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Can't cope, tell me it will get better

(22 Posts)
ejbab Tue 21-Jul-09 23:32:41

I'm really struggling to cope at the moment. DD2 is 11 weeks old and a big hungry baby of 15 pounds who feeds every two ish hours, morning and night. I can just about cope with this in the day but at night time her feed times of 10pm, 12, 2, 4 and 6am are really exhausting me. We co-sleep so I do get some rest, but I just feel like this is never going to end and there's no way of making things easier. I try to make sure she has a 'good' feed each time and at night she's actually quite efficient, whereas in the day time she often nods off or gets upset because I've got a fast let down and she can't cope with the flow or something.
Then this morning I woke up with red patchy breasts which probably means I'm coming down with my third bout of mastitis.
And to add to my pity party I can feel the PND I had with DD1 creeping up on me again. I feel so down and anxious and upset at everything.
Please someone out there tell me things will get better, I'll miraculously wake up one morning feeling I can cope with this constant exhaustion and DD2 will start going a bit longer between feeds.
I really don't know what to do and how to cope. I knew things would be tough with two children but I had misguidedly thought DD2 might just be doing one or two night feeds by now which I think I could cope with. Sorry to moan, I just feel such a sense of impending doom that things are never going to get easier.

gigglewitch Tue 21-Jul-09 23:44:40

You're not moaning, you've given a pretty articulate picture of what is going on just now. If you've had pnd before you know precisely how it feels and can identify it more quickly - so please do what you know you need to do <gentle kick up bum> and get to your GP to see what can be done to help you.
Have you got friends or family around who could take either of your dc out while you get a rest? I mean a GOOD rest? I think you've hit the stage we all get to - which doesn't last too long ime - where the lo is still starving hungry and feeding a lot, but you've done it for so many weeks that you are starting to get exhausted. Have you done any expressing so you can hand over baby and cup/bottle/whatever and just get some rest?
(((hugs))) to you - been there, got the t-shirt and it's a crap place to be. Here to hold your hand as long as you want smile

wisebird2009 Tue 21-Jul-09 23:57:20

Those 2 hourly feeds seem like they are going to last for ever, but soon she'll drop a feed and you'll be wondering if she's all right.

Third bout of mastitis? That's tough, you still breast feeding? If you are (and it's good that you are) but it's hard going. It takes a lot out of you. I suggest you drop a breast feed for a bottle.

Go with the flow, rest whenever you can and s*d the housework. How old's your other child? Could you order in loads of DVD's, playdoh etc for him/her to play with while you rest up on the settee?

I'm with Gigglewitch, you need friends and family and you need to TELL them that you need help. There's no shame in asking; they'll be pleased to help believe me.

ejbab Wed 22-Jul-09 05:54:15

Thank you so much gigglewitch and wisebird2009, gosh talk about the kindness of strangers. You had me welling up with your caring advice - thank you.
I will definitely go to my GP next week if things haven't picked up. I'm lucky that I do have great friends to help me out and they have offered. I just need to take them up on it. DD is 3.7 and pretty independent these days - just feel so guilty that I'm not being a very good mummy to her at the moment. I'm just so wrapped up in DD2.
I am breastfeeding but I ended up giving DD2 a bottle of formula last night at 6pm and for the first time in her little life she actually slept in her cot so DH and I had an evening to ourselves. Maybe she sensed I was going bonkers and needed a night off from cluster feeding. I think I will start doing this most nights although I felt so guilty doing so: DD2 sobbed throughout and seemed so relieved when after 3 ounces I breastfed her until she fell asleep, poor mite.
I think a lot of my worry and anxiety comes from my love-hate relationship with BF. It has been such a struggle for us to get to this stage - I had a lot of problems at the beginning and it only stopped being painful about two weeks ago - and now all I can think is how exhausting it is and would life be easier on 100% formula? Then I feed DD2 and it's so lovely and close and tender and I hate myself for wanting freedom from it. I think about how far we've come and how I'd love to continue breastfeeding her until she weans. My thoughts just go round and round until I'm in a total muddle.

