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Bad Mum? When is the 'bond' supposed to come?

(17 Posts)
polar515 Wed 03-Nov-10 12:23:10

I've got a nearly 5 week old boy.

I do feel affection and love towards him but I am surprised that I do not yet feel an overwhelming bond as I thought I might. Just writing this I feel awful.

I am finding that between 2 hourly feeds (this is the pattern 24/7)in the day I find the times he is asleep as respite for me and I get anxious about when he might wake. I feel guilty about this as surely I should want my baby to be awake? When he's asleep I seem to have become obsessed with rushing round doing housey type things in some kind of effort to retain normality I think - and I don't want my husband to be doing chores when he gets in from work as he too is having sleep deprivation. I know in reality housework doesn't matter but otherwise uite frankly I'm bored.
When he is awake I don't know what to 'do' and often there are only very short restful wake periods, and the rest of the time he is crying / feeding again. He doesn't yet seem able to engage with anything (toy wise, mobile etc), so after a quick nursery rhyme sing and a chat about anything I can think of I am at a loss as to what to do to stimulate him. I have started introducing black and white toys, tummy time in the baby gym etc but he's not yet interested at all.
If I take him out in the buggy /car (which I find helps my sanity) he falls asleep the entire time. I worry about this as I think I have then been selfish and done this for me, not him and he may have fell asleep because he's understimulated and maybe if I'd have stayed in and know what to 'do' with him more, he may then be awake more in the day and asleep more at night.

I am shocked that I am not taking to this whole thing as I thought I might (previously thought I was really maternal and would love it). Now feel I am missing selfish 'me' time to do selfish unimportant things like taking time to blow dry my hair etc.

I feel it must be great having the mans side. My husband is being very hands on. However, the very fact that he is at work and I am BF meaning he gets some respite and seems to mainly have the ' aw he's cute and cuddle side when he get's home.

I an worried I will become a mummy bore and that I can't think of anything else to talk to my husband about other than baby things.

I am starting to feel I am an inpatient, selfish person who has no idea what to do with a baby and realise I perhaps envisaged all the nice bits e.g., when they can interact and look cute, more and underestimated the hard work / impact on life generally (I know, naive). I am a hard working, high standards person and thought I'd be fine I think (again naive).

Maybe this is all exhaustion talking, but please don't suggest sleeping in the day because I can't!


StealthPolarBear Wed 03-Nov-10 12:32:27

This is all NORMAL! You feel love and affection towards your baby, the huge rush of love didn't happen as an event in its own right, but don't worry, it is there.
You want your baby to sleep - again, normal! Life is hard and hectic when they are awake and at 5 weeks you are getting little back (harsh, but true). when they are asleep you can do normal things, knowing they are safe and happy.
I have come to the conclusion that I am not a natural mum to young children, and that I get better as they get older and interact more. Both my DCs have gone to nursery from about a year, I did worry about them and stress, but I didn't miss them as such. If my parents take them both out for the day I miss them from time to time but my overwhelming feeling is of relief.
Your 5 week old needs very little during the day other than nappy changes, cuddles and feeds. Read a few books. As they get older and need more stimulation they'll let you know (and they become more able to entertain themselves).
Take him shopping and talk to him, just tell him the thoughts that go through your head (but if it's "I need a poo" make sure no one else is nearby )

passionberry Wed 03-Nov-10 12:42:36

Yep you sound totally normal and I felt exactly the same as you when DD was that age (only difference is I didn't feel remotely guilty about going round the shops when she was asleep in her pram!)

I found the first three months REALLY hard and the three months after that pretty hard too. She is 6 and a half months now and falling in love with her has been a slooow process but I am now head over heels grin

Hang in there - sounds like you're doing great!

passionberry Wed 03-Nov-10 12:45:40

Oh, and I too was bizarrely obsessed with doing housework while she napped - agree it had something to do with wanting to "get back to normal"

Cosmosis Wed 03-Nov-10 12:46:22

honestly completely normal!! DS is now 8 weeks, and suddenly at 6.5 - 7 weeks a switch flipped on him and he started longer times of awake and play, and smiles etc, and it makes such a difference!! before that he was just a feeding pooping lump, but now he's a character. He's just started bashing at the toys on his baby gym, and I'm ridiculously excited when the tiger thingy plays its tune becuase DS has bashed it!

try to sleep when he sleeps a bit though, it does make you feel better if you get some rest.

DomesticGoddessInTraining Wed 03-Nov-10 12:51:22

Your post could have been written by me when DS was 5 weeks old. Sounds perfectly normal!

5 week old babies don't do much apart from sleeping, eating and dirtying their nappies. They're certainly not fussed about toys and interacting. They just like cuddles.

