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Thread: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

  1. #1

    Default Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Hi, I just had my son on the 1st and I have been breast feeding him almost the whole time (he had/has jaundice and didn't have much of an appetite when he was a few days old so I had to resort to what little colostrum I could pump and some donor milk I was given my the hospital).

    My problem is that I was told to feed him every 2.5 hours by the nurses to get rid of the jaundice, which I have done. I have done this for the last 10 days straight, and it's killing me. I set alarms to wake him up and feed him which it takes me sometimes 15-20 minutes just to wake myself up enough to hold him.

    The other issue I am having is that I can't seem to get out of bed - I literally have been held up in my bed since we got home for the hospital and have only been out of the house for doctor checkup appointments. Then, as soon as I get home, it's back into the "hole" of our bedroom. I literally put a bra on yesterday for the first time in over a week.

    How do other moms do this??? I can't seem to leave my bed, my son sleeps in our bed & on me at night, and it just seems easier, I guess, but I just don't know what the alternatives are. We have a crib, but I feel like he's just too small to put in it yet. He as born on the small side (5 lb 10 oz), but at full term, 40 weeks.

    HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS? I have LITERALLY BECOME A SHUT-IN IN MY OWN HOUSE! PLEASE HELP!

  2. #2
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    Mar 2012
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    You could try nursing in other rooms to help get out of the bedroom. If his jaundice is gone, or decreased to a safer number, maybe you could stop forcing the night waking (check with his doctor first ofcourse), and if you try to nurse while lying down it would help not having to wake yourself so much. My daughter turned 1 in January and I just started wearing bras again. Nursing clothes and bras would help a lot so that you feel like you can get dressed. I also loved my moby wrap, it allowed me to hold her without losing my arms all the time. For the jaundice sunlight is also good. I put my daughters by a window and just made sure their face wasn't in the direct light.

    I also co-sleep, but he really isn't too small for the crib, even if you use it during the day for his naps it could make you feel a bit more free. I liked to go places and do things a lot, so I would nurse in public. Going for a walk right after a nursing session would be a way to get some fresh air, he would probably sleep through it...

    I hope things work out for you, I had a friend who had her boy on april 30 and she gave up breastfeeding by the time they released her from the hospital. If your enjoy your nursing sessions, other than feeling cooped up, then definitely stick with it, once you work out those kinks it should become easier.

    Good luck...
    Mother of 3 beautiful girls, and expecting baby number 4 in July

    Elisabeth ~ 9/25/07
    Eliana ~ 1/08/09
    Elivia ~ 1/22/12 ~ EBF

    with all 3 still

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    The first thing that concerns me is that you're having so much trouble getting out of bed. It's normal to be kind of tired and a little weak in the first week or two of a new baby's life. But being unable to get out of bed is more weak than average. Was your baby's birth very difficult? Did anything happen during the birth that was out of the ordinary- I'm thinking things like a large volume of blood loss, blood pressure issues, a difficult or protracted birth... Did you have an epidural? And if so, did you get a headache from it, and did the headache go away?

    If what is keeping you in bed isn't physical, then you want to look at psychological. Postpartum depression (PPD) can cause feelings of exhaustion- this is a basic article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_depression. If you suspect PPD is a problem for you, call your doctor and discuss treatment options. There are medications you can take, even while breastfeeding.

    With a jaundiced baby, it is important to wake the baby frequently to feed. Jaundice makes babies sleepy, and sleepy babies often don't nurse enough to clear their jaundice or to grow appropriately. The good news is that jaundice is a temporary condition, and once your baby is clear of it you can relax a little when it comes to waking the baby.

    What is the baby's bilirubin level at this point? And how has his weight been in the last week? Is he gaining yet?

    The nurses gave you decent information about how to care for a jaundiced and very small newborn. The frequent waking is important! But I think you could tweak the waking pattern a bit, to enable a couple longer sleep stretches at night. How about waking the baby every 2 hours during the day, and then giving yourself one longer 4-5 hour stretch at night?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*abbasgyrle View Post
    Hi, I just had my son on the 1st and I have been breast feeding him almost the whole time (he had/has jaundice and didn't have much of an appetite when he was a few days old so I had to resort to what little colostrum I could pump and some donor milk I was given my the hospital).

