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Not bonded to new baby

(28 Posts)
Koalagone Sat 04-May-13 22:44:50

I don't feel bonded to my baby at all. He's three weeks old and I just don't feel anything when I look at him. My DH is completely in love with him, we picked a godmother (a very close friend) before the birth who clearly adores him, our friends give the obligatory compliments and make the cooing noises.... I look at him and there's just nothing.

I watch DH with him and I feel like I want to run away and leave them. I was never particularly maternal before this, he's my first, but I thought when I saw him I'd feel something. I wouldn't hurt him or neglect him, but it all just feels like I'm looking after something temporarily for someone else, waiting for the day I can give him back. When I get up for night feeds I sit there and wonder if it would be best if I did leave, let him just have his dad who actually loves him and I know his godmother would help.

I tried to explain to the health visitor who visited this week, but she seemed to be in a huge rush and just muttered about how all first time mothers are underwhelmed because they expect a hollywood rush of love. I can understand that but surely it's not normal for me not to feel any love towards him? I know I obviously need help of some sort but I don't know where to turn. I can't tell my DH, he'd think I was a monster.

jkklpu Sat 04-May-13 22:50:27

It's rotten that your HV didn't listen. Please go to your GP and talk to him/her and explain what you are feeling. You aren't alone - it's not uncommon for parenthood to feel like this, so please don't suffer alone. If you repost in mental health, you'll have loads and loads of great support from people who've been in your same position. Really take care of yourself.

SecretCodesAndShame Sat 04-May-13 22:56:25

Please go back and speak to another health visitor or your GP. Lots of people feel this way and 3 weeks is still very early. Your hormones are everywhere, you're most like exhausted and shell shocked. The love could well be there but you may not feel it yet. It may creep up on you. It doesn't always come in a huge 'Hollywood rush of love'. Please discuss your feelings with a professional who will listen. I felt the same with our second child nd 14 months on I am still struggling. There is a thread I started expressing exactly the same feelings you hae about our DS2 which is just blow here called 'Feel like I've not bonded with DS2- I NEED TO FIX THIS'. If you get chance to read it, it may reassure you to know that others have and do feel the same. Also encourage you to get help NOW, not wait for 14 months. Take care of yourself and please get help.

SecretCodesAndShame Sat 04-May-13 22:57:30

'BELOW' ^^ not Blow !

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Sat 04-May-13 22:59:51

I felt the same with my DD, I waited for that rush of love but it never came.

I was so bogged down making sure i was doing everything right and beating myself up if I let my (self set) standards slip.

I was exhausted, bemused, confused,scared, beyond tired, overwhelmed. basically it wasn't much fun.

one day she was 3 months old, i bathed her and left her on her towel, naked. I turned to get her clothes and as I turned around and saw her lying there all fragile and helpless I got this urge to protect her.

So, the perceived rush of love doesn't necessarily happen. but every start to settle down you will begin to relax and hopefully enjoy your baby.


speak to your GP and make them.listen, but just know that you are not alone.

DD is 9 now. I utterly adore her and I experience the "rush" of love regularly and we are very close.

Bonding doesn't happen instantly, it takes time.

Please don't beat yourself up over this, but please speak to your GP just in case you need a little help x

ReallyTired Sun 05-May-13 16:50:07


Three weeks is still very early. The first six weeks of having a new baby is really tough and it will get better. It is quite normal to be tearful and not enjoy the newborn stage.

Bonding takes time and its still really early.

