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Is it normal to feel unattached?

I had my daughter last Monday and she's been in the NICU since then. I feel no attachment to her... she doesn't feel like she's mine. I don't feel like I have another child at all. Aren't I supposed to at least feel like she's mine? I haven't even held her, does that have anything to do with it? I feel horrible for feeling like this.

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:06 PM on Dec. 21, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Answers (27)
  • I think a stressful situation like that can interrupt the normal flow of feelings you would probably otherwise be having....normally you would be holding your baby and feeding your baby and generally taking care of the baby and that leads to feelings of attachment. It could also be a form of self-protection to feel distance since your baby is in need of the NICU. I wouldn't say your feelings are "normal" as much as I would say they are understandable under the circumstances. I think it would be a good idea for you to talk to a counselor about your feelings. You may need a safe place to talk about this.

    Answer by BJoan at 6:35 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • I didnt even have the stress of the NICU, and I still didnt feel attached to my daughter. It took me 7 weeks to have any sort of positive feelings for her. If it takes longer, you might want to look into PPD as a possibility. One thing that helps is skin to skin contact. Take off your shirt, keep baby in just a diaper, and breastfeed, or hang out for a while.

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:39 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • But I can't breastfeed her or hold her. She isn't even eating yet and she's a week old. She's on dopamine and they won't feed her as long as she's on it. Not sure why I'm anonymous, I have a post about her and everything that 's been going on. I've been pumping and I have this huge supply of breast milk and I'm almost out of room and have no where to store it and I don't want to toss it, and that is just frustrating me.

    Answer by two_dark_eyez at 6:42 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • It is very stressful to have a baby in the NICU. BJoan gave some great advice! I would add asking the Dr. when you can start kangaroo care with your baby. Kangaroo care can help you to bond with your baby and can get baby out of the hospital sooner! Are you pumping breastmilk for your baby? This can be a way to feel like you are doing something for your baby and feel more connected to them. I know it helped for me!


    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 6:45 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • Why can't you hold her? Was she premature? If at all possible, you should hold her skin to skin. If she was premature, that will help her to grow and be stronger. Look up kangaroo care.

    Answer by TanyaR1024 at 6:46 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • She wasn't premature at all. She was born at 39w2d and was 5lbs 15oz. She's been on oxygen since she was born, they haven't told me why I can't hold her, but we're going to see her again tomorrow and I'm going to ask because I've seen other babies being held that are premie and I can't even hold my full term baby.

    Answer by two_dark_eyez at 6:51 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • once you hold you will probably have an attachment to her. when i put my son on my chest and felt his heart beating at the same time as mine i fell in love with him. if you feel any kind of depression or sadness ask about post partum depression or the baby blues. congrats on your new daughter.

    Answer by xavierlogan09 at 6:53 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • Thanks, I'm bi-polar so it kinda adds to the depression of not having her with me. I just have a hard time remembering to take my medicine. When I do take it, I'm fine but I'm sure I would still be depressed about my baby girl.

    Answer by two_dark_eyez at 7:00 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • They have no right to keep you from holding her, hold her and don't let go that will help sooo much.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 7:29 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

  • Yep, it's normal. I had a near-perfect delivery and I didn't have any feelings for my daughter. If you want to check out one of my recent journals called "I feel so guilty", it's about my extremely harsh feelings towards my daughter when she was born. I was very depressed and wasn't being treated for it. It makes me want to scream when I think back to that time in my life. I'm very glad I was able to move past it and eventually grow to love my daughter. Now I can't imagine life without her. Some things just take time, some people make motherhood seem all warm and gooey and loveydovey, when for some people, it's anything but.

    Answer by caitxrawks at 8:49 PM on Dec. 21, 2009

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