    My problem is that I was told to feed him every 2.5 hours by the nurses to get rid of the jaundice, which I have done. I have done this for the last 10 days straight, and it's killing me. I set alarms to wake him up and feed him which it takes me sometimes 15-20 minutes just to wake myself up enough to hold him.

    The other issue I am having is that I can't seem to get out of bed - I literally have been held up in my bed since we got home for the hospital and have only been out of the house for doctor checkup appointments. Then, as soon as I get home, it's back into the "hole" of our bedroom. I literally put a bra on yesterday for the first time in over a week.

    How do other moms do this??? I can't seem to leave my bed, my son sleeps in our bed & on me at night, and it just seems easier, I guess, but I just don't know what the alternatives are. We have a crib, but I feel like he's just too small to put in it yet. He as born on the small side (5 lb 10 oz), but at full term, 40 weeks.

    HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS? I have LITERALLY BECOME A SHUT-IN IN MY OWN HOUSE! PLEASE HELP!
    Ahhh I felt that way for much of the first 12 weeks. Not weak, just kind of holed in nursing all the time. Mine's not a deep or long sleeper so I didn't have to set any alarms. We basicallly nursed all the time! We did and still do co-sleep by choice. Her birth weight was 5lbs 13oz and jaundice was present and we had to use a biliruben blanket, which sucked but at least we were at home. We liked/like DD safe and snuggled with us and its easier to nurse.

    Anyway I think baby wearing is what saved me. When she was tiny I took walks with her in a Dr Sears Balboa swing or a moby wrap. I watched videos to make sure I was doing it right. When she got bigger I got an Ergo carrier. She would usually fall asleep on walks whether I or DH was carrying her. I also wore her around the house to get things done. I tried nursing in the carriers but I never quite got the hang of it. She wasn't too happy in a stroller but occasionally I could get a walk in using the stroller system where the car seat locks in. I always brought a carrier as a back up. Those walks got us out and actually gave me great exercise. I would trudge up and down hills for as long as she was comfy.

    It gets better! We're now at 10 months, still BF / no supplement, she's happy, healthy and so fun to play with if she's not hungry or tired.
    1st time mom over 40 to Alex(andra) b: 7/14/12

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Normal. It doesn't have to be in your bed. You can switch it up and go watch movies or send out announcements or play on the laptop from the couch. But the feeding every 2.5 hour AT LEAST (this actually seems like pretty long intervals. Some babies eat every hour they are awake.)is totally normal and the way mother nature designed this whole thing to be for the 1st 8-12weeks the baby is out of your body. The baby needs to stimulate your breast constantly to establish supply. And babies that are in constant contact with their mothers while newborns do much better in terms of survival. Their body temperature is regulated by yours. They are much less likely to forget to breathe if right with you. It's the time when nursing dyads find their groove. Neither mother nor baby is born KNOWING how to nurse. Both need practice. This is when you do that. So rather than be overwhelmed by it, (which is also totally normal.) try to just wrap your mind around the fact that it's the way it's supposed to work. And take the time while you have it to just hold and bond with your baby. All day everyday. Because the window of opportunity to do this is ONE. He will only be this tiny for this short amount of time.
    And you not alone. We all did it. Because it's what you do and it's what's best for you and your child. Everyone here spent the 1st 6-8 weeks on the couch in their PJ's nursing. I got up to Pee, get more food and change diapers. I didn't start leaving the house on a regular basis until my son was 5 weeks old. And even then it was only once a week. So take this time and let it work for you the way it's supposed to.

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Well I agree it is normal to feel overwhelmed and exhausted in the early weeks. It is also pretty typical for a first time mother to shut herself in for the first month or so. HOWEVER, it is not necessary to shut yourself in. Mom’s with older kids usually do not have this luxury. We took our third baby (then 4 days old) out to dinner the day we got out of the hospital (I had a c-section.) You are putting some constrictions on yourself (or others are putting them on you) that is making this much harder than it need be.

    First off-this “nurse every 2.5 hours business. You do not have to nurse exactly every 2.5 hours! That is scheduling and it is not normal.