Stacks Mon 06-May-13 10:48:45

I felt similar with my DS (he's now 4 months) and in a way I still feel like this. There's no rush of love when I look at him or when he smiles at me, I feel like I just appreciate how cute he is. However, when I was worried he wasn't getting enough milk (around 2 weeks) I was in tears thinking he was trying to feed an exhausting himself, that he was hungry all the time etc. I really cared about him and wanted him safe, well and happy. That is love too. I realised it most strongly when he had his first jabs and he screamed with pain sad

I blamed the csection for me not really getting that rush of love, but having spoken to a few people at my breastfeeding group most of them admitted to feeling similar. They love their babies but didn't go all mushy over them when first handed them. It comes with time (many had older babies than me when I spoke to them). I think once you start getting a few smiles you'll start catching yourself thinking how cute he looks. Also when breastfeeding is established and going well (if you are bf) you may look down on him and think what you see would make a perfect photograph - I often think that now, and I take it to mean I think my DS looks perfect in that moment, beautiful, and someone I do love.

In your post you say you think about leaving so someone else can look after him - is that because you care about him and want the best for him? Isn't that a kind of love?

Love can be quiet and unassuming as well as obvious and expressive. I have a quiet, fierce love for my son, but it takes something to bring it out where I see it.
How do you feel your love for your DH? Is it a big rush of emotion every time you look at him, or seeing those little things he does that are just him...? Your DS will get his 'little things' soon.

Koalagone Mon 06-May-13 12:00:31

Yeah, I feel like he'd be so much better off with someone who does love him and isn't just going through the motions with him out of duty, who is actually maternal and wants to spend time holding him and smiling at him and isn't eager to "let" everyone else hold him just to not have to herself. I know it's really important to smile at your baby and chat to him but I just can't do it, and he seems so much more settled when he's with someone who is doing all that stuff, he can be screaming his head off for me but if I give him to someone else he falls asleep.

I know it's still early on but my only emotions towards him are negative, I really feel like I could just walk away and feel nothing but relief that I didn't have to deal him any more.

He's got his one month followup check at the end of this week, so I'm going to try and bring it up with the HV again. If she doesn't listen then I'll try and make an appointment to see my GP. I'll also read your thread secretcodes, thank you for pointing me towards it.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Mon 06-May-13 12:05:19

I think you need to speak to HV or GP. can you show them your last post, it highlights why this is something you need help with and sets everything out clearly whereas if you try and verbally tell them you may not get your point across IYSWIM?

Please come back here and let us know how you got on or for some support at the very least.

you aren't alone and you are not the first and won't be the last new mum to experience this.

You can and will get better, hugs xx

stowsettler Tue 07-May-13 08:25:02

My DSis felt the same when her DS was born. She went to her GP and was prescribed a very mild dose of anti-depressants because she had PND. She took them for a very short time and her DS is now a total monster happy and much-loved 4.5 year old. She swears by her anti-depressants and says they got her through the most difficult time of her life.
I recently had DD by c-section and felt a little similar: no rush of love and it was a good month before I could actually say I loved her. I wasn't so worried because I'd seen my DSis's experience and was sure I didn't have PND. Both DSis and I still occasionally look back on our pre-kids life with longing but that's perfectly normal!!
Go to your GP. They see this all the time and WILL be able to help you.

Koalagone Fri 10-May-13 18:50:15

I spoke to the HV today, took BrianCox's advice and wrote out what I'd written in the post so thank you. She asked me to fill in a questionnaire and I've got an appointment to see her, without baby, next week to discuss it properly.

DH went back to work this week so I think it's been extra hard. I feel totally trapped when I'm alone with the baby, like I simultaneously want to run away from him but also like I can't leave him alone in a room at all, not even for a few minutes to go to the bathroom in case something happens and everyone knows I'm a terrible mother who doesn't love him.

Nodney Fri 10-May-13 19:00:12

Koala I was just the same with my first DS. It's so disappointing isn't it? You expect this big rush of love that all the celebrities talk of and it doesn't happen! I bonded with my DS over a period of months, not weeks. I remember walking around a shop pushing him in his pram, and he smiled at me for the first time. He'd smiled for others many times but I couldn't get him to smile for me. I really felt I was getting somewhere that day. Now he is 5 and I completely love him. He's very much a mummy's boy and our relationship is wonderful. Please don't worry x

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Fri 10-May-13 19:01:15

oh koala, I'm so pleased you managed to get yourself heard. that's taken a lot of effort, you should be immensely proud of yourself.

