Author Topic: Babies... some people make it sound so easy  (Read 47726 times)

jeromedawg

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Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« on: September 13, 2015, 06:34:15 PM »
Whether it's breastfeeding (which is the current dilemma my wife is in - not seemingly producing enough and feeling like she may need to supplement with formula) to how well/much the baby sleeps at night. My wife is discouraged because it just seems like quite a few people haven't really had these issues; I know it's not something to feel bad about and I'm sure I'm gonna hear "It's never actually what people make it out to be" etc but it really sucks. I guess this is part of the whole postpartum depression thing... or adds onto it if anything. The whole [lack of] breast milk supply is really a revelation to us - either a lot of our friends aren't telling us something (out of shame maybe?) or they all have an abundant supply of flowing milk... *confused* I guess it's sort of a private thing for most people, but for something that can affect someone as much as this, I think it's good to share these disappointments and expectations and to be up front with anyone else who is an expecting mother.

Again, just another rant as a new/first-time parent.

Rezdent

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2015, 06:46:22 PM »
So sorry to hear.
I too was a slow starter, but I did catch up fairly quickly.  Milk is a supply/demand thing, so frequent short nursing may help.  Both times I supplemented for a while, and I remember how discouraged I was.

Have you consulted with anyone?  If not, a lactation consultant or La Leche League could be helpful.

On a general note, I found that most folks either didn't remember or didn't discuss most of the challenges around newborns.  I had plenty of adjustments to make, and the whole thing was really overwhelming, especially with my second one.
And congrats on the baby.

Neustache

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2015, 06:50:29 PM »
I had issues.....but we worked through it. 

Breastfeeding support groups are great, especially if you can get a pre/post feed weight check to reassure her.

Why does she think she has a lack of supply...and is she feeding on demand (the science backs up on demand feedings). 

wordnerd

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2015, 06:56:56 PM »
Contact a lactation consultant for help with the breastfeeding issues. You are very much not alone. I've heard so many horror stories related to early parenthood (and breastfeeding in particular) that it's really a wonder that I decided to reproduce at all. You and your wife are not failing, and you will get though it.

Yankuba

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2015, 07:06:01 PM »
My wife/child "failed" breastfeeding in 2011. My wife took a class, met with lactation nurses in the hospital and borrowed an extremely expensive breast pump from the hospital - but no luck. The supply wasn't there.

Fast forward to 2015 and the same thing happened with our second child.

If it makes you feel any better, we know two women who are MDs and both decided to formula feed.

Our son thrived on formula.

Parents will have thousands of choices to make with regard to their kids. You're not going to win every battle - if your wife can't breastfeed, it's no big deal.

bonjourliz

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2015, 07:18:48 PM »
To me this post reads as more than a request for help with BF and sleep... You sound overwhelmed.  Find resources.  A sounding board, an outlet, perhaps a babysitter.  You have to keep the whole family well - not just the newbie.  I didn't truly understand this with my first. But it is so very true. 

As.for the breastfeeding.  And sleep.  The best advice I got was to ignore the clock.  Feed on demand, round the clock, and see what happens.  Babies don't read books, they don't know how they are supposed  to act.

If there are concerns about serious issues, find a lactation consultant and get help.  If the first consultant you see isn't useful, ask her to refer you to a more experienced LC. 

(Also, keep in mind that although many moms feel like they have low supply, they usually have adequate breastmilk... But there are techniques to make supply & demand match smoother. Kellymom.com is a great website in case you haven't found it yet..).

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2015, 07:24:44 PM »
Great news! All those parents who make everything look so easy with their perfect, easy baby with good sleep routine and a strong natural latch will get a second baby who will fuck. them. up. by not sleeping for 2 years and plummeting off the growth charts on a breastmilk diet.

Go ahead, ask me how I know. Hubris is a dangerous thing in the parenting game.

Try not to worry too much about other parents if possible. Some people take to nursing very naturally. Some women make too MUCH milk and firehose their baby, leading to problems. Some women do everything including mechanical pumping and never make enough milk for their infants. Some babies sleep through the night from week 2. Most don't. Some, like mine, turn 5 and are still disrupted sleepers.

The point is, no one has your exact family but you. Try not to compare. I know it's hard.

If your wife has actual PPD (and you aren't just using that as a term for post-delivery hormonal shifts) please go get that sorted out. With drugs if needed. It only gets worse - and when mamas aren't good for themselves, they're not good for anyone. Again, ask me how I know. :)

stash-lite

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2015, 07:35:26 PM »
There's a reason they say parenting is the hardest job in the world, your not alone!  We just adopted a child and then found out we were pregnant so we have two boys 7 months apart! (Now 13 months and 6 months).  Our oldest son was an awful sleeper until 8 months and we tried everything. Our youngest slept great since week 4 with no effort on our part.  I think some parents are lucky and like to think they have a magic touch and try to give advice/brag to other parents. 

As for breastfeeding, my wife is a nurse, has a friend that is a lactation consultant and still couldn't get our son to latch - she's exclusively pumped and we've supplemented - it's really nbd.  Our oldest son has done just fine on formula!  Your in good company, good luck and hope you get more sleep soon. 

Jacana

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2015, 07:44:22 PM »
I think it's that no one was telling you these stories. Now that you are in the club, you will start to hear more of the problems, struggles, and hilarious failures. Or at least that's what happened to us. Most people without children don't really want to hear about BF issues  or poopy disasters (awkward party topics!!!) so no one tells those stories to them. Then, once expecting, no one wants to scare you out of your flippin mind with what could be. Fair enough! But yes, the struggles are real and you aren't alone in that.

