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Help! I feel like such a crap mum

(42 Posts)
PrincessJenga Thu 25-Aug-11 18:00:55

LO is two weeks old. He's my first and I'm terrified I'm doing everything wrong. Can you wonderful MNers help?

He seemed really calm and placid when we first bought him home: took to breastfeeding straight away; happy to be held by nana, grandad and other visitors; loved cuddles with mum and dad... basically just adorable!

Over the last few days he's got really grumpy. He literally SCREAMED for about two hours before he'd sleep last night, and has SCREAMED for two two-hour periods today. Nothing seems to calm him (fed, winded, clean nappy, warm enough, cuddles, rocking...) and it makes me feel dreadful.

He also only sleeps if rocked or fed to sleep & all the books / health visitor / well-meaning friends seem to think this is A Bad Idea.

At night he is waking at least every two hours and won't settle until he's been fed (sometimes for 20 mins or so, but sometimes just for 5 minutes - more of a 'comfort' than a 'feed')

So, what am I doing wrong? How can i stop the screaming? How can I get him out of the habit of falling asleep at the breast or needing to be rocked? Do I need to cut down the night feeds? (If so, how? I just can't bear to hear him scream any more)

Thank you.

travellingwilbury Thu 25-Aug-11 18:03:24

You are doing nothing wrong that I can see . Babies do this , all of mine came home from hospital like little angels and then after a week or so they seemed to wake up and realise what the buggery was going on .

I fed on demand and rocked to sleep especially when they were so little . This time will pass (eventually)

MaeMobley Thu 25-Aug-11 18:03:41

Hello, you are not crap at all. Please don't worry about bad habits at this stage. It's too early. Just cuddle and feed as much as you can.

travellingwilbury Thu 25-Aug-11 18:09:49

Congratulations by the way grin

This is the beginning of the guilt that is the joy of motherhood . This bit will get sorted and then another bit will come and replace it .

Lynzilove Thu 25-Aug-11 18:12:03

Didn't want to leave you hanging. I always found that mine wouldn't settle in a bed or Moses basket when I was breastfeeding, needed to rocked to sleep etc. He's only 2 weeks old-give yourself a break. Do whatever works, don't worry about 'rights' and 'wrongs' at this stage, you'll find your rhythm and routines etc eventually. My LO is nearly 5 weeks and we're still flying by the seat of our pants, although I think we are getting into a natural routine.

With regard to screaming, is he bringing up wind ok, could be a touch of colic? Try detinox/infacol. Also I know some people don't like them but have you tried a dummy? It's not failsafe but it's been a lifesaver with ours who wants to suck even when not hungry and will stop him screaming sometimes...... Sometimes he will just scream for no reason.... In which case patience is the key. It can be hard though.

Feel your pain! It does get better and I felt exactly like you a few weeks ago. Your not a crap mum, i think it's just a bit harder for some of than others.


sittinginthesun Thu 25-Aug-11 18:12:22

Hi Princess. First, you are NOT a crap mum. You are the mum of a newborn baby and, I'm afraid, everything you have described is pretty normal for newborns.

I think they are often quite settled and sleepy for the first couple of weeks, but then they wake up a bit and get an appetite. My eldest, in particular, got very colicky from 2 weeks, and would cry for hours.

I spent the first few weeks in a complete blur of exhaustion. I was literally crying with tiredness.

I think the most important thing is to realise it will pass, and it is nothing that you are doing. Try and get as much help as you can, put naps before everything (easy to say but, if baby sleeps in day, then you try to too). Try and get out for a walk, even for half an hour.

White noise can help - the Hoover sometimes worked for us.

Hope it passes soon. X

Supersunnyday Thu 25-Aug-11 18:13:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Supersunnyday Thu 25-Aug-11 18:14:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PrincessJenga Thu 25-Aug-11 18:36:03

Thank you ladies, You've made me feel a little better. I've literally been crying with exhaustion for most of the day and was soooo relieved when DP got home. I've now had a sleep and a shower, he's cooking my dinner and i'm ready to face another night. LO has, of course, been an angel since DP got here (I'm sure he thinks I'm lying about the screaming to make up for my total inability to do any housework!)

This too will pass... this too will pass... this too will pass...