The questionairre is helpful but you must answer it honestly (dont worry about putting the truth down)

you have taken your first step, you will start to feel better as you take more and more little steps.

Ive not had PND but I have had a breakdown and severe depression. I kept it to myself too long but through being honest and open (with myself and others) I got better. I'm back to normal now normal as I ever was wink

Be kind to yourself and I will keep an eye out for any updates on this thread x

awwwwmannnn Fri 10-May-13 21:38:56

i can honestly say when i had my DD i was like right ok, so now i have her what the hell am i meant to do with her!! i had the worse time after she was born, was taken back into hospital when she was 3 days old and had to stay overnight without her....
came home and for the first god knows how many months i just went through the routine with her, i cared for her, made sure she was clothed and fed and that was about it...i felt totally useless.
i don't know when it happened or how it happened but literally one day, she was laying on her playmat and gurgled and smiled at me and i just melted....even then it still wasn't this amazing rush of love, just a fabulous warm feeling in my tummy.
as time went on my love for her just grew as she did, and now (she's 2.4) she is the biggest love of my love, i watch her and my heart just swells.
its not always instant for people and there's nothing at all to be ashamed of or to worry about. you have got this far and you'll get even further, just give yourself a little bit of a break and go with the flow - don't worry about how others see you or perceive you. just be yourself and it will really will fall into place xx

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sat 11-May-13 21:04:38

Briancox's first post very much describes how I felt about my DD at the beginning. I cared for her, felt huge responsibility and worried about doing things "right" (OP your comment about not wanting to leave the room was absolutely me!) but there was no rush of love for several months. I mentioned it to my DM who said she'd found it difficult with me and DSis early on too, and that you wouldn't expect to be instantly in love with anyone else you didn't know, so why necessarily your child?

Others such as your chosen godmother who seem desperately in love with your baby are not going through the same stuff as you are - even your DH hasn't had the double whammy of giving birth, hormones before and after and now being at home with the baby all day. It is tough, very easy to feel isolated, and babies are not that interesting! Great you are getting some help, but please believe me, no-one else can do a better job for your baby than you (which is not to say they can't help a lot!).

valiumredhead Sun 12-May-13 17:34:34

Please go to your GP and explain how you feel. I was the same ( traumatic birth, prem baby and PND) I didn't get that rush of love until ds was 3 months old and I'd had a couple of months worth of anti d's under my belt x

valiumredhead Sun 12-May-13 17:35:16

Sorry, I've just seen you HAVE made an appt. Well done smile x

rrreow Tue 14-May-13 14:44:47

I felt similar when my DS was born. mrsmalcolmreynolds describes it very well. Especially the bit about not expecting to be instantly in love with someone you don't know. That's exactly how I felt, like I had no idea who this baby was, I didn't know him yet. I felt especially upset on my first night when they wanted me to stay on the post-natal ward with DS, but send DH home.. I had to spend the night with a 'stranger', while the person I really wanted with me would be sent away. (In the event we insisted on being discharged the same day so it wasn't an issue - and I'm really glad about that as I think it really would've affected me emotionally).

In the early days it was all just a purely practical matter. Take care of the baby, take care of everything practical. The love grew over time and it all gets easier once they get to an age where they start developing their personality and interacting. DS is now 2 and I love him more than anything. Hopefully that will all happen for you too, but in the meantime I think it's a really good and brave step that you've made an appointment to discuss this.

Koalagone Wed 15-May-13 13:32:38

Saw the HV yesterday and now have an appointment to see my doctor about possible PND. I don't feel depressed, just completely and utterly trapped but if it can help I'm willing to go and give anything they say a try.

Thanks for posting similar stories too, it helps to know I'm not the only person who has ever felt this and people get over it!