For what it is worth, I couldn't BF, did the whole lactation consultant/pumping, struggled for weeks, nada. Whenever anyone tried to tell me I should have kept trying or it was something we were doing wrong, I wanted to give them a black eye. Up to and including the pediatrician and my husband. My daughter has always been amazingly healthy, has a stellar immune system, and now 3 years later it really really doesn't matter. Now when people bring up the whole "MUST BF, formula is bad" dogma I just shrug and tell them I am grateful to be living in an era where formula is an option and my daughter didn't die from malnutrition and I didn't die in childbirth. Cause that is what would have happened. That usually ends the conversation. A mental facepunch is as satisfying as a physical one!

Do what you can with the cards you have been dealt and be proud of that! And if that involves giving up BF or exclusive BF for everyone's health and sanity, do it with no guilt.

partgypsy

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2015, 07:57:55 PM »
My first one developed jaundice and addition to being very sleepy didn't want to latch. So while we were in the hospital additional days due to the jaundice treatment, I was on a every 4 hour schedule of going to a room adjacent to where she was sleeping, nursing her with pumped milk from a little tube on my pinky, practice trying to get her to latch, and then pumping some more. It was brutal, I'm sure what boot camp was. The first couple weeks I had to use this rubber thing on my nipple to help her latch, and then pump more after nursing.  Throughout the nursing since I went back to work I had to pump multiple times a day to keep the milk up and also feed her when I was at work. So no, it is not some miraculous thing that happens naturally, can be hard work. I think I nursed around 8 months, but never exclusively, was always some supplementation with formula. 

My 2nd child was a natural nurser, a champ from the very first time. I actually ended up weaning her sooner (around 6 months) because her teeth came in early and she started biting. At that point I was, "I'm done here."
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 07:59:27 PM by partgypsy »

bogart

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2015, 08:04:33 PM »
I'm sorry you're dealing with this.

I also really struggled with undersupply issues and despite extensive pumping in addition to nursing, never managed to exclusively BF.  From week 2, I supplemented with formula, but my son also nursed until he self-weaned at about 14 months.  That worked well for us.  Despite all the emphasis (-es) on the benefits of BFing, truly we are fortunate to live in a place and time where there is an alternative (something that for much of history and even today, in much of the world, isn't true).

Many have suggested trying a lactation consultant and certainly that can be a big help ... I worked (briefly) with some great ones (they were the ones who had me start using formula, as they worked out via a scale and pre-/post-nursing weighing that he wasn't getting enough milk).  I have also heard (though did not personally experience) stories of LCs introducing pressure to continue to BF exclusively, etc., at great stress to mom and baby ... so, I'd just make sure that if you do work with one, you know it's OK to stop if her advice is making things harder rather than easier.  It is, as you've noticed, hard enough without adding any stress.

crispy

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2015, 08:14:58 PM »
I gave up on breastfeeding after three days with my oldest, and I have no regrets.  She couldn't latch (had to have her tongue clipped).  I am not sure who cried more those three days - her or me.  I eventually said screw it and tried the formula they gave us at the hospital, and it was like magic.  Using formula also meant that my DH could get up in the middle of the night to feed her which helped tremendously.  I suffered some post-partum issues with her even though I didn't realize it at the time.  She did sleep through the night at ten weeks, but she would scream if you ever put her down during the day.  That get to me eventually.  I remember sobbing one day because I just wanted to go to the bathroom by myself.

My youngest DD was a calmer baby, but we also chose to feed her formula, too  My father died three weeks before she was born, and I just couldn't must the mental or physical energy needed for breastfeeding after the debacle with my oldest.

They are now 7 and 9 and bright and well-adjusted.  Using formula and having a half-crazed mother for the first few months didn't affect them too much.


« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:19:33 PM by crispy »

FLA

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2015, 08:34:08 PM »
with women (and men) who are your friends but maybe not the closest, these people will make you insane by playing Who Is Better At This? And the answer is always them, BFing fine, sleeps through the night at 3 mos, never cries, and looks like a Gerber baby. The delivery was at home in birthing bath, most amazing experience. It's a thing women tend to do to each other. Stay away from these people, it will only serve to make you feel worse.

hopefully, you two have friends and family members to whom you can say, "this part is really sucking," without judgment and they will step up to support you in whatever way you need. 

I had a preemie who could not latch on for 9 weeks.  He had to be fed every 2 hours using this syringe with a sharp beak on the end that looked scary. So pump, feed for over an hour with beak syringe. Take 30 minute break, set alarm clock to do this all day and all night every 2 hrs until he had reached a certain wt.  I have no idea how we ever managed this. And we had to have 2 people to feed because you couldn't hold him and do the syringe properly with one hand. Ex took paternal leave without pay. Thank God they let him do that. 

In my experience, the La Leche League lady made things worse, "a baby should not be fed through a syringe.  So pump, put a bit of milk on a spoon and let it dribble down your breast."  I stared at her, she's really suggesting I add what would probably take an extra half hour because a spoon is more natural than a syringe?  WTH? My baby would starve doing it her way. She got in my face and said she's never had a baby who couldn't latch (this has to be a lie of ginormous proportions).  She spent an hour making him try to latch, I explained the ped said he will probably latch when he nears his actual due date or a bit after.  She said that was not true, we needed to figure out a latch. And then I said, thanks and goodbye.  DS latched all of a sudden one day and we were fine. But the 9 week before that?  sheer hell

things that helped:

double Medela Pump In Style- pumps fast and if your wife pumps between feeds she should get more of a supply in

Boppy pillow- lots of uses, the best thing for breast feeding

a wonderful book about not how to do the "stuff" but how to be family, that is slipping my mind

also, not breastfeeding never hurt anyone, if you guys are drop dead exhausted over this, it's ok to stop

and it's ok to bitch slap the next idiot who tells you "the secret is to sleep when the baby is sleeping". 

it's also ok to not do attachment parenting

my friends and our kids all turned out fine and you cannot tell who supposedly is smarter because of breastfeeding, you can't tell who was bottle-fed, who gave birth like a mermaid, who "failed" and took the epidural and who did not wear her baby 24/7. 

