How many hours are you alone per day with your LO? — The Bump
January 2016 Moms

How many hours are you alone per day with your LO?

I know this is mostly the stress talking because I'm in the "peak fussiness" time and LO hasn't taken a nap in *three solid days*, but I'm feeling the grind of being alone with her so long on a daily basis.  I adore my baby and I have fun with her, even during the cranky times, but I tend to get really worn down and lose my ability to enjoy things after about the 8-10 hour mark.  Unfortunately, I'm typically alone with LO from 10-14 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.  It's also never the exact same schedule because my husband works different days/hours every week, so I feel like I can't get into a routine.  

I'm feeling bad for not enjoying myself more, especially since everyone is like oh, you must be in heaven on maternity leave!  I mean, I wouldn't trade this time for anything, but am I crazy for feeling so burnt out after the 8-10 hour mark?  The last few days have just very emotionally and physically exhausting during this growth spurt/fussiness phase.  She had been taking naps 2-3 times a day, but that seems out the window with this phase. I was basically in the glider with LO for 12 hours.  She wouldn't nap in her crib, only on me and only if we were rocking.  Otherwise she wouldn't sleep at all.  I escaped for 15 minutes to take her for a walk in her ergo and had to turn back because she started scream/crying.  The only breaks I've had all day were when I just had to lay her in her crib to cry so I could pee or get a glass of water.  Sigh.

Anyway, for those of you still on maternity leave, how long are you alone with LO each day?  Do you feel worn down at a certain point in the day?  Did this feeling lessen as your LO got older?  (My LO is just 7 weeks yesterday, so maybe things get more fun, she returns to napping and we get to be on a schedule a bit more?)

I'd love feedback because as a FTM I'm feeling kind of like a bad mom or like I'm not cut out for this whole maternity leave thing.  :(

Re: How many hours are you alone per day with your LO?

  • I am alone with the baby 5 days/week and for 7-9 hours at a time. For the most part I feel pretty good, but when I read that you were on day 3 with no naps my heart just went out to you!!! Mine went one day without napping and I was an exhausted basketcase crying mess by the time my husband got home. I knew he needed sleep for both our sanity, but I couldn't help him get there. Please know that this will pass and that while you are doing this emotionally and physically exhausting work it does not feel terribly rewarding. You are not crazy and anyone in your shoes would be worn down. I hope you have a better nap day tomorrow!
  • I'm usually home alone for 8-9 hours and I start feeling burned out around the 7 hour mark.  My LO is 9 weeks and has never been willing to nap if I wasn't holding him.  If I could put him down for an hour or two it would be so much less exhausting
    mwalles
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  • I've become a SAHM since LO got here. DH got a big promotion at work that allowed me to do this. I spend 8-10 hours alone with LO 5 days a week. Sometimes more. LO is 11 weeks and I can say he has gotten considerably easier! From birth to about 8 weeks was really difficult for us. He was unpredictable in everything but sleeping at night. Once he got through the 8 week leap things have vastly improved! I also had to figure out what put him to sleep and when I could do things. Being in the car after he eats puts him out like a light, so I can drive around for a bit, then put the car seat on the stroller and get out for a walk. The Ergo is also great, but again, only after he eats and is ready to sleep. He will fall asleep in it and sleep for 2 hours. I can get a walk with the dog in! Hang in there mama! It will get better! 
    mwalles
  • I definitely feel for ya. I'm alone for 9-10 hours, and that is really a maxium for me. I'm lucky if DD gets 2 half hour naps in (and it's always been that way.) For me, at about week 9, things got a little better, because DD started playing by herself a lot more. So, instead of having a breather just at nap time, I have other little breaks in the day too. 
    Hang in there! It does get better!
  • This was me when DS was about 5-6 weeks old.  DH only had a week off with us and during that time LO was a breeze.  He slept so much after coming home from the NICU.  Once I introduced formula we started having issues and LO's crankiness was getting the best of me, by mid morning.  I was envious of DH that he got to go to work, because that meant he didn't have to worry about soothing an unhappy baby all day.  I literally would dread nights because I knew he wasn't going to sleep that great and I'd still be the one taking care of him the next day.

