7 week old...please help!(23 Posts)
I have a 7 week old baby girl who was born two weeks early. Today we have both spent most of the day in tears. I am breastfeeding which has also been a struggle but was finally getting better and less painful.
She has never been great at napping during the day but in the last week and a half things have got even worse. She has silent reflux which we are on medication for and I thought she was having a growth spurt as she has been back to feeding hourly but now I think that's more for comfort than genuine need. I can tell she is tired and when I see her sleepy cues I try to get her down for a nap but it rarely works unless she is in the sling and even then in the afternoon she won't always go to sleep in that either. We then end up spending our afternoons in a vicious cycle of her feeding for comfort but then struggling with wind and wanting to feed again and becoming increasingly unsettled and unhappy. It is also sending my supply crazy with the hourly feeding some days and then not others and I am often painfully engorged. This then makes the next feed even worse with her gulping too much and struggling with the fast letdown. At night we are lucky if we get a 3 hour stretch sometimes it's just 30 minutes. We swaddle and use white noise, she will usually not take a dummy but i haven't tried the cherry shaped.
I know you aren't supposed to compare but my friends with the same aged babies seem to be experiencing improvements in the length of sleep etc and I feel like a truly rubbish mum for what seems like regressing in every area. We started a vague routine using the EASY plan but she likes to feed to sleep generally so that's become impossible as well. I don't know if we should have a routine or not or what is best but at this point I would try anything.
We used to get out everyday because the car and a trip out would break up the feeding cycle but the last few times she has been so tired and unsettled she has had huge meltdowns in public and I know feel anxious and scared to leave the house which I don't think is helping.
I am concerned this is affecting my mental health because today I thought about just driving away which I feel absolutely awful for. I know this is bad and I feel so guilty for even thinking it.
Sometimes we have these lovely moments where she smiles and giggles and I feel this overwhelming love for her but I feel like I can't make her happy and she deserves someone better. I don't know what to do next or how to make things better.
Will things get better? Is there anything I can do better? I feel so alone.
Aw op have some. Sounds like you're a fantastic mum! I know it doesn't seem like it at the moment but it will get easier. 7 weeks is still early to have some sort of routine so just hang in there! If she's happy in the sling try and get out for a good walk. The fresh air will do you both some good. I remember those days just thinking you can't do anything right but it does get better. Do you have a supportive DH/DP around? Maybe to just sit with the baby whilst you go a get a break for half an hour? Just a quick coffee or a walk around a shop may make you feel vaguely human again. Good luck x
I don't have any advice on the reflux part but with the BF thing, just go with it. Also my DS slept only on me for a long long time (and I mean months) so I just went with it.
Have you had any advice/medication for reflux?
Whereabouts are you? Sure a friendly MNetter would be happy to meet and cuddle/rock baby while you drink a hot cup of tea.
Both of my DSs had a screamy unsettled few weeks at around that age.
It will pass! Keep feeding on demand. When feeding doesn't calm her, try a little walk outside or into another room - or even just open a window and stand there and cuddle her whilst you both breathe some fresh air. Or, try giving her a bath, or stripping her down for a massage. Put on some calming music, lie down with her to feed. Breathe slowly and deeply, she will be calmer then too.
I'd also recommend the Wonder Weeks app, it can tell you a lot about stages of development that cause these changes (hope mn are ok with plugging alternative apps?!).
You poor poor thing. My daughter is 14 weeks now and I definitely have had days where I've battled to get her to sleep & it's felt like we've both cried all day. It's entirely understandable that you are feeling low.
On the days where my daughter was extra clingy - and she still has them - I just do whatever I need to do to get through the day, including letting her have her naps on me for comfort, then getting back into her usual naps in the sleepyhead when she's a bit more settled. At 7 weeks I would say it's really too early for any kind of routine...right now it sounds like she just wants you. If she wants to feed for comfort then I'd let her, I understand its difficult if you're feeling cooped up & want to get out. If it's any consolation when my daughter was going through her fussy phases I would avoid doing anything in public with her as I felt like her temperament was on a knife edge at all times & she would be teetering on the edge of a meltdown, I can completely empathise. She's definitely a lot more relaxed now & I don't feel half as stressed in public as I used to a few weeks ago, and I'm sure your little one with improve as she grows too.