It feels like every decision is so major in the beginning and it is, but not all of it and it does get way better. 

okits

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2015, 09:14:43 PM »
Everything you've mentioned is really common (or was, in my online parents' group.)  Parents are mercilessly judged and I think a lot won't admit problems for fear of being perceived as "bad" parents (because if babies are any trouble at all you must just be parenting wrong, right?  *facepalm*)

It sounds like you and your wife had your baby very recently, so things like sleeping many hours straight are abnormal at this age. Baby probably needs to eat every 2-ish hours because infants have small stomachs (have you seen this graphic?)

https://babiesfirstlactation.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/the-newborns-stomach/

The stomach size descriptions helped reassure me a lot because I didn't immediately gush rivers of milk, but enough to fill an apricot-sized stomach every few hours?  Yeah.

Seek out supportive, non-competitive parents and lean on each other. 

Babies develop very quickly. Something bothering you for a week or two suddenly goes away because baby outgrows it. Something my DD couldn't do, eventually (and seemingly overnight) she could (nurse without a nipple shield, sleep 6+ hours overnight, etc.) What you struggle with now will likely be a distant memory in a few months.

If it ever occurs to you that your wife is trying really hard, or is a loving mother, or doing a lot for your baby, be sure to mention it and let her know you notice and appreciate her. It's easy to feel like you are failing at parenting.  I felt overwhelmed caring for an infant but in retrospect I think I was doing just fine at the time.

muckety_muck

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2015, 10:00:41 PM »
Just remember that nobody has the "perfect" everything... pregnancy, labor, delivery, healthy baby, breastfeeding, sleeping through the night, no colic, etc. 

For us, b'feeding was super easy. Other things weren't as easy. But we worked very hard to keep up with everything, and you know what - in the end it all works out. You just have to survive the first year. Some days will suck so much that you will BEG that stupid clock to hurry up and end the day. Some days are great. Don't worry about others and their trials/tribulations. Everybody has an issue of some sort. Find peers who are going through the same stage of life and cling to the ones who are honest/normal.

To help w/ supply: cluster feed, spend a weekend w/ mom/baby cuddled skin-to-skin in bed, eat oatmeal cookies (google lactation cookies recipe, these are heavenly and work great!).

Argyle

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2015, 10:01:17 PM »
Did your wife have a C-section?  One thing they often forget to tell you is that after a C-section, sometimes the milk comes in late, sometimes not at all.

I think about half the mothers I know managed to make it work.  The statistics are that in the US, only 77% ever breastfeed.  Some of those who don't are adoptions etc., but a lot of them are people who just couldn't make it work or who just didn't want to.  And the number still breastfeeding at 6 months is much lower.  That's fine.  People have all kinds of challenges and situations.  They make it sound as if, if your baby's not breastfed, he's going to become a pale and unhealthy overweight serial killer who can't do math and who will never eat anywhere but McDonald's.  This is complete nonsense.

Parenting is all about trying to do a good enough job while having the steely determination to ignore all the "shoulds" that the world throws at you, no matter what choices you make.

tthree

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2015, 10:23:47 PM »
I think it's good to share these disappointments and expectations and to be up front with anyone else who is an expecting mother.
Amen!  I make a point to never tell people how wonderfully, magically mothering is.  Especially newborns!

However, when telling people the truth, I have had people tell me they don't want to hear negative experiences, and that most likely won't happen to them.  (A) It not a negative, it's truthful AND has a happy ending, so hear me out:)  (B) How fabulous that, that won't happen to you.  Don't call me when it does.  (Kidding, I'm always willing to help).

jeromedawg

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2015, 11:39:21 PM »
Thanks guys! Tons of useful info here. I'll have to get my wife reading through the thread for tips, ideas, advice and encouragement :)

This was a natural birth but it was also the first time, so I think getting the hang of BFing and latching properly was pretty hard. All I know is that our kid seems to be hungry all the time - dunno if that means he's not getting enough or if he's really just hungrier than he should be. We may go ahead with seeing a lactation consultant to get a better idea of what's going on. We gave him formula for the first time earlier tonight (2oz) and he chugged all of it... crazy kid. He's lights out for now :T

jengod

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2015, 12:10:20 AM »
You are not alone.

Please find a breastfeeding/LLL consultant in your area, if only just so you have a shoulder to cry on. Don't isolate yourselves. There are soooo many people who want to help out, you just have to find them.

PhotoBrandon

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2015, 04:36:47 AM »
My first one developed jaundice and addition to being very sleepy didn't want to latch. So while we were in the hospital additional days due to the jaundice treatment, I was on a every 4 hour schedule of going to a room adjacent to where she was sleeping, nursing her with pumped milk from a little tube on my pinky, practice trying to get her to latch, and then pumping some more. It was brutal, I'm sure what boot camp was. The first couple weeks I had to use this rubber thing on my nipple to help her latch, and then pump more after nursing.

This was my wife's experience.  Except that we ended up still having to run the tube through the nipple shield for breastfeeding attempts at home because baby would get impatient and not even attempt to latch otherwise.  Talked to LLL, lactation consultants but eventually the 90 minute feeding/pumping sessions every 3-4 hours were just a non-starter and wifey switched to pumping and supplemental formula.  Those first few weeks were probably the hardest of her life.  I did everything I could to help, but only so much I could do until we switched to the bottle.  But it got better, and each month so far seems easier and more rewarding.

