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Totally Overwhelmed FTM

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello all,


Haven't posted or checked the forums in over a month now. DS is just over 4 months old and this past month has been full of changes. He has definitely exited the fourth trimester stage and everything is in constant flux. It's amazing and heartwarming to witness my baby boy growing and developing before my eyes but I've gotten to a point this week where I am just totally overwhelmed.


In the beginning, I would get stressed because I had to hold him and nurse him constantly and I wasn't getting any housework done. Now it's totally different. There is so much to do with and for him that I can't fit it all in. I want to be able to nurture all his new skills - rolling over, new sounds/faces, trying to crawl, oral development. I also want to encourage new ones and do good things for him like reading and socializing. Of course, there are things I want to do for myself, too, like yoga, walking, strength training (all of which I am sure I can do in a way that baby will enjoy, if only I could find time) as well as my own socializing. I would say at least 50% of the time, we don't interact with anyone during the day except my DH when he gets home at night.


Right now, my biggest goals are sleep related. DS was an excellent sleeper in the early weeks, but not so much now. His naps are touch and go and he wakes every 2-3 hours at night. 95% of the time, he only falls asleep by nursing at the breast. So, when he doesn't sleep, neither do I, and that makes the daytime tasks even harder to accomplish. I have tried a variety of things and am trying to be patient as I continue to try more and more. I know sleep is a complicated and controversial issue with many schools of thought and I am doing my best to try and figure out what works for us.


I have returned to reading parenting/baby books in an attempt to figure out what we "should" be doing throughout the day for his development, as well as for sleep. I find that instead of helping, they often make me feel even more guilty, like I am screwing everything up. I constantly find myself faced with questions. How much structure is best during the day? Is it better to hold him as much as possible even if I'm not doing anything, or should I let him try to crawl and play with toys on the floor? The list goes on and on.


I have very little support in my friends and family. DS was unplanned and I was never a kid person before so I haven't kept in touch with many of my friends with small children and I am getting my karma for it now. I have tried a mom's group, but now with this sleep thing I am finding that our best nap times are also the times that most groups meet - 1030 am and 130 pm, so I am torn on how to handle that. My DH is probably better than many, but I often feel like his is completely incompetent and I have given up on relying on him to provide me with the support I need. My jaw is sore from clenching it in frustration so often. Our marriage wasn't perfect when we accidentally got pregnant, so having a baby is a major strain on our relationship. Not to mention the fact that our main social activities all consisted of drinking, and we can no longer do that as a couple. With no support, also comes no time alone, no date nights, etc. just the 3 of us which often means DS and I doing our usual thing while DH does his or a complete break in our usual routine.


I could babble on and on. Essentially I just don't know how to do this without support. I don't know how to take care of the baby + myself so it's always one or the other. I always feel like I'm doing everything wrong. I have nobody to talk to and when I do, it's always all about the baby. I miss my old life. I also love my baby so much it hurts and my perfectionism is telling me I'm not good enough. I'm broke. I'm lonely. I'm tired. I'm sure this is the same old song of every new mom but GEEZ, it's killing me.

post #2 of 8
BREATHE! I'm a FTM too, my DS is 6 months old and you are EXACTLY where I was a few months ago. Part of being a mom is just learning to let go. I stress myself out constantly about trying to do everything that "needs" to get done for his development, to keep the house in working order, to keep myself from going off the deep and and to keep my marriage in check. I reached a breaking point: I was lonely, felt like a single parent, and resented everyone else in the world for having their sh!t together when I would only remeber to feed the dog breakfast at 3pm.

You need to re prioritize and just let some things go. Yes, you need to empty the dishwasher so it can get loaded up again. Yes, you need to not totally ignore your kid. But there are lots of things that only SEEM urgent and vital.