    I imagine your baby was sleepy due to the jaundice, and not cueing often enough, and that is why you were given this suggestion? OK, but your baby is now 2 weeks old. Is he getting more obvious with the cues now? A normal infant of this age needs to nurse about 10-12 (or more) times a 24 hour day. But not every such and such hours! Putting mothers on these schedules makes breastfeeding so much harder for baby and mother. Your baby may want to nurse three times in one hour, and then take a 3 hour nap. That is FINE! If your baby is gaining well and will take a one time per day sleep stretch of 4-5 hours, (he may not, not yet) but that is also FINE. And trust me, it is way easier to simply cue feed then to be scheduling like this If you simply nurse your baby on cue (not crying, on early cues) then how often would baby nurse? If it is at least 10 times a day and baby is gaining well, you are fine. If it is not often enough, simply wake baby AS NEEDED.

    Why are you in bed? Can you only nurse in bed? Not on the couch, chair, floor, front stoop (yes, I do that all the time.) Do you have people living in your house who you feel you cannot nurse in front of? That is going to cause problems. What about when you are out? The sooner you nurse in public the sooner you will begin to feel comfortable doing so.

    I suggest, go out to the mall or park or coffee shop or someplace with your baby TODAY. Even if it’s for 30 minutes. Get out, WITH YOUR BABY. You just have to do it to discover it is not such a big deal.
    If you cannot do this, find a mommy and me meeting at your hospital or somewhere to go to this week. Or a local La Leche League meeting. The first time will be hard. You may be late, stressed, still in your pjs, covered with baby poop. Trust me, NO ONE CARES. Get out and be around other moms.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Hi momma, hang in there. I know right now its rough, but it does get better! The first weeks are overwhelming with your hormones trying to even out and this new life so completely dependant on you. I spent the first month in the house, on the couch and in bed. Side lying while feeding at night while co-sleeping was the only way we made it through. Do you have anyone to help you? Are you still taking vitamins? Getting some energy back when you are so exhausted is hard. Just getting outside on a sunny day into the yard can help. Do you like to read - get a pile of books ready and read while stuck on the couch.

    Ignore some of the housework, sleep when baby sleeps (day and night) and do something nice for yourself. Once you and baby get some time figuring out breast feeding (it is a challenge - give yourself time to work out different positions understanding your babies cues) it gets easier, getting out of the house gets easier. Get yourself some tools - a carrier, a swing, a stroller, anything that will help you become more mobile. We didn't have any of these ready for the first 2 weeks and it was brutal. Check around, many moms are happy to pass these things on for little or free once they are done with them.

    Lastly, you are doing a great job . You are working amazingly hard at something difficult and people around you probably won't see that. Being too tired to get out of bed - make sure with your doctor that you are physically OK (lol I know recuperating from birth is hard) and eat eat eat! I had a hard time at first getting enough time to eat enough - your body is taking so much of that food energy and turning it into milk. Eating enough can be hard - could you have an iron deficiency? That can leave you even more exhausted. I hope this helps and congratulations on your new baby!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    We can all clearly relate to these feels to some degree! Mine is 8 weeks tomorrow and I still don't get out or get near as much done as I used to. The things that help me not loose my mind are my carrier and my husband. My baby has gas and all kinds of stuff going on most of the time but will pass out ( usually ) in her carrier if I take her for a walk in it ( or hubby does ).
    I am an American in Germany so I am alone all day without help ( except my lovely 8 year old ). So, I often go for walks with both my girls as the older one loves them too and we get fresh air and I get quiet no screaming time. I can even go shopping with her in it or breast feed also which is awesome if I feel up to it. When hubby comes home around 7 at night I make sure little one has been cuddled and fed and changed etc and then he takes over whether she is in a good mood or not. I love to use that time to read to my 8 year old and get one on one time and then take a hot bath with a book I am reading or even straighten up in the house some. I can usually get hands free time till I'd rather be back with her or until she wants to eat again.
    I will say the one thing that helped me to get used to was breastfeeding when I was out and about. The first 6 weeks almost I didn't want anyone to come over or to go out much cause I felt to weird about it. Then my parents came for a visit which really pushed me to get out and I really got the hand of my tops and my covers etc and just feel so much better about feeding her out or with other people. ( If that were even a concern for you at all ).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Hi mama... hugs to you, those early weeks are so hard. I agree with Mommal about checking in with yourself and maybe your healthcare provider to rule out PPD. However assuming it is not PPD ... then just making an effort to move around the house, and get out of the house, in whatever small ways you can handle. For the whole first month, my routine was nursing baby in the bedroom at night/overnight, during the day change into different clothes (yoga pants and a nursing tank - not too different from PJs! - but just not the clothes I'd slept in) and spend the day nursing baby on the couch/recliner in the living room (I cued up the DVR to tape marathons of my favorites dramas, and watched shows like it was going out of style), and a slow, easy walk around the neighborhood in the early evening with hubby pushing baby in the stroller. It was hard to make myself do it -- I was so exhausted all the time, the last thing I wanted to do was put on my sneakers and get moving -- but I asked my hubby to provide some accountability for me, so he would always prompt me to take a walk with him after he got home from work. It feels good for your body to get a little exercise, and to feel like you are not so isolated. I also would pitch a blanket on the lawn in the shade of a tree, and sit outside with baby (sometimes lying down nursing). I think I did not drive anywhere with baby until he was 4 or 5 weeks old, and it was just 5 minutes away to meet a friend for lunch. So if getting in the car and going on an outing seems impossible, can you just sit on your porch or walk around the block? Just feeling the breeze, the sunlight, and getting some fresh air is really good for both you and baby.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Please help! New mom - exhausted, bed-ridden, shut-in!!

