I am new to Mothering and to these forums. I had my first child, Philip, on July 5th. He is amazing and I love him so much. There are so many things I am grateful for. He sleeps well, he smiles a lot (I even got his first laugh this week!), he's beautiful, I get to stay home with him, he's healthy, and my husband is not perfect, but more supportive than some. Some days I am so happy being a mom and feel amazingly lucky.
That being said, some days are hard and overwhelming and I feel like I'm not doing enough. There are so many things that aren't getting done around the house. There are so many things I want to do for Phil that I never get to and so many things I want to do for myself that I never get to. Despite getting decent sleep, I am exhausted. We are broke. I could go on and on.
I have very little support. Philip was unplanned and I was never a kid person before. Most of my friends are without children or have much older children. My father passed away shortly before I became pregnant and my mother is a homeless alcoholic. My husband took a significant paternity leave, but is now back at work and, honestly, I don't feel like he takes an active interest in Philip's development. His family lives out of state. I went to my first group today - a postpartum wellness circle - and it felt great to be around other moms and feel normal. It was a huge effort to make it, but we did.
There are 3 things that are weighing on my mind and I would love any feedback anyone has to give on them:
1. I desperately want to wear my baby. I believe wholeheartedly in the benefits of doing so. We were handed down 3 different carriers - the Ergo, the Moby, and an Infantino one. Philip is long and skinny. At 2 months he was 9 lbs. 15 oz. but 23 1/4 inches long. I am very short - only 4' 10". I have the infant insert for the Ergo but honestly have not tried it because I feel like it's really bulky and will be better for when he's older. I really thought I'd love the Moby and fully planned on using it for these early months. I didn't use any carrier for the first 6+ weeks because my husband and I were both home and I was pretty much constantly breastfeeding, anyway. Now that I'm on my own, I've been trying to make babywearing a regular thing and it's not working. I feel like the Moby is too hard to get on and off. When I wear it properly, Philip is not comfortable or happy in it and breastfeeding in it has not worked at all for me. So, last week I broke down and ordered the Balboa adjustable sling with a credit card. I thought it would be perfect. Adjustable for my height, easy to get on and off, and good for breastfeeding. I've only had it a couple of days, and I know these things take practice, but I am frustrated and disappointed. It fits me great and is comfortable. However, Philip doesn't seem to be taking to it well. I read that some babies don't like the cradle position, so today I tried the cuddle/snuggle position with his legs out because he doesn't seem to like them all cramped up. He was doing OK, a little fussy, but I was walking around and trying to get him used to it. We checked out the mirror and it looked exactly how it was supposed to, but after about 15 minutes, it looked like his feet were turning purple so I took him out. I am disheartened. All the instructional videos and articles make it look/sound so easy. Why can't I get this right?
2. Tummy time. We haven't done hardly any. Philip not only hates it, but just roots on the blanket/whatever surface he's on and I worry he's going to suffocate. If I do it on my belly, he just wants to breastfeed. His head and legs are pretty strong, but I know tummy time is a big important thing and I can't figure out how to work on it.
3. Breastfeeding. We had some trouble with latching in the very beginning and the helpful lactation consultant I spoke to suggested the clutch/football position. That seemed to work great for a long time. But I am starting to lose confidence. Philip wants to breastfeed constantly and I know it is often for comfort. He won't take a pacifier and often just plays around while at the breast, which can be painful. I have both the Boppy and the Brest Friend but neither one is high enough for me to not have to hunch over. Unless I have 5 or 6 pillows, I am not comfortable, and it is too much of a process to do this every time so my back is constantly being strained. I often breastfeed in bed for this reason, but my legs are tight and my ankles are sore from being crossed so often. Besides this fact, what do I do outside of the home? I never have pillows with me everywhere I go. Plus I can't do the football hold without pillows. So any time I have to breastfeed outside of the house, it's a whole new routine for both of us and I don't think we're very successful, which also makes it take longer, and therefore prolong the discomfort. I have also noticed that he often turns his head away from his body while feeding. I read that this is not good for him to swallow. I am wondering if he might do it on purpose because he's not actually hungry? Regardless, I don't know how to remedy this all.
I feel like we need to practice babywearing, tummy time, and breastfeeding a whole bunch in different positions and different ways but they are all stressful, so I just keep doing the same things and feeling guilty and incompetent.
