This is topic How do you deal with a stressed-out new mom? in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by scottneb (Member # 676) on :
My wife is having a hard time with always dealing with a crying baby. She first voiced her frustration today after holding it in and showing a positive attitude. I think she feels guilty that she gets frustrated, so she hides it. I admire the crap out of her and am extremely jealous that she gets to see the baby when he's happiest (in the morning after I leave). I love Tanner more than anything and I want Jaimie to be happy.

So, I know this is a common problem and I value all your insights. If you have any ideas on how I can make Jaimie happier, I would love to know.

A couple of things to know:

-Our relationship is extremely good. Jaimie is my best friend.

-Tanner's 5 months old and still won't sleep through the night, and he's breastfed.
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
You're asking for new father advice?! [Big Grin]

>Regular and frequent dates (find a babysitter you trust and pay well)
>Giving her adequate time away from the baby when you're home (take him somewhere in the car or in the stroller)
>Reaffirming her mothering skills (find lots of specific examples of how well she's doing)
>Sharing the burden at nights as much as possible (i.e. getting the baby back in bed and asleep after mom finishes nursing him)
>Finding soothing music or videos (Baby Einstein works wonders)

Basically, lots of love and loads of support.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
I second everything except the videos (um, rather Orwellian, there). Also, say "I love you" a lot. And give her backrubs (but only when she's okay to be touched). And ask if you can do something to help, then do it. No matter what it is. And change diapers without complaining or being asked. And listen, really listen, when she talks, complains, or anything, then ask what she needs and what you can do for her.

Do all that, and you'll be right up there with my husband for best husband and father ever. [Wink]
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
Also, what the heck are you doing on Hatrack? She needs you. [Wink] [Razz]
Posted by scottneb (Member # 676) on :
I'm "working."

I got stuck with the night shift until Tuesday.
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
What they said.

And good luck. Being a new parent is really hard -- and really great. [Smile] So enjoy! [Big Grin]
Posted by Jay (Member # 5786) on :
Sounds to me like she might need a full night’s sleep!
I always thought by 6 months you would be and looked up a few sites:
This one looked really helpful:,,40rf,00.html?arrivalSA=1&cobrandRef=0&arrival_freqCap=1&pba=adid=13605650
Might be an idea to store up some of the breast milk so she can sleep through a night once in a while.
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
Hey, scottneb, my wife would love to E-mail your wife to chat, but you're blocking your E-mail address. Stop that.
Posted by scottneb (Member # 676) on :
Check your email Tom.
Posted by Elizabeth (Member # 5218) on :
When I had my second baby, I just took him right into bed. I had mastered the nurse-and-doze by then. (Plus, let's face it, my breasts had elasticized)

Is she feeling like she is breaking some rule or other? Many new moms feel like they have to do things "by the book." Also, many new moms are certain that no other new mom feels the way they do. A chat with Christy would be great.
Posted by BannaOj (Member # 3206) on :
A good friend of mine had a colicky baby, that *wouldn't* stop crying. It was hell on her nerves. I think the most awful thing in the world must be to be a mother and know there is nothing you can do to get your baby to stop screaming.

He wasn't breastfed for a host of reasons, but I know there is some sort of natural remedy including anise, chammomile, ginger and dill that really helps to soothe them and help them sleep, whether they are colicky or not. I don't know if your wife could drink it in non-caffinated herbal tea form to get it to come through in the breastmilk or not, since I'm not a mother.

Posted by Christy (Member # 4397) on :
Scott, for me, I'm simply tired and there are a lot of demands on a "new mom's" time. I find there are definite moments when I would like nothing more than to curl up in a little ball in my bedroom and pretend that I don't have any responsibilities.

*giggle* Hence my week off this week. Of course, I'm spending today organizing and cleaning, but that's good for my soul, too, and I'll rest and have fun for the rest of the week.

I do feel guilty, though, that sometimes my enjoyment of taking care of Sophie wanes. Especially now when she is at such a fun age. There are some really great times. But when she's refusing to go to sleep at night or waking up at 2am or teething, I find myself unconsciously gritting my teeth (and Tom's laughed and watched me do it as well), but I do try to put on a good face because I really do enjoy taking care of Sophie, but sometimes a little break is nice.

