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Problems with newborn - feel useless

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by Lohman, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm after any advice for my LO who is 18 days old. I am breast feeding and I thought this was going well until about 5 days ago when he refused to take the left breast. at first I didn't think this was such a problem but then my right nipple became very sore. I don't know whether this is because of the latch or because of over use of this breast. Anyway I have started expressing the left breast as I realised that the milk supply in that breast was getting really low (and still is). From yesterday I have now resorted to expressing from both breasts and feeding this in a bottle as I am sore and really can't face him being on the breast - I have put him on the breast for a couple of mins over the last 24 hours and almost immediately the pain is back. I have had him weighed today and he has gained 200g in 4 days which is great - although he is still not back up to his birth weight yet. I am going to a breast feeding clinic tomorrow to see if the latch is correct. I feel like giving up but really don't want to give him formula. Does it ever get any easier? And will my milk start to dry up? last night he was feeding every 2 hours - previously it has been every 3 or more.
    My other problems are that I just don't feel like I know how to look after him properly. I don't really know what he wants when he cries. Sometimes I know when he needs feeding because he sucks his fingers but at other times he cries after a feed - and I've changed his nappy and winded him but just don't know what's wrong. I also never know when I am supposed to change his nappy. I try to change it during the day when I know he's poo'd but I leave him during the night unless it's still before midnight as I read a lot of things that say to try not to wake him during the night and just quietly feed him.
    Sorry for the long, rambling post. I feel really useless and wish I knew more about looking after a baby. I really didn't expect it to be this hard. I knew that I would have to feed him several times during the night but sometimes I just panic when he starts crying as I don't know what to do. To make matters worse - I am still very tender from the delivery (forceps, cut and stitches which have falen out so will take longer to heal!) and DP is back at work next week and I just don't know how I will cope on my own - I am really dreading next week and having to look after the baby by myself.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated x
  2. Deep, deep breaths, first and foremost. You are still in hormonal, recovery hell and under a cloud. Things do get much, much better, I promise you that. Noone would have a second baby if it didn't [​IMG]
    Yes, it does get easier. Sometimes it is hellish for a while first though. You're doing absolutely the right thing going to a breastfeeding clinic, but do make use of La Leche League, the Breastfeeding Network helpline and if necessary a lactation consultant if things don't appear to be improving. It was a good idea to express to give yourself a bit of a break and to pump to keep up your supply on both sides, but I'm sure you're keen to avoid the faff and get him back on the breast as soon as possible. I've never used nipple shields and have heard mixed reviews of them, but they may be useful as a way of transitioning him back onto the breast after bottles? See what the clinic says but explore other routes for advice too as I'm sure there'll be people out there with similar experiences who've come out the other side.
    He may well be in growth spurt mode, hence the fussing at the breasts and the increased feedings. These will pass but are exhausting at the time. They get more spaced out as time goes on.
    I found the Baby Whisperer really helpful for reading baby's cues - if you can get the book in your local library I'd really recommend it. In retrospect I don't think too much of a lot of her advice, but the cues stuff is worth the price of the book alone. He might be tired, overstimulated, in need of reassurance, too warm, too cold - you name it! As long as you're responding to his cries in some ways, even if it's just to hold him through the crying because you've exhausted everything else, then that's just fine! 18 days is so tiny I imagine he's a bit overwhelmed by the world sometimes? Our daughter screamed for hours on New Years Eve - didn't occur to us until the next day that being in a house full of family members was a bit much for a 2 week old...Duh! Babies are often very fussy in the evenings - http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussy-evening.html - though it's not always clear why.
    We always used to change nappies in the night when she was small because she was often dirty, but now as long as it's just wet we leave her. She isn't generally bothered by dirty nappies though, whereas some babies are particularly sensitive to them.