Baby is now just shy of 8 months old and happy and healthy and way up on the growth charts after being way down from jaundice and being underfed prior to adding formula.  She seems no worse for the experience.  Got the colostrum and early anti-bodies from the breastmilk, which is what is most important (lots of other benefits of course).

Also just to throw some humor in here:  http://www.theonion.com/article/new-study-finds-link-between-breastfeeding-always--36823

MsPeacock

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2015, 06:03:50 AM »
I had a very difficult time w/ baby #1, and very easy time with baby #2. There were a whole host of factors that contributed to why it was hard the first time and easy the second - in addition to knowing what I was doing the second time around. The first 6 weeks are brutally hard, and the first 4 months, IMO, are super hard, and the first year is really hard. In fact, I think the lack of sleep made things hard for me for about 5 years. (My kids are 3 1/2 years apart.).

This book - IMO, was the best at helping with breastfeeding problems:

http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Breastfeeding-Book-Answers-Problem-Solution/dp/0761529969/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&qid=1442231883&sr=8-29&keywords=breastfeeding+books

Lactation consultants vary widely in their skills. It really helps to have someone who has had their own children and successfully nursed them, and maybe successfully solved their own nursing problems. Pediatricians are generally *not* experts on breastfeeding - they are more concerned w/ weight gain and not on solving nursing problems.

Neustache

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2015, 06:24:25 AM »
jpLee3

There are growth spurts where the baby will eat all the time for a day or three.  These are very normal and great practice for getting a latch.  Is the baby pooping/peeing a lot in 24 hours? 


You can pass this visual on to your wife:

In a panic because I felt like breastfeeding wasn't going well, I sit, naked from the stomach up, sobbing uncontrollably, as my MIL tries to comfort me. 

God love my MIL.  Not something I personally remember with fondness. 

teen persuasion

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2015, 06:56:36 AM »
Thanks guys! Tons of useful info here. I'll have to get my wife reading through the thread for tips, ideas, advice and encouragement :)

This was a natural birth but it was also the first time, so I think getting the hang of BFing and latching properly was pretty hard. All I know is that our kid seems to be hungry all the time - dunno if that means he's not getting enough or if he's really just hungrier than he should be. We may go ahead with seeing a lactation consultant to get a better idea of what's going on. We gave him formula for the first time earlier tonight (2oz) and he chugged all of it... crazy kid. He's lights out for now :T

Hungry all the time was normal for my babies, and I didn't have problems breastfeeding.   Breast milk is digested quickly, quicker than formula, so babies want to nurse very frequently, less than 2 hours apart it seemed.  Formula fed babies are the ones on a 4 hour feeding schedule.

How early in the breastfeeding cycle are you guys?  It takes a while for your milk to come in, then takes a few weeks (like 6) to develop a good supply and feeding routine.  Remember, this is all new for the baby as well as mom, and the hormones controlling the changes are shifting all over the place at the same time that the process is being learned, AND everything is a self-reinforcing feedback cycle.  It's complex!

I found it helped to have a good, comfortable chair with padded arms to support my arms supporting the baby (you are going to be there a while).  When baby is little, use a pillow under the baby to help lift him up closer (so you aren't hunching over).  I had to learn to relax my back and straighten my posture soon after the baby latched on - I was tensing up into a stiff posture at the beginning, and holding it made my back uncomfortable.  Also make sure mom gets enough to eat and especially drink - I would put a drink within reach before I sat down to nurse the baby.

Every baby is different, even within the same family.  Believe me, I have 5 kids, and every one is different.  One had colic, others did not, some slept well early and others got up every night to feed, they are all over the place.

charis

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2015, 07:49:17 AM »
Sounds like she isn't feeding often enough or there are supply issues (which can generally be improved by frequent, on demand feeding).  My first kids was a very sleepy and inefficient nurser.  So we had supply and weight issues from the start.  Get to a LC right away and keep the baby nursing as much as possible.  It is common for newborns to nurse up to 45 min at a time every two hours - both of my babies went through stages of this.  The good news is that the constant nursing will eventually give way to a more spaced out, regular pattern.  Do NOT feel bad about supplementing with formula.  (Most nursing babies have received formula at some point, so supplementing is pretty common in most cultures).

zhelud

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2015, 07:51:51 AM »
One of the happiest days of my life was the day, when my first son was 5 weeks old, that I decided to give up trying to BF. What a relief it was, after all the weeks of failure and stress and worry.  Now I wish I had quit even sooner, since it was apparent in the first week that it wasn't going to work out for us.  I didn't even attempt BF with my second.
Over a decade later, both are healthy and so smart that I'm glad I denied them those extra few IQ points, or they would not be able to relate to normal humans. (Ok I am exaggerating...)   

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2015, 08:26:03 AM »


Yes, it's hard at first. Some people truly can't do it. I don't know of anybody who used no formula at all. Lactation consultants are real and saved breastfeeding for my wife and daughter when my daughter wasn't getting enough through the shield.

When it works it is awesome and a huge comfort to parent and child.

Newborns are hard no matter what. Let people know when you need help and don't get overwhelmed.

ELE_Erin

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2015, 09:25:10 AM »
I highly recommend connecting with a mom's group, either locally or online. mine has saved my sanity. I BF'd both of our kids for a year, no formula and I would never have been able to do so without the guidance of my online friends. it's not easy, not much about parenting, is, but it's definitely an adventure

kellymom.com has some great forums for BFing.

my best recommendation is forget the clock, just feed whenever the baby seems fussy, especially at the beginning. for my daughter 20 minutes between feedings wasn't uncommon. learn to multitask while BFing and it will seem like a break for everyone. also, don't switch until the baby seems completely done on one side, they need the fatty milk at the end of a feed as much as the "skim" milk at the beginning. also, a good pump makes a huge difference. I had a Medela double Pump in Style and there's no way I'd have managed to BF (and work FT and pump) without it.