As much of a "bad mom" as it may make me DS doesn't get tummy time every day, the laundry constantly is backed up, and I haven't turned my laptop on in forever. BUT I came to the realization that DS will crawl at some point in his life, he won't die if I dont make him two fresh vegan meals a day, and having so much laundry that I have to go to the laundromat and hog five washers in the middle of the day is a good time to get some takeout and invite someone I haven't seen in a while to to meet up -even if it is just my retired Grandma.

I think you need to prioritize again. Put your marriage at the forefront. Check out care.com or sittercity.com, or see if your local High School offrts child development classes and get some names from there. And evern if youre breastfeeding still you can have a drink! Trust me, it wont take much to get you going now. But you and your DH should work on being together without alcohol. Put the babe in the car and just go for a drive. Your little one will sleep and you and your man can talk and reconnect. And make sure you are doing something for YOU! Even if its to put on crappy sweats and a ponytail again, I make sure I shower every day and put on mascara. Youd be surprised how much it helps!

You are a fantastic mom- I can tell just by how worried you are! Breathe and know that you are enough. Your baby loves you, your hubby loves you- now you just need to love you!

*sorry for typos- I'm on my phone!*
post #3 of 8
I just read that again and I'm sorry if that came off preachy; I just know exactly how you feel. Im a perfectionist and while I do have a lot of family support I have only one friend who just doesnt understand or really care about all this new mom stuff.. I wrote that ^^ as a letter to myself a few months ago because I just totally relate to how you feel. Please do not take it the wrong way, just as someone who has been there- it does get better!
post #4 of 8

I agree with Stephanie731.  As a 3rd time mom and current mother of a 13 month old, 7, and 11 year old, I have 11 years of experience.  I love Mothering SOOO much.  The only thing that I do not love, is the lack of emphasis they put on marriage.  I, for one, have NO desire to get divorced, share custody of my children, start dating again, and parent my children alone.  OK-- I'll get off my soapbox.  But seriously, marriages take a huge hit when a baby is born.  If yours was not strong to begin with, you need to make it a top priority!!   


I just used care.com to hire a nanny b/c I am going to back to work after being at home for a year.  I was very scared and skeptical, but we found an AMAZING nanny much to my surprise. We have only lived in our current city for 2 years, but we even know some of the same people...so I know tht I can trust her.


Please take care of yourself.  It that means you have to go back to work a little bit or part time-- to afford a babysitter, yoga classes, etc....then do it!!


Work on getting more sleep.  Sleep deprivation is really bad for mental health, marriages, and for finding motivation to take care of yourself. If you don't have enough support to help you through the rough infant stage, then you need to think about GENTLE sleep training. There are tons of books out there that really can work.  


This is going to sound crazy-- but DO not worry about his development.  He will grow and develop perfectly fine without any help from you.  You do not need to home school your baby-- does that make sense??  Have an idea of what to expect for major milestones, and then go on wiht your daily life!!! 


Also- check out meetup.com.  You can find like minded moms who meet up for various activities.  


Good luck!!

post #5 of 8

My son started sleeping better when I started putting him down to sleep on his belly. Yes, you aren't supposed to, but it's how he likes to sleep. I make sure his mattress is extra firm, no mattress pad, nothing in the crib. Maybe that will help? Also, a pacifier (see below).


I know we aren't really supposed to advocate it here, but Babywise and Babywise II helped me realize it's okay to give babies independent play time. My sense is that it helps them build confidence and learn to be autonomous, to learn that they can be in control sometimes, in their own (safe) way. I give my son lots of blanket time on the floor. He is 5 months and already crawling! He is so happy; he loves to explore. I will sometimes blow raspberries on his belly. I definitely don't ignore him during blanket time....I just am not "holding" him. Sometimes I'll go in the other room and use my laptop for a few minutes or load the dishwasher if he is really engrossed in something.


I am exhausted all the time because of my own health issues, so I understand. I have learned that every cry is not a hunger cry. When he cries, sometimes he is just ready for a nap. Sometimes he is bored and wants to see the backyard. Sometimes he just needs me to carry him for a lap around the house. Sometimes he actually IS hungry, and he'll root for the breast.


