or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Life With a Baby › bonding advice for mom w/ b-feeding problems who "feels nothing" but anger for her 3-wk old?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

bonding advice for mom w/ b-feeding problems who "feels nothing" but anger for her 3-wk old? - Page 2

post #21 of 29

Well, I've never exactly been known for my civility. redface.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonWillow View Post

I think there is some good discussion going on here and that in the grand scheme its helpful for OP to see different perspectives on what her friend is going through. So with that being said, as long as we keep the conversation civil and respectful, we're all good.

 

 



 

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you gemasita--this sounds a lot like what she is going through. If you don't mind I will anonymize your comments and email them to her... she might really appreciate it.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gemasita View Post

I had horrific bf'ing problems in the beginning.  There was literally no time to do anything except pump.  In order to sleep, I had to get someone to take care of DS and I had to put earplugs in.  It was just terrible the first few weeks and I felt so guilty all the time.  I would agree with some of the posters who are saying this is normal for someone who is exhausted and trying so hard to build her milk supply (like I was doing).  I desperately wanted to bf and just felt like I had to work my a** off to do what was best for my baby.  In retrospect, who knows if I did the right thing by spending time and energy pumping when I could have been cuddling DS.  I do feel like it paid off in the long run though.

 

It DOES sound like there is some ppd and I'm sure not sleeping is not helping.  Physical pain is not helping.  She is in survival mode and I understand why going out to an LLL meeting seems like a waste of energy right now.  But if she does have ppd, medication can certainly help.  Sleep too.  So...like someone else said, daily help would be great for her.  I didn't really want to be alone too much with the baby.  I felt like I was going a little crazy.  And I needed so much help just to get myself food, drink, showers...all those basic things.

 

Co-sleeping and babywearing REALLY helped me feel bonded to DS.  She says co-sleeping isn't that helpful to her.  Sounds like she really needs sleep.  I've heard some people say that co-bathing has helped them feel bonded.  Maybe she can find something like that that feels nice to her.  I also agree with the others who say the bonding will continue in time.  She doesn't even know her child that well yet and she's probably really focused on trying to make the bf'ing work.  She'll get to know her baby more and more and while I can't say for sure that the bonding isn't something to worry about, I, like others, have had friends who needed time to get to know their baby before bonding with them.

 

Can a postpartum doula help her?  That was so useful for us because I needed someone who would give me practical help, breastfeeding help, and wouldn't say the wrong things!



 

post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi APToddlerMama,

 

I'm not at all offended, and I really appreciate your sympathy for my friend! Just to clarify, I gave her that AP advice as a list of ideas in response to her repeatedly ASKING me "What can I do to bond more with my baby?", and NOT as a pushy list of chores "you're not doing enough to meet AP standards" assessment! I have also told her repeatedly that bonding takes time for many moms and is not magic/instant ... The reason I started thinking this was more "emergency" than "normal rough postpartum period" was after reading some stuff about PPD...

 

I've been really careful when talking to her and emailing her NOT to take a judgmental tone ... I've told her again and again that I love her and she is being an amazing mama by working so hard to make milk for her baby, and that she needs to take care of herself and rest and sleep as much as she can. When I went to visit her I did dishes, made food, washed pump parts, made her take naps, helped her try to get the baby latched, did errands, bought her nursing bras, found her an LC and accompanied her to the appointment, etc.