AZDude

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2015, 10:08:12 AM »
I'll just add that my wife had similar issues. She also hated the lactation consultant in the hospital and thought her advice was "stupid". We ended up using formula and our daughter never had any issues. Remember, this is not a contest. There is no prize for the winner. Do what is best for your family, especially the baby, and do not ever listen to the idiots who claim there is only one right way to do something regarding your child.

I heard so much bad... no make that fucking stupid advice when our daughter was a newborn that its a miracle I still talk to some of those people. The first three months are really hard, but things get easier and everyone will adjust.

MayDay

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2015, 10:19:12 AM »
I had issues nursing, and also had PPD, but I was so committed to nursing that I'm pretty sure my PPD would have been worse if I had quit. 

I went to a LC at the hospital I gave birth at when baby was about a week old, and did a weighed feed, and had her check my latch.  She confirmed that baby was eating enough, growing fine, and latching well.  That gave me confidence more than any specific information.  Things improved when I had more confidence. 

If she wants to quit, quit.  If she doesn't want to quit, don't keep struggling, throw money at the problem and get professional help.  A PP doula might also be an option- many have lactation training and could help with all aspects of adjusting to a newborn, in your home.   

If your MIL is still being crazy, make it your job to run interference so your wife doesn't have to. 

elaine amj

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2015, 10:34:57 AM »
Finding the right help was the key to my issues. But don't worry too much - everybody's experiences are different and what works for one, many not work for another etc, etc.

I was one who skipped all the bfeeding chapters in my baby books. It is natural...so "how hard could it be?". I had problems with #1, but within a month, she figured it out and we were fine. I nursed until 11 months (supply ran out because I was pregnant with #2).

So when #2 came along, i thought - "well now, this can't be hard - I did it once already after all. I am a pro". I spent 2 months in tears. #2 had a horrible latch. And I discovered I just wasn't very good at the whole nursing thing. Baby #1 had figured it out on her own lol. The lactation nurses at the hospital didn't give me good advice. I called back 2x after returning home and still didn't get good enough advice. I called our health unit's new baby nurse. She said "you must have sensitive nipples". Balderdash (and I knew it!). Went to a LLL meeting. They were supportive, but not helpful. Spent hours on the phone with a poor LLL leader. When I called her for the 2nd time that day crying, she finally recommended I see a lactation consultant - this one was one I would have to pay for. I was taken aback as I didn't feel I was quite at that point yet. She assured me I was and that it would be worth the $50 consultation fee. I went - and it was worth every penny. This consultant knew exactly what she was doing and got my baby latched properly within seconds. I did have to go back for a 2nd visit (more to train me than to train my baby lol) but the $100 was worth it and we successfully nursed until 16 months.

Still, looking back - I should have gotten the right help faster. I was persistent, but I feel I should have had a wider network of resources and turned to them sooner rather than continuing to try to "figure it out". It took a long time to get the right help. I shouldn't have let it go that long - I should have either found her sooner or given up sooner. I put myself and my baby through way too much unnecessary torment because I viewed formula as a failure. It wasn't worth it (and I still am pro-breastfeeding).

And the ONE THING that helped me retain my sanity through all the years of second-guessing all my parenting decisions is that I continually remind myself...love is all you need. Just love that baby and show it in everything you do. Babies/children are really more resilient than we give them credit for.

I don't know how many of us feel like good parents. For myself, I feel rather inadequate. But my mom and my relatives all tell me they think I am a great Mom. I figure that yes, I fail in a lot of ways....but my 2 kids know I love them dearly. At the end of the day, I think I do a pretty good job :)

catccc

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2015, 10:48:35 AM »
Babies and moms are all different.  As another person said, this is not a contest.  You do what you can do as a mom/dad and that is fine.  As I once read "let's reserve judgement for those that beat their children."  I'm sure that statement was partly in jest, but lets be real, in life, in parenting, in finances, in everything, people are somehow programmed to view themselves comparatively/competitively.  It's hard not to, but just don't, you guys have a whole lifetime of parenting to figure out, and what is best for your family might not be what is idealized as the way to do things.

Until I met a group of like minded (and possibly very lucky?) moms, all of my friends that had children were not able to exclusively breastfeed.  My group of like minded mom friends?  All 7 of us nursed exclusively.  The common denominator, with an exception of a few kids in the group, is that we were all birth center (not hospital) deliveries.  Meaning we educated ourselves enough to not just choose the default with it came to childbirth, and we all took the initiative to educate ourselves about breastfeeding.  I'm not saying it was easy peasy for us all, but I'm just saying we knew what challenges we might face, and how to deal with them.   

I understand this is anecdotal, but the disparity leads me to believe that education is key.  Unless she is weighing the baby before/after the feeding, it is hard to know how much baby is getting, if she is worried about it.  Nursing is work for a baby, so when you hand them a bottle of formula where it just comes out with a little squeezy-squeeze, of course baby will devour it like you've never seen them eat before.  I was told this in LLL meetings that I went to months before welcoming our first. 

I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad here, I just don't want for people to think, "breastfeeding exclusively works for no one these days!!!"  That's not true.  It's also true that not every mom can breastfeed, and that those that can often have difficulties.   When I was pregnant and the formula samples started pouring in, I got rid of them ASAP, giving them to families that were already using them.  Because I was also told in LLL that many a fine nursing relationship has been halted in it's tracks by a well meaning dad seeing a frustrated mom, and offering to just use that sample so she can get some sleep.  When failing to try to breastfeed for even a moment is an option, it can be a slippery slope the way milk supply (and demand) works.

