Not bonding with baby
I feel terrible
, Mar 16 2012 09:00 AM
23 replies to this topic
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:00 AM
I am having trouble bonding with my 3 week old son. I love him, but I don't know what to do with him or how to function around him. I don't know what to do with him when he is awake so I love it when he is asleep and wish he would sleep all the time. I don't know how to manage him when he cries for no reason, by the time DF gets home from work I just hand him over and walk away. DF is good with him and doesn't get stressed with DS cries and this makes me feel even worse as a parent. I feel inadequate and incompetent as a mum.
I know I chose to have him and I shouldn't feel this way, but sometimes I just want him to go away. He spent a week in the Special Care Nursery after he was born, and sometimes I just want to take him back there and leave him. I feel terrible thinking this. I feel I bonded with him when I was pregnant, I loved talking to him and singing to him and rubbing my belly. But now that he is here, I just don't know what to do with him. I feel trapped in a net of misery that I've made a mistake and that he deserves a much better mother than what I can ever be for him.
I don't know what to do.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:10 AM
Go and do this online test to see how at risk your are for PND:http://www.testandcalc.com/etc/tests/edin.asp
If you're results indicate a high risk/likelihood, go to your GP ASAP.
Good luck OP.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:11 AM
OP, I had a number of moments in the early weeks of "oh crap, what have I done?". I think that feeling is normal, but if you're feeling miserable more often than you're feeling happy you could have PND.
You mentioned that your little one was in the special care nursery - did you have a difficult birth? I know there are lots of mums on EB who have had difficulty at first due to things not going to plan, so perhaps you're having a bit of trouble with this aspect?
Others might have better info, but maybe have a look at the Beyond Blue website as I think they have checklists for PND. Otherwise could you contact your GP or MCHN? They should be able to give you some assistance
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:17 AM
So sorry you are feeling down OP. The first few weeks/months can be trying to say the least. Do you have family or friends nearby who can help you out with caring for that beautiful boy of yours ?
If you sang to him and talked to him while you were pregnant, you can do the same thing now
I talk to DS about the most random things... Like telling him about my day and why the real housewives are yelling at each other LOL. I also found that having a shower, putting on something nice and a bit of make up made me feel more like a real person.
Talk to DF when he gets home. In the meantime call BeyondBlue and chat to them about it 1300 22 4636.
Hope you feel better soon
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:17 AM
OP, I can really relate to this. Especially with my first child, I just didn't feel connected to him. I felt like you did - if I woke up and he was gone I would be happier (or so I thought). I would dread it when he woke up and would count down every day till my DH got home so I could have a break. I really hated the nights as DS did not sleep well and I would be up nearly all night with him. At the time I felt like he had ruined my life. I felt uneasy, anxious and sick. Even when he did sleep I couldn't. 3 weeks was the peak of the badness for me.
I was eventually diagnosed with PND. But even with that, things did dramtically improve by 6 weeks. Now that I am past the PND and stuff I can look back at both newborn times with my babies and admit I hated the newborn days. I just find the whole stage unpredictable and nerve racking. I never know what to do with them and when they slept what to do. Once they settle into a more predictable routine and start to get some personality about them, when you can interact with them and play with them, for me it gets 100x easier and more comfortable. Those first 6 weeks are really the worst. I look back and swear that at 2 months I was really starting to enjoy it.
I think you should go talk to your GP. Talking about it with a GP helped me put things into perspective. When my DD was born I would remind myself that these early days aren't forever; they go by so quickly. It doesn't feel like it at the time but when you look back you realise how fast they do go. You do whatever you have to do to get through and what will make you happier.
My son was officially 3.5 yrs yesterday and I was chatting to DH last night how when he was 3 weeks old I wanted to leave him on a door step at someones house.
And I wasn't kidding.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:21 AM
First step, as PPs suggested, is to have a chat with your GP. If there is something going on like PND, it can be very successfully treated.
FWIW, I thought DS was a space alien from Mars for the first six weeks. I never got the intense wave of love feeling that you expect to feel from birth until he started interacting more. I loved it when he slept because I did not know what to do with him when awake except feed and change him.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:26 AM
Honey, you had an awful experience delivering your baby, it's no wonder that you didn't have all the happy hormones floating around that cause you to "fall in love" with your baby immediately. Not only are you trying to deal with the psychological trauma of your delivery and recover physically from a tiring and painful labour , you are now expected to function perfectly and take care of another human being at the same time! It is an incredibly difficult job you are doing. The first few weeks I think are the hardest job I have ever done in my life, but it does get better.