I think its important to realize that you do need a break and that it is okay to take one or to ask for one. Most moms still feel incredibly guilty and this is okay, too. Start with small pleasures or short half hour escapes until you feel more comfortable. This is something I've been trying to learn.

In particular, I have been finding it hard to find the energy for my hobbies -- something I told myself that I would not allow to happen. I think it is really important to have some time just for yourself and so I've been making more of an effort to plan for me and to get back in touch with things I want/like to do.

I am also breastfeeding, and I don't really find that there is anything Tom can do to help with late night feedings and/or getting Sophie to sleep.

*raises a guilty hand* I am still nursing Sophie to sleep and putting her in her crib asleep. I haven't found another suitable method of getting her to sleep. We tried letting her cry for increasing periods, going in to comfort her, playing her mobile, rubbing her stomach, but after multiple nights of crying still after fifteen minutes, Tom and I decided that we weren't going to push the issue. She generally goes to sleep at 9pm, gets up between 12-2am and then again between 4-6am.

I would say we are in pretty much the same boat. Tom and I have a very loving relationship. He admires the heck out of me for being able to cope as I can and be such a good mom and lets me know often. While this has been wonderful and I appreciate it so much, this has still been a hard time for me.

Recently, Tom and I have been going out to lunch while Sophie is in daycare. This has been a great way for he and I to connect as adults again.

Since it sounds like your wife is at home, you might encourage her to take part in community mom's groups or playgroups. Check with the local library, the newspaper, the school system. There are even some mom's clubs that go out to dinner sans kids once a month and organize playdates. When I was on maternity leave, I took part in a weekly moms group and it was nice to hear others advice, experiences and stories.

Hope this helps. [Smile] And again, my email is open if she'd like.
Posted by Mrs.M (Member # 2943) on :
During one of the good times, when she isn't feeling guilty or stressed, remind her how lucky y'all are and how many people would love to be in your place.

I don't mean it in an ugly way - I don't want to diminish her frustration. It's certainly valid; it's not easy being the new mom of an infant. Sometimes it helps to be reminded of what a blessing you have.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
If the baby is 6 months, is she eating cereal yet? Give her her day's allottment right near bedtime (right before the bath) and see if that helps with the sleeping.
Posted by Christy (Member # 4397) on :
Goodness, no. She's eating cereal, but we had to eliminate her evening solid feeding for nows. She would get gas and wake up crying and not want to go back to sleep.

[ January 31, 2005, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: Christy ]
Posted by skrika03 (Member # 5930) on :
I don't want to freak you out, but my youngest is still breastfed pretty much on demand and didn't sleep through the night for 18 months. My oldest slept through the night at 4 months, or at least moved into own room so only woke me once a night, and middle child slept through the night at 2 weeks. I just kind of think you never know what you are going to get.

But if your wife is fixated on the idea that she can't be happy until the baby sleeps through the night, she won't be happy.

Other things she might try: Always eat before nursing. This may involve putting the baby in a safe place to cry while she has something to eat. If she feeds the baby while hungry, the baby will just want to eat again later. The mom needs to give herself permission to let the baby cry.

Eat balanced meals in terms of protein and carb content. It doesn't have to be a perfect zone balance, but it will make for more sustaining milk. Anyway, better to have her read this thread than just tell her the info. She may just want to vent to you, and not have you advise her on how to fix her problems.
Posted by Olivetta (Member # 6456) on :
Run her a nice, warm tub with whatever she likes in it (bath oils, bubbles, floating candles) and take the baby somewhere for a walk or what ever. Tell her no matter what happens, she has an hour to herself. Period. Don't take no for an answer. It's her time, a gift from you for her being such a good mommy.

And whatever you do, don't TELL her you're jealous of her being home with baby. Because you get to put on nice clothes and talk to grownups and surf Hatrack, for crying out loud. She gets diapers and crankiness (and snuggles and baby-coos, too, but sometimes...) and getting yelled at lot. Plus housework when the baby naps.

Suck it up, man. I've done both, and staying home was way harder. I'm glad I did it, but it was hard having people assume I sat around all day. Finding time to shower was a challenge, for crying out loud.
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
Yes. And if the housework doesn't get done, tell her to go to sleep anyway and do some of it yourself. Don't make a big show of doing it or telling her it's done, don't make her feel guilty, but appreciate what she does get done, and do as much laundry and cleaning and such as you can to help.
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
As far as letting your baby cry herself to sleep--for both our kids, it took one night of excruciating screaming for a couple of hours, then another night of about a half and hour, and after that we were getting at least 8 hours of sleep. But it's that first night that's tough. You think your kid will hate you forever, and you think she's going to have a complex. But the next morning she's as happy as ever to see you.

