How to Handle Postpartum Baby Blues
What Are the Baby Blues?
Transitioning to a new mom or adding a new baby to the family can bring on many emotions for the entire family. As you bring the baby home, it's normal to experience anything from joy and happiness, to exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety or frustration. These feelings are normal and some women experience them more intensely than others.
In fact, about 70-80% of all new moms experience some negative feelings or mood swings after birth.
These negative feelings, known as the "baby blues," can hit within 4-5 ays after brith or even a week or two into adjusting to life at home.
Baby Blues Symptoms
Babies require around the clock attention, so it’s more than normal for new parents to feel overwhelmed or tired during the first month or two at home. If you feel that your mood changes and feelings of anxiety or unhappiness or more severe, or last longer than two to three weeks, you may be dealing with postpartum "baby blues," depression or anxiety.
Symptoms of the "baby blues" include:
- Crying for no reason
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Feeling sad
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
The majority of women experience at least some of the symptoms of the baby blues immediately after giving birth. This is caused by a sudden change in hormones after you deliver your baby. Combine that with stress, isolation, sleep deprivation, and fatigue new moms experience and you have emotions that can feel overwhelming at times.
This generally starts to happen within the first couple of days of delivery and will peak one week after. By the end of the second week, you should be feeling better. The baby blues are perfectly normal, however if your symptoms don’t go away after a few weeks or get worse, you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
Women with postpartum depression or anxiety generally do not feel better unless they receive treatment from a professional. If you or a loved one is suffering from postpartum depression please seek immediate medical attention.
Understanding the difference between the "baby blues" and postpartum depression
In the beginning, postpartum depression looks a lot like the normal baby blues. Most of the time postpartum depression and the baby blues share many of the same symptoms, including mood swings, crying sessions, sadness, insomnia, and the inability to take care of your baby. The main difference between postpartum depression and baby blues are that the symptoms are usually much more severe with postpartum depression and can affect your ability to care for your newborn. You might be experiencing postpartum depression if you find yourself withdrawing from your partner or not being able to bond well with your baby. Another symptom is not being able to control your anxiety, preventing you from sleeping. These feelings can lead to guilt or worthlessness and you can begin to develop suicidal thoughts. These are all red flags and symptoms of postpartum depression. If you find yourself experiencing any of these, please seek immediate medical help.
How to take care of yourself
Remember that the negative feelings or baby blues you experience will fade and pass, but here are a couple tips to help lift yourself out of the postpartum slump...
Indulge in Self-Care
Indulge in self-care for new moms when you can! Whether that’s ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant or lighting some candles while you take a hot bath, do what makes you most happy. You deserve it! Make time to get some fresh air or take a walk outside if you can too. A little vitamin D can work wonders!
Ask for Help
Don’t forget to ask for help from your partner, family, or friends that are close by. Let others help you with household chores, laundry, carpool, meals and dishes. Taking that stress off will allow you to soak in more newborn snuggles and not feel like you're alone with a baby trying to manage a household, while tending to their every need. People will love to help you as a new mom--all you need to do is ask.
Bond with Your Baby
Bond with your baby the best you can! You’re going feel tired and maybe even find it hard to find the time to bond with your baby some days. Do something as simple as sing your favorite song or enjoy a few minutes of skin-to-skin contact.
Try to stay organized! Clutter will add stress and we all know that with a new baby comes a lot of new baby items, laundry and diapers! Keeping your house organized will help ensure that you can find everything you need. And using organizers like a diaper caddy will help you have all your baby essential on hand when you need them!
Do things that remind you of yourself. It’s really easy to get lost as a mom after giving birth. Remember that being a mother is a relationship, not a role. Doing things that you loved pre-baby will allow you to connect with yourself which will in turn help you connect with your baby.
Seek Professional Help
If these tips don’t seem to be working after a few weeks, please reach out to your medical provider and let them know you might be struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you’ll feel more like yourself and be able to care for yourself and your baby.