gigglewitch Wed 22-Jul-09 20:29:05

ooh more hugs - at you postin that at silly o'clock and also the way you keep bashing yourself. You've bf her for three months, that is a fantastic start. Mixed feeding can work so well, I had to do it with ds1 as I only got 18wks mat leave and so I was back in work when he was 4mo, making mixed breast / ff essential given the situation. Please stop feeling like the crappest person on the planet just because you gave your baby a bottle of milk - for heavens sake it sounds like both baby and you got a better night and it has to be well worth it. Give yourself a break, please! As for the words of strangers, when we have been through pnd and eventually got out of the other side, IMHO the only useful side to such a shit experience is having the privilege of being able to offer someone else some bit of your understanding of the thing.
Keep posting x

(fwiw, would it be worth getting some blood tests done to check out if you're anaemic or anything? Had that recently and it makes you feel even more exhausted than is, erm, necessary - for want of a word!)wink

MIAonline Wed 22-Jul-09 20:50:36

It will get better. My advice is take your friends up on their offers. They want to help, let them. In the past mums had lots of help from family, neighbours etc so don't feel guilty accepting. You would do the same for them.

Don't worry about your DD, sounds like she is doing fine and all the fantastic parenting you have done in the past is enabling her to be independent and accepting of a new baby.

Perhaps have your friends pop over and take your baby for a walk while you rest, play with DD for an hour. When you are having BF trouble having an hour away can help.

The feeding is complicated, only you can know how much it is affecting your well being. I think A BF counsellor could certainly help, just for support and advice and especially about the mastitis. 3 times on top of every thing else must be so hard.

If you have only had a couple of weeks without pain, then things will definitely start to feel better as you heal and start to enjoy feeding, but don't be afraid to do whatever feels right for you.

Sorry, it's such a ramble, but your post just sounded as though you were already doing so well and just need a bit of support. Good luck.

IsItMeOr Wed 22-Jul-09 21:05:30

Hi ejbab, wow what a fantastic job you are doing with BFing DD2 to 3 months despite having mastitis three times, and her definitely being on the more hungry end of the spectrum for night time feeds. You are doing so well and clearly a great mum to your two girls.

Just to reiterate that you should definitely take your family and friends up on their offers of help. They will love to do it for you, and once you can put aside your inevitable feelings of guilt (why do we do this to ourselves?!), you will feel like a different person just for having a few minutes to yourself. Have a bath, a nap, cup of tea and a quiet read, whatever helps you to wind down.

Hope things get better for you soon. And seriously, a few bottles of formula to help you and DD2 get through this current phase will do no harm at all and lots of good. I totally understand your feelings on this, as I cried the first time my DH gave DS a bottle of formula. DS had a few bottles of formula at about that age, but hasn't had one in over six weeks, so don't worry that it is "the beginning of the end"!!

Sending you hugs and sleepy dust for DD2.

ejbab Thu 23-Jul-09 04:31:49

Thank you so much everyone.
Gigglewitch - don't worry, I'm not posting in the middle of the night, I'm actually in Australia! I made an appointment with my GP for Saturday so we'll see what he says. I know it's possible to take antidepressants while breastfeeding, but still feel crap about the idea although I suspect that's what I need to do. I will ask about other blood tests, too, thank you for the suggestion.
MIAonline and IsItMeOr - thank you so much for your lovely wise words too. I'm taking a friend up on an offer to take DD1 to the park this afternoon although I feel rubbish about palming her off on someone else. Thankfully she is back at preschool two days a week next week as the holidays will be over. I just hope she manages to cope with this period while her mum is so lacking in interest in and energy for her.
DD2 and I had a particularly rubbish night together last night. She wasn't as settled after her bath/bottle/bedtime routine as the night before, but I did manage to get a record three hours to myself to have dinner, watch TV and rest up before going to bed at 9 as DH went in to settle her each time she woke up. It was lovely and I managed to relax a little more than the night before.Then - I think - she fed at, 9.30, 11.30, 12.30, 3, 5 pretty much straight through til 7. Gruesome.

