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Please help me to enjoy DD

(32 Posts)
aliphil Wed 03-Oct-12 14:43:20

DD is 7 weeks old and adorable. The trouble is, she feeds for so long (up to 1.5 hours at a stretch) and painfully. I suspect she has a tongue tie, and am working on getting help for this. Meanwhile, she feeds for ages and won't sleep in the daytime unless held. (Yes, I have a sling. It does help sometimes, but it's such a faff to put it on and get her settled in it that sometimes it doesn't seem worth it.) DH helps in the evenings, but the days feel very long.

The trouble is, if I'm honest, I want her to fit in with me rather than the other way round. I want to be able to do some of the things I like doing and still be able to spend time gazing at her and playing and stuff, but when she's awake and happy is the only time I can put her down and do something I want to do. People keep telling me to enjoy this stage as it's so short, but I'm feeling so ground down by it all. I know this is all very selfish but I don't know how to change my mindset. Can anyone help or advise?

Geekster Wed 03-Oct-12 15:18:44

She is still young at seven weeks and you are still coming to terms with the complete change in your lifestyle because it is a complete change. You feel like you aren't you anymore. And can't do the things you used to do and it is hard. I felt a bit like this with my dd. she's now seven months old and life is much better with her than it ever was without her. You have this little person that adores you. It does take some adjusting to,you aren't being selfish, you are still getting used to the fact that you have someone who you have to fit round. My dd used to take two hours to feed she now takes 10mims to drink a bottle. You say you like gazing at her and playing with her that's not a selfish mum.

Can your dh look after your dd one night a week so you can go and do something you enjoy? If you are breast feeding you could express some milk. I go swimming once a week with my friend usually after dd is in bed anyway and leave dh in charge. It is nice to have that bit of time to be me.

It does get a bit better as they get older and can amuse themselves a bit more.

Are there any baby groups locally that you can take her to. I was a bit sceptical at first but we go to two a week and a swimming lesson with her once a week. It just gets you out of the house and can help make your dd tired so you might get a bit of a break during the day. My dd used to just catnap but has proper naps in her cot now.

Thinks will get better you are still a new mum and adjusting to change, you will get there.

crackcrackcrak Wed 03-Oct-12 15:24:33

If it makes you feel better everyone told me to enjoy my dd at that age and I judt couldn't. A new baby is a hard slog! I will always say though that the best baby stage was 3 - 6 months because they generally are in a routine, thru don't barf all the time and you sort of know what's going on in life again plus no messy weaning just yet. I feel like I got something of myself back during that period and it helped me gear up for the next part.

It's all well and good being told to judt enjoy your baby - when is that exactly between the feeds/piles of laundry/exhaustion!

But..... The enjoyment does turn up eventually. My dd1 is 3 now and my god I am utterly, completely in love with her and spending time with her/watching her do things cannot be trumped by anything! It will come grin

QTPie Wed 03-Oct-12 16:06:46

Congratulations smile

Sounds completely normal to me. The first few weeks after the birth are sort of a "hormonal high", then you come down to earth with a bump. I must admit that after 3/4 weeks, I sat down and cried (to myself) thinking that my life was completely over! sad

I agree with previous posters: the early weeks are very tough - the baby is learning "what's what" and so are the parents...

What helped me to piece myself back together are the following:
- accept that my life wont be back the way it was (at least not for 18 or so years!), but that I could make a "new normal" that would be good.
- work out how I was going to parent. Yes many people do go "baby led", but that wasn't for me: I needed to know what I was doing when - I needed some structure to my life and some freedom. I ploughed through quite a few books - would recommend "Secrets of a Baby Whisperer" and "The new contented little baby book" (the latter can be a bit contraversial - and I wouldn't necessarily use all of the techniques suggested - but there is certainly quite a lot of sense in it: DS naturally gravitated towards the routine timings in the book, so it cannot be all wrong). Then I started introducing a routine. DS was breastfed - so you CAN routine feed a breastfed baby (and he was a REAL CHUNK!).
- I got out LOTS: walked the pram at least once a day (before lunch) and would often go out after lunch too (maybe wonder around the shops). DS would often sleep whilst in the pram.
- I started doing activities: mother and baby groups, getting together with other members of my NCT group, we started Waterbabies (swimming lessons) when DS was 14 weeks old (I still take him to Waterbabies now at 2 years and 8 months - he IS a waterbaby), Postnatal yoga (great for mother and you take your baby along with you), we started to go to Baby Sensory at about 14 weeks too. Activities give structure to your day and you get some adult company and mummy support too.
- I got some breaks. I had an ELCS, but - after the "all clear" at 7 weeks - I started going back to the gym/swimming when DS was 8 weeks old. I had a very trustrted friend look after him for 3 hours one afternoon a week and DH would get home early one evening a week so that I could go to the gym and be back for the last feed of the night. Getting a break from the baby and doing something YOU enjoy doing (by yourself) is invaluable. The occassional few hours off at the weekend can also help: DS got "daddy" time, I got "me" time. If you are in a routine (and know when feeds are), then you can do this. I also expressed, so we could leave DS with the in-laws and be out over feed time (in-laws could then feed him with an expressed bottle).

