4 week old and never leave the house...(42 Posts)
My DD is 4 weeks old and while all my NCT mummy friends are merrily taking their babies out for coffee meets and the like, I can't seem to manage to get my self organised to even leave the house. The thought of getting on a bus with the pram terrifies me as does using the car seat (how will I know if she is ok with her facing backwards? What if she is sick, chokes and I can't help her as I am stuck in traffic?). Mobility requires so much effort I'm making excuses not to do it. Also the faff of sterilising bottles to go, bringing formula along, finding somewhere suitable to feed and change her just brings me out in a cold sweat. Am I alone? Everyone else seems to be managing so well. Is this normal at 4 weeks or am I being ridiculous?
You have to get out the house. For your own mental health or you'll go stir crazy.
Start small. Go for a walk in the pram. Are there parks, coffee shops, softplay within walking distance? Or even to a friends house where you can relax? Wash bottles, sterilise, pack the change bag, powder etc and go. Take your time, write a checklist and tick it off as you pack. Then just go. Or even ask a friend to come over and go through it all with you so they can help if baby starts crying.
Could you try starting with something smaller, like a short walk from your home with the pram? And then build up to longer trips in cars / buses etc? Or taking a friend / relative with you the first few times, until you're feeling a bit more confident?
Re. How do you know she's okay in a rear facing car seat - we had a mirror (made by Lindam) strapped to the head rest facing the car seat, so I could glance in the rear view mirror and see baby reflected. Obviously you can't stare in it, but it's useful to have a quick look if you're stopped at a red light or suchlike.
Start by just doing a short walk around the block (assuming you're somewhere you can do that). Pack your change bag and leave it packed all the time. If you use something in the change bag when out, replace it as soon as you get back in so that the bag is always ready. Then all you need to do to leave the house is put your DD in the pram, grab the bag and go. Maybe get some of those little cartons of formula for going out so you don't need all the paraphernalia. You can even get little ready made bottles with a disposal one-use teat. Anything to make it easier for now.
Then work up to going on longer trips. I didn't go out in the car on my own for ages as having had a c section I couldn't actually lift the car seat!
For the first six months I went out once a day only. Baby in carrier, walked dog to corner shop, bought paper and a drink or chocolate bar, home again. It wasn't far, took about twenty minutes, but we got out and I felt confident as we were near home. Don't put too much pressure on yourself
What happens on the weekend? Is dp around and do you get out then? Use the time when there's two of you around to get yourself a getting out of the house routine.
Time your trips around feeds with whatever you are more comfortable with eg straight after feed- wind- nappy change then go, or prep a feed, head to a cafe / park bench and go.
always repack your change bag when you get back (obviously within reason not if your baby is crying etc! But as soon as you're able refill with anything you used that outing. That way you don't need to waste time getting it ready when you've got a chance to get going).
If any friends/ family visit who are sympathetic, explain how you feel and that you're a bit nervous going out and do it with them so you have back up. Good luck, it will get easier! Oh, and EVERY baby poos just as you're going out of the door (it's THE RULES )
Sorry am typing with left thumb whilst dc3 feeds. And I took so long I have x-posted with others and just repeated what's already been said! Good luck anyway x
Definitely do some practice runs when DP can come with you. I made DH come on my first bus journey. I always found it easier to use a sling when using public transport, as I didn't have to lift and there wasn't a space issue. Also, look up in advance where changing rooms are, near to where you are going.
You can get a mirror for the car which attaches to the back seat and allows you to see baby in the rear view mirror. I found this a life saver, as I could glance back when I stopped at junctions etc. alternately, and this doesn't suit everyone, what about putting the car seat on the passenger seat (airbag off)?
Getting out is really important for your well being. Could you maybe instigate a meet-up with your NCT group, suggesting a location you would be most comfortable with?