    Things started to get better around 8 1/2-9 weeks.  He was over a lot of his colic and we nailed down a formula and feeding routine that was making him happy and full.  You are not alone and it does get better! =D  
  • I'm alone with her 10-12 hours a day 5 days a week. Inget burnt out by about 7pm, depending on naps and what we did that day. Yesterday she did notttt want to nap. Fought it and when she did sleepnit was for 20-30 min. She slept maybe 1.5 hrs yesterday. But she was out like a light at 9 and slept until 5, ate and now at 7 shes back awake. So we will see what today brings. 
  • My husband leaves at 430am and is home between 6-7, 5 days a week. So on average 14 hours a day. It's very overwhelming so I go to either my moms or grandmas everyday for a few hours to keep my sanity and get some help - it really takes the edge off when I'm getting overwhelmed. I also do all of the night time feedings during the week so even when DH is home baby and I have a lot of alone time throughout the night. I think getting a break wherever you can is necessary for your sanity if you have the option available. 
    cali1710
  • klbhklbh member
    I have it easy compared to you, and I still feel overwhelmed! My husband is on a three-day-a-week schedule and is gone about 10-11 hours on those days. He does some grading or writing on the other days, but he shares the kid care and housework and watches LO solo for at least a couple of hours so I can get out of the house. 
  • It's about 10-16 hours depending on the day. How smooth my day goes really is dependent on naps so my heart goes out to you on not having any in three days. Like PP I do feel like there was a turning point for DS when things just started to be a little better overall, for us it was 7.5 weeks. I'm sure you have already tried this but I found having DS nap place and nighttime sleep place not being the same to help. He naps in his swing and sleeps in his pack and play. Also don't feel bad about not loving every minute of maternity leave. I felt bad about it too but I think there is an unfair pressure on new moms to never say it's hard or that some days just really suck.
    srecupido
  • AchaeAchae member
    When I was still on leave I was alone all day and with my toddler on days I didn't take her to daycare (we pay either way). This baby is fussy and it is emotionally draining! I say go and visit friends and family if they're in the area, baby might not cry less but you'll have support and an extra set of hands. Does anything seem to help calm your LO? With my guy at least the ring sling and walking and butt patting work. It is tiring but at least he stops screaming! And other times he likes the "colic hold" laying with his tummy across my arm and superman pose as we walk :)
  • On Mat leave is about 17-19 hours which includes sleep. I sleep in the nursery so DH can sleep and function. I am with her all day as well and DH helps with her a little once home from work at 5/5:30. It is a bit tough (understatement) at times but I am thankful. I try my best to not let my health suffer. LO and I get out almost everyday for walks and some errands. She is not much of a day sleeper. 
  • Becky012016Becky012016 member
    edited March 2016
    12.5 hours during the slow season and up to 15.5 hours during the busy season. I keep my sanity by using a schedule and sticking to it as best I can. Some days are a complete wash but others go smoothly. When I have a bad day with LO I just remind myself It can't possibly last forever. 
  • l4rkl4rk member
    I'm alone a minimum of 9 hours per day, and up to 12 on days my SO has activities after work. I get through by making plans with people I can look forward to. Just knowing an adult will play with me in 2 or 3 days can make a huge difference in my mental health. My enthusiasm dwindles whenever she gets fussy, which tends to happen around 4 - 8 pm, more-so than length of time.
  • erickamiaerickamia member
    edited March 2016
    Any other firefighter wives on here? My two daughters and I (we've got a 3 year old as well) are alone for 30+ hour stretches at a time. We're about 12 hours away from any family so things are rough! Looking for anyone who feels my pain!
    mwalles
  • For some reason my edit keeps disappearing. What I kept trying to say was this-

    sorry things are hard! It will soon pass, your baby will definitely nap again, and this tough phase will just be a memory! Good luck!
  • kaym6kaym6 member
    @erickamia military wife here and a few times a week when husbands on duty I'm alone with baby around the same amount of time, we also don't live near family and it's tough!!! I give you soooo much credit for also having another little one and being alone that length of time. He's getting ready to go away for a week and a half and I am not looking forward to it. 
  • I hear you all ladies! I'm pretty much alone with the LO all the time. My SO works 10-12 hour days 5 days a week and has since November. This wouldn't be so bad, but he works overnights. His shift starts between 5 and 630 pm until 5 am. And then he's home and awake for a couple hours before going to bed until it's time for him to go to work. And during the weekends he tends to stick to his schedule. I've also started watching my 9 month old nephew from 6 - 6. So, my SO and I will go days without seeing each other. I love our baby to pieces, but I so wish I had help. I'm thankful my SO has been working so hard and enabling me to stay home longer, but I wish he was home and awake more often when we are. And come weekend...well I feel like he underestimates how exhausting talking care of a baby human by yourself really is. Hang in there everyone! Even as a FTM, I'm confident it gets better! And my LO also only takes decent naps if I'm holding him  :/ 
  • @maureenmce You're not alone! I feel that way too. LO is probably going through a developmental leap right now, accounting for the fussiness. (Google wonder weeks). My LO (basically same age as yours) is doing that too and refusing to nap - it's tough. You need breaks. Try to go to new mom support groups in your area, I bet it would help. To sympathize with other moms always makes me feel better. Also, if it feels right to you, you might ask your dr about depression meds. My dr put me on a low dose of Zoloft and I am enjoying my maternity leave so much more now. It was really the right decision for my family. Worth considering. :) I've had such a rough recovery (I read your comment in the other thread about that this morning) and I know not being physically healthy definitely is part of that. Knowing I still have a lot of recovery ahead of me, my dr gave me the Zoloft to boost my mood while I'm healing. There's no reason to be struggling if you don't have to. I was feeling like such a bad mom before and I now I know what other people are talking about when they say they are enjoying their maternity leave! 
    Baby Birthday Ticker TickerMarried DW <3 08.2013; AI 2x; IUI 6x; IUI #7 05.2015; DD born 2.2016 o:); Reciprocal IVF FET #1 on 11.18.2020 
    l4rkfragglemomctmamaoftwo
  • I'm a SAHM for the time being. SO works 1 pm -10 pm, leaving me home with our 15 month old and the 2 month old. Because of his odd schedule, we rarely get up before 10 am (then SO sleeps on the couch while cuddling toddler while watching his cartoon for an hour). He's only awake for about an hour that both kids are awake! The baby is usually awake when he gets home, but I usually take care of her. I also try to take as many of the night shifts because he does work.