My first was also hungry all the time.  And I don't even know to this day if she was really hungry, I just know she was crying and I fed her.  Because when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  OP never did say why he and mom believe baby isn't getting enough/she isn't producing enough.  If you haven't seen a lactation consultant (a good one!!!) yet, I highly encourage you do this before jumping on the formula wagon if breastfeeding exclusively is important to you.  If it's not, whatevs, it's your kid and you are doing what you can for him/her, and that's awesome IMO.

Sleep.  I think my kids were normal in this respect, and normal is pretty darn bad when you are used to sleeping uninterrupted all night long and suddenly you have to get up every hour.  As a newborn it seemed easy, then we started using that damn pacifier after the potential for nipple confusion was over.  Fast forward to 9 months, I'd read a dozen books on baby sleep and my 9 month old woke up 13 times in a night I didn't think was so bad so I'd pop that sucker back in.  (I never kept track until a book suggested a detailed sleep log.  After that night I put the pacifiers away and we quit cold turkey.  It got better, but not until after additional rough nights.)

But it's not easy.  People don't talk about how hard it is, and I swear a lot of moms just plain old forget how hard it was when their kids have changed or grown.  And it doesn't get easier, the challenges just change.  btw, before you think I think I'm some kind of champion nursing/tandem nursing mom, I leave you with this.  My kids, now 6 & 4, are in the costco shopping cart that is next to our car.  I grab some groceries and start arranging them in the car, and then hear screaming.  The are halfway across the parking lot aisle and gaining speed.  I run after them and catch the cart, everyone is fine, but I sure feel like mom of the year, right?!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 10:58:57 AM by catccc »

MayDay

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2015, 10:57:35 AM »
I swear a lot of moms just plain old forget how hard it was when their kids have changed or grown. 

So true! Mine never slept, like ever, for more than a 2 hour stretch.  Even when my second had a nursing strike at 7 months and ended up on all formula, she still never slept!

But I rarely tell people about that for 3 reasons:

1.  No pregnant lady wants to hear that between 2 kids I didn't get a full nights sleep for about 6 years.
2.  I kind of forgot as soon as I actually got sleep!  or maybe I just block that horrible time out. 
3.  When I do mention it I tend to mostly get a lot of "well my baby slept through the night starting at 3 weeks" or "you should have sleep trained".  Both of which make me want to smack the person who said it.  Hard. 

But trust me, many many many other new parents never sleep either, and you too may still not be sleeping in 6 years!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2015, 11:01:23 AM »
The only way we got sleep was to co-sleep. She still sleeps most nights in our bed. Totally worth it.

ETA: IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS DO IT SAFELY. No booze. Turn the heat up and take the blankets off. No allergy pills.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2015, 11:03:41 AM »
I don't even have kids and probably never will, but I know "Mommy Guilt" is super common. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/mommy-guilt/

It sucks. :(

Take care of wife and baby, and know that you are not alone. Internet hugs for all!

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2015, 11:04:16 AM »
3.  When I do mention it I tend to mostly get a lot of "well my baby slept through the night starting at 3 weeks" or "you should have sleep trained".  Both of which make me want to smack the person who said it.  Hard. 
Hard. Over the head. With a cast iron skillet.

catccc

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2015, 11:06:21 AM »
btw, the reason I went to LLL before I even had a baby in hand was because I knew so many moms that had issues breastfeeding, and I wanted to get ahead of any potential problems.  It was mostly smooth sailing for us, but I still ended up on the phone with my groups LLL leader at least a few times in the early days.  My point is, people, don't sugar coat it!  Tell it like it is, especially with breastfeeding, so those who feel strongly about nursing will feel compelled to have resources in place in advance of baby's arrival.

charis

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2015, 11:10:11 AM »
Yes to sleeping issues!  My first kid (the one with nursing problems) slept through the night like a dream and my second was a colicky, no-sleep screaming machine.  Biggest thing I would suggest is just change your mindset and just accept it.  Accept that you will not get nearly enough sleep for the foreseeable future.  I spent weeks driving myself crazy trying to figure out what we were doing wrong (lists, logs, charts, diet changes, you name it!).  The only thing that worked was accepting that there was nothing I could do.

madamwitty

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2015, 11:11:30 AM »
I want to comment, but I didn't read the whole thread because many of the anecdotes are bringing up painful memories, so why punish myself? I'm still in the haze of sleep deprivation with Baby #3.

Babies are hard work. I knew that. But I didn't realize how much they will put you through the emotional wringer. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you will feel like you did the wrong thing. Time will make that pain fade. A support network is very important, if only to have someone to rant to about how many times you had to wake up last night. Is there a parenting group at your work or religious institution? LLL is great for moms, but dads need support too.

After struggling mightily for 2 weeks to get breastfeeding right with Baby #1, I knew I did the right thing a soon as I gave her that first bottle of formula. Every time I look at the picture my husband took of that moment, it makes me realize that was a parenting breakthough for me. It was the moment I truly understood you have to do what works for your family, not what anybody else says.

Best of luck to you.

catccc

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2015, 11:12:20 AM »
3.  When I do mention it I tend to mostly get a lot of "well my baby slept through the night starting at 3 weeks" or "you should have sleep trained".  Both of which make me want to smack the person who said it.  Hard. 
Hard. Over the head. With a cast iron skillet.

I'd just go with an internal eyeroll here, because I'm pretty sure they just forgot how horrible it was or they have deluded themselves.  If a parent tried to sleep train, it means they thought sleep training was in order.  And seriously, with babies, as soon as you think you have them figured out, they change.  And as soon as you think you can't take anymore of something, they change.

