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Is my baby attached?/What about my relationship?

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  • Is my baby attached?/What about my relationship?

    This topic could both be posted in "consistent and loving care" and "strive for balance in personal and family life", so I'll post it in both places. I am currently reading "Attached at the Heart". And this paragraph made me tear up: Follow your heart and listen to your baby. Some days your mantra will be "This too shall pass" and "I must put my baby's needs first. The house may not be clean, the dishes my be piled in the sink, but I'm putting people before things, and tomorrow is another day!" It all sounds so simple, but this is not just one day for me. It has been practically everyday for the past 6 months and a half. Here, a good day is when me and my baby are both clean, fed and dressed by the end of the day. My little girl has had severe colics since she was two weeks old. We are still trying to figure out what foods cause her to have so much pain. On top of this she shows some signs of being a high-need baby, but not entirely. If she could she would be attached to my breast all day long. I have let her do that for about two weeks, until the midwife advised me to only feed her every three hours for a max. duration of 45 mins. As much as I hate forcing her into a schedule, my breasts just can't take more than that. Especially because when she's in pain she really pulls and bites my nipples. She can of course eat less if she wants to and when she really, really needs it I feed her earlier or for a bit longer. On top of that, she's getting fussier and fussier about noise when she's eating. Even the cat walking by can distract her now. Usually, it starts off with her letting go of my nipple and smiling at the cat (or whatever she saw), but after a while she gets upset. I guess she doesn't understand that she's in control of holding on to my nipple... So now I just sit with her quietly and try to read. The first two months I literally did nothing else but pacing around the house, singing and rocking her in my arms in an upright position, cause that was the only way she somewhat calmed down. As soon as I sat down, even when she was asleep, she would wake up and start crying again. I tried a carrier, but she hated it (probably because it was too hot). When it got colder she accepted the carrier, but now that she's older she wants to see things. I'm too afraid to carry her in a facing-outward position, cause apparently that's damaging to their spine. So, I recently bought a new carrier to put her on my back, hoping she could see over my shoulder while I did some chores (especially because a back carry provides you with space in front of you), but she hates it aswell. When she's not feeling too bad, she likes sitting in her highchair with a toy. But then I feel guilty about letting her sit on her own for too long, while I'm desperately trying to get something done. Plus, she seems to get bored of her toys so easily, I really have to be creative in giving her new things to discover. So after a while she throws the toy away and starts complaining about being bored. The better she knows a toy, the faster she grows tired of it. When it comes to naptime, it's been a gradual process. First I couldn't sit down, then she napped in my lap and now I can actually put her in bed as long as I stay with her and don't make any noise. This obviously means that I also can't do anything during naptime. Same thing at night: as soon as she falls asleep my fiancé and I get into bed asap, because if we're not there, she wakes up. We had help the first 5 weeks after birth, but now we're on our own. My fiancé works 6 days a week so I can stay home and he only comes home at 7 pm. Obviously, at that point he doesn't want to do a ton of household chores. We have no money for someone to help us and I feel like everyday is a race for me to get things done. Honestly, sometimes I just put my daughter in the carrier or her highchair even though she's complaining, just so I can do something. And when she does feel good, I barely play with her, cause I finally have some time to do something. As you can see, there's no way me and my family can spend some relaxing moments together. And for me and my fiancé it is entirely impossible to have alone time! We only take our daughter with us to family events, because she just can't eat when she's distracted. Anyway, long story short: It seems so easy in the book, but for us it's a battle and I'm really scared that my baby won't be properly attached. If only she would accept the carrier... Now I feel like I'm pushing her everyday, so I can do my chores, but if I don't push her and work, I feel guilty that she's living in a dirty house... Just to paint a picture: I recently cleaned my floors after 6 weeks AND we have a cat. Soon she'll start crawling on those floors... We're also struggling with our relationship. We only spend time together when we sleep and we argue a lot. It's the typical: mother wants more support and wants father to be more involved with the baby against father says he has to work and therefore deserves relaxing time at home and feels like mother only has eyes for the baby. Does anyone have/had the same problem(s) and do you feel like your children are properly attached? Btw, sorry for all the drama, but I feel like I'm the only parent that can't cope. Other parents have more children and fulltime jobs and still seem to do better! And also, I do really love taking care of her, even though I make it sound like I don't.

  • #2
    Okay! Apparently all the spaces were left out of the text. Sorry, if this reads uncomfortably! Also, I can't post it twice, so I didn't post it in "Strive for balance in personal and family life". :-)


    • #3
      Hugs to you, mamma! I could have written a very similar post almost 11 years ago when my first was born. He was very colicky and generally unhappy until he started crawling. Things got better because he could move where he wanted. He walked very early, at 9 months and I always said it was because he hated being a baby. If I could go back and give my old self advice, it would be to realize that it is just a short phase in life that will change all too soon and I can't get it back. Now he's turning 11 and won't fit into my arms. I wish I could have enjoyed some of those early days more. On the plus side, we all sleep through the night now It was a very stressful time on my marriage, for sure. It took a lot of grace and forgiveness on both our parts. We had to work through the stress and sleep deprivation.

      Practically, I'd advise to keep looking for a carrier that will work for your baby. My oldest loved the ring sling so I could wear him in the side-position on my hip. His arms and legs were free, but supported. My second loved the wrap. They all have their preferences. My other advice would be to let go of guilt, it serves no purpose but to rob you of joy. You are not a superwoman, no one is. You're a mom with a baby. Do what you can and let the rest go. I remember many days that I counted as a success if I got a shower. You may need to lower your expectations. And don't compare yourself to "Other parents have more children and fulltime jobs and still seem to do better". You don't really know their story, and they don't know yours. You're doing the best you can, and that is really all your family needs.


      • #4
        Thank you so, so much, PaxMamma!!! Your reply means the world to me! And it is exactly as you say, I feel like my baby hates being a baby! We started saying that she would probably only be happy when she will walk, around the time she was three months old! That's how soon we noticed that she wanted independence! Also, we immediately saw that she hated to be swaddled. From that very beginning she wanted to have her arms free. I've also decided to buy a ring sling, I hope it will give her the freedom of movement she craves so much and will make it able for her to see what I'm doing. She's also very particular about how and where I can touch her. For example, I'm allowed to comb her hair with a comb, but not with a brush. And I can touch and wash her face, but she won't let me dry it off or massage it. Was your son like that too? I do try to lower my expectations and I really feel sad about not enjoying her baby-days enough. It's just really hard for a perfectionist like me to let go. I really think she's in my life to teach me instead of the other way around. :-)