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Not bonded with newborn and its breaking my heart(48 Posts)
My baby boy is 5 weeks old. I'm a first time Mum and struggling. I'd love some wise words from experienced Mum's.
We had a traumatic birth with forceps, resulting in no skin to skin at birth and a long recovery for me where I wasn't able to hold him much. He was bashed up on the way out and had a sore head. 5 weeks on and I'm on the road to recovery and with a lot of perseverance we've got breastfeeding established. He is fit and healthy.
However it's breaking my heart, and my husband's, that he doesn't seem to have bonded with us. He cries when I pick him up. He appears to find no comfort in my arms or when I talk or sing to him. He is often in an inconsolable rage that is only stopped by feeding or excessive jiggling in the sling. Sometimes he is calmed by being put down and never is calmed by being picked up and held. I'm scared to go out as after 5mins between feeding he just screams and screams and there is nothing I can do to stop him.
He seems so angry and unhappy and we are unable to console him. It's soul destroying and I'm feeling cheated by the terrible birth experience and wonder if it has set the tone for his whole life.
I'm at a loss and feel like a complete failure.
He is five weeks! He doesn't know how to bond. He just needs some one to love him and take care of his needs. The rest will come, I promise.
With my first it was like a grenade going through my home. My life was awful and I wondered why the hell we ever decided having a child was a good idea. It got better quickly and I adore them all (had more).
Best of luck. The first newborn is the toughest.
Also just to add he sounds like he has colic like my first born or reflux
Trapped wind or heart burn -
Sit him up a bit - raise the mattress
If he's happier alone - leave him -
Maybe try a cranial osteopath? Can often be helpful for newborns.
He is a bit bashed around after his birth - and you are probably feeling the same! Ds was like this too. He is the most chilled out child ever - but the first four months all he did was scream. You could try a cranial osteopath to massage his little head to release tension.
Oh bless, I felt like this when my son was born. He was a grumpy little so and so until he started crawling, and I convinced myself that he hated me, I was a terrible mum etc etc. That's not the case at all, you're his mum and his lifeline. He won't even realise that you are 2 seperate people for a while yet, so he's not only bonded with you he still thinks he's part of you
The birth sounds like it was really traumatic and it can be hard to move past, but he's here, and he's healthy and sounds loved and well cared for. If you're concerned that he's crying excessively then speak to your GP to see of there's a reason such as reflux, allergy etc
5 weeks is still really early and you're adjusting, trying to deal with hormones and lack of sleep. Be kind to yourself
I agree, if he likes feeding and jiggling I wonder if he's a bit windy. Have a look on YouTube for positions and techniques for getting the wind up.
But this stage definitely passes once their digestive system matures a bit so hang on in there. My ds was a nightmare newborn because of stomach pain but is now the cuddly, most affectionate little person. You have definitely not failed!
Our ds was very unsettled as a newborn. Problems with latching on, rubbish sleeper, very fussy. We took him to a cranial osteopath for 2 sessions. Best money we could have spent. I had forgot all about it though 8 years later but reading your post, it came flooding back.
He sounds colicky.
Even without colic the first few weeks are like a bomb going off. newborns can't talk, can't express love in the way we are used to, don't smile, don't laugh, can only cry to communicate and are trying to get used to a huge new world after the womb. Don't expect too much. Your baby is utterly dependent on you -that is his definition of deep and endless love. Soon he will be smiling and laughing at you. you have years of expressed love ahead of you. Right now you have to deal with colic.
Also, I had a traumatic first birth too (forceps and worse) and didn't see my son for 12 hours. He is a lovely 20 year old now who loves me dearly. That birth has taken its toll on you too - go easy on yourself. These are early days when you are just feeling your way. Don't expect too much and know that there is so much joy ahead of you with your lovely baby.
my son was like this try a cranial osteopath.
Agree about the cranial osteopath. Worked well with both my DC.
I seen this today :-
Dr stops baby crying
It might be shite but anything is worth a go!
Your not a failure - your clearly already a caring mother who is looking for ways to make her little son happy
Op both my babies were wriggly writhy miserable newborns! Dd especially wasn't consoled by a hug and was best put down and left after feeding and changing.
They both chilled a bit around 10 weeks and we're both gorgeous by 5 months or so.
Remember the world is a massive shock for them, and they are always hungry tired and windy. A HV said to me once not to worry- they don't have much to be happy about at that age!!
Just keep him alive, the bonding will happen naturally when you all figure out what you're doing, and don't worry about the instant bond- it's. It as common as you would think .
He sounds like he has reflux - speak to the GP and google how to help, wedges etc. Also, consider dairy intolerance via your breast milk.
What a rough time you all had - I have been there 1st with forceps and bashed baby. Now with an epidural that went wrong. My advice is to reset - start again from the beginning. Take a weekend or a time where you and your family can just bunker down, do skin to skin - baths if LO can bear it. Take turns to get some sleep - sleep deprivation is the worst. Take the time you lost back - I didn't have the clarity with my 1st to do it, but have done it with my 2nd and I feel more in control / able to direct my feelings and our life more.
You are not a failure, ask for help from your GP. Take time to recover and hopefully you will bond. Sorry your feeling this way after a horrible birth xx
NOT as common- sorry.
