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Struggling to adjust to life with baby

(52 Posts)
avocadotoast Mon 13-Jul-15 11:57:39

I'm finding things quite difficult today and am just looking for a bit of hand holding.

DD is 7 weeks old. DH has been back at work for 3 weeks. I'm finding it so difficult to get things done, to find things to do, to get us out and about...

I can't sit in the house all day so I try and find a reason to go out each day but I'm running out of steam. We go to a baby group once a week (well, we try; it starts at 9:30 so sometimes by the time I've got us both ready there's no point going). I end up just going to supermarkets or shops for no real reason and I'm finding it really fucking boring if I'm completely honest.

DD is a joy (most of the time); she has grizzly times of day but sometimes she will be put down. Others, though... She'll settle in her sling but I find it hard to get stuff done around the house with her in the sling (for instance, washing up - my arms just aren't long enough to reach round her to the sink!). I feel like a failure for being at home all day and not being able to even stay on top of day-to-day cleaning, like the washing up, or tidying the living room, or cleaning the bathroom. My mum came and cleaned our bathroom about a month ago and it hasn't had a proper clean since.

DH does do his fair share around the house and we've always split things fairly equally, but I kind of feel like because I'm at home through the day that I should be picking up more of the house stuff IYSWIM.

I just don't feel like I have a life any more. I know being a parent my child comes first now and that is fine. But I never get any time to myself (whereas DH does, which I think I do resent quite a bit). Again it's partly my own doing because I'm breastfeeding so I can't just pass her to someone for a few hours with a tub of formula. DH has a couple of hobbies that he's still carrying on with; one is regular on a Sunday afternoon (which does annoy me because it's one of the only days we have together, and I could do with the extra support), the other more sporadic and usually on an evening in the week. He keeps saying I need to go out and do something for me but I'm just thinking, how? I need to express milk to do that and I just can't find a time in the day that works to be able to build up a stash. DD is too little to have a proper routine yet so I can't just be like "oh, 3pm she'll be asleep so I can pump then."

Argh! Sorry this is so long, I just needed to vent!

BigFluffyHair Mon 13-Jul-15 12:06:08

Bless you. She's only seven weeks old, give yourself a break. Housework can wait. No one expects you to keep ontop of that. She is your priority for the moment. If you manage to get out for a stroll, well done.

Perhaps in the evening can you hand her to DH for an hour and have a bath, nap, read?

I'm 2.5 weeks in with my second. Feeding every hour, just cocooning myself at home with movies boxsets boxsets and cuddles.DH can sort cleaning and food. Luckily Fil takes our two yr old to nursery in the week. Then we share bedtime.

Speak to your DH about his activities,maybe he is willing to cut them down abit?

m33r Mon 13-Jul-15 12:08:24

Hi avacafo I don't have any advice per se except to find some more groups and be a bit over bearing to make friends in the group. I met a bunch of girls and we go out at least once a week for coffee which is the highlight of my week. We also text each other if we're at a loose end: nothing crazy happens - we sometimes go to the supermarket together for nothing...

The housework thing is hard but just try to let go a bit. In a few weeks your LO will be able to sit in a high chair and just watch you (have you tried just sitting her down in a bouncer and getting on with stuff in her line of sight? I thought I couodnmt put my LB down then one day just tried it (was at my wits end) and he sat and watched me quite the thing. He fell asleep watching me reorganise his wardrobe the other day!

Total sympathy re the expressing; having ZERO routine to be able to say 'that'll be an easy couple of hours so I'll go out then / express'. Friends of mine do express while BF in the morning but I couodnmt manage.

It does get gradually better / easier. My LB is 16weeks btw


avocadotoast Mon 13-Jul-15 12:13:01

Thank you both smile I've been managing ok but today just feel very stressed!

DD will sometimes sit in her bouncer but not for very long (she seems to have a very love/hate relationship with it!).

I've met some people at my baby group who are lovely. I just don't want them to feel like I'm clinging to them a bit too much! They all have older children as well and their babies are a little older than mine.

I think I'm going to put DD in her sling and go out for a long walk to clear my head a bit. Hopefully it'll do us both good.

LongLankyLegs Mon 13-Jul-15 12:13:08

Hand hold here. My baby is 1 year old and I've found the change to my life so hard to come to terms with.

If you can, read What Mothers Do by Nancy somebody (can't remember her surname).

I hate the mess and clutter but just try and accept it otherwise you are cleaning like a mad woman all day.

Have as much brew and cake as you can
Oh and watch as much tv/netflix as you can now while baby is young!