    Finally, if the unsettledness (for want of a better word!) goes on, I know some people here have had great success with cranial osteopathy for babies who've experienced quick or traumatic births. Might be worth considering further down the line?
  3. Hi Lohman,
    I just want to say that I don't have many words of wisdom but I can TOTALLY recognise what you are going through. My LO is 21 days old and I am also in the same position. I have little confidence in what I am doing and when he cries I am often at a loss as to why he is crying (he has been fed, winded, changed, cuddled and is still crying). I have also been experiencing pain whilst bfeeding and problems with getting him latched on. Like you, he was fine in the first week or so. Now he thrashes about and it can be a battle to get him on. Then when he is on it is very painful and not just at the beginning. I have spoken to lots of people and had a breastfeeding counsellor come out and all say that the latch is good and I am doing everything right. But this does not help me. I have been expressing using my electric breast pump as I feel engorged and was told that full breasts can make it difficult for him to feed from.
    Like you, I really hope things get a lot easier. I am bfeeding every 2 hours (3 max) and he cries a great deal of night. Last night, he was awake between 3 - 5.30am and cried for most of that time. It was exhausting. My husband is also back at work next week and I don't know how I will cope either.
    I know that this post is not probably too helpful but I want you to know that I think a great deal of what you are feeling is common and normal. I think my LO is suffering from wind and that is what makes him cry. Although we do all we can to help and we are giving infacol before a feed I think it is still a problem for him. It is possible your LO could be suffering from wind? It can be so painful for them.
    Like you, I have little experience/knowledge of what I am doing and never realised it would be so hard but we will get there in the end.
    Take care and please do not feel useless. It is still really early days and things will get betterxxx
  4. Some great advice there so ill keep it brief.. All I can add is that 9 months ago I posted the same thing on here in desperation. I couldn't believe how hard I was finding it when I could manage a class of rowdy year 11s without breaking down into some kind of self questioning / doubting / baby- hating hissy fit... I absolutely adore my daughter now and distanced from 'crazy astra' I can't believe I felt so hostile to the whole experience but it's so so so common. I found that people give good advice - in books, in real life, on forums like this.. But ultimately the newborn bit may just be a matter of 'getting through the days' until he/she gets to about 3 months. As bunique says, if it stayed bad people wouldn't have a second and I know that second time round I know I'll be sleep deprived, sore nipples, baby-meltdown ahhhhhhh-ed, but I will also k ow it ends relatively quickly xxxxx
  5. I agree with all above posts and send big hugs x x I can totally remember how you are feeling but I promise it will get easier. Get yourself to the breast feeding group if only just to off-load and chat to others who have felt the same. It saved me when OH went back to work. Also, I could secretly watch other mums interacting with their LOs which made me feel like I was doing some things right.
    My LO used to cry in the evenings, some times til the early hours. We too found it difficult to work out why and put it down to wind. You couldn't really class it as colic but was enough to upset her (and us). We used to walk her round and round the flat for hours worrying that the neighbours would think we were torturing her! The noise of the microwave/hoover/car/white noise CD sometimes helped. Baby massage helped too - we got a few sessions free in our postnatal classes.
    Breastfeeding was painful for quite a while. Our latch wasn't correct plus I got thrush. The left boob was a mess - not so much a crack as a whole bald patch! A nipple shield (avent) for that boob helped millions and I used it on that boob for months until I was brave enough to go without it. She fed as normal off the right boob and we managed ok considering she would not and still won't really have a bottle or dummy. Lanisoh helped and the doc gave us some gel to clear up the thrush. There is no outward sign of thrush- just painful during feeding and then deep pains in the boob for up to an hour after feeding.
    Hang in there, you're giving your LO such a good start already x x
