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I feel like I'm doing it all wrong...

(21 Posts)
iloveavocado Thu 09-Jul-09 17:27:22

My 7 week old baby refuses to nap during the day and wants to feed pretty much constantly. He's been like this now for almost 3 weeks and I just don't know what to do. If he's awake and not eating, he's crying and if I offer him my breast he eats. I've tried to breast feed him to sleep and sometimes that works, but usually as soon as I put him his eyes ping open and he's wide awake.

He cries when he's in his sling and he cries in his pram. So basically the only time he is not crying is if he is feeding. I'm offering him the breast because I don't know what else to do, but it seems to be making him want it more and more. Also I feel that I can't really go out much because he'll cry and wants food all the time.

I set up all the right conditions for him to sleep (white noise, swaddle, feed, stroke head, etc) and try and catch him early, an hour or 2 from when he first wakes. But basically I feel that I am spending the entire day trying to coax him into sleep and feeding him. It never seems to be us just relaxing together and I'm finding it really frustrating.

During the night it's not too bad. He wakes for a feed every 2 hours or so and generally goes back down to sleep after. If he is not settling we will bring him into bed with us and he usually settles then.

Everywhere I read that at his age he still needs lots of sleep and the fact that he's not getting it worries me. But he just fights it and I don't know what to do.

I feel that I am resorting to breast all the time and now he won't settle for anything else. He refuses a dummy. I just feel like I'm doing it all wrong. I want to make him happy and to help him to sleep and enjoy our time together, but nothing I do seems to work.

Any advice from fellow mums would be great. Cheers...

tiktok Thu 09-Jul-09 17:40:27

iloveavocado, I have seen some of your other posts and it does sound as if you need a lot of support....you have come to the right place

Your baby needs you, and is happy and contented on or very near the breast.

This is normal.

You have high expectations and the 'right conditions for sleep' may not be right for him He is clearly sleeping sufficiently well, just not in the place you want him to. You are doing nothing wrong - you are responding to his normal needs, and life is harder than it needs to be because you are trying to make him sleep where he does not want to sleep.

Going with the flow and following his needs is actually easier....I hope others will post and say this, too.

burlybum Thu 09-Jul-09 17:56:17

Oh hon, You sound like you having a tough time. And you sound like me when my baby was your babies age. It sorta sounds like your baby may have colic. Does he get red in the face and bring his knees up to his chest? Colic is the most soul destroyed thing for new Mums. I'd thought I'd go mad...Not the picture I had in mind for my magic mum and baby time!! What I found helped was feeding from one breast only at each feed and initially I did two feeds from one then next two feeds from the other. The reason this may work is that your baby may be getting more of the watery lactose full first bit of milk and not the thicker creamier milk that comes later in the feed. 'Draining' one breast at a time may get the fuller fattty more satisfying milk to your DS and help him calm a bit. It may take a few days for this to settle. But take up offers from other family members and other mums if they want to take little one for walk, cuddle etc... you need your rest too.

By the way you coping fanatistically well at this high powered job with a demanding boss who doesn't speak the same language using new skills you can only pick up on the way!

Hope this helps

fruitstick Thu 09-Jul-09 18:06:06

Avacado, I echo what tik tok and burly say. The first few months are really hard and take it out of you. My DS was like this and I became so despondent as I so wanted a happy baby and he just seemed so miserable all the time.

People kept telling me to put him down and let him cry, that he would never settle if I didn't teach him etc etc and I largely ignored them.

DS2 would only settle in our bed and wanted to be held or fed all day. Having him in your bed at night does really help you get some rest and makes breastfeeding much easier and relaxing. Just make sure you read up on safe co-sleeping guidelines (no alcohol, no pillows etc).

If you are really worried, take him to the GP just to check there isn't an underlying problem (chest or ear infection) that may be making him uncomfortable.

When he got to about 10 or 11 weeks he settled down. I don't think he had colic, I think he just needed the closeness to feel secure. Now he is 20 weeks and still bf really well and sleeping for long periods in his cot and is a lovely smiling little boy.

You are doing a great job and giving your LO everything he needs - love, attention and security.