 

But I do really appreciate your comments and your concern--the whole reason I posted my question is because I wanted to hear from mamas who had experiences like hers as mine was a bit different--I had really horrible breastfeeding problems and lots of crying and misery and sleeplessness, but I had no bonding issues (which I have NOT said to her--I don't want her to feel bad) and was surrounded by friends and my mom and brother and my sister-in-law and other people helping me 24/7. So no offense taken.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post



 


OP--I know you are totally completely concerned and trying to help so I don't want to come off rude (although I probably will and I am seriously sorry.  I am not the best at wording things gently).  Here is the thing though.  A lot of what you're pointing out *is* judging this mama.  According to your assessment, she's not doing enough babywearing and snuggling, she's not co-sleeping (eeeek!!!) because his noises wake her so she sleeps in another room, she's not leaving to get support, not kissing and holding enough, etc.  By these standards, I might have been considered a crappy mom in an emergency situation the first month too, even though I felt deeply bonded to my son, and we are very bonded now.  But, yeah...I went in another room to sleep sometimes when I could because I also couldn't sleep with the noises early on. DH was with baby and perfectly fine.  It was my way of addressing my own mental health concerns.  I also breastfed, pumped, and passed the baby off, desperately trying to catch up on sleep so I didn't feel so exhausted I wanted to puke.  Babywearing?  If someone had suggested it I would have asked if they were kidding.  I mean, I literally had DS on the boob 12 hours a day, so when I got an ounce of space, I *took it*.  And crazy head over heels joy?  I had zero joy.  Pain from a 3rd degree tear, no sleep, bf problems, and no joy.  But I ended up totally okay once my sleep and pain needs were met, and bfing improved.  You're expecting a lot from this mom.  It just isn't that easy for all of us...  Offer her what you can in terms of support, but please try not to convey to her that she has a list of chores to meet the "good ap mama" standards. 
 

 



 

post #24 of 29

I"m just editing this to add that when I was writing this your post above hadn't come up yet (and then I had to go and nurse midpost)... I guess to respond directly to your post above I wanted to add: You are doing a great job and really helping her. Maybe when she asks a lot for ideas for bonding with her baby just tell her that it will come and that it's totally ok to feel how she does, even if it doesn't feel nice? My friend (who I talk about in the last paragraph below) told me the best thing... about her parents (who I LOVE and who are great parents and with whom my friend is really close) only realizing when they were down the block in the car (on the way to the bar! this was 1970s though...) that they had left my friend (a toddler) at home in bed napping! And they're still great parents, and she is still awesome and they love each other and everything is cool! It's gonna be ok! It's already ok! Sucky, but OK!

 

Also, and i talk about this more below... could all the social stress and isolation and maybe financial stress --- on top of bf issues and etc --- be related to her bonding issues? Sounds like she is really on hyper alert 'fight fight fight' adrenaline mode (and who wouldn't be!). Maybe you can reassure her that she's just understandably stressed, and that once these stresses are reduced she will feel the bond she already has? The last thing she needs is to add 'must bond with baby' to her list of things to do (and likely, list of things she feels she is doing inadequately).

 

----- ok, this is my original post -----

 

You have already done so very much to help your friend, I wonder if you are not also feeling a little stressed out from all the care work you are doing. It is wonderful that you are doing so much, and at the same time, probably very hard to do any more. I wonder if there are other resources you could call on that you have not yet thought of (you've already thought of so much!). Maybe visiting nurses in her area (they have been really good in every place I know about, but maybe not where your friend is...). Maybe there are other MDC moms in the area that could be called into service to bring meals and visit? A church group or similar? I agree that maybe someone in training to be a PPdoula might consider a probono... You haven't mentioned your friend's family, so I assume that she is not close with them or they are not available? I know, even thinking about these things is daunting... 

 

Also, totally randomly, my mom loaned me her Kindle e reader for marathon nursing sessions and it has been a HUGE psychological lift to be able to read novels when pinned to extended lactation sessions...

 

You know, I was going through a lot of stress etc immediately postpartum (extreme money issues, on top of having been induced for preeclampsia, continuing high blood pressure, my own long term anxiety issues, stresses on my husband from his natal family, etc). I have been struggling a little with bonding with my baby as a person. I love him, I cuddle him, etc, but I feel a little distant and checked out. I know that this is a far cry from what your friend is going through. But I also have figured out that when I thought I was having PPD I was more having practical problems coupled with an existential crisis. The things that helped me the most were practical help and also being able to talk to friends with children, who I think are very good parents, about how strange and hard everything was. As soon as I was able to name, accept, and even laugh about the feeling of strange distance from my baby I began to be able to let go of my guilt about feeling exhausted and stressed out rather than blissful. Letting my guilt go is helping me to bond with my baby.

