Post # 1
My husband and I became first time parents later in life, in our 30s. We very much wanted to have a baby and now our little one is 3-months old. She eats every 3 hours during the day and sleeps in 3-5 hour stretches. For all intents and purposes, we’re very lucky that she doesn’t have colic nor has she been sick, etc.
However, even knowing babies are a lot of work, I really underestimated what it’ll be like. I’m on maternity leave and husband works a crazy travel job. We have no family nearby. I am tired all the time! (I’m not sad, I’m actually quite smitten with her but mentally tired) I never have a free moment during the day to even eat or shower. She barely naps so my hands are full ALL day, either holding her or pushing her stroller. She hates being in a carrier and I don’t want her in the swing for more than 15 minutes. Even when I have a moment, I can’t seem to clear my head, I’m always worried about her (is she bored? did I do enough today to help her developmentally? did I overstimulate her? do we have enough books? etc etc) or the endless to-do lists (pump, feed, freeze, hurry to clean parts during her one nap that lasts all of 10 minutes… , etc).
When will this all end? When will I be able to clear my head again, when will I be able to relax and feel confident, feel less worried, when does having a baby feel less like work 100% of the time? Don’t get me wrong, I love her and cherish our moments and don’t mind the physical work too much, it’s the mental load all-day-long of being a first time parent of a new baby that I want gone. So, when??
Post # 2
pockster : I don’t have tips as I’m not a mom, but congrats on the baby and it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job 🙂
Post # 3
The years go fast, but they days go slow. I knew before I even opened the post that you had a baby about 2 to 3 months old, as this is the time when it is the worst. It starts to get better very slowly until you hardly remember the constant fog of the newborn stage. You will likely notice things are markedly better by the time she is 6 months old.
What I can tell you is that schedules are everything. The more baby gets used to doing the same things at the same times – especially naps and bedtime – the better things go. Even if she won’t nap, put her down in a dim and quiet room at about the same time daily if you can, and she will start to relax around that time. And while it seems counterintuitive, babies who are overly tired have a very hard time sleeping.
You are a wonderful parent even to be worried about the things you are worried about. YOU, just you talking or singing or reading or playing with her is more than enough for her right now. I promise she isn’t bored if mum is nearby.
Post # 4
They call the first 3 months the 4th trimester. So emotionally you may feel better able to cope soon. Regarding the sleep, a lot of babies sort things out by around 6 months (at least, my kid went from only ever taking half hour naps to sleeping much longer around 6 months).
Also being alone is really hard because you are literally never off duty. My husband was away for weeks at a time when my son was that age, and similarly over this summer when he’s just over a year. It’s tough. If you can, maybe take the baby out to see friends etc – at that age you can get away with more flexibility around sleep. Seeing other adults, maybe if you can leave her with trusted friends or family and get away for a bit, etc. Go shopping alone, have someone come over so you can shower.
Youre doing great! Keep it up. It will get better!
Post # 5
My daughter is 14 months old, I went back to work a little after the 3 month mark and then my husband took over her care for 2 weeks before daycare started. Daycare was stressful in the beginning, lots of growing pains but then I found a daycare that is fantastic, once she got there I never worried again. She was about 6-7 months old, it was nice to know she was being well cared for and allowed good separation time for both her and I. She learned how to socialize and be independent away from her parents and now at 14 months old she will walk off and play in her room, it’s amazing and wonderful all at the same time.
Most of my friends had children all at the same time, I’ve noticed those who children are not in daycare (even part time) have a tougher time with it as there is no more “you” time. I highly recommend having a sitter or a friend come over since your husband is away and just watch the baby for a few hours once or twice a week. Having a set time for yourself is very important, I had this time set aside for deep conditioning my hair and doing a facial mask while watching some Netflix, my husband knew he had to watch our daughter on Sundays when mamma was pampering herself in the other room
Post # 6
LO is 18 months and honestly, it’s only recently gotten significantly easier for us because he can now communicate with us really well and can actually play independently for like 5 whole minutes at a time.
My own mental state improved a great deal when I went back to work when he was 7 months. Maternity leave humbled me and taught me that Stay-At-Home Mom life is not for me. Things got easier again when LO was 15 months and I was done EPing.
LO was a difficult baby though (and he still is in alot of ways… most recently, being the pickiest eater ever). I think most people see things improving much earlier than we did.
Post # 7
Going back to work was a sanity saver for me. Other than that, I’d say it got fun when LO was 9 months, easier when she hit 13 months and could walk, and keeps getting more and more fun and easier. It’s still hard, just in different, more manageable ways.
I hated being pregnant and having an infant. Seriously, I loved HER but hated the experience. Then when she was like 13 months old and so fun I was like “if only they came out this age I’d have a million more!”
