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PPD mom refuses to pick up newborn daughter while she's crying; 'not after what my cousin did.' AITA? UPDATED 3X

PPD mom refuses to pick up newborn daughter while she's crying; 'not after what my cousin did.' AITA? UPDATED 3X

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When this mom is struggling to take care of her newborn daughter and is disappointed in her husband's behavior after the birth, she asks Reddit:

"Am I wrong for refusing to pick up my newborn daughter while she was crying?"

I just had a baby a few weeks ago. I noticed once while I was holding her in a rocking chair, and I was dead tired, that I almost fell asleep holding her. Ever since then, I have been terrified to fall asleep and accidentally kill her.

So since then, I do not pick her up at all if I’m sleepy. Yesterday she was crying. She was hungry, but I have been pumping milk every 3 hours, non stop (at a lactation consultants suggestion), as well as taking care of a newborn, and was super tired. I could barely keep my eyes open.

I bottle fed my baby my breast milk, changed her diaper prior to that, and swaddled her. I had to rock her bassinet and she fell back to sleep after about 10 minutes. It broke my heart to hear her cry, and I felt terrible not picking her up.

Realistically, I could’ve probably been fine to make myself stay awake and hold her for a little. But I’m terrified to get complacent and suffocate her by accident some day.

My cousin accidentally killed her baby this way. That is a long and sh&ty story on its own, but it’s become a huge worry of mine since I became a mom.

Her dad overheard some of the commotion and was angry when I explained. It does take longer to calm her down if I don’t pick her up. She is small and loves to be held. I don’t do this often, only when I’m exhausted (which has been twice).

I told him that too, but he called me neglectful and told me I need to be a better mother. I’m honestly still upset about yesterday and feel like shit. The mom guilt is real, without someone else’s comments.

I also have brought my milk supply up to the amount I need, so I’m going to start sleeping at least 6 hours at night, with maybe just one power pump at 3am. Instead of Increment naps. So it won’t be forever that I’m doing this. Am I wrong? What alternatives are there that may help? AITA?

Then, OP provides three udpates:

Update 1:

I am diagnosed with PPD, and I do believe I also have PPA. I’m having a huge issue letting people take care of the baby.

Update 2 (about OP's husband):

It doesn't help that I don't trust my husband. My husband is struggling with PPD as well, and even though he’s usually a kind soul, his temperament has completely switched. Thus I developed a lot of anxiety around letting him watch our baby. I was already anxious about other people doing so.

I’ll bring it up to my therapist. I have been embarrassed to talk about things, but I think it’s time to be more open with her. I don’t feel he is a danger to her, but I absolutely do feel uncomfortable with him watching her due to how snappy and temperamental he has been.

He is usually such a patient and kind person, so the huge switch also causes me anxiety. I’m trying to be there for him because I love him, but I’d honestly leave if he lost his temper on our baby.

I did not tell him that, but we spoke about the temper and anger, and he agreed he will step back from childcare for now.

I’m not avoiding the questions, I was just busy. To answer the question, he is suffering from severe PPD and getting help for it. Including meds. Unfortunately, it can take weeks for those meds to work. If they are even a match. I’m on my own for now it seems.

Update 3:

I don’t like hearing her little cries, it’s hard. I think this can help solve it. I don’t particularly like directly feeding from the breast, but I will try it at least 3 times a day; I was also told that this helps produce a steady supply, due to the hormones.

I’m not sure why I didn’t think of the walking thing. I’ve just been so tired. I’m extremely attentive to her 99% of the time. I love her with all my heart. But I think this effort also is tiring me out. I don’t want to give her less, I’ll just have to find ways to rest.

I’m not making excuses. He is acting inappropriately. I’m also struggling with PPD and I’m not acting similarly.

As for help, I can ask his mom. She’s amazing and has already been a big help, so I feel bad asking for more. But I think you’re right that it’s finally hit a point where I need to.

Let's see what readers thought.

puzzleheadedresist6 writes:

Your husband heard the baby crying, knew you were exhausted and rather than helping you he came to criticize you?

He- the person whose body did not just experience nearly a year’s worth of exhausting changes- got angry with you for having a fear based on something traumatic that happened in your family, rather than empathizing and offering assistance?