He started smiling on purpose (or so it seems anyway) this week, and DH was just all over it, but I felt nothing, I couldn't even pretend to be excited/proud. I transitioned him to formula this week though, and I think that has helped me feel a bit better... I don't have to be there anymore. He doesn't need me.

Kt8791 Wed 15-May-13 13:40:29

Have u spoken to your DH? I felt like this with my second and kept it to myself for a few months., really should have told Dh sooner as he was very supportive. I saw my gp and had counselling. My son is now two and I love him to bits.

And your son does need you xx

DIYandEatCake Wed 15-May-13 14:17:01

It's good you're getting some support, taking that step makes you a better mum than you think you are. Hope you start to feel better soon. Parenthood is a massive adjustment and as others have said the fuzzy feelings aren't automatic. I can identify with what you said about feeling 'trapped' in the early days, the months of babyhood seem to stretch out into an eternity... What are you doing with your days at the moment? I can remember things started to seem better when we got out and about a bit, the first day I really enjoyed being a mum was when I went to the park on a sunny day with dd when she was about 6 weeks old, we sat under a tree and I ate an ice cream whilst feeding her, and I think I relaxed for the first time. Getting out to baby groups also really helped a lot, especially meeting other mums. I realise they're pretty superficial suggestions and you perhaps need more than that, but when you start feeling better make sure you still look after yourself and do things that you enjoy as well.

LittleBearPad Wed 15-May-13 14:36:15

I felt pretty similar to you when DD was born. I used to think I'd rather go back to work - I knew what I was doing there and felt completely out of control at home. The worry over leaving the room rang so many bells with me.

The first weeks are so tough. I had a fairly hectic birth experience, waters broke early and I didn't go in to labour, induced with ventouse and prepped for CS when DD was born. I don't think i really realised I was actually going to have a baby - as mad as that sounds. And I certainly expected her to be late. I felt trapped as you describe and went on to get PND. ADs helped me to cope and as time went by my DD became a real little person who I now utterly adore -- less so when she was eating mud this morning--

My DH didn't have the complicated feelings I did - he was besotted from the get-go. It almost made it worse - I compared my feelings to his and felt even more crap. But you've been through so much more than your DH. You need time to adjust. Be kind to yourself and don't give yourself a hard time.

Well done for speaking to your HV and making the GP appointment. Big hug.

Greensleeves Wed 15-May-13 14:37:40

OP I don't want to contradict you about your own feelings, but it does sound like PND. Feeling trapped and resentful and wanting to distance yourself from the baby I mean. I reiterate what others have said: three weeks is no time at all, and I would advise you to try and take it one day (or one hour!) at a time and try not to compare yourself to others or to an ideal of how you "should" be feeling.

I felt like I had been hit by a train after I had ds1. It was a shit birth and both of us were in shock. I was so low, I kept having black thoughts, thinking I had effectively died in the hospital and what was left of my life had bee given to the baby. I thought I would never find my way back to myself. He's 10 now and I was so, so wrong about everything - it gets better! It really does.

And you're not a monster, or a bad mother, or even particularly unusual - it is not your fault that you are feeling like this. BrianCox's advice is fantastic, I wish I had had her to talk to when I had ds1.

Make sure you are looking after yourself too - food, sleep, comfort. You're important too.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Wed 15-May-13 16:37:59

Agree with the point greensleeves makes, just because there is no "feeling" of being depressed doesn't mean it can't be PND.

At my worst, before starting counselling and anti-depressants, I went through a few weeks of nothingness, I didn't care enough to laugh, cry, get angry, shout, feel down. I actually told my GP that I didn't care about feeling better because I didn't feel anything anymore.

At that point, I was a shell and quite detached from life.

You have done nothing wrong, this is something that is happening to you, not something you are making happen.

You won't see it yet but you've done brilliantly to get this far and get the ball rolling, that is a.massive step.

Keep talking Xxx

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Wed 15-May-13 16:39:31

thanks Greensleeves for your kind comment, nice to know I don't always talk utter crap wink x

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