You're doing great, it's a bloody hard job being a mum to a newborn, especially one that's going through a challenging period. I bet every single mum on here has felt the same as you at one point or another, please don't think you are alone my love. If you are concerned about your mental health then it's really important you speak to your health visitor or gp so they can help you through this tricky spot.
Hang in there - this will pass, I promise xx
It's not you and YES things will get better. Some suggestions:
Talk to your partner and to anyone who is sympathetic and nice and makes you feel good. Don't talk to anyone else. If they're not helpful then you don't need them right now.
Don't compare! Those other mums have had their own problems or will have theirs to come. They do not have magic anti-reflux spells, they are just luckier than you right now. Don't compare.
Do whatever you can to get some sleep. Can your partner have baby in the sling for some time in the evening/night so you can get some solid sleep? Can someone take her out for a walk in the day? Failing all else nap when she naps, abandon all housework, just feed yourself and her and sleep. Repeat even after you start to feel better. You have a lot to catch up on, don't think "oh I feel better after that nap I'll just vacuum", think "oh I feel better after that nap I'll have another one".
Your DD is fine. Seriously she is. It's you that needs the TLC. You are finding this hard because it is fucking hard. It's okay to be finding it hard.
It will pass. Keep seeing your doctor about the reflux, ask for help for yourself if you feel you're not coping, keep getting through the days, and it will pass.
Oh I'm so sorry you are having a tough time. Please don't worry, the first few weeks are littered with really tough bits and you can feel like you're going crazy because you're so tired. Don't worry too much about routine etc just do whatever works to get through. Also there are certain weeks where it all goes hay wire because of developmental leaps. Have a look for free app called Wonder Weeks. Every time my baby is being challenging it coincides with one of these leaps. It really helps to know there's a reason and baby is not "broken!!" It all suddenly gets a lot easier around 8 weeks. Use the sling, surrender to the cuddling and feeding as much as you can..... feed lying down if you can so that you can rest. It can be so tough and relentless at first but it will change. Anything that works is good at this stage!! Don't worry about a routine at the moment especially if it's making you feel it's not going right. The more you can relax the more baby will relax. Just curl up, watch tv, drink tea, nest! Your baby just wants to be close to you. Try skin to skin contact in bed if you feel anxious etc. Don't feel lonely ..... we are all here for you and so many other mamas are feeling the same way. Lots of love..... you're doing brilliantly x
Oh god I can remember those days. Awful! I promise it will get better. How are her BM? The reason I ask is my DD was like this and it turned out she was intolerant to dairy
Hey lovely, hang in there! DD (10 months) was exactly the same.
Try to hand express some milk out first to get past that heavy let down (or let her start then once it starts coming take her off for a few seconds and express into a muslin/towel/--odd sock-- )
I assume you're doing all the usual raised bed etc to help with the reflux? My DD got a lot better when I also reduced my dairy intake.
What meds is she on? Beware of Gaviscon, it gave my DD awful constipation 😓
We had some cranial osteopathy done on our dd which seemed to settle her loads when she was about 8 weeks.
I'm sure there'll be loads more knowledgeable folk along soon, in the meantime
As others have said, this will get better. I promise you it will. We've all been there - on our knees with tiredness, a Velcro baby, the endless nights - it's torture but it does get better. All mine have had a fussy spell weeks 6-8. With my newest LO I honestly felt I couldn't go out of the house for those two weeks. He cried EVERYWHERE, at EVERYTHING. Those first 12 weeks are just a fuzz of getting by and you have to do what you have to do to come out the other side. The old mumsnet mantra 'this too shall
Pass' is so so true. With DS2 I remember thinking at around 10 weeks 'that's it, this child will never sleep. He'll be in my bed forever. He'll never nap for more than 20 minutes. We're doomed!' Less than 5 months after that he was having 2 big naps a day and sleeping 12 hours. This may take longer for you, but what I'm trying to say is, it all sorts itself out eventually. Keep posting OP. I'm still doing a night feed at the mo so if you need to vent/chat/cry, chance are I'll be here. Oh and chocolate, you can't go wrong with chocolate x
Being a new mum is very overwhelming. Poor you. I remember when mine were that age I woke up and cried that I wanted to send them back (where to, I'm not sure) and wondered why anyone has children, but it does get better.
