Mom doesn't wake up for newborns feedings

Jane - posted on 12/14/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I am actually the sister-in-law to the baby's mother and myself and my husband live with her and her three children. I don't know where else to turn and I'm at my wits end. Her children are 4, 2, and 3 weeks old. It should also be mentioned that the 4 and 2 both have special needs and the 4 year old has very serious behavior issues. Ever since baby 3 was born my SIL has had trouble waking up for him. She sets alarms and sleeps right next to him and won't wake up. I try and my husband tries waking her up, and she just won't get up. I have had to feed her baby countless times as well as rock him to sleep and change him. In addition to this, she can't seem to wake up before 1-1:30 pm so I am taking care of all the children. I have no kids myself, and ever since we moved in I have basically been thrust into parenthood.

I love and adore my nephews and niece. They have brought a light to my life that I never knew existed and I don't hesitate to care for them. During her pregnancy she would go out a lot to shop. A grocery shopping trip could easily take 7 hours. A check up and ultrasound would leave her gone for at least 4 hours. For the past six months it is safe to say I have raised her children. We thought things would change with the newborn but they haven't really. She still leaves on lengthy shopping trips. I had never even fed a newborn before and now I am basically raising him too. She has severe depression and I have struggled with mental illness my whole life so I do understand how hard it is for her.

I am worried that something is going to happen to the baby. There have been instances where I heard the baby crying and I woke her up, and thought she would take care of him. I fall back asleep and wake up two hours later to him screaming and she still being asleep. I love them so much and take care of them because I must, but I am exhausted. Has anyone else experienced this? Thank you so much.

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Dove - posted on 12/14/2014

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Sit down w/ her and tell her everything you said here and emphasize that you are very worried for her. Then... Call and make an appointment for her w/ her doctor... and take her there yourself if you have to. She needs help and if she is willing to get it then things can get better for her. If not... someone else may need to take custody of the kids. Is the father involved at all?

She just had a baby and is depressed and fatigued. That 'can' be very normal (especially if she's been struggling w/ depression for a while now), but she NEEDS help... and you just taking care of the kids w/out her seeking help isn't the answer.

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Jane - posted on 12/15/2014

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Thank you for your response! We have discussed it and I have told her that I love her so much that I want her to get help because she gets really upset that she is like this as well. I know she loves her kids, she's just having a rough time right now. She has agreed that she needs to get to her psychiatrist asap to see what she can do.

That being said, she gets highly defensive about this topic as she is paranoid that everyone thinks she's a bad mom. And I understand that, of course she's going to be defensive about her parenting skills. I guess I just didn't know if anyone else had ever had this problem and how they overcame it. I don't want to become resentful but it gets hard when the times she is up she goes out for hours and asks me to watch the kids. I know she needs to get out and have some relief, but I guess I just wonder where my relief is. It can just get really hard, I suppose. I am just feeling very unappreciated and it is partly my fault because I have watched them so much it has just become expected that I will take care of things.

I don't want to make it seem like she's a bad person, and I love her very much, I am just getting exhausted and when she asks me to take care of them so she can shop or go out and smoke or do whatever I am just feeling overwhelmed.

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