 

I think it's important to acknowledge that not feeling head over heels in love with baby during the very hard early adjustments doesn't mean we are bad mothers. It means we are good mothers, sticking it out through tough times. 

 

You are being a really good friend, and I hope that you are also taking care of yourself well so that you can be a resource (over the phone? with ESP vibes?) as time foes on. I think the person who has helped me the most is a friend in the desert SW who is going through a rough divorce. We call each other to check in every couple days and just to say that it's ok to feel sad and weird and strange, or to joke about things, to make fun of mutual acquaintances we don't like, to talk about what we'll cook for dinner, and to remind each other that it will be ok. Maybe you can continue to be someone like this for your friend, and encouraging and constant 'presence' reassuring her that she is human, normal, and good, even when things are tough.

 

Keep up the good work and support!!!!!! Nurture yourself as well!!!!!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blake201 View Post

Thank you everyone again for your helpful comments. matte, when I say "far away" I mean a few states away--a six-hour trip for me via Amtrak and car, and I don't have a car. I wish it was just Inwood!

 

Those are all good ideas. My mom bought her a few hundred dollars worth of gift certificates for local food delivery, and when I visited her I brought her a bunch of prepared food... but not sure about trying to enlist friends and neighbors. She only just moved to where she lives a few months ago (she used to live in NYC near me) to start a job there and has almost no friends there--nearest one is an hour away and not herself a mom. She doesn't know any of her neighbors yet either.

 

She would never let me pay for a cleaning service as she knows I can't afford it (my husband has been unemployed almost a year) and I already spent a bunch of $$ buying her nursing/pumping bras and a baby carrier and various things, and it was hard enough to convince her to let me do that!

 

So I'm focusing on trying to give her the best emotional support I can over the phone (which is crap compared to being there but I think it's something!) get her to go to some breastfeeding groups nearby and meet some moms she can develop some connections with, as that was SOO helpful for me. I'm going to take a few more vacation days and go visit her again this weekend, too.

 

I'm going to check in with her and her DH today and see what her doula and midwife said about PPD, too.

 



 



 

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by holothuroidea View Post

Well, I've never exactly been known for my civility. redface.gif
 



 


Thank you for your honesty. lol.gif

 

post #26 of 29

Glad my experience will help her some.  I just remember getting so many comments like, "Just do this..." "Just do that..."  "Don't use a bottle..." "Use a bottle..." "Just do skin-to-skin and it will fix everything..."  (Do you know how painful skin-to-skin is with bloody, scabbed nipples?)  None of that was helpful.  I just needed help sleeping and eating...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blake201 View Post

Thank you gemasita--this sounds a lot like what she is going through. If you don't mind I will anonymize your comments and email them to her... she might really appreciate it.
 



 



 

post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 


Oh yes, yes, I do! I experienced extreme breastfeeding pain, thrush, vasospasms, damaged nipples, etc... I had to pump for a week because my nipples were so sore nursing made me scream and cry...! But of course pumping for one week is not the same as pumping for three weeks or more...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gemasita View Post

Do you know how painful skin-to-skin is with bloody, scabbed nipples?
 



 



 

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by blake201 View Post

Hi APToddlerMama,

 

I'm not at all offended, and I really appreciate your sympathy for my friend! Just to clarify, I gave her that AP advice as a list of ideas in response to her repeatedly ASKING me "What can I do to bond more with my baby?", and NOT as a pushy list of chores "you're not doing enough to meet AP standards" assessment! I have also told her repeatedly that bonding takes time for many moms and is not magic/instant ... The reason I started thinking this was more "emergency" than "normal rough postpartum period" was after reading some stuff about PPD...