All of the above REALLY helped me. I know other people who have gone back to work early (although that brings with it all other types of stresses and guilt). I also know people who have employed full-time live-in nannies (and then got on with their lives as before).

At the end of the day, your baby is now your child "24/7". If you are lucky (or diligently follow a routine), then you will get that down to about 12/7. However teething/illness, means that there will be some 24/7 for some years to come... Parenthood is about bringing up a child as best as you can whilst developing your own "coping strategies" to keep yourself sane in the mean time ;)

I would suggest "taking control" (as above - find practical ways to parent) whilst taking each day at a time. Do make the most of those soft baby cuddles: at 2 years and 8 months, DS doesn't sit still long enough to cuddle (unless he is ill!). Those first few months ae about putting your feet up, taking it easy and getting lots of cuddles: since the next few years you will be lucky if you are allowed to sit down again! ;)

waterrat Wed 03-Oct-12 16:50:44

don't worry OP - you won't miss this bit! it really is okay to find it a pain in the arse how dependent they are.

I do not miss that newborn stage at all - gets much better and easier once they can play on their own even for a short time - I particularly noticed it getting easier at about 12-16 weeks - when they can watch a mobile / see things further away than their own hands - then they begin to use their hands - put them under a baby gym with lots of toys nearby and you can leave them for at least half an hour - a bit of breathing space.

can I recommend a jumperoo? fisher price. they are bloody amazing, worth every penny. DS (6months) can do an hour of complete joy in it bouncing up and down like a loon.....

also - if your sling is difficult to use then get another one - I truly could not have survived the first 6 months without my sling - put them in, they are happy, you can have a walk while they gaze around at the world - it's even better once they are a bit more upright and looking about because they enjoy it more....

it means you can walk, listen to ipod, feel them close to you and yet you aren't having to entertain them.....

there is a point - about 5 o clock that I always think my god is it only 5 - dp doesn't get back until about 7 ..the day seems so long . at 7 weeks, where yo uare, I would be in tears when he came home, at about 5, I put Ds in the sling and go for a walk, enjoy the last of the sunshine......

waterrat Thu 04-Oct-12 07:59:05

one other thought - the thing that I would say you could try to enjoy more is the bit where they sleep in your lap. I was just like you - I would sit there frustrated wishing I could be doing other things - but honestly, that is one part of babyhood that really is so fleeting. Now, Ds feeds in 10 minutes (used to be 40) and sleeps in his cot...he is far too big for my lap - and he hasn't dozed off on for about 2/3 months.....

get a good book, or just use the time to text/ call/ email friends....or watch need the time with your feet up.

QTPie Thu 04-Oct-12 08:31:19

Definitely agree with the last post.... Get yourself comfortable, have a drink lined up, phone, book, tv and enjoy... smile

gourd Thu 04-Oct-12 09:46:37

The only way to 'enjoy' it when they are so little and need all pf your time and attention is to decide you aren't going to try to do anything else. Dont even try to keep the house immaculate, do the absolute minimum, cooking can be done in batches at weekends when you have your partner there to mid baby whilst you do it or vice versa and do rest in bed whenever baby gos to sleep even if you cant actually sleep. Using a sling helped a lot. Our LO would actually go to sleep in it whilst I cooked, washed up, vacuumed and went for walks. I only enjoyed the total take over by LO once i realised that there was no need to try to do anything else as well and also that needing to feed for hours was normal. At first I assumed I was doing something wrong, didn't have enough milk so it was taking ages, or that something was wrong with my LO but this is normal - they DO need to feed for hours, it's not just about actually taking in milk though, they need to stimulate your supply by suckling and they also enjoy the comfort of sucking and cuddling up to you. They don't stay this way for ever - you will be able to do many things again but just all of them at the moment. I think you should use weekends when you have partner there for support to do your thing for a few hours (mine was cycling for about 90 minutes to a nice cafe for cake then cycling home again) as this means you are fresher for the rest of the week when it can all feel a bit much if you've not had some release and relaxation at the weekend. I can recommend lots of walking with sling or pushchair in the week too. This really helps - you need fresh air and exercise and baby needs to get out as well. I found (and still do), that going for a walk gives you both a break when things are getting a bit fraught at home.