    Wow, thanks everyone! I know it has been a while since I posted this - I didn't get the notifications about the responses for some reason! I'll give an update, if anyone cares to read:

    My little guy is just over 8 weeks now. Those first two weeks were absolutely BRUTAL with the "scheduled" feedings and the jaundice, which he just got over about 1.5-2 weeks ago. We went to the dr. for the 2 week checkup and he gave us the ok to just feed him on cue at night so we could get some longer chunks of sleep. At first it wasn't much, but we're now doing about a 3 hour chunk then a 4 hour chunk after a feed. This last week he hasn't even gotten up for a diaper change so that has been nice. WONDERFUL how I don't feel like a TOTAL zombie after not having to wake and feed every 1.5 hours. Last we checked at his 2 week appointment, his bili levels were decreasing and they weren't concerned, even though everyone we encountered said he looked like a manila envelope.

    So after my post I decided to try some things, main one being a Boppy. It didn't work too well considering my guy is pretty little - 5 lb 10oz at birth, 5lb 12oz at 2 weeks, but he has started to bulk up and loves the boppy now instead of the pillow I had been bending over for hours on end in the first weeks. With it I have been able to do some reclined feeding at night in the last few weeks, which has also been nice for us all (I know they say not to sleep with it, but I am very conscientious of him while I sleep). I also had to go back to work after 2 weeks off to have him and recuperate, and after I got the Boppy, it has helped tremendously (I am fortunate enough to work from home). It was nice when the weather wasn't too hot and I could nurse him in our living room and we would both take a nice nap - it's too hot for that now (we don't have AC and our living room wall is all windows, and no window treatments), so we've been back in the bedroom when I'm not at the dining room table working.

    I guess I am still facing some of these issues, however: I can't seem to leave the house for more than a few hours at a time. He hates his car seat/carrier (he's still a small guy) and is uncomfortable in it. He cries and screams when he is in it for more than 10 minutes if I hadn't fed him for like an hour before we leave, so I end up taking him out of it if we're out for longer and feeding him in the car. I have to bring the Boppy everywhere I go in order to feed him since he is uncomfortable without it and just generally doesn't like being away from our "nest". I have a VERY hard time feeding in public, and the couple of times I have tried it, I just end up in my car exposing myself to feed him because he hates the blankety cover-up we were given. It gets hot in the car and I'm thinking that might be a part of it since it's like a blanket. It's just a miserable experience each time that I try. I was barely able to get a nursing bra and tank top a few weeks ago, which have helped some, but they always end up peed on so I go topless or with a t shirt lifted up.

    The last couple of weeks I have felt confined back into "the hole" again not only because of the heat, but we do have someone who stays with us a few days per week and so I can't nurse in front of them. UGH. My hips are literally starting to hurt because I have been in bed so much. He still naps on me and wakes up every time I put him in his crib and cries and cries until I pick him up. There are just a few handful of times I have been able to get him down in his crib for a nap, and it never lasts more than 20 minutes. It seems like I can't spend more than a few minutes away from the little guy, barely enough time to take a shower.

    I know this will all get better, but I thought it would all be better by now. Any tips on feeding in public? I think being able to do that more freely would really help, but I feel like such a fail at it, he doesn't like it, and it's not practical to take the dang Boppy with me every where I go!

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