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Feel like terrible mother - not sure how to deal with 12 week old

(7 Posts)
littleduck Wed 22-Jul-09 13:07:38

I have had a very difficult few days with my little girl, she is 12 weeks today. I don't know what to do to make things better for both of us (and DP) too so any thoughts really appreciated.

She is nearly too big for her moses basket so we have started to put her down in her cot, this started last Sat. we began by putting the basket in the cot to help her get used to it and over the last day or two have taken the basket out of the cot and she is now put down for day and night sleeps in the cot. The cot is in her own room - another reason for moving her is that she is a very noisy sleeper and DH was becoming sleep deprived to the point where it was becoming dangerous for him (he is an electrician so could end up doing himself a serious nasty with live currents etc if he doesn't have his wits about him).

We have tried to make the transition as gentle for her as possible and have kept to the usual daytime routine of sleeps and feeds so that her basic pattern remains the same with the aim of giving her continuity and security that way whilst she gets used to her new room.

However she seems very grumpy and unsettled, she used to be a happy little baby but now I can scarcely raise a smile even with funny faces which used to make her laugh.

She has always been a bit hard to settle in the evenings but other sleeps have been pretty consistent and she has settled quite well for them - until we put the moses in her own room! The evenings in particular have been really hard. In addition I have been feeling a bit unwell and tired over the past few days which has made it harder for me to cope and soothe her.

I am afraid that yesterday I was so tired and stressed that I shouted at her after what seemed like endless crying and attempts to settle her for a lunchtime sleep which she needed as she was very tired. Clearly this helped the situation loads (not!) and upset her even more. I apologised to her and settled her eventually but feel awful, especially as she seemed grumpy in the afternoon and today. I am worried that she is now frightened of Mummy or that I have lost her love and trust.

I am wondering if the problem is the cot and the new room, although everything else in her life is just the same and she coped with a house move a month ago without any fuss, or whether there is some developmental thing going on at around 12 weeks which could account for the trouble.

Sun night we put her down and she screamed so i went in and she smiled and gurgled like she was happy to see me so I thought it might be a separation thing although the cry was very sharp like a pain cry. Mon night same cry but she screamed even when we were cuddling her and when I tried to feed her to settle her a bit. This morning she screamed when I put her in her bouncy chair, which she usually loves. She seemed hungry (although had only been fed 1hr before) so I fed her and then we both fell asleep for a bit on the sora

I feel like an absolutely terrible mother because I can't work out what the problem is and can't seem to understand what her cries mean. If someone had given me the chance yesterday I would have packed a suitcase and walked out the house because I just couldn't cope any more. I have only been away from her for one brief couple of hours for a quick meal with DP whilst my mum babysat and on the odd day when DP takes her for a walk for an hour or so, since she was born and I I needed a break.

Sorry for the ramble, feeling so upset and emotional, I want to make my daughter happy again and I just don't know how

ramblingmum Wed 22-Jul-09 13:46:49

Sorry to hear that you are feeling so sad, you sound like you really need a break. Your dd isn't frightend of you, you are the most important thing in her world. You say you have been a bit unwell could she have been a bit unwell too? My dd2 is also 12 weeks and I find it hard to know why she is crying. Some times I think she just needs a cry , Like some times I just need a moan.

misshardbroom Wed 22-Jul-09 13:55:54

I'm not going to be a whole lot of help because I can't give you sound advice about the sleeping / feeding / routine stuff because I was never that great with routines when mine were babies and it seems a long time ago now.

But I couldn't let your post go unanswered because it rang so many bells for me. I felt just like this when my DD was a baby and I think the difficulty is that the more panicky and stressed you feel, the harder it is to find that calm rapport with your baby.

You really haven't lost her love or trust, she needs you more than anyone else in the world.

And as you've picked up on yourself, she's constantly growing, changing and reaching new developmental phases.

As long as you've ruled out anything physically wrong, e.g. no temperature, tummy ache, earache etc., then I would prescribe:
take a very deep breath
lots of cuddles of her
do whatever you can to maximise sleep for the whole family
pop her in the pram and get out and walk - it's amazing how much better you'll feel.

You sound like a lovely mother who's doing her very best, and that's all any of us can aim for.

phlossie Wed 22-Jul-09 14:00:45

Just had to reply to your post. I have been through early babyhood twice and recognise your pain. It's intense, frustrating and guilt-ridden at times.