Thanks all..I've summoned up the nerve for the odd walk around the streets every few days where we live but I don't enjoy it if I am honest...I was just dying to get home. I'm a proper outdoorsy type as well so this is quite out of character! DH has weekends off and its nice having the company - he is great - helps with feeding and changing but I don't really want to go out when he is here either! I'd rather we just hung out in the house . We had three weeks of endless visitors too which I found really draining so now when anyone asks if they can come over, I make excuses. Gosh - just writing this I know I need to get a grip...
If you are finding the pram hard, have you got a sling? It might be easier to stick lol in that and go for a wander.
I started out with my first DC just visiting friends and family.
You're really not alone, don't panic too much! Babies change so quickly and you'll get to grips with a routine etc so sure you won't feel like this forever.
I pushed myself to get out and about at around 3 weeks but got totally overwhelmed trying to fit in too many thigs and got really narked at everyone I met up with hogging my baby! Sounds like your few weeks of visitors might have overwhelmed you too. So I decided to do one thing a day maximum and relished the time at home. My (baby free) best friend couldn't understand it but I was just perfectly content.
If you enjoy being at home don't worry about it, just make sure you and your baby get fresh air and sunshine regularly.
Work out a place you can go with minimal stress - I found my local John Lewis great as they have easy child parking, changing facilities, cafe all under one roof (and they're always super nice in the cafe and carry your tray).
Agree with PP.
Also your thought processes sound like the start of anxiety. The best way to quash them is to go out.
Have you someone you can go out with? As back up? I took my sister or mum at first!
There are also mirrors to use with rear facing car seats, so you can see them. Usually fast asleep!
And please don't feel you should be going anywhere or doing anything just because others do. Not every new mum will be going out all the time, and of the group of mums you mention, someone else may be feeling just like you but doesn't want to admit it.
Dc3 is 10mo now. I'm only just starting thinking I should probably start taking him to a couple of baby groups of some description, swimming and the library probably to start with. He's a happy little baby, but when strangers shout in the pram at him he does get upset (don't blame him, I would too!) so I think interaction with other babies where it will likely be loud, may well now be of benefit to him. Don't think it would have before, and to be honest, I just love being at home with him!
I tried a couple of toddler groups with ds1 and dd and found them so cliquey I never bothered again.
So deep breath, and just take one day at a time. Maybe on a Sunday think of one or two things you might do that week and plan how you can make them easy and enjoyable.
Oh, and if you don't already do it, now is the time to start online shopping for your groceries (well, and everything else if it makes your life easier!) that way, the supermarket can become a place to pop to as your trial runs. They've always got accessible changing facilities, cafe, and usually a few crying babies, so nobody bats an eyelid. You could maybe pop in, buy a magazine, bubble bath, chocolate (basically a treat for yourself!) and know you can leave at any point if you're not comfortable.
it IS difficult but it only gets easier through practice, you'll figure out your own routines for going out just like everything else. NCT people or anyone else with a baby is probably good company to begin with because theyll know where theres easy changing facilities etc. But one day you'll be doing nappy changes in the backseat of the car and wonder what all the fuss was about
Have you got a mirror in the car? They attach to the headrest of the seat the car seat is in and then you can see the baby. John lewis is a good bet for an easy trip out if you have one? Excellent facilities, nice staff and a good cafe. Bottles stay sterile for 24 hours so you should just need to fill one and put it in a bag and go?
Is the worrying about what might happen helping? It probably isn't, so try and just make a plan and go. The longer you leave it the more you will imagine and the harder it will be. The worst thing that happens is the baby screams non-stop and then you come home and no harm done.
You do need to push yourself, or it's going to become harder the longer you leave it. What are your NCT friends doing? Could you arrange to meet one for a coffee or are they going to Mum and baby groups you could go along to? Usually they are held in church halls.
Get yourself preped, your DC will be fine in the car seat, if it's only a short drive to someone else's house/coffee shop/nearby church hall, then even if she's sick, you'll be able to change her quickly. Or try to arrange a meet up somewhere you can walk to.