Enjoy getting some time to yourself while he'll sleep in the pram. In a couple of years you'll long for the days where you could have a nice stroll round the shops while he slept. Do you go to any mum and baby type groups, baby massage etc? These groups aren't really for babies - they're an opportunity to have some adult conversation during the day (and eat cake ime).

I did find that I enjoyed my maternity leave so much more when I lowered my standards in relation to housework though. I'd get really frustrated that I wasn't able to keep on top of anything, but when I stopped trying so hard it made my life much easier.

As for the rush of love - it'll come don't worry. There are lots of threads on here with similar worries, and lots of stories about the different ways in which people realised how much they loved their baby.

NellyTheElephant Wed 03-Nov-10 12:53:58

I agree with SPB - very normal way to feel. With DD1 I was in complete shock for the first 10 days or so, I suppose I loved her and would have done anything to protect her but she didn't really feel like she was mine and I had no overwhelming sense of feeling maternal. Until she started sleeping better (6 - 8 weeks) I felt little except overwhelming exhaustion and sadness at the fact that my life seemed to be over (of course it wasn't, things soon returned to 'normal') and my only conversations were about cracked nipples and how many hours sleep I had got the night before (this is the joy of people that you meet on antenatal classes, you may not end up life long friends with them but they are actually interested in that stuff, we clung to each other like life rafts in those first few months!). And yes, it was boring, nothing to do. I read a lot, even propped a book up while bf

But somewhere along the line DD1 and I must have found the right connection, looking back I cant tell you when it happened (there was no sudden change), but it did. I adored her and that was that.

When I had DD2 and later DS I certainly enjoyed the tiny cuddly newborn stage more than with DD1 as it wasn't all such a shock, but I still didn't have any sort of immediate bond. I remember thinking a few weeks in with DD2 that she still didn't exactly feel like mine. She slept a lot and got toted from pillar to post as I was out and about with DD1, but I was worried that she was just sort of 'other' to me. Again that passed and before I knew it she was my world.

Try not to over analyse. Survive the days - and see that as an achievement, it's still very early days, everything will get better.

aob1013 Wed 03-Nov-10 12:57:37


When i was pregnant, i was expecting this mad rush of love and deep connection with my baby as soon as i birthed him.

However, what really happened was slightly different. I had PROM (premature rupture of membranes) at 33+4 due to GBS (Group B Strep) and i was induced at 33+6. My son was born by EMCS at 34 weeks. I saw him for a few seconds before he was taken to SCBU, where he stayed for 10 days. I held him a day after he was born.

I had to exclusively express for 6 days before i could put him to the breast (we are are still EBF 3 months later!).

I didn't get the immediate rush of love for him, and deep connection i was expecting. I think partly because of my birth and being seperate from him. It's only been in the last few weeks that i have felt love for him. This week he started smiling, which makes me so happy.

It will come in time, this is all normal behaviour and the way you are feeling is normal.

Give yourself some time. You are still a person aswell as a Mother, and you should definately have time to yourself.

Chin up,


1Shhhhh1 Wed 10-Nov-10 20:48:58

It sounds like you are doing a great job and you have some lovely feelings about your baby. Nobody can prepare you for how exhausting life can be, I think most parents feel the same in the early days, I certainly did. I am a mum, a health visitor by background and a co-author of a ‘Bonding with Baby’ CD. I think it is really important to give yourself time to adjust to your new baby and the changes in your life. What is important to remember is that bonding is an individual experience which parents and babies are magnetically drawn to through touch, vision, hearing and smell. This in turn helps with the release of hormones that help to promote bonding. Some mums experience these feelings immediately while others may take longer, there is no right or wrong way! What helps is doing all the things you are already doing, caregiving, talking, playing and spending time together, everything about you feels right to your baby. I also agree with the suggestions to try mother and baby groups, I really enjoyed meeting other mums and getting out of the house, also babies are naturally inquisitive and enjoy exploring their surroundings. Please feel free to visit our website where we have some tips on bonding and CDs for parents, children and babies.

JamieJay Wed 10-Nov-10 21:07:27

Similar feelings here, loved DD from day one but didn't have that huge rush that everyone talks about. Kicked in at her 8 weeks jabs when I had an overwhelming urge to punch blush the nurses who made her cry.

It's only in the last week of so (now 13 weeks old) that DD has started to stay awake in the pram and look round, up until then she'd fallen asleep in the pram within 5 minutes of leaving the house - nothing you need to feel guilty about there.

You sound like you are coping with a major life change really well so please stop worrying.

mamsnet Wed 10-Nov-10 21:10:35

He doesn't need stimulation per se yet.. All he needs is contact with you. He needs to be held, to feel your warmth and smell your smell. That is how a tiny baby is stimulated. He doesn't need anything else, bar feeding and changing, obvioulsy grin

If he goes to sleep when you're out and about, he's content. No worries.