Don't worry too much about routine and napping - a paediatrician at UCLH told me babies can't differentiate between night and day before three months as they have no concept of the circadian clock - so just go with what they want, feed on demand, cuddle them and try to relax. Best advice ever.
Make your life easy get a bottle of water and settle down with some good boxsets at home, don't compare your baby to friends' babies. Sleep when your baby sleeps it gets better.
In terms of the reflux contact National Breastfeeding Support Network for advice on reflux or go and see your GP and get some infant Ranitidine or something. Don't struggle on in silence. Good luck and congratulations - I'm sure your DD is lovely, enjoy the cuddles on your chest, that period is so short and so lovely.
Oh and yes to gaviscon giving constipation. Give LO a drop of gripe water (from 8 weeks I believe?), it helps massively x
we are all here for you and so many other mamas are feeling the same way. Lots of love..... you're doing brilliantly x
Bloody love mumsnet!
: this too shall pass
Sling & walk is the best thing. Two of mine need/ed to be very cool to fall asleep which meant dressing them very lightly for the sling
& ignoring the people tutting at the lack of a hat one likes to be part boiled before he would sleep.
BF wise all mine were like that mostly due to useless at falling asleep rather than reflux but trapped wind was a major issue (& can be caused by the gulping down with a fast let down) . Abdominal massage helped the wind. Supply was kept under control eventually
third child by block feeding (keep offering only one side for a 2/4/6 hour period before swapping - see Kelly mom).
7 weeks is an awful age! My DD is 6 months now and I still shudder when I think of 7 weeks (she also has reflux). This is when crying often reaches its peak - have you read the Wonder Weeks or got the app? It explains how they go through a huge development phase/growth spurt at this age which can send them a bit doolally. Worth a read while you're feeding - it might help keep you sane! Remember, this too shall pass. Good luck mama xx
Oh bless you OP
Your little girl is EXACTLY how my son was. The first 8 weeks of trying to establish breast feeding were horrendous and I was frequently in tears both day and night. He was diagnosed with silent reflux at 8 weeks old and was started on Ranitidine - is this what your daughter is on?
My DS would breast feed constantly and would only sleep when fed to sleep but this is completely normal for newborns so please don't think you or she are doing anything wrong by doing this. He would feed 13-14 times a day for 30-40 minutes at a time, would cluster feed between 11pm-2am every night and I never got more than 1.5-2 hours sleep at a time. It was so hard.
The first 10 weeks of DS's life were very difficult and upsetting and my health visitor was quite concerned about me at one point. I had moments where I shouted at DS, where I thought about just walking out and when I felt like I hated him but I was just absolutely exhausted. I felt like nothing I did made him happy, I felt clueless and I was generally so unhappy. Me and DH started arguing a lot too because of how exhausted we were and that didn't help either.
By the time DS hit 10-12 weeks old things seemed to get a little easier, his reflux settled down, his feeding patterns became less erratic and he started sleeping for 3 hours at a time overnight and so slowly things started returning to normal.
You may not feel like it but you are doing brilliantly. All we can do is cope the best we can and I think that's what a lot of us do in those first few months, just cope with one day at a time and accept that we may be clueless but we are doing our best, just like you are.
What you're experiencing and feeling is completely normal, we've all been where you are so please don't feel alone. Come and talk to us whenever you need support or sympathy
Hello OP, you are not a rubbish mum and you are not alone. You poor thing, you're having a really tough time.
My daughter is 7 weeks too and also wants to feed constantly and be held all the time. She gets very upset sometimes and cries and cries and I don't seem to be able to make her feel better (with my son I remember being able to comfort him better). And we're lucky that we don't have reflux to deal with. I know that's extremely tough for mum and baby.
