I'm desperately trying to help a good friend of mine who recently had a baby and is struggling with some severe postpartum issues, the biggest of which are (1) difficult breastfeeding and (2) difficult bonding w/ her baby (I'm thinking these are related).
I don't know what to do--I've tried searching for bonding advice online but a lot of it is about immediately after birth--what about for moms who still haven't bonded/attached with their babies a few weeks after the birth?
She lives far away from me, is isolated with no friends or family to help her but her husband (who goes back to work in two weeks) and I work full time, so while I was able to take a few days off to go stay with her (with my toddler on my back the whole time) that was only temporary help....
Here's what's going on:
When in the hospital...
- She had an all-natural birth and the baby was placed on her chest right away (which I know is supposed to help with bonding).
- BUT she had trouble breastfeeding (couldn't figure out how to do it and when she tried it hurt so bad she screamed) and there was no LC at the hospital so the nurse told her to pump and give formula (since she couldn't pump anything--of course not, all she would have had was colustrum!)
- She tried quitting the bottle-feeding but the baby wouldn't latch and wouldn't suck...
Now, three weeks later:
- She got help from two different LCs so far but the baby continues to refuse to latch and her supply has suffered--she is now pumping 10-12 times per 24/hour period and drinking fenugreek tea and eating oatmeal and whatnot and is desperate to get her milk supply up and get the baby nursing directly... the baby is now getting about 75% breastmilk and 25% formula.
- The baby often screams and fusses for a long time and flails at her sensitive sore nipples when she tries to get him to latch (she tries many times per day) and she gets really frustrated--she says she can't help feeling "angry" at him and she just wants to hand him off to her husband and go nap in another room.
- Her husband is doing most of the actual feeding and holding and babywearing and snuggling and parenting of the baby. She's basically just pumping and sleeping.
My bonding advice to her was basic attachment parenting stuff--babywearing, snuggling, kissing, holding, cosleeping, breastfeeding, etc. And I suggested she go to La Leche or a breastfeeding group nearby, but she says she can't leave the house, it's too difficult. She says she can't sleep next to the baby (his noises wake her up) so she's been leaving him in the cosleeper next to her husband while she naps in another room... I don't think she's doing much babywearing/snuggling either. She seems to feel distance/anger at the baby and lots of frustration. And of course she's really emotional and sleep-deprived.
In sum, I had love at first sight with my daughter and can't imagine not feeling total head over heels crazy joy about my child. I hesitate to just say "oh, it's ok that you feel nothing for your baby, it will come in time" because I don't know if it really is ok--sounds like an emergency to me? But I don't want to judge her or scare her.
thanks so much in advance for any help!