SurprisEs Thu 25-Aug-11 18:48:12

My daughter is now 2yrs and I remember the exact same thing happening, including my husband having to do all the chores. Sleep when te baby sleeps, even at day time and it will pass. The baby is too young for routines and reduced night feeds. Tell your family to be more supportive and not to criticise as it doesn't help.

You are not a bad mum you are the mother of a newborn and you are doing your best to cope with the circumstances.

As for colic, the only thing that worked with my daughter was colief. Expensive but a blessing. Colic isn't always due to wind and this is perfect for those cases.

Supersunnyday Thu 25-Aug-11 18:50:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InmaculadaConcepcion Thu 25-Aug-11 18:51:46

Congratulations Princess! I'm glad you've had a chance to have a breather!

What the others said - very normal in a newborn (though jangling to the poor new parents' nerves, that's for sure.....) - you're not doing anything wrong. Don't worry about "bad habits". Children can be weaned off those once they get to the point when they don't need them any more. At the moment needs and wants are the same thing for your baby.

My tip: get a decent swaddling blanket/muslin and try this next time he has a screaming fit. It really works - wish I'd known about it when DD was born!
A lot of newborn yelling that is ascribed to "colic" is thought by many not to be connected to digestive discomfort at all - it's just a handy term when no one can really explain why the baby keeps crying and won't be comforted.

As for housework - your current job is to feed and cuddle your baby and keep yourself as healthy as you can manage so you can concentrate on mothering. Everything else is your DP's job.

You sound like you're doing fine to me - a lovely mum smile

trixie123 Thu 25-Aug-11 19:00:20

absolutely do not think you are a crap mum! What you have described sounds like the absolutely normal behaviour of most very young babies. The screaming is almost certainly some form of colic and is quite frightening (not to mention headache-inducing and exhausting!) but as others have suggested, there are simple and cheap remedies out there - DS never had it but DD did and we used infacol (available in the baby aisle at supermarkets) before her evening feeds - it wasn't a magic cure but it did help. Try also winding her in different positions - sitting up, laid down over your knee, over your shoulder (keep strategically placed muslins to hand at all times as you may well get covered in sick!) Two weeks is still VERY new, it just seems like it isn't because your life has changed so much so quickly. Would you consider expressing so that your DP can do the occasional night feed? I really feel strongly about that as a huge factor in making the early days easier, otherwise the relentless-ness of it is overwhelming. As for doing housework, it really can wait until the weekend. Don't forget you are also still recovering from birth and might not be 100% even if you DIDN'T have a bay to look after. As for the sleeping thing, try laying LO in the moses basket and lying on the bed next to him stroking his face (I too advocate a dummy). It IS ok for them to cry just a tiny bit before going off to sleep. Having said that, if you really prefer not to do that then just hold and cuddle for now. It is too early for them to be learning bad habits as such and an afternoon on the sofa with a little warm bundle asleep on your shoulder is pretty blissful. Stay on here and keep asking for advice / reasurance - I think this is a fab place for a bit of support. Good luck and congrats on your lovely new baby son.

SurprisEs Thu 25-Aug-11 19:00:46

Currently pregnant with DC2 and swaddling blanket is a must on the to buy list. Tried it with a regular blanket with DD and was useless. She used to startle so much she'd wake up and cry for hours.

PrincessJenga Thu 25-Aug-11 19:22:40

Oh my god! DP bought me my dinner so I put LO down in his basket so that I could eat. He grumbled for a few minutes, then FELL ASLEEP! Amazing! Seriously, do they smell 'dad' and calm down?

Thank you all for making me feel sane and reassuring me that this is normal. I am seeing the midwife tomorrow so will ask about colic. I haven't tried swaddling or a dummy yet (DP is really anti-dummies for some reason, i'm going to do some more research about it and then present it as a 'this is a way to keep me sane' suggestion!) so I'll definitely give them both a go.

I am planning to express so that DP can do at least one feed a day, but HV said to wait a few more weeks before doing that. Any thoughts? Do i need to wait or has it worked earlier for you?

Thank you again for all your help... I'm going to take advantage of the few mins of silence and curl up on the sofa with DP and a glass of wine

Supersunnyday Thu 25-Aug-11 19:43:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chocolateyclur Thu 25-Aug-11 19:46:36

Glad things seem a little better now.

It's normal. Beyond normal. I got through the first 6 months by clenching my teeth and repeating the mantra "it's a phase. a phase. a phase".

