New father blues and anxieties

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    • #203657

      I’ve got a little girl who’s coming up on 2 weeks old. The birth was incredibly stressful and had to be done by emergency c section. My wife really struggled physically and mentally through it. We were both fairly fit and active before she got pregnant but that’s steadily been whittled away. I can’t speak for her, but I’m struggling with coping with how I feel about everything that happened in the last few weeks.

      I did your typical male fixer thing during her stay in hospital, carting bags backwards and forwards, heavy lifting after the birth. I’m still doing that because of her recovery, but I feel so completely out of my depth when it comes to the baby. I’m not useless, far from it. All the basic care needs came fairly quickly to me, but the crying. God, I really struggle when she’s crying and seems to just want to be breast fed even though she’s only just been done. My wife says she’s starting to feel like a cow and is even resistant to me when I’ve tried everything to calm her and all she seems to want is more breast milk.

      Is it normal to just disconnect or need to hand her back and walk away when she’s screaming and screaming? I feel like a total failure in that moment and it really plays on my mind. I have friends who are dads but all they ever do is complain about how little sleep they’re getting but act like they’re bossing it, making me feel even worse for struggling.

      All I want to do is take over for a few hours and let my wife get some bloody sleep, but she seems to just scream the house down. I had to put a podcast on this morning just to drown her out as my stress levels were boiling.

    • #203766

      Hi Tom.

      Firstly, what you’re explaining is wholly normal. First baby is challenging. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

      Feeding every two hours is hard on everyone – baby included. It is also made even harder after a c-section, as mum may be struggling to produce enough milk unknowingly.

      My wife and I discovered this with our first born, who was promptly put on the bottle and all went much smoother.

      I too found the sleep deprivation hard, due to work etc. But this will pass. Take what others say with a pinch of salt. You never know how involved they are, how much mum is doing or if they’re saving face. Again – known from experience.

      The fact that you want to support mum is mega and shows you care. That’s a step in the right direction. Take pride in being a good dad.

      Few tips that may help:

      – perhaps introduce white noise to baby to sooth (both our newborns hated silence)

      – swaddling and shushing (intervals of 5 as you cuddle upright) also work

      – get some good old skin to skin with little one as much as poss. Works wonders for the bonding process.

      – make sure you do some exercise to burn off those low hormones from lack of sleep. Seems paradoxical but will get you pumping with more positive hormones to help connect.

      Be kind to yourself. Keep up the good work.

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