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New mama needing support

460 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  cmb123
I'm not sure if this is best here or in breastfeeding but I think you mamas are a helpful bunch! My assistant at work is out on maternity leave and returning next week--after five weeks! This is her "choice" because she doesn't have any leave or money to stay out longer. (I'm not in charge of policy or, trust me, it would be different.) ANYWAY, she is having a really hard time. She is mostly on her own with the newborn. She is married but doesn't live with her husband and although he is around and helps out when its convenient for him, most nights she is by herself. She is exhausted and frustrated and sounds like she is just barely getting by. She says the baby is up every hour wanting to nurse and she is going crazy. The baby is sleeping in a crib in her room.

She is trying really hard to breastfeed although it is not particularly supported by her family. They think she would get better sleep and be able to have more help if she was bottle feeding--as they all did. She has started to supplement with formula already.

Obviously I am trying to be really supportive of bfing without being overbearing. I can't see that getting up and fixing bottles in the middle of the night would be any easier. I can't really say though what would be easier or better because I wasn't a single mom.

Any advice that you think I could give her. We talked a bit about co-sleeping but she said she had a really hard time getting comfortable and nursing while lying down. This made sense to me because I don't think I managed it until my dd was like six months old!

I appreciate any advice you can give me to pass along. Any books that might be good for her to read?

Thank you thank you thank you!
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All the moms I've known who struggled with breastfeeding told me that the books made them feel crazy, inadequate, and outraged, especially in the middle of the night.

If she really doesn't want to nurse lying down (which IS hard when the baby is tiny) she might invest in some big pillows so she could nurse sitting up in bed, or even in a comfy nursing chair! I passed many nights or parts of nights in my padded recliner... DD and I would nurse ourselves to sleep and conk out.

It's great that you're encouraging and supporting her in a difficult situation - what a good boss!
I became a single mom when I was pregnant with my second. The ONLY way I got any sleep was to nurse and have the baby beside me. I knew that if I bottle fed, I would have even less sleep as I would wake when the baby is hungry, then have to get up and make a bottle, all the while the baby will be getting increasingly more agitated and hungry and then by the time the whole process is over, I would have been wide awake. Another point is that there is no guarantee that if she stops nursing, the baby will sleep any better. In fact, if she's going to work, the baby may have more separation issues and may be even more awake through the night trying to "bond" with mom.

Having a newborn alone is difficult. I was exhasuted, grumpy and honestly, the entire first year seems like a blur. Getting sleep is the most important part (which will be a challenge if she's having to go back to work).

I know that for me, breastfeeding and co-sleeping was the only way I would get any sleep and be able to get through the day alone with two kids.

I hope it gets a little easier for them both.
It is people like you, who are willing to help and support a single parent that makes our job a lot easier.
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Thank goodness she has you for a boss. That kind of support goes a long way.
I agree with you that bottle feeding would not be any easier. Let's face it...having a new baby at home is often a sleepless time, forget having to get up and try to get to work on top of it!
I agree also that books are sometimes overwhelming in this kind of time. Do you have a LLL group in your area? Mother to mother support during these trying times is crucial. Especially women who will support choice to bf, not try to convince her that bottles will somehow change the fact that having a newborn is hard.
Thanks for saying nice things about me. I really don't want to fail her nor do I want to take full responsibility for her situation--you know what I mean. I just don't know if I will be able to convince her that bottle wouldn't necessarily be easier. Thanks for responding!
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Harper I really don't want to fail her nor do I want to take full responsibility for her situation--you know what I mean. [/QUOTE said:
I do know what you mean! True support will do neither one.
Good luck to you both!
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