LovesYoungDream Mon 13-Jul-15 12:13:35

Have you looked at getting a rocker/bouncer/play gym, can be a real lifesaver for letting baby entertain herself while you do your bits around the house. I ebf too, I can usually get a couple of hours after a feed so I get ready before the feed and as soon as I have finished the feed I hand over lo to dh and go. I don't go too far, just a walk in the local park or a quick meal with a friend. I use the sling when out and about and use the buggy if the weather is bad. Try speaking with your dh about Sunday afternoons rather than letting resentment settle in, he probably is not aware. You may be able to reach a compromise where he goes once or twice a month rather than every week. It will get easier, the early days are always a little tough flowers

Didiusfalco Mon 13-Jul-15 12:22:33

My second is six weeks and honestly the feeding/routine part will settle down, its just that they are very tiny at the moment. when its your first it feels like you are going to be stuck in the house feeding/winding/changing forever but actually it moves on remarkably quickly. Is there any way you could just surrender to it, accept it is hard to get out and get things done for now and enjoy different things? At the moment i am enjoying the snuggly feeds, watching Nashville and Celebrity Masterchef, wandering to local shops and looking at the new flowers in my garden, taking photos of baby (a hobby of mine) using ipod to read while feeding as much easier than a book, and doing a bit of internet shopping wink With my first baby I used free BMD to start tracing my family history. I know this may not be terribly helpful as I have a high boredom threshold, but I think it is easier if you can 'give in' to it for a while.

caravanista13 Mon 13-Jul-15 12:22:53

Don't be too hard on yourself - what you're feeling is entirely normal. Babies are a full time job in their own right - any chores you manage to get done are a bonus. Does your OH know how you're feeling? It sounds as if your new arrival hasn't had nearly as much impact on his lifestyle and perhaps he needs to understand that and make some changes.

avocadotoast Mon 13-Jul-15 12:57:30

No, he does know how I'm feeling. To be fair he is trying to make things easier for me and is trying to suggest ways to help. His main priority seems to be getting me some time to myself though which isn't always that practical!

seaweed123 Mon 13-Jul-15 13:16:42

I recommend baby cinema screenings. I remember seeing a really good Tom Cruise sci-fi film when my DC was around that age, and it felt amazing to do something so "normal", even if I was breastfeeding the whole way through. I did that loads.

Also swimming is great fun, and feels like a proper day out, even though you are only in the pool for 20 min when they are so small. I tried to go to a group or do an activity every day (e.g. free ones at libraries), and even if I was running so late that I only got there for the last ten minutes, I still went, if only to see if anyone wanted to get a coffee afterwards.

In a month or so, you will probably find a routine where you will be able to express a bit, if you can be bothered.

I found it really hard to do much housework until my DC was big enough to go on my back in the sling. I just had a bare minimum of stuff I wanted to get done every day - less than 30 min of effort - and did it in dribs and drabs when I could.

CultureSucksDownWords Mon 13-Jul-15 13:36:45

I was about to suggest baby cinema screenings, but I see Seaweed has beaten me to it! I used to go regularly to my local cinema for these, and saw loads of films when I was on maternity leave. My DS would feed and sleep mostly and it was very nice to go and do something for me.

If you are feeling stressed, I think it would be reasonable to ask your DH to take a break from his Sunday hobby for a few weeks. You can't take time away so easily, so instead you need support from your DP so that the burden isn't on you all the time.

WorkingBling Mon 13-Jul-15 13:44:16

Bless you. It's so hard. You sound like me with DS. With DD, I cut myself a LOT more slack. It's okay to sit on the couch and watch netflix if the baby is unsettled. It's okay to only get the bare minimum done.

My DH also was always suggesting ways to get time to myself. And in a way, that's lovely. But if its the housework that's stressing you out, I'd suggest asking him to stay home and do a couple of uninterupted hours of cleaning while you take the baby. Or, a small task every evening or whatever. It's hard, as he probably also wants time with the baby, but there must be a way to compromise on this.

Also, do you have friends with babies? It's always worth arranging to meet up. Coffees and lunches got me through that first 3 months with my first!

pommedeterre Mon 13-Jul-15 13:50:00

My lifeline was always my mum friends that i met when dd1 was 3 weeks old!

Ask them for meeting up, these pre moving times are the best for coffee and cakes and hanging with friends. Box sets on tv also good for those feeding times.

Any chance of affording a cleaner for a couple of months?

I promise you that you are very far from the first new mum to feel like this.