Things will get better and in the meantime, look after yourself.

burlybum Thu 09-Jul-09 18:06:59

Having just read tiktok post. I agree with that too. I nearly drove myself mad with the routines that many books prescribe. Sure they suit some babies cos they're really regular babies my child isn't. She just doesn't really need much sleep. She only nappied for 20 - 45 mins in one go as a baby, woke frequently through the night to feed and as a toddler she rarely sleeps in the day. So I let go of the 'What I thought I aught to do' and did what I thought was best for baby and me and my stress levels went down and we had a some funny old times. In case anyone thinks my DD suffered from lack sleep.... she walked at 9 months, she's a happy, highly articulate and intelligent child who can count to 20 and write Mummy at 2 1/2. I think being a baby was not for her.

tiktok Thu 09-Jul-09 18:08:16

burly, your suggestion (about one sided feeding) can sometimes help mothers with miserable babies whose mums have an over-supply of milk. Sometimes these babies do have colic type symptoms, and the reduction in over supply that one-sided feeding brings about can be really helpful.

The risk with doing this deliberately when there is no sign of over supply is that milk supply lessens, so it's something to try with caution....it doesnt sound to me that ilove's baby has colic, to be honest.

fruitstick Thu 09-Jul-09 18:17:42

can I also add that neither of my children had appeared to have read any of the bloody books!

burlybum Thu 09-Jul-09 18:18:59

tiktok, true I did have an over supply of milk and that did help. Thanks for clarifing that I hate to confuse others or not help the situation. smile

fruitstick Thu 09-Jul-09 18:23:25

also, have you tried lying him on his tummy during the day?

I know you are not supposed to but I spoke to my health visitor about it and she said as long as you were close by (and not asleep yourself grin it was fine.

It was the only time DS ever slept by himself and now that he is old enough to roll over, he sleeps on this tummy all the time.

Sassyfrassy Thu 09-Jul-09 18:26:23

Iloveavocado, how would you feel about settling down on the sofa with a book or something to watch on telly and just let your baby feed to sleep and then sleep at the breast. For some babies it's how they sleep and it wont last forever. My youngest would only sleep with me for the first 3-4 months but now sleeps nicely in her own bed.

iloveavocado Thu 09-Jul-09 19:13:49

Thanks everyone. I'm normally pretty chilled out and laid back, but now I'm always thinking - is it this, is it that, what can I do, and I just feel at a loss. My ds was great for his first 5 weeks and never even cried, so when he started this a few weeks ago it really made me question my parenting skills and knocked my confidence.

I really want to get out of the house but he just cries if he's not feeding so I'm also finding that really frustrating and hard going and people who come round always say stuff like "he does eat a lot doesn't he" like it's not normal.

I just don't know now if I should keep trying to lull him into sleep or I should play with him and stimulate him. It doesn't help that my nct "friends" are always going on about how great the baby whisperer or gina ford are, and I always said that I didn't want to read books and just go with my instincts, but now I don't have confidence in myself or my instincts - hence all my posts on mn.

Thanks for the support anyway - I very much appreciate it and I'm so glad to have this resource.

AbricotsSecs Thu 09-Jul-09 19:29:55

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AbricotsSecs Thu 09-Jul-09 19:32:21

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iloveavocado Thu 09-Jul-09 19:40:51

Thanks again everyone. I just wanted to ask another question relating to this.

Like I said ds's temperament really changed about 3 weeks ago. At the same time he began to poo less (every 3 days after pooing pretty much every nappy change) and suffering really badly with wind, he seems to be in pain with it and really struggles to push out farts. His poos are much thicker and bright orange.

Could this be anything to do with it do you think? HV and GP just said it's normal for bf babies to go for days without pooing, but it just seems like a big coincidence that at the same time he got all grumpy.

Is this me just looking for too many answers again or what?

Breastfeeding all day means that I'm spending far too much time on internet reading too much stuff and my head is running away with me.

Like I also said before, a bit of reassurance from people really helps me to get a bit more grounded and chilled.

tiktok Thu 09-Jul-09 23:30:13

ilove - honestly, from what you say here I dont think you have a problem with your baby or your breastfeeding.

I do think you have a problem with confidence, as you say.

The pooing is normal for your baby's age.

It got hot a few weeks ago.

Your baby has become more aware of where he likes to be, and is very good at expressing his needs. This is a good thing.