We figure as long as the baby is fed, changed, and warm, she can work things out on her own.
Posted by dread pirate romany (Member # 6869) on :
It's such a hard time. babies all sleep at different ways, I think a lot of moms feel more pressure because they are told a baby "should" sleep through the night at that age.

Throwing in the "dissenting opinion" here and say, we never let any of our babies cry for longer than it took for us to pee.

One way you can help with the sleep is walking with the baby. I don't know how many hours my hubby put in walking the floor with colicky babies. After she nurses him, especially if it's day and you can take him for a walk outdoors, send her for a nap.

Oh, she will love it of you make or bring supper. When mom is sleep deprived amd tired, the idea of figuring out what to make for dinner, and doing so, seems more daunting than Everest.

One of the best peices advice I got as a new mom is never, ever look at a clock, especially at night. It does make things worse.

It's OK to feel frustrated and have times where babycare is not fun. It's normal. I am glad she was able to open up to you about it because there is so much pressure to be Super Happy Perfect Mom, and one those days when moms really need a break that hurts.

Is she taking B Vits? They help with stress. Walking outside everyday?

(You sound like an awesome husband and dad, Scott!)
Posted by Space Opera (Member # 6504) on :
Great advice so far. My daughter screamed bloody murder for 13 hours a day (yep - we timed her) for 6 weeks due to an allergy. Something that always helped me was getting my feelings validated. Your wife is not a bad mother if she wants 30 minutes without having to hold the baby, worry about the baby, or even remember that there *is* a baby - tell her this. It's an incredibly stressful situation! Encourage her to vent as often as possible; don't let the frustration and stress build up.

I would also check with your dr. before starting the baby on any solids that he's not already on in order to get him to sleep through the night. I know some people swear by filling them up with cereal, but check just in case. It's often thought that babies who wake up in the middle of the night aren't necessarily even hungry - it's just that they haven't developed that "wake up, roll over, and go back to sleep" mechanism that older children have. It takes awhile before a baby learns to self-soothe, particularly in the middle of the night.

Either way, just keep supporting your wife like you already have been. [Smile]

space opera
Posted by jeniwren (Member # 2002) on :
Scott, potential dumb questions: Is Tanner crying a lot? I mean, is he a fussy baby in general or has he just been crying more than usual lately? Have you asked the pediatrician for input?

For supporting the stressed out mom:

[ January 31, 2005, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: jeniwren ]
Posted by dread pirate romany (Member # 6869) on :
Just think, in a year, he'll be coherently screaming, "NO NO NO". (that's combining humor with the long view.)
Posted by Christy (Member # 4397) on :
Oooh, I agree with the "don't look at the clock" and second to that, find her a good comfy chair to nurse in. I love my glider rocker. When I'm tired and Sophie is taking a half hour plus to go back to sleep, its not quite so bad to nod off in the rocker with a good comfy blanket.
Posted by scottneb (Member # 676) on :
I made it a point to get her a nice rocker (the kind that could become a heirloom). She has a hard time buying nice things for herself and I had a hard time getting her to not buy one from Wal-Mart.

There are some very good points in here and I'll see if I can get her to read this thread. Thanks everyone!
Posted by ketchupqueen (Member # 6877) on :
Oooh, you know what else really helps? I don't know where you are, but Trader Joe's makes really good individual serving chocolate soymilk. It tastes good, is a good high protien/carb snack to keep you going in the middle of the night, plus it's chocolate (everyone knows why that's good) and soy, which mimics estrogen or something and makes some women (including me) happier and less stressed. I don't like soy milk, or soy almost anything, but this is good.
Posted by dread pirate romany (Member # 6869) on :
Oh, do you guys have a baby sling? That is the one, single baby "thing" I could not live without. It is a real sanity and arm saver.
Posted by whiskysunrise (Member # 6819) on :
Make sure that your wife has time to do what she wants. If you need to take the baby and tell your wife to take a nap, shower or whatever else she may want to do. She needs time to take care of her. Sometimes you do need to let the baby (and your wife) have a good cry.

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