Think how likely you'll need more than one bottle in that time, not much! Can you sterlise a bottle, close it up then take a carton of ready made formula with you. Or remember that the bottle is 'good' for 2 hours after made up, so make before you leave and take with you ready. Don't plan whole days out to start with.
Please go out,
Your thought process now sounds very much like mine did after my 1st child, it is the start of anxiety and you must nip it in the bud.
I went out a few times with him but it was such a hassle and by 6 weeks I stopped going out because I couldn't face that hassle and now anxious it made me feel... and have never again, in nearly 8 years, gone out alone with my children.
I know this sounds extreme, but I was the most outgoing person you have met and I let this anxiety swallow me whole. Don't make the same mistake. Practise at the weekend with your DH to help you, get a mirror for the car and a sling for the bus, practice. Then do it.
Can you ask your HV or check on FB whether there are any local groups you could walk to? At least until you get your confidence up. It will come, but may take time and practise!
Regarding suitable places to feed and change the baby. If you are FF then location is basically somewhere to sit, isn't it? As you can take a flask of hot water. Or is that ignorant? (If so I'm sorry). But libraries are nice warm, sheltered, quiet places to feed and very welcoming to new mums. And shopping centres and baby shops usually have dedicated feeding rooms, as do department stores.
Don't worry about where to change him. New baby poo isn't that bad smelling! I just carry a travel hanging mat/pound shop picnic blanket around and use that.
I would get a baby sling if you haven't one. Far easier for trips on the bus as just get on as usual and sit down, no worrying if there will be pram space. Look up soft structured slings for one that is easy to use, comfortable and lasts newborn- toddlerhood
I know how daunting it can seem to go out with a tiny baby, but I found my son started to get grumpy being in the house all day and getting out did us both the world of good. I tried to make things as easy for myself as possible in the beginning.
I have to admit, the thought of taking the pram on the bus terrifies me still, so I bought a baby carrier and I tend to use that for public transport.
When I first started going into town I tried to think of all the best places to feed and change a baby. Supermarkets tend to have decent rooms. Department stores, some shopping centres and Mothercare have great feeding and changing facilities!
I usually keep a few bottles of the ready made formula in my change bag, and take along some sterilised bottles.
I found my local Children's Centre to be really good, I could walk there and it didn't matter if my baby cried or needed feeding or changing because all the other babies were the same.
I used to find the whole thing terrifying but it does get easier and now my son is seven months we can easily spend all day happily out and about.
I don'y know if the teats are suitable for 4 week olds but the ready made formula bottles seem to have single use screw on teats next to them now in Boots etc, they look really easy to go out with. I would book a class, baby massage is the obvious one but there's probably music, signing, swimming, all sorts. I think there's less of a 'why am I here? please speck to me' element with a class and you'll feel more motivated if you've paid. Once you've been out a few times you'll be an expert
Gosh thanks for all your positive messages and suggestions...I will get a sling for the bus - I think that would be much easier than panicking about pram spaces. I'll get a mirror for the car too....didn't know such a thing existed. And I'll stop making excuses!
Oh I remember feeling like this with DD1. It all seemed so overwhelming, making sure I had everything she might need, worried she'd start crying en route to places and I'd get stressed out. I think the only way to do it is to force yourself, as harsh as it sounds. Make a plan for all eventualities, pack your bag to overflowing, and like other posters say, start small. Whilst it's nice to spend time at home resting, I think it's easy to go a bit stir crazy once I'd had a bit of practice it didn't feel so hard. Second (or is it third?) sling idea, it's nice to have your baby close and you can keep an eye on them easily
The bottles with the single use screw on teats are the same as the ones the hospitals use when people don't have their own formula or bottles with them so they are absolutely fine for new born babies.
When we had our dd that's all we used when we went out, I couldn't be arsed to make up formula and carry water etc. etc. anything for an easy life really. We also bought some for both sets of Grand parents so if we went there we knew there was milk there we could use rather than carry it about.
Agree with pp who said make a bag up and put it aside so you just have to pick it up and go, makes life easier.
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