Bruinguy

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2015, 11:14:08 AM »
People have already gone into the challenges of breast feeding, but we also struggled with acid reflux with our first.  The symptoms were a lot of spit up and being unhappy (i.e., crying) after feeding.  I think the acid reflux could have contributed to our (ha I say our) breast feeding challenges.

We didn't realize how much spit up was a lot until after we got it under control. 

abiteveryday

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2015, 11:24:48 AM »
3.  When I do mention it I tend to mostly get a lot of "well my baby slept through the night starting at 3 weeks" or "you should have sleep trained".  Both of which make me want to smack the person who said it.  Hard. 
Hard. Over the head. With a cast iron skillet.

And not the little #3 size, a nice #12 you need to hold with both hands.

AZDude

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2015, 11:37:20 AM »
Most people either do not remember or just lie when it comes to their kids. Its funny, because usually the dads, not the moms, gave good advice when I would ask questions about what its like to have a newborn in the house. The moms made it seem all roses and happiness. The dads would give it to me straight and then just say "it gets easier and eventually you understand that it was worth it".


okits

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2015, 11:50:19 AM »
I swear a lot of moms just plain old forget how hard it was when their kids have changed or grown. 

I have an older friend who told me he used to say his DD (now in her 20s) never had tantrums/terrible twos.  Then he found an old journal he wrote when she was a toddler.  It seems, as a defense mechanism, his memory blocked out that entire aspect of her toddlerhood. :) So the forgetfulness/memory block does happen.

powersuitrecall

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2015, 11:57:19 AM »
At times we've wondered how the human race ever made it this far.  Babies are hard.  There is no textbook.  Actually, it's worse: there are thousands of them and they all suck.

Feeding was a huge issue with both of our kids.  For our first, we rented a precise digital scale and did a before/after weigh-in to see how well we did. Yes, we even weighed all of the pee-soaked diapers to make sure he was getting enough.  Later, we were pumping, then taping on a feed tube to the nipple so that our little guy could "get the feel" of successful BFing.  The whole process took well over an hour and consumed our life.  We were stressed and exhausted always.  Finally we went with pumping/bottling.  For a second we gave it a go for a couple of months and then, when it wasn't working even after moderate effort, My DW pumped as much as she could, froze it and we went with formula.  Best. Decision. Ever.

Advice from experts say "breast feeding is best" but this is a total mind-fuck for any new parent having feeding problems.  What's actually best is that the child is nourished and the parents are able to function.  Sure parents should BF if they can (because blah blah research), but not at the cost the parents turning themselves into sleepless unhappy BF zombies.

Anyways, after reading everything here you know you aren't alone.  You're not!  Congrats on the bundle.  It does get better!

MayDay

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2015, 12:08:18 PM »
3.  When I do mention it I tend to mostly get a lot of "well my baby slept through the night starting at 3 weeks" or "you should have sleep trained".  Both of which make me want to smack the person who said it.  Hard. 
Hard. Over the head. With a cast iron skillet.

I'd just go with an internal eyeroll here, because I'm pretty sure they just forgot how horrible it was or they have deluded themselves.  If a parent tried to sleep train, it means they thought sleep training was in order.  And seriously, with babies, as soon as you think you have them figured out, they change.  And as soon as you think you can't take anymore of something, they change.

Its always an asshole move to tell a parent who's kid never slept how to make their kid sleep.  (Unless they are asking for advice, of course). 

Same with telling them how your kid slept. 

I swear on my grandmother's grave I will never be that asshole. 
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 12:11:03 PM by MayDay »

Shinplaster

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #45 on: September 14, 2015, 12:14:16 PM »
3.  When I do mention it I tend to mostly get a lot of "well my baby slept through the night starting at 3 weeks" or "you should have sleep trained".  Both of which make me want to smack the person who said it.  Hard. 
Hard. Over the head. With a cast iron skillet.

Oh God, yes!   

Our son had feeding problems, AND colic.  So when he was screaming 18 hours a day, we were never sure if he was hungry, or it was the colic.  I was feeding on demand every 2 hours, and had an old fart pediatrician tell me I was "spoiling the baby".  Another said that I wasn't producing enough milk, and should just give up immediately.  In the end, we just stopped listening to everyone else, and went with what felt right to us.  I got some help with BF from our local VON - lovely lady!  And then I had hubby do a night feed with formula.  We had been told that this would be a disaster.  That once our son fed from a bottle, he would not BF.  Baloney!   It was a great bonding experience for DH, and it didn't bother our son at all - as long as it was food, he was going to eat, no matter what it came out of.  Around the 3 month mark son and I finally got really efficient at the BF, so the formula feedings tapered off.  And at 4 months, the colic ended, and I actually got more than an hour's sleep at a time. 

Take the advice that makes sense for YOUR situation, and ignore the rest.  I think when you are new parents, you are so unsure of yourselves, and assume that everyone else knows better.  Every baby is different, and this is just the first step in learning what works for you, not everyone else.  Be kind to each other, and focus on what is important.  If that means your wife is in her nighty 24/7, that's fine.  If the house is a mess, get used to it - kids are wrecking machines.  Try and make sure you are all fed, and sleep whenever you can.  Everything else falls into place eventually.

RelaxedGal

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #46 on: September 14, 2015, 12:34:39 PM »
I second Bruinguy on the acid reflux.  I thought our little one cried all the time/ate constantly/never slept/had diaper rash because she was just Demon Spawn but at 6 weeks finally admitted that my husband might be right, she might really have acid reflux.  Zantac worked wonders, and even better once we had the dosage right.  At 4.5 years old she's STILL on Zantac twice/day.  I ran out Friday and that was one cranky/sad/cuddly preschooler in my lap all day :-(

Anyway, when I got back to work after maternity leave I told all of my childless coworkers to never have children because newborns are Hell.  Of course they didn't listen, but I tried to get that public service announcement out there.  I took my own advice and stopped at one rather than going down that route again. 