IsItMeOr Thu 23-Jul-09 07:55:16

sad to hear about your night, although glad you got a bit of time to yourself before then. DH sounds as if he is doing a good job too - mine does almost all settling duties at night too, makes a huge difference.

You do seem to have an unusually hungry baby, or at least one who needs a lot of comfort. Is her digestion troubling her? This was a big issue for my DS, and simple baby massage helped a lot for him. He did seem to largely grow out of it by 12-13 weeks, so fingers crossed that will happen for you too.

ejbab Thu 23-Jul-09 11:42:06

Thanks IsItMeOr - wierdly it's reassuring to hear that other people think DD2 is extra hungry. Then it isn't just me being crap at coping. Isn't there a growth spurt around 12 weeks? Maybe things will settle down in a week or so, fingers crossed anyway.
In what way do you think it might be digestion problems and do you have any tips for baby massage? Did you just rub your DS's tummy a lot to relieve his pain? DD2 tends to have quite a lot of wind (maybe down to my massive chocolate consumption!) and I do think some of her desire to feed around 4/5am is actually her wanting comfort when she's having that funny early morning digestion thing little babies often have. The grunting and groaning that went along with it seems to have lessened in the past few weeks so maybe her pain will too, as her digestion matures. Often in my half awake state I'll just shove a boob in to keep her quiet because I'm afraid she'll wake DD although I do try to hold off until she's started to cry or root just in case she self settles.
Right, off to bed now. I've had a lovely hour and a half to myself (ate supper sitting up - amazing!) but I should really get some sleep. Thank you again.

IsItMeOr Thu 23-Jul-09 12:06:41

With my little one you could FEEL his digestion bubbling away a lot of the time, so it wasn't at all subtle. It seemed to stop being noticeable after 12 weeks.

I went on a class to learn the baby massage. The most important thing is apparently to make sure your strokes are clockwise on their tummies, as this then in the same direction as you want their digestion to go. Gently lifting their legs up to their chest (so they're folded in, not straight up in the air!) can often ease wind apparently.

Can't believe massive chocolate consumption can be anything but good (although, as my baby also had wind, maybd you're onto something. No, no, too horrible to contemplate!).

It will get better one day!

Skillbo Thu 23-Jul-09 18:18:05

I highly recommend baby massage - my little girl loves it and finds it really soothing which might give you a little break.. I also find it a lovely bonding experience.

There are specific techniques for easing bad tummies and trapped wind which you might be able to find if you google it..It's a shame you are in Oz as I would recommend contacting your local Sure Start group as they offer an excellent class (and it's free). Ones I would look into is

- Water Wheel, storking with alternative hands from ribcage to legs
- Knees up, knees together and push them gently to the tummy and hold for count of 6
- Sun and Moon, one hand draws a clockwise full circle and the other draws a partial clockwise circle (from approx 10 - 5 on a clock ..this one you should maybe google as it's great but my description isn't!)
- I Love You, stroke hand down right hand side of the tummy (the I), then a wonkly L going from left hand side of toip of tummy then down the right hand side (the Love) and then a semi-circle from the left to the right (the You)

Sorry these descriptions are a bit lame but you might be able to find these on YouTube maybe?

I also wanted to say that I am in awe of how well you are doing - my DD is 5 weeks and I have got to the end of my tether with bf a couple of times but to have continued following your mastitus bouts and the amount of feeds, is amazing. You should be really proud of yourself and not beat yourself up over a couple of bottles!

Take care and I hope it gets a bit easier soon!

Skillbo Thu 23-Jul-09 18:22:27

Also wanted to say that there is a book called "Infant Massage - a Handbook for Loving parents" by Vimala McClure which has a whole chapter on techniques for relieving colic through massage.