And also agree with cranial osteopathy
This is not going to set the tone for the rest of his life. Soon you will be watching him roll around the floor inspecting everything and chewing on everything :-) then it won't be very long until you are waving him off on his first say of school and these first five weeks will be a distant memory.
I read your post and I Realised that this was me a few years ago. Having a baby is so difficult, you start off knowing bugger all and you learn as you go. You will surprise yourself one day. But just take it one day at a time and remember that every first time mother has gone wtf this wasn't how it was supposed to be.
Someone once told me that if we didn't forget the pain and how hard it is not very many of us would have a second baby and that is so true :-)
When you are feeling up to it you can make an appointment with a midwife and they can talk through your whole birth experience with you. They should be able to go through your paperwork too with you. I can't remember what it's called, maybe birth deconstruction?? Anyway I'm sure someone will correct me if I got the name of it wrong.
It will come, but it is so much harder when they're screamy. Would you love another stranger who sat in your house and screamed for 5 weeks?
I worship my son now, probably slightly unhealthy! But he's 16 months, I know him and I adore him. It takes time sometimes and it's not your fault.
Also you haven't, my birth was pretty bad too, emergency section ajd in NICU for a week. Honestly I don't really think about it now but at 5 weeks I felt like a failure. But a debrief helped, seeing my notes, understanding what happened. Maybe ask for one? I have a copy of my notes so when I'm feeling unsure I can look.
I had horrible forceps delivery first time too that left me in a mess for months afterwards so big sympathy to you. My second delivery was normal (so much better!) but she was a right screamy unsettled baby that did everything yours does. Mine seemed to hate being born, nothing I did soothed her and I felt exactly same as you re the bonding. It's impossible to bond with something that just screams at you almost all the time, it's hard to even like them like that!
I didn't get too worked up as I knew from DC1 things would improve but I can imagine how upsetting it is when it's your first.
Mine is now 9weeks and is starting to chill out bigtime. She rarely has those inconsolable episodes and gives big smiles that melt my heart. Hang in there just a few more weeks, it'll def improve and those big smiles will be worth it when they come. You won't even remember all the crying in time.
(also u prob know already that forceps/traumatic birth babies are thought to suffer head pain and headaches for a while after so this may be contributing as well as reflux and wind etc)
Ps you don't need to worry about bonding yet that will come, all you need to focus on is meeting DC's needs really, feeding changing and cuddling is important even if u think it doesn't help DC.
I spent many days repeating the mantra "This is just a phase, this will pass" and literally counted the days down week by week. They usually get a lot better 8-9weeks as they see and react more and 12weeks is a big market for wind/reflux improvement
It's not rage. It's some kind of discomfort and it's not not him being angry with you.
It's either hunger, colic, reflux or some other pain. Explore every avenue and all the suggestions above. Just keep going until you find what works. This happens to lots of people and it's perfectly normal.
You will get through this and the lovely times will come.
I had a difficult delivery and a baby who liked to cry. I used infacol for colic and it worked wonders as it seemed to help him bring up wind. it can be used from birth and is available in most shops. Talk to your midwife/health visitor about it.
It does get better, I remember feeling like I was recovered and should have been getting on with things but actually I was still recovering and quite poorly. Be kind to yourself, let yourself recover, the bonding will come naturally over time
Thank you everyone for your kind words and for taking the time to respond.
Giving birth has been rough on me. I had a 36hr labour, lost a lot of blood and ended up with a broken coccyx and non functional bladder and the extended hospital stay left me with ecoli. I couldn't get out of bed without someone hauling me out for weeks. My pain is a lot more manageable now and I'm finally up and about, which helps. I have booked one of those hospital birth debriefs in a couple of weeks. Oddly I'm not traumatised by the birth itself but more by the hospital stay afterward and being left with an inconsolable baby who I couldn't sooth. He screamed the ward down for 5 days straight and no midwife could do anything to calm him either...
He does seem very windy sometimes and squirms around a lot before pooing. We've tried every hold, position and jiggle available on YouTube and it doesn't seem to help much but the wind does eventually pass but it doesn't seem to relax him any. I guess there is a chance he could be lactose intolerant.
To me it seems that he feeds well, has a short lovely interactive time but then refuses to settle when he is tired. He refuses to be held facing inwards and just wants to look around and then gets even more overtired and cranky. Matching up and down the garden with him in the sling screaming his face off does eventually work, so that's the only tool in our box. Jiggling him indoors is insufficient mostly. The neighbours must think I'm mad rushing up and down the garden scantily dressed with a raging baby strapped to me. We try to do as much skin to skin as possible, which thankfully in the hot weather is achievable. I'll try to do more.
I guess I'd just assumed newborn babies would require lots of holding and cuddling and the screaming would come when you didn't hold them enough, because they just want to be with you. It seems he doesn't want to be with me at all, and that makes me sad. I try googling "my baby screams every time I cuddle him" and the near google whack makes me think I'm the only one. Google: "do you mean 'my baby screams when I put him down'" ... nope...
I know things will change over time but in the wee hours when I've done everything I can to try and make him happy and he is screaming like someone is torturing him, it seems hopeless.
From what people have said it sounds like the only solution is to simply keep going and wait for time to pass. I just need to muster the mental fortitude to keep it up.
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