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AP fail... (long)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Okay I'm just looking for some support b/c I'm feeling like a failure or that I'm screwing up another baby.


When I had DD I was a single young mother. I had to have a c/s because she was breach and she was 5 weeks early so there was no birth bonding. I did breastfeed. We co-slept till she was about 5 months. I had a sling that I loved to carry her in. Then I started working and she got put on a schedule, and my milk supply started to go down so we supplemented and my family swore up and down that co-sleeping was really bad and I just need to let her CIO. Not knowing any better I just let these things happen and now at only 4 years old we are in therapy for behavior and anxiety issues.


With baby number 2 the situation was very different. I was sooo much more informed. I had a LONG but successful vbac and was able to hold him and start breastfeeding immediately. We co-slept (usually in a co-sleeper b/c of DH). I have a moby and k'tan. Well I returned back to work part time and I'd really like DS to eat whenever he wants but he eats MUCH more milk that I can pump and DH wants to just put him on formula or at least supplement and swears up and down I'm not producing enough milk and he's starving. Although, he's fine when he's with me. Around 3.5 months I started putting him in his crib because he would just sleep in there fine, no crying or anything and I was hoping I'd get more sleep this way. I'm sooo tired I just want him to sleep through the night and I know he can, he's done it plenty before but he got into this routine where he wakes up at 2 am and then 4 and basically every hour until I just give up and just wake up.


Even babywearing is just wearing me down. It hurts my back and DH won't let me get another carrier b/c he said 2 should be enough. Not to mention at 100* outside I don't want to be touched by anything. I'm just so discouraged with it all and I'm afraid he's going to end up like DD. I really want that close loving relationship with my kids but it seems as though having another child or being told what to do with my first child has reprogrammed my instincts and totally diminished my patients. 


I don't know what to do.

post #2 of 10

hug2.gif  The problems your DD is dealing with right now most likely don't have anything to do with the age at which she weaned or the age at which she transitioned to her own bed. Some kids are just wired to have more anxiety. I have a DD who has an anxiety disorder (as well as other special needs) and the the check list and promises of AP kind of drive me batty. Our children come into this world Who They Are and we only decide how to respond to that.


Parenting isn't like baking a cake where if you follow the recipe just right, you get a certain result. Our kids are who they are, and we just love them the best we can.


It sounds like part of the problem right now is conflict between you and your husband. My DH and I went through a really rough patch after the birth of our second child. With just one child, we still had time for each other, but after our second, we were so busy trying to take care of both kids and we never got enough sleep and we often weren't on the same page. It was exhausting. We were both trying So Hard, and yet we always felt tired and overwhelmed and like the whole "family life" thing just wasn't working out the way we had thought it would. I don't have any real advice for getting through this phase, just a BTDT and lived through it. My DH and I are really happy now -- and when our kids were small, I wasn't really sure if I had even married the right guy or if our marriage would last. 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well that's good to hear it gets better. DH and I are on different pages. It's driving me batty. He's constantly pushing me to just switch to formula so we can have some more freedom and DS won't be so attached to me. I think he's jealous. :( DD was never overly attached to me. She was happy with lots of people but DS is a total mommy's boy. LOL And DH keeps saying he's going to be upset if DS is always overly attached to me. 


I has become more and more apparent that DH doesn't buy into the whole AP thing AT ALL. It makes me sad.

post #4 of 10
Originally Posted by Maternalove View Post

Well that's good to hear it gets better. DH and I are on different pages. It's driving me batty. He's constantly pushing me to just switch to formula so we can have some more freedom and DS won't be so attached to me. I think he's jealous. :( DD was never overly attached to me. She was happy with lots of people but DS is a total mommy's boy. LOL And DH keeps saying he's going to be upset if DS is always overly attached to me.




A child's affection isn't some kind of contest.  Your DH needs to chill out about who likes who "best".


I can see the value of formula in your situation, because there's nothing worse than being stuck with a cranky, hungry baby and having nothing to give him.  Of course he's fine with you - you have the milk.  But supplementing isn't going to refocus your very young babe's preferences (if he, indeed, has a preference for one parent over another at this stage).

post #5 of 10

I was going to ask, are you sure it's your SON this isn't working for and not your husband?