gourd Thu 04-Oct-12 09:52:51

We had a brown coloured baby bjorn sling, but cant recall the exact model - not cheap but it was really, really good and we never had any back problems using it. Used it up to 8 months old (they can face forwards in it once they can hold own head up) and it was v useful on holiday and at the airport when we went to Italy with LO at around 7.5 months. Maybe have a look at a few on line and get something else if yours isn't doing the job?

TheMightyMojoceratops Thu 04-Oct-12 10:34:24

I didn't "enjoy" either of mine until about 3 months old at the earliest, to be honest. I enjoy my kids more and more as they get older and you see them becoming their own people. I'm not good with babies, it's just not for me!

At 7 weeks or thereabouts, they only just start to smile properly... that's still really early days. I don't think they need that much "playing" with yet, they're still busy realising that their hands and feet belong to them, and all that other developmental stuff. I'm a big fan of reading and singing to babies, but other than that... Put her down, if she's happy, and get on with stuff! Everything is fascinating at that age, watching the leaves move in the wind, looking at books on the shelf and the colours of the spines. Waving your hand in front of your face and hitting yourself on the nose... it's all learning.

Have you got a "What to Expect" type book, that tells you what's going on with them week by week/month by month? I found that helpful, for one thing with DC1 I definitely overstimulated her (and then wondered why she wouldn't sleep!) by trying to do too much with her. DC2 has to fit in with the rest of the family, as DC1 has a routine, preschool etc, things that have to be done. It doesn't seem to have done DC2 any harm, having to fit into family life, rather than rewriting it around him! If you have the sort of baby that you can put down and get on with stuff then make the most of it...

Personally, I think most people who say "enjoy this stage" have got the rose-tinted glasses on, and forget what it's actually like, the broken nights and 24/7 relentlessness of it all... Bit like how you forget just how bad labour was when you're not in the throes of it all!

aliphil Fri 05-Oct-12 22:23:56

Thanks everyone. It would probably help if I didn't spend part of almost every feed crying with the pain (and begging DD to stop hurting me - how pointless); at least we now have a referral to investigate whether she has tongue tie but it might take a few weeks sad.

I like the sling and it's not too difficult now I'm getting used to it. It's just that when I know she'll want to feed again in another couple of hours, I'll have to change her at some point in that time and it can take half an hour for her to be settled in the sling ... I wonder if it's worth the effort.

Groups are difficult at the moment as we're having to spend a few days away from home most weeks - at least DH is, and I'm not brave enough yet to spend that long at home on my own with DD, so I've been going too. I'm trying to keep meeting up with my NCT group though. Would love to take her swimming - maybe if my stitches ever heal ...

bubblesandsnips Fri 05-Oct-12 22:30:19

if the feeding is so painful, just express and feed her the milk in a bottle? if not enough, mix in some formula.

you really should relax and enjoy this time. you are not working, you can focus on one baby, and to be honest, it is a lovely time if you just calm down.

FunnysInLaJardin Fri 05-Oct-12 22:34:48

OK, I will get flamed for this, but when mine were like this I 1) went on to Formula and 2) left them to grizzle and cry for a bit before I picked them up. I was soooo much happier and so was our family.

Really not saying you should do this, just it worked for me. And then the DS's slept and were more fun during their waking hours.

DizziDoll Fri 05-Oct-12 22:46:41

I would agree that the first few months are not really fun. But it does get better. Re the painful feeding, you could see an NCT breastfeeding counsellor. It could be that the latch is not great which hurts but could also mean that your LO can't feed properly and why it takes so long. I saw one when i as bf dc2 and it was amazing. In my case it turned out to be thrush, which was easily fixed with some cream. Worth a try?

arthurfowlersallotment Fri 05-Oct-12 22:59:50

Oh gosh, the first weeks are so bloody hard. Everything just collides at once. Tits, tiredness, tears. But it gets so, so much better. Breastfeeding falls into place, sleep gets better, you get your evenings back, going out isn't such a mission.. I guess things just fall into place. Still bloody hard work though grin

Congratulations on your new baby. And yes, enjoy this time as it really does go too fast..

arthurfowlersallotment Fri 05-Oct-12 23:02:25

Ps: I found/find various SureStart activities very helpful.

