Bonding With My Baby Wasn't How I Imagined

When I was pregnant, there were many things I was worried about, my HG affecting Isabelle's growth, my labour, the anxiety that filled me about staying away from Emily for a night, Post-Natal depression and most importantly - would I be able to bond with my baby? I stupidly assumed this time around it would be easy, that I would see her, and I would be filled with this overwhelming surge of love, and we would go home and adjust to being a family of four and it would be perfect.

The truth is, it wasn't like that at all. The first six weeks with Isabelle were incredibly hard, she screamed and cried. She wouldn't settle, I felt like it was my fault and that I was doing something wrong. I spoke to my midwife who decided that it was all in my mind and that my mental health was the reason I was feeling this way, but I knew it wasn't. I had this sick sinking feeling in my stomach that wouldn't budge. I knew that there was something wrong, and as Isabelle's mother, it was my job to advocate for her, as she couldn't do it for herself.

I saw two different doctors, three health visitors and a midwife, who all chalked it up to nothing or colic. Colic would not make my baby scream constantly, sob uncontrollably, or be covered in a rash, let alone how horrendous her bowel movements were. I was so busy advocating for Isabelle that it never occurred to me that I didn't love her like I should, or that the bond we were supposed to be creating just wasn't there.

Don't get me wrong, I did and do love my little bundle of squishiness. I knew that I would do everything in my power to be there for her, protect her, and fight on her behalf, but that overwhelming love everyone told me you would feel, it just wasn't there. I felt like the worlds meanest mother because it wasn't there. It wasn't until we got Isabelle's Cows milk protein allergy diagnosis, that I acknowledged these feelings. I remember breaking down into tears during a health visitor appointment telling her that I just didn't feel that we had a bond or a connection.

I felt like I spent so long fighting to get health care professionals to listen, that I completely forgot to bond with my baby girl. I spend hours and hours cuddling her while she cried, at times I cried with her, I felt so lost because I just didn't know what to do to make it better. There is nothing worse than seeing your baby in pain and being able to do nothing about it.

I tried everything to bond with her, more cuddles, more one on one time, I did bath time, and was the only one who fed her, but nothing helped. I felt like I spent so long advocating for her, and being her voice, that I lost my own - I forgot how to bond with her. While playing with her, and spending time with her helped, it didn't make me feel like we had that bond or overwhelming love that everyone talks about. I still felt guilty, guilty that I didn't get her help sooner - even though I tried. Guilty that she was in pain for so long with her stomach because of the milk I was feeding her. Guilty that I felt as if I didn't know my own baby.

I felt like the worlds worst mother. I felt as if Isabelle deserved better. I couldn't stand to be away from her, just in case she developed a strong bond with someone other than me. I felt as if we were never going to get there, and I was never going to get that bond I dreamed about for so long.

It wasn't until I spoke to the health visitor, that I realised I was looking at it from the completely wrong direction. The love I was talking about was there, although I didn't feel it, and I didn't feel like we had a bond, I was doing something right because I noticed that there was something wrong. I took her to lots of different doctors appointments until one person listened. It was me that pushed for a diagnosis into her allergy. It was me who got her formula changed. It was me that held her during the night, while she screamed and cried, rocking her for hours in my arms trying to settle her. That may have felt hellish to me, and like I wasn't good enough - but to her it was everything. I was her safe place and her voice.

When Isabelle started her new milk, she was like a completely new baby, and traits of her personality we never got to see came out, she is now the most chilled out, happy, content baby to be around. I realised in that moment, the day she changed her formula was day one. It was the start of us being able to bond because before that she wasn't happy, and she didn't want to do anything apart from cry. I think that honestly made it harder, I had spent six whole weeks with my little girl, and hadn't seen any of her personality because the whole time she was just upset, in pain and crying. I just felt like I didn't know my baby - like at all.

A couple of days ago, I was sat on the sofa, watching Emily play with Isabelle on her play mat, they were both laughing and giggling away. They were having the best time together, laughing, bonding, and being together. It wasn't until that moment that I remember thinking how lucky I was to have the both of them, how amazing it was that they had each other, and just how much I loved the both of them. That overwhelming love that everyone is so quick to talk about, it hit me then. I know deep down that it was there all along, I just was so distracted by everything else that was going on I didn't feel it. I wanted to go sit and play with them, join in with the giggles but I didn't want to disturb them, so I just sat there, taking in the moment and watching them together. It may have taken longer than most, but it happened, eventually.


  1. Nothing about motherhood is like I imagined! Lol My daughter had Colic so I can sympathise with how hard it is when they just scream all the time!

  2. I'm glad you realised you were doing the fight thing and that you weren't doing anything wrong. Motherhood is so hard at times isn't it and what a mixed bag of emotions it is. So lovely that Emily and Isabelle have a lovely bond x

  3. It's so hard, my twins had a milk allergy and it was so hard to get them to listen. You feel so much for them and you know something isn't right. Like you said day 1 is the start and their little personalities coming out.


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