I would doubt that your DD's issues are related to her early life too.  I've got two kids, with different fathers.  They had the same mama doing (or at least trying to do, with mixed success, first babies NEVER get the calm, experienced parenting that 6th babies are gonna get!) the same things.  DD1 cried for up to 6 hours every evening, had to go to formula at 7 months (my supply died due to a thyroid issue that i couldn't get treated until i'd had tests for and the tests would have meant i had to wean...), was from a "broken home" whatever that means (her dad is and has always been very involved).  My DD2 slept at least 6 hours at night FROM BIRTH, is still breastfed (albeit once a day) at 25months and is from a stable family.  They are so different and so similar in so so many ways!  DD2 can use a spoon more neatly than DD1 can, and there is a 4-year age gap!  Both of them wake up at the crack of dawn, no matter what time they went to bed.  DD1 thinks carefully whether she'd like to obey a given request, DD2 ALWAYS does immediately as she's been asked.  DD1 was 3 before she would sit for 2mins and watch the TV, DD2 would watch it all day if i let her.  DD1 was not fussed to nurse for comfort and only nursed the edge off her hunger if there was something (i.e. anything) more interesting going on, DD2 would be happy if someone surgically attached her to my boob so she never had to let go!


I'm having #3 in January and i BET they are another wild card!  Kids just are who they are, there's only so much you as a parent have control over.


If i were you i'd try to improve communication about it all with your husband - ASK him if he's feeling neglected/left out and share with him how you're feeling touched out/over-stretched.  Try to pull together even though you're facing polarity with the demands/methods.  It's really hard when you don't share parenting beliefs, because when the going gets tough the other person is always going to say "well if you did it MY way...", so you both need to find a way of getting on the same page.  It's not a matter of "giving in" (as so often these things end up feeling like they're about), it's about flexibility, compromise and seeing what works for each of you and for each kid.  You have great reasons for wanting to continue to nurse - how is his weight gain?  How old is he?  Is he on solids yet?  Will your DH feel better when he is able to give him solids?  Some kids ARE really attached as babies to their mum (or dad).  I was very clingy with my mum, so was my DD1.  Now she is the most gregarious, independent 6yo around!  It doesn't mean he'll be a mommy's boy at 4 or 14 or 27!  It just means that right now he needs his mommy, he's just a little baby.  I think men often feel left out when they have their first kid.  They might not know how to "get involved" without taking over, and they feel stressed by this "little other" who suddenly has first call on their partner's needs and resources.  I think it's a transition we as a society prepare one another and ourselves for very poorly.  All the "dad" stuff seems to centre around bigger kids (baseball, discipline, curfews etc...) and when there's a little baby men are often left feeling superfluous.  How is his relationship with your son in general?  Are they close?  Does he do certain things all the time for him (bath time, stories, whatever)?  If he really wants to do formula and you don't could you compromise on one bottle a day, to be prepared and given by him, while you have some 1-on-1 with your DD or a bit of time for yourself?

post #6 of 10
What "Linda" said.

AP only works as long as it works. Your baby will be FINE in a stroller if you don't want him physically attached to you, he won't think you are "pushing him away" or whatever....more than likely, he'll love it, it's like a ride for them! And I can't imagine that it's very comfortable for HIM in this weather either.

I agree with a PP, maybe compromise and give him a bottle a day so you have time with DD or yourself. Have you been making time for just you and your husband? Maybe he wants baby on a bottle so that you can leave him with a babysitter and you two can have some quality time?

Also, relationships are about being partners as well...maybe cut your husband a break. AP isn't the be all- end all of parenting philosophies. You can still be AP without your baby EBF or being physically attached to you all the time, promise. smile.gif
post #7 of 10

As a father, I can say that I had very mixed feelings to my wife breast feeding for a while.

On one hand, I think/thought that it was the best nutritious value for the child. On the other hand, I can say that I honestly was jealous of the relationship. Even though I knew it was stupid to be jealous of a baby's relationship with their mother. Also, I felt useless. I felt like there was a BIG part of the baby caring day that I was unable to help out with. It didn't help that my wife complained about breast feeding, feeling touched out, waking umpteen times per night or having to be available at all times of the day and night.(Even though she wanted nothing more than to breast feed and did until 2.5 years).

It took me a while to realize that she wasn't wanting me to fix it. She just wanted an ear to complain to about how hard it was to parent a baby.


It helped a bit for me to find my role. There were things that I found out I could do that could a) make me feel like a useful father and b) help my wife feel less over-taxed.

