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Life with new baby - completely overwhelmed(157 Posts)
I had my first baby 3 weeks ago and am really, really struggling with life with a newborn. I read lots before falling pregnant about how hard it is, but even so I don’t think I was fully prepared mentally for how difficult I’d find it.
After feeding and burping him I cuddle him to sleep for about half an hour before putting him down in his cot. In the first two weeks he would stay asleep for a good couple of hours, and I was feeling immensely grateful at what an easy baby I had. That all changed in week 3 and 90% of the time now he will wake up within 30 minutes to an hour and start crying. The only way to soothe him is by picking him up and holding him for ages until he falls asleep or by feeding him more formula. It means I barely have a minute to myself in 24 hours. The only time I do have a moment to myself is when DH takes him in the sling. DH has him now, which is why I’m able to write this post. The sling seems to really soothe him but as soon as DH takes him out he will more often than not start crying again.
I’m worried that I’m misreading his signals and over-feeding formula but how can I know for sure? I’m also worried he may have silent reflux and mentioned this to the midwife, who recommended burping more during feeding and Infacol, but from what I’ve read it doesn’t sound particularly effective. Is it worth trying Infacol and do I need a prescription? Do I need to see a cranial osteopath or a paediatrician and will this cost a lot of money? Does he even need that level of intervention and how do I know if he does?
I’m so ashamed to say this, but I don’t feel bonded to the baby at all. When feeding him I just sit there in silence, have a cry or watch TV - I know I should be singing or talking to him but I’m just so tired and sad. I’m scared of the psychological and developmental effects this lack of bonding could be having on him.
I haven’t been able to take him out the house or even bath him yet because he’s just on a constant cycle of sleep, cry, scream, nappy change, feed, cuddle, sleep, repeat. There’s no window of opportunity to do anything more than that. Taking him for a walk or bathing him both feel like mountains to climb, and I just can’t face it.
DH asked me if I loved him (baby) yesterday and I honestly don’t feel I do. I just miss the peace and ease and freedom of our old life and cuddles with our cat. It makes me so sad that DH and I will never have that again.
All my friends who are mums keep telling me to enjoy this amazing and special time. I just want to scream back at them, it’s not amazing at all, it’s hard and relentless and exhausting! I feel I’ve been tricked into having kids by everyone telling me how wonderful it is, when in fact they knew the truth all along and just wanted me to be in the same miserable boat as them. What’s the expression? Misery loves company. Or maybe it genuinely wasn’t hard at all for them and I’m the only one who’s struggling.
We don’t have any family support as both sets of parents live abroad. I think that makes things even harder.
Honestly if I could turn back time or give him back then I would do so in a heartbeat. When I think about the enormity of what I’ve done, the level of responsibility I have to this tiny person and how my life has changed completely and forever, I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack - so I’m trying not to even think about that. On top of all this we have some serious financial worries due to Covid 19 and I’m frightened that we could run out of money and lose our flat. I just don’t know how I’m going to get through this, I really don’t.
Sorry for the long post. It has helped a little to get it all out.
OP, it sounds like you're experiencing some form of PND and I think you'd really benefit from a chat with your midwife/HV and potentially your GP.
The first weeks are tough but it does get better and you don't need to struggle on alone, there is help on offer.
I will reply properly very shortly but didn't want to read and run. Much of what you said I felt myself in the early days. I also had PND but some of what you're feeling probably isn't related to that, just very normal.
I promise I will be back in an hour or so.
Hi - this is taking me back to when my little one was born last year. I felt exactly the same at this stage. I remember feeling like noone else was feeling this way, and I was completely miserable to the point of being numb to everything. Trust me when I say it gets better!!
I feel a completely different person to how I did then, and feel completely different towards my baby. When he gets to 6 weeks or so and you get that first smile things will turn around.
The support of your partner is really important so see if he can take the baby for a walk and you have a bath or some time to yourself every day?
I think it'll help if you mention to the HV or your GP how you're feeling as they can get you some help. Please do this!
I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this. I can really relate to your post, as i felt similarly. It’s completely normal to feel totally overwhelmed, and the bonding/love doesn’t always come as a rush immediately after birth. I didn’t feel I was even my DTs mother until they were 12 weeks, and whilst I knew I loved them I didn’t feel it until I started on ads when I finally sought help for pnd when they were 8 months.