  6. I just wanted to say that not knowing what to do is totally normal - there isn't an automatic "I'm a Mum so my instinct will tell me why my baby is upset", although some people seem to think there is. A lot of the time, babies just cry. There might be a reason (essentially - nappy, cold/hot, hungry, wind) but most likely they're just adjusting to the world and communicating in the only way they know how. Just keep as calm as you can (not always easy!) and give lots of cuddles. It can be upsetting / infuriating / frustrating but it doesn't last forever, or even very long. The good news is that frequent bfing means frequent cuddles, which is one of the best things you can do to reassure your boy, so well done! During the evenings, bfing was the only thing that would shut my little girl up, for hours at a time (worth pushing through the pain for a bit of peace in my case), so get some good advice as bunique says - there's lots of support out there. (Oh, and have you got Lansinoh nipple cream? Apply after every feed - it saved my poor nipples.)
  7. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Many mums feel like this at first.
    Is there anyone who can come to help you? Family, a good friend?
    And getting to know what they want does come with time. All babies are differnt, you will get to know.
    Have you tried dummies, some people don't like them but I found them invaluable in the ealry stages.
    Try holding him near white noise, or a washing machine.
    Nappies-I'd say mid feed, or when it's obviously necessary. BTW if he gets a rash, wish someone had told me Metanium is magic, and no I don't have shares in it!
    You should feed how you want, if you do want to bf then get support, there are numbers, but please also remember that, as people have said on many other forums, when the kids are a couple of years old no one will know how they were fed, breast and bottle fed babies will grow up to be just as bright and healthy! With one of my kids, breastfeeding didn't suit him, as soon as he went on a bottle (well actually as soon as we changed brands, the blue type of baby milk and anti colic bottles!) he suddenly slept through the night immediately, got much happier, and I became sane again, I think the nights of struggling through breastfeeds had stopped me feeling ok both physically and mentally. That is my personal thing, bottlefeeding was much better for that baby, but my other one seemed fine with breastfeeding and I was happy to do it and avoid the sterilising hassle (though you can get easier sterilisers these days!) But FEED HOW YOU WANT, as I say, two differnt things suited mine, I'm only telling you (though no doubt someone will judge me for feeding them differt ways) because I was in such a state after having my son that I somehow thought I would be a better mother if I struggled to breastfeed him. I don't know why. Logic told me that loads of other people bottle fed and had perfectly healthy kids, and it was only thanks to someone who pointed out it might be much better for me and him. And as I say, he suddenly got much happier, and yes, he is just as bright and healthy and well behaved-or badly lol-as the one breastfed for over a year! Maybe I am rambling now, but I was honestly feeling I was losing it at one point,and I'm glad someone told me.
    Crying can be temperature, nappy, cuddle, colic (different positions for bf, formulas and milk for bot feed can help with this).
    MAybe try a baby massage class? You will meet othe mums and it does calm some babies.
    And have you seen a doc about your stitches? Mums worry about their kids but they need to look after themselves, if you feel you shouldn't remember you need your health to be a good mum.
  8. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    I wrote your exact post about 5 weeks ago! I felt completely useless and really felt like I was letting my LO down. I was worried because I didn't know what she wanted when she cried and panicked that I wouldn't be able to settle her. I was frightened at being left alone with her and worried she didn't know I was her mummy but it does get better! Don't get me wrong, I still worry about things (she tends to prefer sleeping on me during the day rather than in her cot which makes it hard to get anything done!) but I feel much more confident than I did 5 weeks ago. My LO is almost 8 weeks now and I keep thinking how much more confident I'll feel in another 5 weeks. Just take each day as it comes and accept all the help you can. WRT bfeeding, I fed her for 3 weeks and then switched to formula. I was so exhausted and she was never satisfied (she was a big baby) and although I still feel a bit guilty now I know it was the best thing for us. I felt much better and it was lovely being able to share feeding her with others so I could have a rest. As I said, I do still feel bad sometimes but I gave her 3 weeks of breast milk and she has continued to put on weight and is happy. You have to do what is best for you and your family. If that is to continue bfeeding then great but if not, don't feel guilty! All the other advice is great, I just wanted you to know you're not alone and what you're feeling is totally normal! I still don't know a lot and am learning every day but then so is every other first time mum, I'm sure you're doing a great job!x ps don't listen to any other mum who tells you how their baby sleeps through and the whole thing is so easy! It probably isn't true and definitely isn't helpful!!
  9. Keep Smiling!