 

I've been really careful when talking to her and emailing her NOT to take a judgmental tone ... I've told her again and again that I love her and she is being an amazing mama by working so hard to make milk for her baby, and that she needs to take care of herself and rest and sleep as much as she can. When I went to visit her I did dishes, made food, washed pump parts, made her take naps, helped her try to get the baby latched, did errands, bought her nursing bras, found her an LC and accompanied her to the appointment, etc.

 

But I do really appreciate your comments and your concern--the whole reason I posted my question is because I wanted to hear from mamas who had experiences like hers as mine was a bit different--I had really horrible breastfeeding problems and lots of crying and misery and sleeplessness, but I had no bonding issues (which I have NOT said to her--I don't want her to feel bad) and was surrounded by friends and my mom and brother and my sister-in-law and other people helping me 24/7. So no offense taken.



Wow...I could have used a friend as sweet as you in those first weeks!  I think it is wonderful that she has someone who is willing to go to such great lengths to support her.  I also think you are really lucky that the horrible breastfeeding problems and sleeplessness didn't afect your bond with your baby at all.  I guess I would just remember that for some mamas, it is hard to feel bonded under those circumstances, and many times, that is okay.  I would try to reassure her that not all mamas are instantly in love with their babies when their nipples are cracked, they haven't slept in weeks, and their lives are suddenly turned upside down.  Although I did feel really bonded to my son, I did also feel resentment too.  It really helped me not feel like a "bad" mom to know that many of my friends had been through the same thing, and even not felt bonded to their babies, yet for the majority of us, things ended up working out okay once our own needs were met.  The whole "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times" saying really applies to the newborn stage for me at least.  When I think back to it, I think of how much I love my son and how sweet and tiny newborns are, how good they smell.  When I was living it, all I wanted was to be able to sit down without terrible pain from my tear, sleep for 8 hours straight, and tell the world to stay away from my boobs, I was done feeling like a cow hooked to a milking machine half the day and a baby the other half.  I mean, it really was hell while I was in it. I hope this stage passes for her soon and is just a stage and not PPD. 

 

post #29 of 29

I don't have time right now to read all the other responses in detail  (my babe is about to wake any moment for another nurse!) but please please please tell your friend that she is not the only one to take a few weeks - or even longer - to bond.

 

I had very bad post partum depression with this babe and didn't get on zoloft until 3 mo. The zoloft literally changed my whole world practically overnight. Zoloft, zoloft, zoloft. 50 mg. Totally safe while BFing. Modern medical miracle. 

 

But what I really wanted to say was how bad it was - that I remember sobbing to my mom on the phone, holding the baby and saying "I don't love him and I don't think I will ever love him," - really awful, terrible stuff - I felt like it was a mistake to have a second child, that I might grow to accept him as my son, but that I would never love him. It was that bad. I didn't want to hurt him, but I didn't love him, didn't like him, didn't enjoy holding him. I felt like I was just going through the motions, and any of that cute baby talk was just "fake it till you make it."

 

Now on a daily basis I'm overwhelmed by how much I love him. Like it's that super-oh-my-God- I love this boy so much I can feel all the cells in my body tingling with the energy of the universe love. I love every tiny inch of his little body, I love kissing him and holding him and eating his neck and smelling his feet and his laugh is like the most gorgeous music in the world.

 

It does happen - things do change. There are times now where it's hard and I'm tired and frustrated and I even think "it might have been easier to only have one," but I love him so much it's just ... beyond words.

 

Please post again to let us know how she's doing. If for some reason she wants to talk to someone else who had PPD, please feel free to PM me and I'd totally email or talk to her.

 

You are a totally awesome friend ...

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Life With a Baby
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Life With a Baby › bonding advice for mom w/ b-feeding problems who "feels nothing" but anger for her 3-wk old?