Your husband is able to deal with your newborn more calmly than you at the moment because: 1. He isn't in pain or exhausted from feeding or the aftermath of the delivery, 2. He doesn't have the same emotional storm going on inside you due to the hormonal changes after birth. Your baby's cry induces a lot of emotions and triggers hormonal release in you you are designed to be upset by it! To your husband, it is just a baby crying and he can deal with it without being emotionally overwhelmed. Even though my birth experience wasn't traumatic, in the days and weeks after the birth I still found my DP was able to deal with Immy more calmly than me. Now, 3 months on, there is no difference.
You are not inadequate or incompetent as a mum - in fact, to your DS, you are the perfect mum. The adoration and bonding will come soon, when you have recovered a little from the birth. It doesn't always happen immediately, but it will happen and it won't affect your relationship with your son one little bit in the coming months and years.
Newborn babies make everyone feel lost sometimes because they can't tell you why they are crying, and sometimes they cry just because! It helped me to have a routine when Immy cried, to make sure I wasn't missing anything and to give me back a sense of control:
1. Check / change nappy
2. Offer breast
3. Check temperature (and adjust clothing if necessary)
4. Give cuddle
5. Offer breast (yup, I just kept doing this!)
6. Think about whether she is over-stimulated
9. If still crying and you can't figure it out, I went through my next algorithm:
- walk around with her over my shoulder
- pat her bottom
- turn her over on my lap and pat her back
- give a warm bath
- lie in the bed with the lights turned down and hold her
- sing lullabies
- go for a walk in the pram
- give her to Dad!
Sleep when your baby sleeps. Forget about housework. Eat healthy takeaways. All you need to do is sleep, eat, feed and change your baby. That's it for the first few weeks. Then you can start getting back into a normal routine.
I agree with the PP that you should see your GP. Having a traumatic birth is a risk factor for post-natal depression, and you may need some counselling (+/- medications)
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:27 AM
I had the same problem and am still recovering it turns out i have PND go have a chat to the Dr as hard as that can be.
Hope you feel better soon
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:37 AM
If you have never been around babies much before having your own I think these feelings are not uncommon! And that would be because alot of us these days truly do not have much experience in dealing with babies. Sometimes the first baby a mother has ever held is her own. But after a little while you do get to understand what your baby wants and needs, and what he is saying to you when he cries. But at the beginning it is not always obvious. And yes it can be difficult these first few weeks and even months while you get to what to do.
Also, as pp's have suggested, perhaps pop into the doctor and have a chat about your feelings. I hope you are feeling better soon.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:00 AM
Do get yourself checked for PND. And go easy on yourself. You can't force your body to behave ideally - some mothers can't breastfeed - even though they really want to and even though they try - and some mothers get PND - even though they are wonderful women who really really wanted their baby and go on to be fabulous mothers with exceptionally loved children.
I had trouble bonding with my eldest DS (3.5 now) due to a fairly traumatic birth, and felt like an utter failure each and every time he cried.
My youngest DS (13 months) on the other hand, I was lucky enough to have a fantastic birth. i had the instant bonding, all the stuff you read about. but he was a much more tricky baby. he literally screamed every night between 5pm and 11pm until he was 4 months old. the difference this time was my faith in myself. babies cry. even if i couldn't stop him crying, he was comforted during these episodes. i didn't feel like a failure this time.
You don't have to know what to do with your baby right now. He is only 3 weeks old. He only wants you to feed him, change him, bath him and hold him. You don't need to be teaching him or entertaining him, just holding him while he cries gives him comfort (think about the difference in how you feel if you are sad and someone holds you, or if you are sad and left alone). Give yourself a break, do something you enjoy - like taking your little baby to the park to lay on the grass and look up at the trees, take him for a walk through a lovely garden, something calming and beautiful. Have plenty of physical contact with him - use a sling instead of a pram if you can. If you are kinder to yourself and just make some lovely time with your boy you will find yourself slowly, but surely, falling in love
And that's what motherhood is - really - the most amazing love story. Sometimes it can be rocky at first.... but you will get there
Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:12 AM
Hi, it's hard isn't it.....I think all previous posters have given great advice....please talk to your GP...have you had a visit from your early childhood nurse yet? She may have some advice and strategies for coping as well. You are not alone and don't feel bad...I too spend my entire day feeding and then getting my baby to sleep. Babies this young should really just feed and sleep...anything else and they get over stimulated and over tired....and as others have said (if possible) sleep when he sleeps. Take care of yourself...you have needs as well...oh and my little boy (6weeks) is a Charles as well! Great name...
Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:05 AM
Lots and lots of mums feel the way you are OP, so your not alone in feeling this way. One of the biggest misconceptions of motherhood is that mum has an instant bond with baby. It can take weeks or even months to from that bond. It's doesn't always mean there is something wrong with the mother such as PND
However other have said, not bonding with the baby can be as symptom of PND. As is thoughts of wanting take the baby back to the hospital. I had PND with all 3 of mine and had it the worst with DD1. I had problems bonding with her and also had crazy thoughts of giving her away. If you continue the way your are feeling you should get some help. And get help if you start to not be able to sleep, everything is too much, very emotional, feel like your not coping.
You can see a child health nurse or the GP. Sleep schools take mums who need support.. I went when DD1 was 9 weeks old because I was a mess/PND and just completely out of my depth. Best thing I ever did and it helped me bond with DD. There might also be a postnatal group near you. Sometimes being with other mums helps because you don't feel alone.
Remember it's only early days and you have had a very big change in your life. It is going to take awhile to adjust but eventually you will know work it out. Good luck.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:12 AM
With DS1 I had a difficult delivery and felt totally overwhelmed. He cried alot, was a poor sleeper and I felt like I should "know" what to do. I even thought seriously of killing myself. I was diagnosed with PND and treated when he was 5 months. This turned everything around.
Please see your MCHN or GP for help.
My second is a completely different story.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:16 AM
No advice to give, but just wanted to lend some support and say hang in there!
Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:28 AM
I felt this way precisely - I also had a difficult birth, and have been diagnosed with PTSD by a psychologist after an initial PND diagnosis. I could not wait to hand my baby off to someone else and felt guilt and depression about this fact.
The advice people have given you is excellent - the only thing I posted to offer was this:
Now that I am having appropriate treatment and am being given support, AND that my daughter is about three and a half months old, I am suddenly finding that bonding is really working. She beams when she sees me, with big grins, reaches out to me, and I feel very happy to have her with me. Things are still very hard, but she's in a routine now, mostly, and even when she is crying, I feel as though I have the tools to deal with it.
All of this is because people helped me and assisted me through matters. So go TODAY to your GP and talk about it, and talk about it TODAY with your partner, because there is no reason to suffer a moment longer.
As it turns out, I don't have PND, so you may not - you may just be overwhelmed. You may have PTSD. You may be exhausted! But get help RIGHT NOW and it can change your entire life. You deserve it.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:34 AM
I felt like that with my first, I struggled to adjust and had a really difficult time.
I wish I'd spoken to someone, I always wonder if maybe I had some undiagnosed PND.
For me, it was around the three month mark and something just clicked and from then on everything was fine. But those three months didn't need to be that way, I should have talked to my MCHN.
You definitely aren't alone in feeling this way
Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:41 AM
Just wanted to share my experience. My baby is 4 months now and looking back the first 6 - 8 weeks were awful. She was so difficult to get to sleep and would cry for 5 hours at a time almost every day. I really wasn't enjoying her and was wondering why I was in such a hurry to have children! It all turned around as she got older. More awake time, playing, smiles, I actually like her now!
Hang in there. Just do what you have to do to get through it. Just survive. Talk about how you're feeling and seek help.
Good luck xxx
Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:25 PM
I really appreciate everyone's responses and those that have shared their experiences with bonding and depression with their babies. It's comforting to know I'm not alone with my feelings.
Prior to being pregnant/having baby I've being getting treated for Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD for approximately 10 years. I see a psychologist regularly and have a good relationship with my GP. We all knew that I was a higher risk of PND but it frightens me how quickly these feelings have come about and how severe they are.
I do have an appointment with the GP next wednesday to discuss going back on my medication now that I'm not pregnant and that I failed at breastfeeding. My hospital also has a service called PERP, which are a team of midwives who are trained in birth trauma and PND who I have been referred to. I will chase up when my appointment is on Monday.