    Keep Smiling! New commenter

    Sorry for lack of paragraphs, I'm on my i phone!
  10. hang on in there. New mums don.t always have the answers-but are excellent at giving cuddles. Babies are like men in that respect- god knows what they're thinking! Look after yourself and remember that your body needs nutrition to heal your cut etc. It may be at the expense of your baby crying for a few more minutes, but please put the needs of your body higher up the priority list. Also don.t forget the power of singing to your baby, or putting a good dvd on whilst rocking your lo in a sling. It's such a hard time. Trust your instincts and only listen and act upon the advice that suits you and your family. Every mother knows what you're going through. You're not alone. Sr and lo 6.5 months
  11. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    Indeed!! I'm on baby no. 2 now, with a 22 month gap between them, and to be honest I could hardly even remember it being difficult the first time round, so that's proof that it's not that bad in the end [​IMG]
    Weirdly enough i found the sleep deprivation easier to cope with this time (probably just used to 2 years of lack of sleep) but I had such a hard time with BF and was beside myself over it. My daughter is now 3.5 months old and totally formula fed and she's doing well. The first 12 weeks were bl00dy hard to be honest but it is so much easier now. I don't have all those crazy hormones flying around, and i've come to terms with not being able to BF, her colic has stopped, my toddler is accepting her now etc.
    Have you tried infacol or anything? I didn't start using it until about 8 weeks and it made such a difference. Wish i'd used it from the beginning but i didn't realise she had colic and i'm sure that's part of the reason why i found BF hard in the evenings and gave a bottle.
    Honestly, it will get better and in a few weeks you'll be feeling totally different.
  12. Lohman you are not useless!! What you are feeling is totally normal. 18 days ago your life changed in a way that you could not possibly have imagined and even though we have 9 months to 'prepare' ourselves, I don't think that anything could ever prepare you for it!!
    I just typed quite a long post but then thought you've already been given great advice so probably don't need my ramblings too!! All I will say is, don't be too hard on yourself, I am absolutely certain that you will be doing a fantastic job. You will know how to look after him, you're his mummy! Your little boy is still so young and it takes time to get to know each other.
    I can't believe I got to almost 32 without realizing how hard having a baby would be! I think I even said before he was born 'how hard can it be?!' (I can't believe the person I said it to didn't slap me). When my son was born I was a wreck and felt useless too, I used to forget to change his nappy (it just didn't occur to me) and I had no idea why he was crying but you do get there!
    I hope you get some help/advice at the clinic tomorrow. Big hugs xx
  13. Just wanted to add my support, as pretty much all the good advice has been given!
    I have two children, and felt exactly the same as you with my first. I could not believe that someone who had been teaching secondary students for 12 years could not figure out what to do with one little baby! Plus, nobody tells you how boring it is to be a feeding and change machine, because getting any of your life during the first few weeks of your baby's life is not possible. Hang in there, though - they start getting interesting around about 5 weeks in - the first smile did it for me!
    Again, hang in there - you'll be a great mum xxx
  14. I think they start smiling just at the point where you're ready to sell them to the first person that walks past!
    Just in the interests of balance (and under no circumstances to make anyone feel bad) we exclusively breastfed, and still things got easier. You just hit a rhythm with your baby, and things knock you off (illness, teething, sleep regressions) but it gets easier to get back on track.
  15. Chica77

    Chica77 New commenter

    Haha i was going to do a buy one get one free with mine [​IMG]
    Wait until they are toddlers and you have to deal with the terrible 2s....you will look back to their newborn days with fondness! My son is at nursery today so i just have my baby and she is happy in the jumperoo.
    Every new phase is lovely (well, apart from teething!) so enjoy it. I told myself with no. 2 to make the most of her being tiny because it doesn't last long at all, and now she's nearly 16 weeks old and i've had to pack up her 0-3 babygros.