Your baby sounds like she could be going through a developmental stage, she could have something simple like wind, or she could have any little niggle that's making her uncomfortable - the problem is babies can only cry to communicate. It's unlikely that she's troubled by moving rooms - although of course it may take a few days to get used it - and you have very good reasons for moving her, so don't beat yourself up about that.

My dd was also a big baby and she colic (and she cut her first tooth at 14wks!!) but she was my second, so I was bit more relaxed - though she still drove me mental! I learned from my ds (DC1) that routines didn't really matter in the early days.

My ds, my pfb, was quite a sensitive baby - he'd get in a tizz and just scream. He wasn't hungry, he was usually overstimulated and couldn't switch off and go to sleep. I remember that it seemed everyone else's baby just fell into a content sleep, but we'd go this farce of him getting so wound up that he would eat or sleep. I used to have to get the hairdryer out and give him a blast of white noise and then feed him to sleep. It was just a short phase, but it was a breaker!

So my advice is don't beat yourself up and just keep doing what you're doing. None of us are experts, we just made it up as we went along. Try and get some help and get away from the baby if you need to for a few hours. I found an hour at the swimming pool brilliant. I also used to have a bath when my dh got home - just half an hour's soak in peace worked a treat for my sanity. Get out in the fresh air every day, even if you just walk round the block - that'll do you both good. And do you have friends or a mum and baby group you can go to? My postnatal group was my lifeline - I'd have gone under without them! And if you feel like shouting, go into the next room or just outside for 5 minutes and scream if you need to. I used to leave my baby crying for just 5 minutes and go and stick my head under my pillow and scream. And when she does nap, you sleep too - it's much more important than the hoovering.

You love your baby, and although you may not feel it sometimes, you have a maternal instinct that, 9 times out of 10, is right. That WILL be enough to get you both through. My dcs are 3.5yo and 22mo now, and they're alive well, and, dare I say, rather lovely. And if I could do it, then so can you!

littleducks Wed 22-Jul-09 14:06:55

hi, you have such a similar posting name to mine i didnt realise you were still using it

anyway, baby wise, she is at an age that is becoming more aware, it wont be just one thing that could be causing your problems, i think you sound very tired, if you cant get time away have you looked into a mother and baby group in your area? somewhere you can sit and have a coffee while the babies lie on playgyms on the floor, would give you both a change of scene and a rest. or try looking on the nct website to search near you for bumps and babies cafes, these can also be a chance to get a break and see that mums with similar age babies are going through the same thing

babies do like routine, (im not saying you have to follow a book routine) so whereever her sleeping place is over time she will start to like it, do you have a cot mobile, i stronglt recommend the tiny love ones as they tend to mesmorise babies!

lara27 Wed 22-Jul-09 23:19:51

Could she be starting to teethe? My ds (15 wks) has been having days recently where he won't settle and when he goes off to sleep with then wake up after about 5mins crying so he gets really tired and really grumpy. It seems like a pain sort of cry and normal soothing things (cuddling, bouncing etc) don't seem to work so well. Only thing that will calm him is sucking and he wants to feed more frequently. He is constantly dribbling and his gums feel a bit puffy so I think it is early teething and I've been trying putting some teething gel on before putting him down for a sleep and that seems to be helping him to sleep properly which is making him less grumpy.

The other change I've noticed in the last few weeks is that he often gets miserable if I lay him down in his carrycot (haven't quite managed to change to his cot yet!) when before he was happy but if I pick him up and sit him on the sofa (propped up with lots of cushions!) next to me then he is much happier as he wants to see what is going on rather than the restricted view lying down.

Maybe it's something similar with your dd? Anyway best of luck and I'm sure it'll sort itself out in the next few days (I reckon babies have moods just like we do!)

ladypanda Thu 23-Jul-09 22:31:41

Just sending a message of support, my DS is now 20 months and I'm absolutely loving being a mum, but at 12 weeks I felt a total failure and at times like sending him back to the factory! I also shouted once during the day, totally lost my rag, and looking back on it, I was knackered, absolutely battered and losing the plot through exhaustion. I absolutely agree with the ladies who say get out and about with other mums at the same stage, it's so nice when you realise literally everyone is in the same boat. Also get some time away from any children in the pool or for a walk. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with your girl, and certainly nothing wrong with you as a mum, it's just a terribly testing time. Not least because all the books say 12 months is a turning point- actualy it got worse then for me as the little one seemed to get less happy rather than more. Again, looking back, it was because he was becoming more aware and therefore more chuffed off if I left him to it (I found 20 weeks a much bigger turning point actually, hang in there!)
But get a break any which way you can, it's amazing how all your perspective will come flooding back

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