My boy really is a lovely little baby. He is quite easy going - he does get a bit cranky in the evening, and sometimes he is hard to settle, but nothing like some colicky babies or babies that just dont sleep well or are hard to manage. I think a lot of mothers would say he is a dream baby. It's just me thats not coping with anything, not because he is a bad baby.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:37 PM
I agree with everything PPs said, but wanted to make an additional suggestion.
There is a course called Circle of Security which I did through Tresillian which helps give you a road map for understanding your baby/child and creating a secure attachment. It helps flll in the gaps where your instincts or emotions or how you were parented might be steering you wrong.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:29 PM
I felt exactly the same with my first OP. I spent the first 9 weeks just going through the motions of looking after my baby, but not feeling much whilst doing it. Then one day he smiled at me for the first time. And I finally felt that surge of love I'd been hearing about.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:34 PM
OP, its ok not to be coping and it sounds like you have a good support netwoek around you. Go easy on yourself. Good Luck.
Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:18 PM
I don't often post but I had to reply as 5 years ago that is how I felt too with my daughter. Just wanted you to know that your feelings are so common. I recognised my baby was beautiful and I took care of her needs but she just didn't feel like mine. I felt like the worst mum in the world and was scared to tell people how I felt in case they agreed with me! I was esp reluctant to share with my hubby because he just seemed so in love with my daughter from day 1.What would he think of me?!
I was not diagnosed with PND, came out boarderline on all the questionnaires - but I tell you those first few weeks were the worst. Great advice to go and talk to someone - help is at hand. PND or not - know that what you are experiencing is common and there is no need for you to suffer alone. Lean on your partner now when you need him - that's what he's there for!
In hindsight I wish I had been kinder to myself. The physical having of a baby and learning to feed it and missing out on sleep is a seriously big deal.
You are amazing. Don't think you're not a good mum - good mums have these feelings, you are just human and have been through something big. You won't always feel this way and the love will come. Connect with people who will make you feel better, don't be so hard on yourself. All the best to you.
PS - my baby was a 'dream baby' too...very text book! But I can't say it was easy!!
Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:32 PM
I could have written word for word what you are experiencing when my son was first born. I had a difficult birth and it took many weeks to recover. I remember looking at this tiny baby and thinking what have I done. I had no idea how to look after this beautiful boy and felt like a complete failure. I so desperately wanted him and then reality hit.
The first fews months are incredibly hard. Like your delightful little boy my baby was also a dream baby. People would stop me in the street to tell me how gorgeous he was. I would stand there smile upon my face feeling nothing but fear and dread. It was awful and very sad. I just wanted to grab my bag and head for the nearest airport. One way ticket to some place far away.
I had a terrible time breast feeding and in the end gave up. This compounded my feeling of being a terrible mother.
To get myself back on track I went to my GP and regularly saw a psychologist. I also started back at the gym. Four to five days a week I pushed the pram up the hill to the gym. Placed baby in creche worked out. This saved me !!!!!!! It gave me one hour a day to be by myself. It was a great release.
Fast forward to 16 months and I love my little boy more then anything in the world. He is wonderful. We have a great relationship.
You sound like an amazing mum. Please be kind to yourself. As you know this time will pass.
You can always Pm me if you need to talk.
Hang in there. Big hug.
Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:38 PM
OP, try not to think that you 'failed' at breastfeeding. It is the hardest thing in the world for some of us to establish breastfeeding, and plenty of times it just doesn't work. And this can be just the luck of the draw. In my mothers' group, about 1/3 are formula feeding because breastfeeding wasn't an option/didn't work, 1/3 found establishing feeding extremely traumatic, and only a few had a relatively straightforward time of it. So please don't think this is your fault, or that you are failing your baby in some way.
I had lots of issues bonding with my bub (still do), but because my friends warned me that they'd had similar experiences I haven't been so deeply worried about that. Just trying to have faith that it'll come, as everyone says.
My bub was also in special care and I think this can really impact that immediate bonding time. It's like you're there to assist in looking after them, but it's not the same as being their whole world. I don't know what your birth story was, but I felt in shock at my bub's early arrival and was kind of bewildered by my situation. I really think that the nursery experience can be another factor in making bonding difficult.
But by all accounts your experience is not abnormal, so try to accept your own journey and have faith in a more positive future.
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