(Also, meant 'stroking', not storking and 'wonky' instead of wonkly)

gigglewitch Sun 26-Jul-09 21:23:53

grin @ you being in Oz - lol, shall have to start worrying if you post in the middle of the day here instead now <snurk>
Mine were all flippin starving little individuals at 12-13wks, with ds1 it was back in the joyful hmm days of weaning at 4mo and I remember the last three weeks or so being absolute madness. (and fwiw he's got food allergies...) with dc 2 & 3 they still did this for a couple of weeks then sort of adjusted their feeding routines and settled down again til 6mo ish when they got proper food... Good advice about the digestion and baby massage - for both of you. I did a baby massage course with dc3 even though I'd done it with the other two, purely to get me out of the house and help me through pnd - our local childrens centre sorted it for me, I had a lovely "link worker" person who was really clued up on this stuff.
I ramble. Just keep in touch, hang in there, and your older dd will love going to the park with friends - tis a treat smile - so once again <assumes stern voice> Stop bashing yourself up for it. Lecture over. grin

mybabywakesupsinging Mon 27-Jul-09 02:04:22

at about 12-14 weeks for both of mine it got better...
hope it is soon for you too.

nappyaddict Mon 27-Jul-09 02:20:22

Can you sleep once she's latched on at night? Or even sleep naked and some babies will latch themselves on when they are hungry.

ejbab Mon 27-Jul-09 03:12:41

Thanks everyone
Things are a little better this week - ie DH didn't have to deal with me sobbing 'please don't leave me' and practically hanging onto his ankles as he left for work this morning. My friend has taken DD1 out for the morning and DD2 is suddenly, miraculously, having most of her day time naps in her cot rather than attached to me.
The feeding every 1 to 2 hours remains. The bedtime routine/ bottle of formula at 6pm really seems to be working and most nights for the past week DD2 has slept til 10/11pm which is amazing. The rest of the night is very unsettled though.
I went to the doctor and got a counsellor referral and anti-dep prescription - still not sure if I'll take the pills but it's good to know they're there. I still don't know whether this is really PND or just extreme sleep deprivation although I suspect they're interchangeable for many of us, right?
The breastfeeding is still a challenge and I'm constantly in two minds about whether I can cope with continuing. Every time DD2 feeds unless she's half asleep she recoils and screams and cries and seems to be in real distress until I take her off, I think because of my fast let down. But that means she never seems truly satiated and roots to get back on the boob again soon after.
Does anyone know when babies get the hang of fast letdowns? I am thinking that maybe once this happens she'll feed less frequently because it won't be so difficult for her, poor love. And then we'll all be happier!
Thanks so much

ejbab Mon 27-Jul-09 03:18:06

nappyaddict - forgot to say, yes, will def try the sleeping topless although it's winter here and I'll prob wimp out because I get really cold at night without my duvet (safe sleeping etc)!

nappyaddict Mon 27-Jul-09 03:54:51

You can have duvet on bottom half at least and lie DD on top of duvet in grobag?

SofaQueen Mon 27-Jul-09 04:10:54

Oh, God. I could have written your post when DS2 was the same age. Such a shock to the system as DS1 was so easy. I just felt/feel like a failure because I couldn't cope. Sounds like you are doing all the right things by adding some mixed feeds, getting your GP support, getting family/friend/MN support, and trying to get time for yourself.

Baby massage is a good thing (didn't work for me, but did work for others). Also, I took my baby swimming (once he had completed his first bunch of injections), and he really enjoyed it. Slept and fed really well afterwords. Have you considered reflux as a possible cause?

ejbab Mon 27-Jul-09 05:15:51

Thanks SofaQueen - I thought about reflux. I think I might ring the breastfeedng helpline and see if they've got any ideas.
DD2 turns 12 weeks today. Which reminded me, DD1 was sleeping through the night at 11 weeks.....
Do you think second babies are more demanding because it's the only way to get our attention? Everyone I know has had difficult sleepers and eaters second time around.

andie40 Mon 27-Jul-09 10:46:50


My DD was like your lo and it does get easier. Don't think FF is the isn't i tried it!

Try to shorten the length of the feeds...i didn't realise i could do this i thought i had to wait till she dropped off!!!

Try 20 mins...on one boob. Then give a dummy. I had 2 very sucky babies and dummies saved my life (the cherry ones stay in better when they are small). My DD still fed every 2 hours it was hard to get her to go more than 2and a half in the day...but the nights got easier. Sometimes i'd feed in bed lying down and i'd wake in the morning and she was still latched on sucking in her sleep!!

Good luck x

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