Pacifiers have worked in our favor. I lay my son down on his belly, and stick the pacifier in his mouth if he isn't knocked out. That helps him fall asleep and get to his peaceful zone, by satisfying his sucking reflex. Sometimes he is cranky and needs a nap, but can't settle himself. 


Basically he'll take 2-3 naps a day. He'll have about 2 1/2 hours of awake time, then he gets fussy and it's nap time. He isn't always obviously tired, sometimes he is just fussy and wants to grab everything in sight. That is really his "tired cue." 


Darkout curtains can help sometimes with naps.


Don't beat yourself up. Just do whatever works, and keeps your child happy. A happy child is the goal. Don't give your kid everything, all the time. You aren't their own personal entertainer. They need to learn to be independent and do things for themselves. It is all a balance. I spend a lot of one-on-one time with my child....reading to him, singing to him, kissing him, carrying him around and talking. But I am not in his face 24/7. I go to the bathroom, I put him in his bouncy for 10 minutes so I can get dinner going. 


I have ONE group we go to, once a week. It is more of a Mommy support group, where a psychologist lectures and talks, either about a mom topic like body image or a baby topic like teething. But we sit in a circle and sing to our babies, etc, as well. I picked one that was a good time for ME. Sometimes I will try to plan something with one or two of the moms, invite them over here, or meet up to go to Target together. That's about all the social interaction I can handle, but everyone's different.


My husband and I will sometimes simply go out to dinner with the baby. We have no family here. We pinch pennies on groceries to make it work, if needed. The other thing we do together, is watch "our shows" on TV, once the baby's in bed. So paying for DVR is worth it. Combine dinners out, with the baby, or strolling around at the park on the weekend, with TV time during the week, plus sex.....and that's really all we need. No alcohol necessary....just keeping it simple and making time to do things the other person likes, no matter how simple. Sometimes we have other parents over, and we serve alcohol here, like a glass of wine or some beers. I personally don't drink, but a lot of the women will pump and dump. 


I know this sounds really backwards and backwoods, but one of the best things to keep a marriage together, is to make sex a priority. It is really the one thing that you share, that others don't! It isn't always romantic, but it's important to "do it." 


Hope that helps!!! Good luck!!!!

post #6 of 8

ps----don't read too many books. It is a waste of time. Just do what feels right to you, and what makes your life easiest. Problem solved. :)


About sleep....hopefully it'll get better with time. Everyone has their own opinion. Right now my son can go anywhere from 3 hour stretches to 6 hour stretches. It varies. Either way, I just get up in the morning and do it again, and thank God for coffee. If I read books and was always trying to change things, I would probably be pulling out my hair, stressing, AND getting up every 3 hours still.

post #7 of 8

pps- there is some kind of 4 month growth spurt that most babies go through. All the moms in my group went through it not too long ago (our group is clustered around babies the same age, and a lot of them are 4 months). That is probably why he's waking so much at night to nurse. Everyone complained about it. There is that "wonder weeks" thing that talks about growth spurts, and troublesometots.com talks about the 4 month growth spurt. I don't like the advice from any of those places, per se, but just saying, that is some kind of infamous growth spurt. I think if you give it a week, things might get better. Sometimes it seems like you are going backwards, but then things will normalize again, temporarily!!!

post #8 of 8

I just wanted to add that you don't have to do anything special or extraordinary for his development. If you wear him a lot and he accompanies you in your daily life he will grow up happy and healthy. Unless there is some developmental delay or problem there is no need to go out of your way IMHO. Just look at babies in other parts of the world who don't have a flood of "expert" advice and books telling them what to do. They don't have exersaucers, Baby Einstein or special developmental toys. THey still manage to grow up strong, healthy and vibrant (and sometimes even more so than their western counterparts!). So don't stress that you aren't meeting his developmental needs. Interact with him, play with him, wear him and he will be just fine.

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