The newborn bottle feeding cycle is bloody brutal. I found there to be very little time between cleaning and prepping the bottles for the next round in a couple of hours that there was no time for anything else really!
For the sleeping, you could try a white noise app, or a euan the dream sheep which has a heartbeat noise along with random sound. Infacol you can pick up from any supermarket. We ended up switching to dr brown bottles for my ds’s colic and used infacol, gripe water and dentinox in his bottles along with an awful lot of winding and baby massage to help him pass wind. I was told by my hv that i couldn’t really over feed the babies as they’ll take what they need, and if they have too much they’ll just sick it up afterwards.
I spent a fair amount of time wishing for my babies to grow up a bit and to just go to bloody sleep. It honestly will pass so quickly, and you’ll be through it before you know it. I kept muttering to myself that this too shall pass, and it did!
Please keep an eye on yourself and make sure you’ve not got pnd, and if you do please don’t be scared to seek help. I was terrified to do so, and put myself through hell for months.
Same as what the others say, and also don't worry about watching him while he feeds. It won't impact him.
I was very worried with DC2 that I didn't love them like I loved their sibling and didnt seem to bond. I took antidepressants for a few months when she got to 10 months or so and felt immediately better. Now I feel the love very strongly.
Talk to your GP. You don't have to go on medication either, there are other things you can do.
I also don't believe you can over feed, they vomit a bit back up when they're over full. He'll be doing through a growth spurt very very soon.
Sorry you feel like this OP. It is definitely worth speaking to your HV or GP about how you are feeling.
As a side note, I found infacol didn't really work for my baby but Dentinox works almost immediately for trapped wind despite them both containing the same active ingredient. I get mine from Aldi for about £1.60 a bottle. They had loads in the other week so if you have one local to you, it would be worth a look.
If you think reflux is the issue, you can try infant gaviscon. It can be collected over the counter at any pharmacy and is just added straight to the formula feed.
Hang on in there. The first few weeks can feel absolutely awful and you do often find yourself thinking 'what the hell have I done' but they soon settle into more of a routine and it is so worth it. Things got much easier for my baby around week 5 and she is nearly 9 weeks now.
Oh blimey I remember this so well. I was expecting my newborn to just sleep in a moses basket all day, crying every couple of hours for a feed, then back to sleep. She only ever really settled being held / cuddled, and it was exhausting. Obviously I was prepared (and excited!) to cuddle my baby, but I didn't get a second of space, and I just found it awful. I didn't feel bonded either. I remember the HV asking me if I sung to her and I just thought 'why would I do that?'.
I remember sitting in the garden thinking, 'why have we ruined our lovely life like this?'
I did end up being diagnosed with PND, and medicaiton helped me massively.
Other things that just generally helped me settle DD (I switched to formula at 5 weeks)
- Infacol before each feed. It helped her get wind up a lot easier, and wind was a big cause of her discomfort. You can get it in any supermarket. Plenty of burping part way through the feed, and then when they seem to be finished. Then try a little more feed, as sometimes burping makes space in the tummy.
-Swaddle - it replicates the feeling of being cuddled / held. DD was in one called a miracle blanket as she broke free of anything else! DD was also in a sleepyhead for extra cuddle-ness. Not recomended for night sleep now, but it worked so well I may do it again next time round.
-Dummy- I never wanted to use one, but she found it so soothing, and it really helped settle her. I would always use that first if she was unsettled rather than feeding. If she settled with a dummy I knew she wasnt hungry.
-White noise- replicates sounds in the womb (we used waves) and can be calming. Also blocks other noises out that might disturb baby.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. I started to feel better after a couple of weeks of medication, and then over the following weeks, back to normal. DD is 3 now and I absolutely LOVE being a mum. So much so I am doing it all again in August.
Ah OP I feel for you. DS is 16 months now, but I recognise a lot of your feelings from when he was a newborn. I didn't adjust to new parenthood very well at all, but both GP and HV confirmed it was unlikely I had PND. For me it was mainly a constant sense of being overwhelmed, made worse by extreme tiredness.