  16. One year ago I was where you are -tired, emotional and feeling like the worst mummy in the world. Now I have a smiley, playful and wondeful creature, We don't start motherhood knowing what to do, it kind of falls into place, and everyone goes it differently. You are very normal, not useless and there will be plenty of posters in the future writing very similar posts.
    I think most new parents could write that exact post- I didn't really enjoy it until, all of a sudden, it got easier- around week 6 I think. Like Bunique I also breastfed and it does get easier, so keep that in mind.
    Nothing can prepare you for sheer amount of time involved in feeding, but it does get better- so do whatever is right for you.

    Keep at it, it won't be this bad forever
  17. it gets easier, i promise. if it's painful to breastfeed then it isn't going right. contact your HV for an urgent referral through to a lactation specialist. i got this at 10 weeks but by this time things had gone so wrong that i gave up BFing at 3 months. it didn't hurt though when i fed, he just wasn't gaining weight - was still under his birth weight at 6 weeks.
    as for not knowing what to do - i didn't either. if he cries in the evening could be colic. distressing and awful to go through but clears up about 13 weeks. you just have to make it to then. try infacol and gripe water.
    my LO wouldn't feed from my right breast. turns out he was bruised on his head from the delivery and didn't like lying on that side to feed. have you tried the rugby ball hold? you literally tuck his body under your arm - legs to your bum, head to your belly and hold him under your arm. this was the only way my LO would feed from my right side until his bruising faded. you could also try an osteopath for your LO.
    nappies - who cares?! so long as they don't have nappy rash (when they need nappy off time to heal) and they're not leaking it doesn't matter. i change poo-y nappies immediately but just wet doesn't matter.
    be kind to yourself. the aim of the game is to survive each day - and not do it well, just survive. if you make it to bed each night and you're alive and your LO is alive then you've succeeded as a mother.
  18. Absolutely true. They don't come with manuals, remember, and Gina Ford is one of many "experts" who give conflicting advice, so do what you feel works best for you and your baby. This may take a bit of time to figure out, too, so don't panic! If you want to feel a bit reassured that you're not the only one, try reading (if you get a moment) <u>Bringing Up Baby</u> by Daisy Goodwin. You might remember a TV series a few years ago where three families tried three different parenting ideas: Truby King (1950s), Dr Spock (1960s - no Star Trek puns!) and continuum concept (1970s). The book makes for interesting comparisons of these and other childcare ideas. AND.. you realise that nobody has all the answers! After reading this, I put Gina Ford, Baby whisperer et al in the cupboard.
    Big hugs - you'd have to be a superwoman to not feel all at sea with a newborn baby at least once or twice!! xx
  19. Great advice from all but just wanted to reiterate what someone said about baby whisperer- I had a bad day when it all got on top of me a bit but when I read the book i realised I was misreading sleepy cues for hungry cues and as soon as I settled into the "easy" routine, all was great. Try it xx
  20. kittenmittens

    kittenmittens New commenter

    I agree the EASY routine (eat, actitivty, sleep, you) is brilliant- just common sense really. Even if the activity is 5 mins looking at a mobile or waving a rattle at them, this is a good way to start off. Your LO will find their own daily routine eventually but until then just focus on the here and now, do what you can to get through each bit of the day, accept all help offered. Once your partner is back to work, if you can get out to a friendly baby group on your own time you might find it comforting to be around other new mothers- I really needed this as being at home on my own all day just wasn't for me. Yes it seems to take all day to get out, sometimes it all goes wrong, but even going for a walk with the pram helps to gain some perspective and a change of scene. Hope things get better, you're doing really well and this is the tough part- your confidence will grow as you get to know your baby.

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