Yeah, you’re NTA but he is most definitely TA. You need to get some rest so that you can care for the baby without fearing that your exhaustion will harm her. And he needs to facilitate that.

mamacbear writes:

Absolutely not wrong. Whilst I am vehemently against “cry it out”, it is incredibly dangerous to fall asleep with a baby in your arms; you well know the dangers because of what happened to your cousin.

You did the right thing by feeding, changing and then putting her in her bassinet. If you left her crying for far longer, that would be cruel, but 10 mins is fine. As for your husband, if he is so concerned, then he should look after her whilst you rest.

Breastfeeding is exhausting and pumping is bloddy hard work, especially when baby is going through a growth spurt and wants to feed every five minutes. Your body needs a lot of energy to make milk and you need plenty of rest (and fluids).

I know this doesn’t help much but feeds spread out, it will get a tad easier. Also as you are pumping and bottle feeding, dad can do a night shift when he isn’t at work the next day.

Finally you are amazing and being a fantastic mother, baby’s dad, however, he needs to be a better father and husband.

Also, if you haven’t heard of it look at the book “The Wonder Weeks”, it’s really helpful, explaining the cycles that babies go through and look up Priscilla Dunstan’s baby language too; both were really useful when I had my youngest.

cellulargenocide writes:

Pediatrician here that has taken care of a lot of child abuse and SIDS cases. You did nothing wrong. I will tell parents that if the baby is fed, dry, and in a warm safe space that it’s ok to let them cry.

I’ve taken care of infants that end up with fractures and head bleeds because a parent or caregiver snapped over what was probably a fussy baby. I’ve also taken care of infants that ended up permanently brain damaged or dead because a parent fell asleep with them on a bed or some other unsafe place.

Taking care of a newborn is exhausting work for both parents, and doubly so for breast feeding mothers. They need to feed every 2-3 hours and the only way they have to interact with the world is to cry.

This turns every wail into a guessing game of what’s the matter. Doing that for several weeks with minimal sleep, and even the most even keeled person can be on the edge of losing it.

With a few corner case exceptions in some medically complex children, no baby has ever died from crying. I know it can tear at your heartstrings to hear your infant cry, but you need to keep them safe and you need to take care of yourself to take care of them.

I’m sure others have said it already, but her dad also needs to take his turn. Raising a newborn is a team sport, and it’s why in a lot of cultures it’s a whole family affair.

I’ll repeat it again for extra emphasis. If you feel like you’re unsafe holding your baby or feeling on edge, make certain they’re fed and dry, put the baby down in a safe space, and let them cry. They will not die from crying.

mischief6 writes:

NTA but also this- Post partum anxiety is a real thing. You have some real life experience, your cousin’s personal history, that is adding to your first time mom stress. It sounds like this is adding up and may be pushing you into a place that it making it difficult for you to manage.

Talk to someone - and by someone I mean your doctor or a therapist. Get an assessment to see if you are meeting the threshold for anxiety.

Obviously I’m not doctor and I’m only reading what you’re writing, but as someone who does deal with anxiety, tends to jump to “worse case scenarios” and has done the infant stage twice now, I think it is worth you talking to a professional and at least getting their opinion.


Take care of yourself. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” or the safety advice on planes to put your oxygen mask on first is important. You have to take care of yourself so that you are there to take care of your kiddo.

Also your husband is perfectly capable of holding your kid. I don’t know why he isn’t picking up your crying infant? That is a secondary issue. He is equally as responsible for child care as you are though.

wandadobby77 writes:

You’re are absolutely NTA. Your husband is. You just underwent a massive physical event and are healing. You’re being cautious and your exhausted. Your husband has none of those excuses.

The first few weeks to months are an incredibly important time in your recovery and it’s perfectly normal for you to be nervous and need help. I had zero help, had an episiotomy, almost died from a placental hemorrhage and didn’t know that I had sepsis from not being cleaned out properly.

2 days after the delivery, my dog pushed me from behind while I was carrying my daughter down the stairs. I managed to keep ahold of her until I hit the ground, almost ripped my stitches and whacked my head.

She only fell about one inch and onto carpet but I felt like an absolute monster who’d almost killed her baby. The fact that you’re so worried and being hard on yourself means that you care and you’re a good mom. The problem here is your husband’s criticism and lack of assistance.

Looks like OP is NTA here. Any advice for this new mom?

Sources: Reddit
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