I agree with the advice above not to compare. I didn't do NCT this time as, for all that's great about it, I do remember feeling a lot of anxiety and insecurity over how well I thought everyone else was doing.
Something I did with my son when we were struggling or I was overwhelmed was to get into bed with him just in his nappy and me just in knickers and snuggle skin to skin and feed and doze together.
I also thought he deserved someone better, but I promise you, you are all she wants and everything she needs. It's just a really tough time. You are doing brilliantly.
Sending you love and a big hug xx
At this stage, so whatever you need to do to get her to sleep:
Feed to sleep and let her nap on you
Feed lying down in your bed and both of you can nap
Part of BF is feeding for comfort but at this stage, you just need to offer on demand and not worry too much about whether it's comfort or hunger. Frequent feeding is also part of this (building supply, growth spurt, developmental leap, etc) but again, continuing to feed on demand will sort this out.
Good luck. It will get easier!
Thank you all SO much for you responses. I wasn't expecting to get any replies at all but I have been so overwhelmed by the responses I have had. You don't know how much this thread has helped me to see that this is temporary and I'm not a bad mum. I really, really needed to hear that.
My DH is brilliant with dd and takes her when he comes home so I can do other things or makes me food and sorts the house out. He tells me all the time how good I am and that I can do this but it is hard when I am at home on my own. He gets up with me at night too and changes dd and then burps her after I have fed her. He has also been trying to give me a head start on sleep too but I want him to rest at night as well so that he can be rested to support me when I'm an emotional mess.
I took your advice and when dd was fussy I put her in the sling and took the dogs out for a walk which really helped and she fell asleep. She's not napped for long today but has napped regularly and was very calm when I went for coffee with my sister. She slept on me and fed and we had no screaming meltdowns which has helped the anxiety about leaving the house a bit. Last night was better, we got two stretches of 2 hours 50 which is a ton better than it has been.
Tonight is hard. She is fussy with wind and I think and can't decide whether she wants to feed or not but feeding seems to be making her more uncomfy and now she's overtired and can't sleep. DH has taken her for a while to see if he can settle her. It's making me dread tonight a bit.
Thank you for your advice about not trying to implement a strict routine. That has really helped me today and I have been less stressed. I cant sleep during the day because she will only sleep on me or in the sling but I did try lying down feeding earlier which was nice to just relax although dd wouldn't settle like that I think because the silent reflux makes her uncomfy. We were given ranitidine to try last wednesday and I think it is helping. Any tips for lying down feeding? Dd found it hard to latch on and wasn't putting much of my boob in her mouth?
I can't express what a lifeline this thread has been for me. You are all so, so kind. Thank you.
Glad it was a bit better.
I co slept and just fed on my side and it was fine
not sure if my small boobs helped
Good that you tried laying down to feed. I lay down with DS (7m) whenever I can, pretty much all the time!
I have him on a little folded flat quilt (it's thin-ish cotton, not filled) with a muslin over it so he's on a firm-ish surface. This means he is more supported and he doesn't sink into me as much.
It helps the latch to make sure that he isn't positioned too low or too high along my body. I try to make sure his neck is in a neutral line and sometimes need to hold my breast (with the opposite hand) until he's really got going. I think you and dd may just need to get used to it. She's probably used to you holding her body as she feeds, and the latch may feel different too I guess.
It's really been a life saver for me with both DSs!
With feeding lying down I always tuck a blanket or told up muslin behind dd to keep her head in line with her body, otherwise she rolls on her back and her head is twisted (make sure there's nothing restricting the back of her head though so she can move/adjust as and when).
If you have got big boobs you can always use a rolled up cloth under the side of your boob to bring it up to baby's mouth level (mine sort of sag into the mattress). Go with nipple to nose so that baby slightly tilts head back to latch on, within a few months they'll be hunting out that nipple pretty much independently!
I tuck my arm under the pillow so my head is resting on it, my other hand I tuck in-between my thighs, a midwife showed me this position as it lessens the risk of rolling if, god forbid, you fall sleep feeding.
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