    So, I'm pretty much alone with them all but maybe a 4-6 hour stretch at night every 3 nights... luckily, he's home on the weekends, but we gain his daughter from his previous marriage. So I'm still primarily on my own with the littles. 
  • Usually 12. But when DH travels (weekly) it's 24+. Me, the baby, and the 4-year-old. I don't know how single parents do it.
  • Thanks for all of the responses!  So good to hear that I'm not alone and that I shouldn't feel bad for getting a bit worn down by the end of some days, or not enjoying literally every second of maternity leave.  In AMAZING news, my LO has finally started to nap again, so I am basically feeling like a million bucks compared to when I posted this.  And I do feel like with every week my confidence and bond with LO grows, so that's great.  I know I need to make more plans to see people, whether it be new mom groups or just friends, so I'm going to find the time to schedule that stuff, since it's important to my mental health.  Also, LO has really started smiling big in the last day or so and it's crazy how much better that made me feel - as if we're connecting and having fun together.  :)

    Also @claireloSC thanks for your comment and advice!  I'm seeing a therapist soon for my postpartum issues with anxiety and depression I will ask about medication possibilities.  Though, thankfully, I feel like I'm doing better each day with it (maybe as the hormones continue to change/level out?)  Anyway, and I totally agree that LO is going through a wonder week type leap.  According to the app I have 8 days left, though I think she may have (fingers crossed!) passed the worst of the nap refusal part.  She's still cranky (had a meltdown today in her stroller and her car seat, even though she normally likes both!) but at least she's sleeping again, and that gives me a bit of the light at the end of the tunnel feeling, as far as her mood.  :)  

    And wow, @erickamia and @kaym6 you are both amazing!  I don't know how you handle the firefighter or military schedules!  Seriously, I tip my hat to you because I don't know how I would do it.
    claireloSC
  • I'm only alone with the baby about 12 hours per week. 
  • You're definitely not alone in your feelings! I was only doing 9-10 hours alone at anytime when I was on leave and felt completely drained emotionally, so my heart goes out to you... especially on the nap wars. That period of peak fussing is NO joke, I remember it well and please know it does get better as other ladies have found too. I remember one particular day around week 6 when my LO had not daytime napped in 2 days for more than 30 minutes and literally cried on and off for about 10 hours, was cluster feeding, and refused to leave my arms even though she was fussing in them.... I had a crying breakdown when my DH got home who stared at me like I had 2 heads for screaming at him about how I felt. She is a different baby now at 11 weeks than that 3 week super fussy period she went through. Hang in there and don't beat yourself up for acknowledging the tough times are affecting your mental state or enjoyment of your LO. I know I had days (and will continue to have them I'm sure!) where I felt like I was all wrong for motherhood and enjoyment was the farthest feeling from my heart.
  • @erickamia I'm not a firefighter's wife, but I am a firefighter's daughter. So I have a bit of a different perspective, I suppose. My dad worked a 24 on/24 off shift. Mom was a SAHM. I have a brother that is 2 years younger than me and was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old. Mom definitely had her hands full as most of the family turned him away and babysitters in the early '90's wanted nothing to do with him (autism was much less prevalent and accepted then). Mom did her best to take us to the fire station frequently, daily if she could. I have very fond memories of life at the station. The other firemen were family. If you can, lean on them! Also, maybe there are other wives in your husband's department that you can connect with. 
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