Carry on feeding on demand - with breast feeding it's the right thing (in my opinion) certainly in the early days when your milk is still establishing. There will be days when he lives on your boob to up your supply for growth spurts.

Colic is a definite maybe.

With the expressing, I would (again only personally) wait until at least 6 weeks. The flow from a bottle is very different, there is a chance of nipple confusion, and again keeping regular feeds will help with your supply.

SurprisEs Thu 25-Aug-11 19:48:21

I found that I was feeding so often there was no time for expressing in those first weeks.

sittinginthesun Thu 25-Aug-11 20:23:18

My DS screamed for 4 hours solid one afternoon. DH came home from work, I thrust baby at him and went upstairs to cry. 10 mins later, all was quiet! Tiptoed downstairs - DS fast asleep. DH said he had simply started to explain the finer points of Communist Theory to him. confused

InmaculadaConcepcion Thu 25-Aug-11 20:47:02

Yes, overnight feeding in the early days is really important for establishing milk supply, so I would stick with it for a couple more weeks or so before you start experimenting with expressing.
It IS bloody dreary (expressing), but there are tips and techniques to it - you'd probably find plenty in the Breast/Bottle section of Feed The World if you check the threads or start one asking about it.... smile

InmaculadaConcepcion Thu 25-Aug-11 20:47:15

PS great news that he nodded off like that!

trixie123 Thu 25-Aug-11 21:23:52

everyone has different views about bottles / breast etc. All I can tell you is that I used both with both my DCs from birth and they had no problem switching from one to the other BUT I was mix feeding (using formula as well as breast) and it does mean you can mess up your supply if you don't pay attention to how much you are getting. If you use formula to top up feeds then your own supply will not increase to compensate. This didn't bother me and at 4m I stopped BF with both of them but if you are intending to go on longer. At two weeks the feeds are so frequent you may not want to faff about expressing in the short gaps between actual feeds but as these get longer it will become easier. My only cautionary note about leaving it TOO long would be that then some babies don't take well to the bottle. Sorry - rather conflicting I know but there is no hard and fast rule. If being the sole supplier of milk is becoming unbearable then don;t do it- it really is NOT the end of the world and ultimately if you are not a sobbing wreck during daylight hours that has to be better all round. Great news on the sleeping - long may it last!

Redhairmum Thu 25-Aug-11 22:35:59

Would like to support all that has been said so far - you are doing brilliantly, this is normal (especially for a boy) and try the infracol.
DS is now 7.5 months and was very similar to this when small - we went to the doctors at 2 weeks as we thought he must be ill, eventually he was diagnosed with reflux induced colic but until then (and gaviscon) he could scream for at least 40mins out of each hour, and some days would be fine, then at 6 o clock would go nuclear - like flicking a switch!
By 12 weeks things had settled down ALOT.I know that seems ages off, but you are doing really well, it is just a phase (which feels like forever I know) and remember it will pass, it will pass it will pass......
We are all cheering for you {smile}

birdofthenorth Thu 25-Aug-11 22:49:38

That sounds exactly like my DD was at that age. My perfect contented baby suddenly wailed non stop for 2-3 hours at a time. Lasted 3 weeks then stopped pretty much overnight without medical intervention. Maybe it was colic, maybe it was just "shit, I'm not in the womb!" anxiety! Don't worry about it, you are doing great, babies have screaming phases.

The night sleeping/ feeding pattern sounds very familiar too. At 6 weeks DD then started sleeping for much longer in between feeds. It gets better.

In my view the little comfort feeds are fine too. Much easier & more effective than excessive rocking, lullabies etc.

Again, it all gets better. Promise smile

Zipitydooda Thu 25-Aug-11 23:09:14

As everyone has said, you are doing great. Babies his age just sometimes cry and cry for apparently no reason for hours.
My DS3 is 12 weeks and I'd almost forgotten this stage already. I found holding him (and DS1and 2 as babies) close while bouncing gently on birthing ball was the only thing o calm him down.
Also worth noting that babies this age can get over stimulated and distressed, try holding your hand over your baby's eyes, not touching them just hovering above, while settling him in basket to cut out the stimulation, this often made mine drop off to sleep almost immediately.
I did feed lying down at night when I was absolutely knackered and it saved my sanity when DS seemed to be feeding hourly through the night; it calms down soon, now he only wakes once between 7 and 7.
Also forget housework pressures for a bit if you can.

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