It'll mean nothing more than words to you at this stage, just like it didn't to me when I trawled Mumsnet reading similar posts a year or so ago, but I promise you it does get better. I also didn't bond very well in the early days, didn't feel much emotion whatsoever, but I love DS to pieces now and marvel at all the things he does.
My advice for now - get outside. I KNOW it's a mental hurdle, but you have to try. Aim for immediately after a feed and change so you've met any immediate needs and then put baby in the pram and just set out for a couple of hours. Chances are baby will sleep and you'll get some time with your own thoughts. It's not sleep, but it's a rest and it helped me massively. More than I'd have ever believed possible.
Most importantly though, don't suffer in silence. Talk to your husband, family, friends and the HV/GP if you feel you need to. You don't need to struggle alone
remember when dd was weeks old i was thinking to myself “i know i love my cat but not sure about this one, yet” . IT IS relentless. Her presence was like overstaying guest that there was no way to get rid off. It took months to feel genuine warmth towards her but even longer to get used to ever-presence. You need to find time only for yourself- can husband help?
You are absolutely not alone at all!
I'm at week 11 now and he is amazing but when I first had him I was absolutely overwhelmed.
No one talks about the physical pain after birth (and I just had a second degree, honestly hand it to anyone with a C section or worse tear) or the mental stress. When you're tired, constant crying and your own thoughts can be the worst. You think you'll pop baby out and it will be all fine, absolutely not!
My OH went back to work when DS was about 3 days old which tipped me. I was absolutely beside myself and spent many a day crying. At the time, I found the changes to my body really difficult (ridiculous since it does such an amazing job) and struggled to comprehend that there would be no more lying on the sofa at night cuddling and definitely no time to just do whatever, whenever. I'm not going to lie, having just a baby for company most of the time means I might come out of this lockdown unable to string a sentence together but when he smiles at me or cuddles me, it's all worth it.
I found the fact that I had no option but to be with him (that sounds horrible but you know what I mean 😂) built my confidence so much and that was half the problem. Your baby will eventually settle and you will find you get into the swing of things. You don't necessarily know what you're doing all of the time but winging it is fine too! Don't put pressure on yourself and make sure you take time out just for you. A hot bath does wonders for me now!
My DS is 21 weeks now and what you said above I thought in the beginning. It was like an out of body experience I was watching myself for those first few weeks. I knew I loved him but it was so so hard. Everything was hard. Breast feeding was terrible until he had his tongue tie snipped. I was up all day and night grabbing naps when I could.
But slowly but surely things changed.
It gets better and easier.
I fell in love with his little face and realised that I would do anything for him, and it was ok that I was feeling sad that life had changed.
I can’t offer much more advice than get your husband in for a serious convo about how you feel and what he has to do to help you. Not ifs or buts but what you need. Keep that communication open. My DH is chief bather, that’s one of his ways of bonding and has always took the lead on bath time. Gives me time to rest before the bed time feed, maybe that would be an option? He does lots of other things too but I think he enjoys that most (DS loves it too!)
Don’t stress about a “routine” yet. I found just getting into writing down what time his feed was and when he went to sleep helped me identify a rhythm and that helped me stay in control.
Oh and I bought a really good baby monitor. It meant I could put him down in another room safe in the knowledge I could see him but be away from him whilst he was asleep too. That was a game changed.
Big hugs ❤️❤️
I hear you.
My baby is 3 and a half weeks today and I totally get what you’re saying.
Do speak to a professional if you can.
Thinking of you.
I'm so sorry you're having such a tough time. You're doing brilliantly! I know it sucks but it will get better.
Before you jump ahead to all sorts of treatments and diagnoses, remember: he's a baby. Things like crying, not wanting to be put down, wanting to sleep on you rather than in his cot, are all really really normal, and not necessarily a sign of needing any special intervention. I know it's really natural to look for a solution to what seems to be a problem - I do it myself with my baby all the time! But I'm actually finding it really helpful to recognise that very often, whatever's happening is just a normal bit of baby behaviour, that won't last forever.
I'm finding taking the baby for a walk in the sling to be really workable - I just shove him in there at about the time he's due for a nap, and he sleeps through the walk (and goes off very easily, which he doesn't always do in other contexts). Maybe that might be a low-key thing you could try, just to get out of the house and feel a bit more like a person?