You don't need to become a bore. Make yourself read the papers (well, skim them.. ) every day. Read baby development books or articles online.. Engage in chat and debate on MN, there are some wonderfully articulate people on here..

And remember:

a) It is VERY early days yet
b)PLEASE ENJOY him being small.. Just for me, cos I'm sooooo jealous!

blackcurrants Thu 11-Nov-10 01:17:23

I call it 'babyshock' - and it happened to me. I was very concerned about DS and I was worried about him and proud of him and I loved him and all that stuff, but it's only recently - say in the last 3-4 weeks (he's 14wks old) that I realised I liked him. At first he was a stranger and I kept being shocked by the fact there was a baby in my flat. And I was stressed about getting anywhere with him, stressed about doing anything, stressed about having to keep him alive... and somehow in the six weeks after the point you're at now, it's melted away. I'm absolutely loopy about my son now. I mean, I adore him, but I also like him. He's a fun person. He grins, he gurgles, he tries to make me smile - I like him.

And I think I've also adjusted to what 'normal' is now. There's no 'back to normal' - there's 'the new normal' - and it takes a bit for that to be okay. I think 'babyshock' exists just like culture shock exists and just as it's ok to be homesick even when you don't want to go home, so it's ok to hanker after the control and independence of a previous life, and worry that you'll never find your feet in the new one. I definitely had my 'what have I done?' moments, and my moments of resenting DH for being 'able to walk away' (as if he would!) when I felt connected, bound, but not bonded... And now, oh the rush of love is right there, and it's overwhelming! I don't know when it crept up on me, I think it was like the tide coming in - the sea's miles out, and then you look away for a bit and read your book - and suddenly you're about to get your feet wet!

It'll come. And you'll love it. It's ok not to feel it for a newborn, - I'd even say it's normal, really, after all they give so little back, and some people (me) can find that much need petrifying. But they get bigger and stronger and they hold their heads up and turn to look for you, and then you'll get smiles, soon, and then gurgles, and you'll realise those smiles and gurgles are for YOU, cos he loves you. And the tide comes in

Tortington Thu 11-Nov-10 01:27:48

my lightbulb moment came when my first son was 10-12 months old

not kidding.

mamsnet Thu 11-Nov-10 07:00:17

Something else I forgot to add last night..

I firmly believe that nature is very wise and just as we mothers are getting a bit hacked off by the relentlessness of the care for a new baby, with nothing in return, they SMILE.... for YOU..... You are unlikely to have seen anything so pure before.
And your baby is probably within days of doing it.. smile

TheJollyPirate Thu 11-Nov-10 07:09:01

Polar - as someone else has said - your post could have been written by me when my son was 5 weeks. I think it was much later when I felt the real bond. Beforehand I felt love and affection but most of the time I felt utterly bewildered. Babyshock is a good term as I think it described perfectly what some (many) of us go through in those early weeks. I can also remember the anxiety when DS slept about the point when he would wake up and I wouldn't know what to do with him.

Oh and as a HV I have heard so many Mums tell me the same concerns - being a new Mum is hard hard work. Thankfully at about 5 weeks a baby smiles for the first time - it was my son's saving grace grin - just as I was despairing his face would light up with a little smile.
You are doing all the right things - just go with it and try and keep that in your head.

InmaculadaConcepcion Thu 11-Nov-10 09:02:41

Don't beat yourself up, OP - as all the others say, what you are feeling is similar to many millions of other new mums, we can SO relate to your emotional state now.

Having a baby is like a bomb going off in your life. It blows it to smithereens and for a while, you can't see clearly for all the dust flying around (or maybe that's the lack of housework in my case grin). And nothing prepares you for the RELENTLESSNESS of motherhood. It's exhausting and bewildering and sometimes you just want to sit down and howl (and sometimes you do).

But in time you get the rewards. The smiles, the laughter, the cooing and gurgling, the cuddles, the way their eyes light up when they catch sight of you...all that is to come.

Newborns really aren't much fun and loads of mums need time to feel that maternal bond too. It'll come. Your child will win you over.

Meantime, the best stimulation for your LO? Go for a walk. If he sleeps, hoorah!! It's exercise and fresh air - and stimulation - for you. It'll also help you and your DS to sleep better.

Congratulations smile

llareggub Thu 11-Nov-10 09:07:52

Blimey, you sound just like did when both my sons were born. I never got the hang of sleeping during the day either.

I agree with the others; try and get out to a baby group, meet someone for coffee, in fact do anything to get out and about. Your baby doesn't need any additional stimulation. I think babies like to be out and about, so long as they can hear their parent's voice.

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