Congratulations on your baby!

pommedeterre Mon 13-Jul-15 13:50:55

Also second any baby thing going, free ones at library, all the local stay and chat and put in a donation one. I went to literally everything. Weighing clinic every week etc!

EeekEeekEeekEeek Mon 13-Jul-15 14:08:56

Yeah, I recognise a lot of this! It's tough. My daughter is 8 weeks old, our first child, and the mental adjustment I've had to make to cope with this new life is massive.

House stuff: I totally know what you mean about feeling responsible for it, it's because you're in the house all day. It's really difficult to look at a dirty house for 8 hours and it not get you down. But you're not responsible for all the cleaning, you're doing a full-time job already.

I have to say that I think your DH needs to drop at least one of the hobbies and give you some help. I'm not saying he's being selfish, just that maybe he doesn't realise what life's like for you looking after the baby all day every day, and how much of a difference a Sunday afternoon would make. I mean, in half a day you can clean an entire house. Either he can do it, or he can hold the baby and you can get it done. That way you can start the week with a clean house, feeling calm. It'll be a bit shit for him to give up his hobbies, but honestly, they're luxuries. A half day and an evening a week is a lot of time when you've got a baby.

Alternatively, can your mum come more often? Or can you arrange a rota with friends who have kids? A mate of mine has two friends with babies, and every week they meet at one person's house and mind that person's baby while they get some stuff done. Don't be uncomfortable asking for help if it's on offer. People who've had kids know what it's like and are usually very sympathetic! It feels weird, I know, but people love to help.

Or there's the classic MN suggestion: can you afford a cleaner? smile I don't have one myself but a friend told me she pays £20 a fortnight for a lady to come and do the basics at her house. Could be very useful. Again, if it's an option don't feel bad about doing it.

Expressing: yes, it's an arse, but it's the key to freedom. Any time the baby's down, whack out the pump, whack it on a breast and get going. If you have a whole day at home you'll probably be able to get half a feed or so frozen, and get into the habit of thinking about when you can express. Once you've got a couple of feeds in the freezer, you've got a kind of 'rolling stock' system going: because when you give the bottle your breasts will keep filling, you'll be able to express loads after the gap in which you weren't feeding, and you can store the excess in the freezer again. (You don't have to 'pump and dump' after drinking, just make sure you've left a long enough gap for the alcohol to metabolise out of the milk. It's about 1 unit per hour).

Good luck, and I really hope things get better flowers

avocadotoast Mon 13-Jul-15 14:34:28

Thank you everyone. Some useful tips there!

I'm feeling a bit more positive this afternoon. DD has somehow been asleep for two hours without being strapped to me(!) so I've managed to get some milk expressed and do a bit of tidying up. I'm hoping to nip out this afternoon to get some breast milk storage bags for the freezer.

I'd love a cleaner but I don't think we could really afford it (and I actually think my mum would throttle me if we got one! She loves cleaning, I just don't want to take advantage by asking her to do any here).

I don't really know anyone with babies unfortunately (well, one person, but I don't know her very well). I'm the first in my immediate friendship circle to have a baby so it's a bit tough!

museumum Mon 13-Jul-15 14:41:37

Once a week for a baby group would not have been enough social contact for me. At that age I went to post-natal pilates (a lovely class where you bring your baby along and everybody's free to stop and feed whenever).
I did buggy bootcamp which was on twice a week but only one timeslot worked for me, i'd feed just before and ds would mostly sleep through it.
I met up with friends from ante-natal yoga once a week and I know a lot of them did post-natal yoga with babies.
And then there was weigh-in clinic which could be a morning out in it's own right blush
And bookbugs at the library even though ds was far too young to notice what was going on but it was nice to watch people with slightly older babies interacting.

So basically, I was out for part of each day.. and felt no guilt about leaving the housework till weekends or evenings and sharing with dh.

EeekEeekEeekEeek Mon 13-Jul-15 14:54:35

Your mum loves cleaning? Take advantage! Take advantage now! grin Seriously, if you get on well with your mum and she wants to help ( and isn't frail or too busy), ask her to give you a hand. I'm not someone who often asks for help so I know how weird it feels to do it when you're used to being a 'coper', but there's nothing wrong with needing a hand. You need a good support network when you have a baby. My MIL comes down weekly and she is a star. Life would be so much more difficult without her.

You can order breast milk storage bags online by the way. Saves you a trip out. I use the Lansinoh ones, they're good.

