“My new baby feels like a huge burden”

I’m having a hard time bonding with my new baby the same way I bonded with my first son. I think it’s because after 5 years of infertility my first son was a fulfillment of so many hopes and dreams. But, since two kids is so much harder than one, my new baby almost feels like this huge burden. I want to love him so much, but I feel like I’m just too busy and tired. What can I do to further bond with him?

2 thoughts on ““My new baby feels like a huge burden”

  1. Mary Jo says:

    I agree, you may be depressed. Take this quiz and show it to a health provider.
    http://www.fresno.ucsf.edu/pediatrics/downloads/edinburghscale.pdf

    I have two kids as well, ages 3 and 6 months. I think I understand how you’re feeling. It’s so hard right now, but there is so much joy in store for you.

    Here are some ideas of concrete things to do to feel better while waiting for an appointment or for medication to kick in:
    1) Get some sleep. The times when I have felt worst as a parent have been because of extreme sleep deprivation. I think many depression symptoms and symptoms of sleep deprivation are the same. You feel dead inside. You feel empty. Zero energy. In fact, I’m not sure you can even tell if you’re depressed or not unless you’re answering that survey on decent sleep and you still feel terrible. I know it’s hard to get sleep when you have to nurse every 2-3 hours, but try to get some support from someone to take the baby so you can get at least 5 consecutive uninterrupted hours. It will make such a difference.
    2) try to spend some time with each of your children separately, one-on-one, so you aren’t so overwhelmed and distracted. Again, you’ll need someone to take each of them off your hands in turn. But maybe if you are able to focus on each one of them you can feel that connection. If nothing else, it would be a break.
    3) don’t put so much pressure on yourself to feel a bond. As long as you’re taking care of the child’s needs, you are a good parent. It’s hard to bond with a newborn because they don’t even know how to react to you or smile or anything. The baby is forming a bond to you, from his end, as long as you are spending time with him and meeting his needs for food and touch. It makes no difference to him at this stage whether or not you feel love inside for him, only whether you act lovingly toward him by taking care of him. When you are ready to feel that bond, it will be there.
    4) don’t feel guilty. You’re doing your best, and that’s all anyone can ask of you. Your best is good enough.
    5) try to use your bond and your memories from your older child to help you deal with your baby. If it helps temporarily, imagine yourself back into your memories of your first kid’s babyhood while holding your new baby. Recall that bond and let that bond help you weave a new bond with the new baby. You don’t yet know the unique person that your baby will be, and once you do, your bond with him will be as unique as the one with your older son. But for now, let your memories be a crutch to get you through this time.

    I hope those ideas are helpful. Take care of yourself!

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