God I hated having a newborn. It was awful. I can't imagine doing it in this environment. It really does get a million times easier, I promise. You're in the absolute worst bit right now.
Definitely speak to your GP or HV - I had PND and your post rings a lot of bells for me. Anti-depressants changed everything for me.
I'd also consider whether your DS might have a dairy allergy. Feeding little and often and seeming very uncomfortable, plus only settling in the sling all suggests reflux to me. DD had this too and it was awful but much better once we switched to DF formula (took about a week to start working).
I could have written this myself 10 months ago. I thought I had made the biggest mistake of life and I did develop crushing PND and anxiety (not saying you have).
Do anything you can to survive in the knowledge that it will pass and it will get better, but it takes time. The love for your baby will grow over time (a long time in my case!) so don't put any pressure on yourself to feel a certain way. It will not affect your baby. I was very worried that mine would be damaged for life because I didn't bond initially, but she is a lovely, happy little thing now.
The first weeks and months are brutal. Keep talking, keep asking for help and cry whenever you feel like. A lot of women feel like this and don't always admit it to other people.
Oh, and my baby literally lived in the sling for the first 8 weeks because it's the only thing that stopped her crying! She did get more settled eventually.
Massive hugs - we're all here for you
OP I feel you. On a practical level infacol and colief drops helped us, as did sling walks as they helped get trapped wind up. My HV said he would be sick if he was overfeeding. Everything changes, so he might be like this now but there a good chance it'll change in a week or two.
It will get better, it'll get better so fast before you know it life will get so much more normal again. Feeds will space out, you'll be able to leave the house, eventually you'll get your evenings back. Your baby will smile at you and interact with you. You'll be able to do things you enjoy again. Right now it's just survival but it's honestly passes faster than you think.
I found the worse thing was the sheer not knowing what the hell I was doing. I felt like I was waiting for him to scream at me over and over again. I'd have given anything for a nanny. I just didn't want to look after him. As the previous poster says the fact that I had no option but to do it meant that I eventually bonded with my baby. I didn't feel love for him at first, probably for 12 weeks or so. I didn't dislike him but before that I'd have happily let him go to a loving family. I'd have done anything to rewind my decision just to be able to breathe. So be kind to yourself. I didnt have PND but it was just a hard adjustment for me after a difficult birth.
Please don't be afraid to talk to your DP and your health visitor. This is a shit time to have a new baby but don't suffer alone.
I know how you feel and I felt much the same.
I stormed out our house on day 3 in tears and just walked around tesco for a break from the crying, pain, relentless need for me.
People said it would be hard and it was, I don't think I realised that to the full extent. I said the words to my other half 'what have we done we had it so easy before'.
It didn't help that dd was 2 weeks late and I finished work at 37 weeks so overall had 5 weeks off of being heavily pregnant, spending time on my own and not doing a lot.
It does get better though and I truly believe that. I wouldn't worry about over feeding either, I'm not even sure it's a thing tbh.
I hope you feel better soon and hang on in there
I'm back and there's not much else I can add to the wonderful posters above. They've said it all!
I honestly felt similarly to you - and just so you know, the others you talk about who are all "isn't this wonderful" are full of shit. It makes me so mad that so many new mums keep up a pretence when in actual fact, I'm sure it's only a tiny proportion who take it completely in their stride. So many more new mums have the feelings you do and more should be honest.
Ignore all the singing, talking crap. He's too young and only focused on getting the milk out your boob to care what you are doing. There's plenty of time for all that. Honestly, you sound like you are doing fine.
As for PND - mine didn't really kick in until month 3 and was much more "I'm so alone (even in moments of being surrounded by others); I cannot picture a future; overwhelming dread" type thing. If you've got any of those thoughts please see your GP. The meds really helped and you don't need to be on them long term.
The only other thing I'd say is you cannot underestimate HOW long you might need to burp them for!!! TV/film makes it seem like a few seconds of rubbing is all it takes. Sometimes I'd be there for ages until he burped!!!!
He's still so wee - you are feeding and changing him and keeping him alive. That's plenty!!!