I know this was a long introductory post with lots of complaining. I know it is hard and I know it will get better and I am not depressed, I try to be positive. But it's just getting more and more in my head that I am not doing enough, so I've decided to reach out in whatever ways I can, including this forum.
Thanks in advance for any response.
Hello, and welcome to Mothering! I see you've posted in several forums, so I hope you can get some information you need!
I don't think you should stress out about tummy time at this point. You can do it in short amount of times, like a minute, according to an article I read on this site: http://www.bellybelly.com.au/baby/tummy-time-for-babies#.UjqdNBYmzdk
I remember having similar feelings about breastfeeding with my first. I had to use a lot of pillows, which felt unnatural, and I was often leaning toward her, which I had read I was not supposed to do, and sometimes she would lie on her back and turn her head towards the breast, which she wasn't supposed to do, and how was I supposed to go anywhere or do anything? I remember feeling very defeated that I couldn't breastfeed right, even though I was breastfeeding. But it felt like there was a perfectly efficient way to do it and I was stupid for not being able to figure it out.
With the My Brest Friend pillow, I still had to have at least a pillow or two on my lap below where the pillow fit around my waist, or the weight of my baby would push it down towards my knees, and she could roll off. And I really needed pillows behind my back and arms. Plus she had a bad latch, so I felt upset by that. I kind of just had to let go of that, which I did when I read that you can still nurse with a bad latch. It may not be ideal, but she was gaining and meeting developmental milestones. And part of it was things do change as they get older, and you'll kind of wonder how it all became so easy.
One of the things that I noticed was I had a good latch in the chair at the LC's office when she was assessing the latch. And I could breastfeed comfortably sitting in the front seat of my car, using the armrests. I ended up trying nursing in many different places in my house. It's a different experience on one couch vs. another couch vs. in bed. I ended up almost exclusively using the side lying position, and we'd even do that out in public. When I had my second baby, we had a completely different couch, and I didn't need all the supporting pillows. My old couch was one where you'd sink into it and lean backwards, but my new one had a narrower seat from back to front, it was firmer and I sat up higher. A nursing stool came in handy there, though, I really did need to get my knees up. And I still liked a pillow under my arm, at least for awhile. So I suggest trying not only different positions, but different areas.
My first baby also seemed resistant to the sling, but I finally got her to like it after about 6 weeks, and I ended up wearing her through the age of 3, until around the time I got pregnant with my second. In the beginning, though, she liked facing forward with her legs folded up in the sling. But only if we were getting out of the house. So a walk outside, walking in the mall or grocery store, that was good. Using the sling in the house was almost pointless. She did end up liking the frame carrier backpack, however.
My second though? Completely different. Snuggle and cradle all the way, she'd sleep and nurse in the sling, so I just wore her around the house to be cuddly. And the backpack didn't work at all. I used it with her once when she was a toddler, and she kept trying to lean out of it, and after a 2 mile walk, my entire body felt out of alignment. I never used it again.
Hi and Welcome to Mothering!!
You have included so much information here! It sounds like you are having some challenges.
Getting your feet under you can really be hard to do at the beginning. It does get easier and soon you will be surprised you were having such a tough time.
Let me point you to some forums where you might find some help: Babywearing - a great community with lots of resources. Life with a Babe - lots of people have questions about tummy time. :) and finally Breastfeeding - there is a ton of information in there. :)
Adina mama to B 4/06 and E 8/13/12 (on her due date!)
Thanks for all the advice Viola! It's so nice to hear from other mothers who experience the same problems. I will definitely try breastfeeding in different places around the house in addition to different positions. That's a great idea. I keep forgetting to use a footstool. I am only 4'10" so my feet almost never touch the ground and I find myself pointing my toes to keep my lap flat. Not helping the comfort level, obviously.
As far as the carriers go, same thing. I've decided I just need to keep trying with all 4 of them in different positions and practice, etc. Something will fall into place. I just want it to be easy, but babies never are, right?
Thanks to you, also, AdinaL. I have posted in the forums you suggested in addition to this one. It's such a roller coaster. Some days are so wonderful and I have confidence that I am doing great and other days are just so hard and I think there is so much more I should be doing. I'm sure it will improve with time.