bubblesandsnips Fri 05-Oct-12 23:09:18

to be honest....the first few weeks having a newborn are difficult, true, but compared to having a newborn and one/more other children, it is a nice relaxing 1-1 time with very few other concerns. enjoy!!!! it seems a bit trite to say that it is SO hard, when actually, it is not....

arthurfowlersallotment Fri 05-Oct-12 23:15:18

Hmmm, maybe for you bubbles, but at least by the second one you kind of know what to expect. I had a colicky baby who hardly slept, so for me, there's nothing trite in my sentiments.

bubblesandsnips Fri 05-Oct-12 23:34:19

arthur - yes my first didn't sleep, was colicky, it was bloody tough, she SCREAMED a lot, it was heart-breaking/exhausting, but it was still a walk in the park compared to having her plus newborn-toddler....not trying to be negative - just that you really don't get 'hard' until you have number 2,3,4....

notcitrus Sat 06-Oct-12 10:31:29

Personally a second was so much easier than getting to grips with the first, and 7 weeks was probably the lowest point. Had thrush so similar pain.

I found expressing saved my sanity - try different times of day . I could get a whole bottle in 10 min at 5am, but almost none at midday. And this is the time to ignore housework and phone all your friends and family telling them you need help, even if it's only getting you a cuppa while you sit down, or rocking the baby while you lie on the sofa.

Yes there's lovely cuddly moments now, but that's not much in 24 hour days. Take photos and do whatever you need to cope. Lots of tea and ready meals. And I know you probably want to shoot everyone who says this, but it really does get better. A lot!

aliphil Sat 06-Oct-12 17:51:52

bubbles, that's like telling someone with toothache that it would be worse if they'd broken several bones - it's probably true, but it doesn't stop the toothache! If you had a (relatively) calm and relaxed time with your first in spite of all the difficulties, good for you, but so far, that is not my experience - even if I may some day look back and think it was easy.

I hate hate hate expressing. I had to do it at the beginning because DD wouldn't feed for the first week, and found it just as uncomfortable as the bf-ing without the benefit of being snuggled up to the baby. And I don't think you can do it lying down; sitting is not fun with an unhealed episiotomy (that has just got infected for the third time - argh!).

I know we'll get through this somehow; it's just at the moment I don't see how. It was easier when I could only think one feed ahead, but now we're having to make at least vague plans for the next few months because of DH's work commitments, and I find it terrifying. Plus when DD is screaming at 2 am, it's hard to remember to be philosophical!

Iggly Sat 06-Oct-12 17:55:09

Sorry but you need to push for a faster referral (demand one) or ring someone private. Tongue tie is not something you should be waiting weeks to sort.

What sort of things do you want to get on with? Stick baby in the sling and go! Sounds easy - I know it wasn't when I had my first but it was with my second as she had to tag along...

aliphil Sat 06-Oct-12 22:19:55

DH is planning to get aggressive for a faster referral on Monday.

Things I'd like to be able to do: Emailing friends. Phoning friends. Watching TV. Listening to music. Reading actual books (though I'm very glad of the Kindle to read while bf-ing). Sitting down without it hurting.

What I really, really miss is my choir, but of course I knew that wouldn't be do-able for a while at least.

Iggly Sat 06-Oct-12 22:34:31

You can email and phone people. Music - easy, have on as background. Take time to sit down and rest while she does. Let her sleep on you.

Tiny babies get tired very easily and cranky which is generally why you can't put them down long. Both mine got better by 3 months although still needed a nap after 45-60 mins of being awake or they got upset.

What sling do you have? Do you know any other mums locally?

Sitting down without hurting - speak to your GP as you should be better now. I speak as someone who had a third degree tear and couldn't walk far for the first month.

aliphil Sun 07-Oct-12 14:57:56

She screams at everything - music, TV ... sad Except when being fed of course, and even then she comes off and screams at odd moments. I am hoping this will improve as she is just beginning to learn to suck her thumb, but at the moment it's even worse than usual because she gets so frustrated that she can't quite manage it.

The sling is a Kari-Me and I really like it most of the time, though I haven't managed to feed her in it. I know the other mums from the ante-natal class. I have seen the GP about the unhealed episiotomy, repeatedly, but keep being told there's nothing they can do except prescribe antibiotics for the infections and hope it heals on its own. This last time I saw a different one who also took a swab so I don't know if that will lead to anything different. I also get pain right across the buttocks if I sit for any length of time such as for feeding, but they can't agree whether that's linked to the wound or not. confused

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