To this day (our DD is 3), my wife has still never cut our DD's nails. I participated in all of the baths for the first year (too afraid to do it completely on my own). I do a lot of playing. I did a lot of the changing of diapers. I did all the laundry for the first year and a half. I did almost all the burping of baby. I did the rocking and swinging and comforting of baby when it wasn't directly related to feeding.



But for a father, that strong bond of baby to Mama is hard to swallow. Even when we realize it is natural.

We don't have our child fully...because all they want is Mama and us fathers are def. second class and the baby is not shy of letting us know it. And we do not fully have our wife/partner anymore...because the baby (rightfully) comes first. That is difficult.


And now, at 3, my DD adores me...and will sometimes even choose me over Mama. Which Mama now finds hard to swallow, even though she wished for a day when it didn't always have to be her.


Parenting is hard.

But my idea of being an attached parent means that you will take a child's needs into account and try to meet those needs. I don't understand it to mean that you will be physically attached to your child. No matter if our child rides in a stroller or in our arms....she knows that we are there for her whenever she needs us and that we will always "have her back".

post #8 of 10

colsxjack-it was nice to get a father's perspective! my husband is like you. we have 4 daughters so he is a pro by now lol

post #9 of 10

I'm in total agreement with Linda, and I'll add a few more things. First, while you didn't get the birth bonding with your dd, humans are not geese. We don't imprint. Relationships build up over years. Please don't beat yourself up for what you didn't do for your child. Is it what you would do now? No. But it's also not the end of the world.


I've got two children with a tendency toward anxiety. Guess, what? We nursed, they were home with dad in infancy, didn't get put on a schedule, connected with us soon after birth, etc. etc. Darn if they still don't have some anxiety. If dd doesn't get better in the next year, I will be taking her in for therapy. She's definitely got emotional regulation issues. Ds' issues were largely cured when we addressed his physical sensitivities/motor planning issues with occupational therapy. But I've had him in for evaluation for anxiety. I may take him in for therapy next year if his tics get bad again.


If babywearing is hurting your back or making  your skin crawl because it's 100+ degrees out, then don't do it! I have back issues. I didn't wear either of my kids. Ds hated it. Dd liked it just fine, but she was a hefty little thing, and I couldn't past about 4 months. My children have a healthy relationship with me.


Second, there are sleep regressions. No one talks about them much, but they exist. They often correspond to either growth spurts or developmental milestones. So the fact that your son slept beautifully at 3.5 months and doesn't now may have nothing to do with you. Personally, I'd decide whether it's worth keeping him in his crib. If it is, then what I'd do is get up and feed him every two hours. If he wakes up in between, have dh get up and soothe him back to sleep. That's what we did with ds. I knew he could go two hours, and I needed the sleep. We actually got a little clock we could put on the wall, and I set the time when I last fed ds. If he cried and dh got up, and it was less than 2 hours, he soothed him back to sleep. Being exhausted will also mess with your supply.


With ds, I had supply issues and by 9 months, we needed to supplement some. Ds didn't suck well (high palate + sensory issues), and so he just didn't stimulate the milk production like my 2nd did. And you know what? He's healthy and happy. Formula is not death. If you can't get enough milk to satisfy him, first try to spend all day with him nursing very frequently (when my kids were on a growth spurt, they needed to nurse every 45-60 minutes), on a weekend to get your supply up. If that doesn't work, it's OK if he gets a little formula. If he's taking a bottle from dad and still nursing with  you, you're not going to screw up your nursing relationship.


Finally, AP isn't a "list" of things you have to do to be a good parent. It's a set of things that people do because they work for them and promote attachment. But there are lots of other ways to promote attachment. I had one child who slept in his own crib, hated being worn, hated nursing to sleep, weaned early, didn't like to cuddle, and rode in a stroller. I had another child who co-slept with, was worn as much as I could stand, was nursed until I cut her off at age 3 (for night nursing) and 4 (for her last morning nibble). Neither child is more attached than the other. Attachment isn't a competition, it's building a relationship.

post #10 of 10

Oh, and another thought? Have you been screened for Post-partum Depression (PPD)? This is a good online screening tool: http://www.testandcalc.com/etc/tests/edin.asp


If you score high, please contact your doctor. This kind of excessive worry can sometimes be a sign of PPD.  I had PPD really bad, mostly PPD with anxiety. Is it any wonder that my kids have a tendency toward anxiety?

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