You also have a problem with people who make daft remarks, and people who read books

Your parenting 'skills' sound fine to me! If your baby is happy being snuggled up close to you, feeding off and on and napping that way, and is thriving as he should....this is FINE!

AcademicMum Thu 09-Jul-09 23:57:58

iloveavocado, you really sound like you're doing fine. Don't worry about people's comments about how often he eats, or find a cutting come-back to give them (works especially well if delivered with a smile so they can't comment on how touchy you're getting etc, etc). People in general will always have some comment to make about your baby e.g. he's a big boy for his age, he's very small for his age, he feeds a lot, he doesn't feed very often, he's starting doing this that or the other too early/late etc. Everybody suddenly has an opinion on everything your baby does. Just ignore them.

With respect to getting out of the house, yes it can be frustrating to feel trapped inside, but remember he's still very, very little. Try maybe immediately after he's finished a feed packing him up and setting off out somewhere, even if just for 5-10 minutes and take it from there, in the worst case you have to sit down somewhere in public to feed him 5 minutes after you left the house. This gets easier with time, honestly.

Also, try to avoid the competitive mummying thing, if you don't enjoy spending time with your NCT "friends" and they undermine your confidence, ditch them. You don't need people like that, honestly. You'll be fine.

burlybum Fri 10-Jul-09 07:20:57

Hi, It is hard isn't it when your used to being in control and sorting your life then this lovely little bundle comes along and dictates what goes on and there is no rhyme or reason to it all.

It does knock your confidence and makes you doubt yourself. Add in sleep deprivation and you feel out of control. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself ever day how good you've been as a Mum. It's easy to get into the beat yourself up for not been 'good enough'. Have faith in your ability to mother your DS. You are the expert in mothering your DS I can only mother my child cos I know her ways.

As for you nct 'friends' I bet they are all feeling the same as you. I mean it, when I said how I felt my nct friends all fibbed at first then started to admit they felt the same. So you've just been honest.

It does get better. It just seems like each day is a week at this stage. Then it all passes so fast you'll wonder where the time went.

Take care and look after yourself.

iloveavocado Fri 10-Jul-09 09:31:16

Thanks again everyone.

I'm going to stop filling my head with so much crap off the internet and stop being around people who make me feel crap about myself and just try to get on with it.

I love my little boy so much and I just want to make him happy. It's weird because normally if I don't know how to do something I just go and find out how and if I'm stressed I go to the gym or go and get drunk. I guess having my regular coping mechanisms taken away from me has sent my head awry.

My dp is ace, but he works and I've not got much other support around here. And speaking to my mum on the phone is generally pretty unhelpful, so mn has been really good just for assuring me. I bet I sound like a right fanny. Sorry guys and thanks again...

CMOTdibbler Fri 10-Jul-09 09:41:51

Can you bf in the sling you have ? I used to walk round the shops with DS in his sling, peacefully latched on and nobody the wiser.

Is there a LLL group near you ? They tend to be very much go with the flow people who don't do routine etc, so will be supportive

xandrarama Fri 10-Jul-09 16:28:42

Just wanted to reiterate what everyone else is saying - you sound as though you are doing a terrific job in taking care of your DS. I really sympathize because I've had all those same feelings and despairing thoughts myself. I would constantly struggle over when it was okay to "go with the flow" and follow the baby's lead, and at what point I was setting my baby up for horribly life-infringing habits that would last throughout toddlerhood and possibly beyond (I have had visions of rocking a ten year old to sleep in a glider chair...).

It's hard sometimes to feel reassured by people who tell you not to worry, but they are right - babies do change and given a chance, will grow out of all sorts of habits (and into new ones!). And I echo burlybum in saying that it is virtually impossible to have any sense of perspective when you are sleep deprived. Be kind to yourself. You are in a tough situation but it won't last nearly as long as you imagine it will.

(As for your NCT group's alleged success in implementing Baby Whisperer or Contented Little Baby techniques, maybe they should come talk to my NCT group - most of us made enthusiastic attempts that were met with an equally enthusiastic lack of cooperation from our babies! We threw in that towel pretty quick.)

LeonieSoSleepy Sun 12-Jul-09 08:54:17

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