And now I’m pregnant with twins. I’ll let you know if I succeed at birthing them as fun 13 month olds instead of needy infants:)
Post # 8
Mama you’re doing a great job! Honestly I think I started feeling “myself” again when my baby was a year old. I think night weaning and sleep training at 9 months helped a ton. Nothing like 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to get your mental health back on track. I also started seeing a therapist which helped tremendously. I too had a lot of anxiety and worry about every parenting choice I made, and she helped me deal with that. Being a new mom is hard enough without extra worrying. You sound like a great mom who loves her baby very much. Be kind to yourself and stop all that self doubt. Your child couldn’t be in better hands.
Can you look into hiring a mommy’s helper to just take some of the daily chore burden off of you? I can’t imagine going through the newborn phase without my husband home helping every evening. You’re doing a great job! It really sounds like you need some me time. Hopefully you can find a way to give yourself a much needed break at least once per week.
Post # 9
sandiegobee : I had no idea you had twins on the way! Congrats!! You will have a full house that’s for sure! 💕
Post # 10
sandiegobee : I could have written this post. Well not the part about twins, I’m only pregnant with one.
Post # 11
pockster : I also had our first in our mid thirties. I kept telling myself that each milestone was going to be the one that freed me up more, but really it’s just different. Of course that all depends on the kid and mine is 2 years old and still rarely makes it all the way through the night, even though he’s a really “good” baby. He just wakes himself up.
The one thing you can do is stop pandering to her though. It’s not doing you or her any good if you never put her down when she’s awake, don’t manage to take a shower, etc. She may fuss, but she’ll get over it and you’ll be so much happier if you just put her down and let her do her thing. I’ve taken a couple of showers with my guy on the floor by the tub, and that always went just fine. Oherwise get your husband to step up some. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to get a half hour to yourself. Or more! Ultimately you want (I hope!) a child who can be independent, who can entertain herself, who doesn’t need someone throwing things at her constantly to stay happy. The time to start is right now.
Regarding whether you have enough stuff, about two things are enough. I’m a pediatric OT so I keep getting my son things that I see my students struggle with. And while he can do them all, he’s really just got a couple of key toys that he cares about as a two year old (brio trains, duplos, vehicles in general). All the others come and go. When he was your daughter’s age, a rattle or a stuffed animal was about all that mattered, if that. You’re doing great, promise.
Post # 12
For me it got significantly better at age 1 because that’s when I stopped pumping and it was a big burden and time sucker that was gone and she enjoyed playing by herself a little bit instead of laying there wanting to be held all the time. Also sleeping thru the night is HUGE. It will get so much better then too. Mine started around 6 months.
I had an extremely difficult time mentally taking care of my baby and my husband even stayed home for the first 4 months. I definitely suffered from postpartum depression. I think I would need to hire a mother’s helper parttime or beg a family member to come stay for awhile honestly if I were you (if your husband isn’t available). I don’t get jealous of my friends and co-workers over their McMansions, fancy Teslas, international vacations, but I sure get jealous when I hear they have a mother/MIL who takes care of their baby everyday or is available most weekends to take care of their babies. So jealous!!!
Post # 14
The first 4 months were pure hell for me. Got way easier with every passing month after that. Our daughter would be crying in her play pen when I put her in so I could take a shower but mama needed a shower and a shave to feel somewhat human and baby was fine! Leave her in the swing for 20-25 minutes so you can take a breather. The best thing i did was supplement my milk supply with formula once during the day. It took the pressure off of me to be her only source of food and I was able to build my supply slowly with and extra bag a day. It gets better. Promise.
Post # 15
You’re nearly there! After 3 months, things got progressively easier for me. Things become more settled, you’ll increase in confidence, baby will start being into more of a routine.
I could have written your exact post at 3 months.
You’re doing a marvellous job.
(I second the pp suggesting to just take a shower.even if she fusses, it will help you considerably and she will be ok)
Post # 15
First at 37, felt like “myself” again energy-wise around the one year mark. But by 5-6 months, he was much easier and more fun/ more personality showing. You are in the worst of it when then “this is fun and new” adrenaline officially hits the wall.
I second the mama who said schedule, schedule, schedule. Rock her, put baby in the crib, dim the lights and turn on the sound machine. Go take your shower. She will be fine and you’ll get 30 minutes to yourself.
And talk to your husband to see if it’s in the budget for you to hire a babysitter once a week for a few hours. You have to have time to recharge whether that’s a Pedicure or lunch with a girlfriend or going to an exercise class or locking yourself in your room for a 3 hour nap.
Like they say in the airplanes, put your own oxygen mask on first so you can then help others around you. Make sure you’re getting your oxygen.