As for breastfeeding: supplementing is OK.  Hell, straight formula is OK.  We breastfed for 24 months, supplemented with formula at 9 months when my supply dipped and she was on table food anyways.  I saw a lactation consultant at 4 weeks because I was getting blisters/it was still painful and she helped a bit (suggested changing position regularly, wearing nipple shields under my bra to allow the nipples to air out a bit).  The toughest part of the first year was pumping.  I shut myself into a small, windowless room morning, noon, and afternoon for a half hour to pump, read a book, and at noon eat my lunch.  I didn't get to go out for a walk on lunch, I didn't get to sit with coworkers and chat on lunch.  I felt very isolated because I didn't get to do anything social at work - partially self-imposed, I could have chatted more around the water cooler but I already felt like I was "stealing time" by taking half hour morning and afternoon breaks rather than regulation 15 minute breaks.  I switched to pumping twice/day when my frozen stockpile grew large, and taking that lunch for me.  That did good things for my mood, but hurt my supply (thus supplementing with formula starting at 9 months).

On the topic of feed: Food intolerances.  When I called out pediatrician about the nonstop crying they suggested avoiding dairy, which helped.  My coworkers new baby granddaughter also has reflux (and blood in her stool, so really bad reflux) so Mom had to nix not only dairy but soy and nuts.  I only had to eliminate dairy, raw garlic, and I forget what else.  Dairy is hard enough.  Another nudge toward formula there - there's special formula with the proteins more broken down than what one's digestive system does, and then Mom can avoid the "Oh no I forgot that tandoori chicken has a yogurt sauce!" 3 hour screamfest.  As  Erica/NWEdible said, "ask me how I know".

As for sleeping through the night... as mentioned abundantly above, every baby is different.  Mine slept only shortly, fully swaddled, and in her baby bucket carseat for the first 6 weeks.  Then with the miracle of Zantac she could suddenly sleep on her back and slept pretty well until 4 or 5 months.  Except she mainly slept at daycare (which she started at 6 weeks) and was then Party All The Time at night, finally crashing at  10pm and sleeping maybe 6 hours.  At 4-5 months teething started, and waking up as soon as the Advil wore off.  That went in spurts as teeth came in until 24 months old, if I remember correctly that's when the molars came in.  Now at 4.5 years old she has dropped all daytime naps and usually sleeps through the night.  We've discovered Melatonin and use it as needed to help her sleep, with the blessing of her doctor.

So yes, newborns are awful, up to 6 months they're terrible, to 1 year is horrible, up to age 2.5 is bad, 3.5 is tolerable.  At 2.5 years they can communicate, and at 3.5 years they can be reasoned with.  So far, things just keep getting better.  Hang in there!

TrMama

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #47 on: September 14, 2015, 12:39:01 PM »
I swear a lot of moms just plain old forget how hard it was when their kids have changed or grown. 

I have an older friend who told me he used to say his DD (now in her 20s) never had tantrums/terrible twos.  Then he found an old journal he wrote when she was a toddler.  It seems, as a defense mechanism, his memory blocked out that entire aspect of her toddlerhood. :) So the forgetfulness/memory block does happen.

LOL! I've always assumed the people who claimed their kids were no trouble at all as babies had early dementia. Now I have proof!

Becoming parents for the first time is brutally hard, as you've figured out. I always say the bravest thing I ever did was to get pregnant the second time. The first time, I didn't know what I was in for, but the second time I did it with a full understanding of the consequences.

If you think your wife has a low supply and she really, really wants to nurse, skip all the BS cookie and "nurse frequently" advice and see if you can get her a script for domperidone (aka motilium). It's used for stomach issues and has the side effect of causing lactation. It even works on people, like men, who haven't had babies. In fact, I had to stop taking it for my stomach issue because I don't have a nursing baby and not being able to get rid of the milk was excruciating.

SK Joyous

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #48 on: September 14, 2015, 01:35:53 PM »
Do NOT feel guilty about ANY choices you make about breastfeeding vs. formula.  Do what works for you.  Disregard any opinions from people that are not living your life in your house right now.  Period.

As to sleeping, the only thing I've ever heard that made rational sense and worked (and we did too) was to try to keep baby awake a little longer in the evening (playing, bathing, naked play, etc) so that they were good and tired for their first stretch of sleep at night.  Other than that, all people are different in their sleeping patterns and that includes babies.  Again, do what you have to do and ignore everyone else out there.  People are just full of advice, but whatever works for your little family is what you should do. 

If there is stress to the extent that it is messing with her (and your) mental health and stress levels, it is time to take the pressure off of you both!

I'm sure you're doing great - hey, worrying about doing what is best for your kid is half the battle and means you are great parents - the rest is just details! :)

Best of luck!

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Babies... some people make it sound so easy
« Reply #49 on: September 14, 2015, 01:51:28 PM »
FWIW it is normal for a baby to chug a bottle and it does not mean baby is not getting enough breastmilk. That's not to say that you did the wrong thing by giving a bottle, and some evidence actually supports a little supplementation at first. Hungry all the time is normal unless it comes with a lack of weight gain or not enough wet diapers. If you can't stand hungry all the time, well, you do what you gotta do.

I'm sorry you guys are having a tough time. It will get easier. The first few weeks of a first baby can be really dreadful. I know Mr. FP and I wondered if we had made a terrible mistake. (No, he grew on us :-).)