (!), a good Health Visitor gave me a good talking to, where she explained that
Gina Ford is full of shit a large proportion of babies takes lots of little naps throughout the day, at different times each day. And that a more predictable 'nap routine' is quite unusual among young babies. She suggested that if I just wait and watch DS's cues, he would probably naturally fall into a more set pattern, and take longer naps, around the 7-8 month mark. And lo and behold, he did!
Now he is nearly 9 months old and he has a 45 minute nap at 9am and a 90 minute nap after lunch - exactly what Gina suggests! But I have done nothing to make this happen....DS just gradually started staying awake longer in between naps, and napping for longer periods of time around 7 months old.
So PLEASE don't get stressed about your LO's daytime sleep patterns. A good rule I followed for the first 6 months was: DS will probably need a nap 90 mins/2 hours after he last woke up from a nap. So I watched him for tired signs (staring into the distance, rubbing eyes once he had control of his hands, yawning) from around the 1hr20 mark, and would then rock him to sleep, go for a buggy walk, or a drive, or swaddle him and give him his dummy in his Moses basket once he was about 12 weeks old and hope he would drift off.
Once I realised that frequent catnaps at different times of day was NORMAL for the first 6-7 months I chilled out immensely. Stressing about his nap times really ruined the first 3 months of my little boy's life for me though, so please burn that sodding book, and once these craze first few weeks are over, just watch for your little girl's cues and let her sleep when/where she wants during the day.
I felt just like this with both of mine! Everyone said it would b so much easier second time round but babies are exhausting and you're hormones take a while to calm down. Every baby is different and it takes a while to get to know them and what works. Don't feel guilty about that. Your baby is a stranger to you at the moment.
Please try not to panic about bad habits, routines etc. It's just about survival at this stage. I did whatevr worked, fed, rocked to sleep, held them both all the time.
Keep going. That's all you can do and one day you'll find things are a bit easier, then the next week things will be easier again. Babies change and develop so fast. Everything will work out and you will survive (and probably be bonkers enough to want to do it all again someday!)
The first 3 months are so hard. Mine both cried all the time and it's so hard to listen to when you're tired and I felt like a failure.
It really won't last forever.
Do speak to your health visitor or GP though. DS2 turned out to have milk intolerance which was adding to his misery and making him unsettled. (DS1 was just a misery guts!) But he's 6 now and fantastic. Such a lovely boy. What I'm trying to say is that this will be OK in the end. It is the worst feeling having an unsettled baby but it really does change and most parents have felt exactly as you do now. xx
Oh also at this age neither of mine could stay awake for more than 45 minutes without screaming and needing to have a nap. Basically by the time I'd fed them, burped them, changed their nappy, they were screaming. I realised if I soothed them to sleep straight away it stopped a lot of the meltdowns. It was hard work though, constantly either feeding or settling to sleep. It really is all consuming in the early days. I have blocked out a lot of their early months and what I do remember is mainly me sat in tears and them screaming as I paced around with them. It's OK that you feel this way. It will get better.
Meandtheboys. Thanks for your reply and your honesty. I feel so down about it all so it's so lovely to hear other people's stories. When she goes down she usually stays asleep for a few hours...during the day at least...it's just getting her to sleep that's the problem. Last night she woke about half 12 I think to have her wet nappy changed, but of course doing it woke her up and I couldn't get her settled again for three hours. I tried everything rocking, feeding, a dummy..even letting her cry it out for a bit but nothing seems to work. Once she did go off she slept for about two and a half hours but then it all starts over again.
I dread her waking for a feed because immediately after, she just cries and screams for ages, it's so hard to listen to and deal with especially in the middle of the night when you don't know what else to do.
This sounds so much like both of mine. DS1 would only be soothed by me holding him on my chest with his head over my shoulder whilst I walked about for hours. I could never put him down and he screamed the second I stopped walking and stood still. DS2, nothing and I mean NOTHING would soothe him. He just cried for hours and hours for weeks . I know it sounds horrible but when they were babies it really was the saddest most anxious time of my life which is hard to admit when it's all meant to be so magical and beautiful (so I thought!) I felt robbed of this happy gurgling baby like the ones you see on the nappy adverts. That was nothing like our experience at all.
Both of them did stop screaming eventually! We tried everything and with DS1 only time helped, he just learned how to sleep and became interested in the world instead of angry at it! DS2 required a dairy free diet and to be honest, again a lot of it was just time and him growing into the world.
I didn't enjoy it either time. I probably sound a right miserable cow haha. They mean the world to me now! DS1 is my best friend. DS2 is becoming such a character. They really aren't babies forever.
No you don't sound like a miserable cow at all! I know it can be different for each one, but how long did it take to get through it? It's only been a few days and I am alaredy in tears most of the time!
I can definitely relate to you dreading her waking up for a feed! Both my boys woke up so angry and I couldn't work out how to get them back to sleep. With DS1 he'd sometimes feed back to sleep. DS2 would just cry and cry.
The problem was that they both cried so much and I couldn't work out when they were hungry or tired or what was wrong. In time as they grew and fed less, needed less sleep, learned new ways of communicating, I learned how to distract them or settle them, it all got better but very slowly.
For me, the first 4-6 months was just hard work. Some people find it gets easier after a few weeks. Some after 12 weeks. It depends on the baby. Colic lasts for about 4 months and is horrific but it goes away eventually. If it's reflux then medication may be required, also try keeping her upright after a feed. If it's intolerance then dairy free diet will fix it. If like my DS1, she's just over tired and stroppy then she will grow ouf it. There's no hard rules but it does get better eventually.
Please take care of yourself and don't be ashamed to ask for help. Speak to anyone who will listen. Talking really dos help you feel less alone. Don't bottle it up and pretend you're happy (like I did with DS1!) I would feel so embarrassed when people came round and saw me struggling and him crying. I should have just said 'he cries all the time. I need help!' but I didn't which made it worse. You'll get through this. x
DS1 cheered up gradually every new milestone he hit, once he could sit up, crawl, stand, walk, etc (sorry I know that must seem forever away for you now but you will get there.) By the time he was able to talk he's been lovely and never had tantrums or went through terrible 2s, he's such an easy child now. He did sleep through the night 11 hours from 10 weeks though which meant although he still cried a lot in the day and struggled with naps, at least I had my evenings to relax and I wasn't so exhausted.
DS2 cheered up dramatically after being referred to paediatrician and stopping his dairy intake at about 12 weeks. He still had to be wrestled and rocked to sleep til about 8 months but it gradually got better. He's 19 months now and settled himself for naps and at bedtime and sleeps 13 hours straight every night. I promise he doesn't scream all day now!
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