EeekEeekEeekEeek Mon 13-Jul-15 15:02:56

Oh, and I do feel for you being the first in your friendship circle to have a baby. It must be really tough. I hope you meet some people through your activities that you can talk to about life with a baby. It's really important, if only to vent when things are rubbish and find that it's hard for everyone and you're not alone. Of course MN's good for that too! smile

LHReturns Mon 13-Jul-15 17:47:02

I absolutely could have written your OP avocado, just not as elegantly. And JEEZ I wish I had taken Didiusfalco's advice...GIVE IN TO IT. My DS is now 13 months, and this time a year ago I was a basket case. Also EBF, but making the BIGGEST song and dance about all the things I couldn't control any more and couldn't do.

I wish wish wish wish I had just sat in the sofa, breastfed, watched DVD box sets, eaten cake, snoozed, and told everyone to bugger off. Instead I was trying to make plans, to pump like a mad woman, to go out for dinner, to lose weight, and to do so many baby things that were not for me (a few baby groups were fine, by personally I was never interested in meeting with a bunch of other new mums...I was too busy mourning my past life).

I should have hibernated and bloody enjoyed it. I certainly would now I am tearing around like a nutter trying to be a good mummy, get my career back to what it was, keep fit, and run a household. I now realise those first 3 months or so were a special, unique, and oh-so-brief time. It didn't matter that it wasn't exactly me, and I missed out because I was fighting it every step of the way.

Thurlow Mon 13-Jul-15 17:54:12

I'm going to whisper this, but I found a few friends through the rival site that shall not be named! Their meet-up page was a bit more active and I found a few people who didn't know many people with babies and met up with them for a coffee. Some stayed friends, some we didn't hit it off, but it's another place to meet people.

At 7 weeks a lot of other mums won't be out and about. I was, I was like you, stir crazy at home. But they'll start emerging soon. You do have to make an effort. It's awkward at first but if I started chatting to someone nice at a group I'd sort of casually ask where they lived, and if they were near me I'd suggest having a coffee one afternoon. It feels embarrassing at first but I think a lot of people feel awkward but do want to try and make new friends.

If you find a few groups, and a few friends, you soon get to spread things out over the week and settle into a routine of having at least something to do most days. And that really helps, if you're not a 'happy at home' mum.

avocadotoast Mon 13-Jul-15 18:34:26

LH I know I should just be resting and enjoying it but my goodness I get so bored! If I sit in front of the TV all day I feel like my brain has melted. I got really into knitting while I was pregnant but I haven't picked up my needles since DD was born as it's not something I can do one-handed! Maybe I can give it a go with her in the sling.

On the plus side I did root around under the bed earlier and found my Kindle (while looking for something else entirely...). Perusing Amazon for some new reads as we speak smile

Skeppers Mon 13-Jul-15 18:38:40

Buy an Xbox/PS4. Seriously. You can lose daaaaaaaays! grin

pommedeterre Mon 13-Jul-15 18:55:28

Ask your mum!!! Ask your mum!!!

I spent quite a bit of time with my mum with dd1, it was lovely to have her around.

I was the first in my friendship group too - it is weird. Then it was good because they had babies and I knew all about it and had an older one (although doesn't apply so much when you have 3 in 4.5 years, ahem).

LHReturns Mon 13-Jul-15 19:33:36

Avocado I really really do understand...I became a twitchy crazy woman, I couldn't sit still, I couldn't relax. My obsession with pumping was frantic because it was something I could control, and subconsciously was creating myself freedom to go and do all these things I used to do, that I dreamt of doing while I was pregnant (I didn't like pregnancy either btw).

I also never enjoyed time to myself because I felt it was so short and I was worried about my DS the moment I got in the bath, or went to a coffee shop or dinne or shops. So all these things I was pumping for I wasn't really enjoying anyway.

You are totally self aware, totally see what is happening to you. At some point your house will be clean and tidy again, and will probably bother you until that moment. That is just something to endure.

It doesn't sound like you really resent your husband keeping a couple things for him going...I didn't either. I didnt want my DP to go mental just because I found it all so hard. There wasn't a whole lot he could do to solve my particular worries. I'm not sure a new mother could enjoy a couple hobbies the way a new father can, and maybe that's ok. Now he is a year my bond with my son (which took time to develop) is utterly devoted in both directions, and I don't think a father enjoys that upside either.

All I would say is now a year on I look back at last summer (I only EBF for 3 months because I decided I was so trapped by feeding) and it now seems such an over reaction. I am a completely different person now regardless of how I managed those early months. I wasn't going to sit in the sofa forever, but I really should have done for a bit.

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