I have honestly been in your exact situation. I missed my old peaceful life, thought I'd never get it back. Wished for it back in desperate times during nights of screaming. I used to read forum after forum looking for similar situations and when other mums felt they had come through the other end. I have an 8 month old little girl now and I love her SO much. She sleeps of a night, we have our evenings. She can play with her toys. Please know everything you have said is normal. You're exhausted, you have to cuddle your baby to sleep (I used to struggle with this) and they feed often and can be generally unhappy little souls as they adjust to new life. Infacol did nothing for us, but switching to comfort milk did. Lactose is broken down so easier on their little bellies. It's so tough isn't it, but i remeber by 2 months old I already felt more positive, and by 4 months I was enjoying mum life mostly. I still have bad days. You will get through this, you will bond. I never hid my feelings and spoke to my partner, my mum, my hv, my friend. Talk about it, make it normal, because trust me it is x
I have an almost 2 year old and honestly I felt the same in those first few weeks (and months).
DH and I even turned to each other at one point and were like "wtf have we done?!"
Remember you are not alone and a lot of people feel like this. Not great I know but going from 0 children to 1 is massive deal.
The sleep deprivation etc. Is horrendous and the not having time to think or problem solve. Even if you have a tough line of work they give you at least 8 hours to sleep!
It sounds like you are doing a sterling job and giving your newborn all they need, food, nappy change, comfort and sleep. The talking and all that jazz will come later.
Honestly you are not depriving your baby of anything. You are their mum and that enough.
To feel a bit more normal I used to find putting baby in a sling, going for a walk and listening to the unmummsey mum audiobook made feel much better - she talks about how shit (and later how sometimes great) it can be.
Sounds like your baby may be having an extended "witching Hour". Ours used to do this for about 1-2 hours from around 5-7pm everyday from 5-7 weeks. We could never figure out what it was 🤷🏻♀️but it stopped.
It will feel like forever but they change at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks etc. Time will pass and it will get better. But when you are in it you can think that people haven't really understood what you're going through and are just saying that. They aren't. It really does. And if it doesn't, then it maybe PND.
Be kind to yourself.
At this years Baby Show (this weekend on FB) there was half an hour with a midwife and she covered the 3 things that no one tells you about the 4th trimester. One of the things was that you don’t always just fall in love with your baby as soon as they come out. It develops over time. And many many people go through this. So don’t feel there is something wrong to this. However, you do seem to feel no bond so I would talk to your midwife or whoever as you may actually have PND
Just another PP to add that I felt similarly to you with my DC, who is almost 2. She was a 'high needs' baby and is a 'spirited' toddler...so she hasn't morphed into a chill, amicable toddler hah BUT she is so much more fun and life, though still tiring, is nothing like the black hole I was in with PND whilst she screamed her way through the first 7 months of her life. It gets so, so much better. I used to say to my DH I wanted to give her away, I wondered whether my parents or a sibling would raise her, thought about her going into care otherwise...nobody but me and DH ever know about this as I wouldn't talk about the darkest parts with professionals, not saying that was a good idea though...now, it seems a bit mental that I seriously contemplated that. I can imagine life without her and I do sometimes, I'm not going to lie! BUT I adore her and I feel that the older she gets, the more I love her. It will get better. Speak to your HV and/or GP fo support.
I could have written this post a few months ago. I felt utterly miserable and desperately missed my old life. I didn’t feel I’d bonded with my baby at all and I was convinced there was something wrong with her as she cried constantly. Looking back I definitely had a bit of PND, I just felt anxious all the time and like I’d never be happy again or love my baby. In the last month or so things have got so much better, I really love my little girl now - she’s a lot more settled at 6 months. The newborn stage is relentless and your hormones are all over the place. It gets so much better once they start smiling and you can see their little personality emerging! I don’t think people talk enough about what an adjustment it is. I promise you it gets so much better and the early difficult phase does pass very quickly!
What you are describing is normal baby behaviour....your feelings should be monitored though and you should mention to your midwife how you are feeling.
Having a baby is wonderful and life changing and this is what your friends meant. However, parenting sucks as you are finding out! It is hard and when you think you've cracked it something changes and you have to start again!
Remember also that having no time to self and no sleep is normal. But also remember that YOU WILL SLEEP AGAIN. Just hold onto that thought. My children are 2 and 5 and went to bed at 7, and I'm now enjoying a Netflix and a glass of wine and you will get there too!!
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