Surviving Baby Blues

Leighya Richard, licensed psychotherapist specializing in Women's Mental Wellness and Perinatal Mental Health

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Is this my life now? You think to yourself after you changed the 10th diaper for the day, finished nursing or giving the baby his/her bottle, praying that he/she will take a nap so you can get an instant to yourself.

Some days you feel like you have a handle of this motherhood thing but lately you have been wondering are you cut of for this #Momlife

I am sure you were warned about the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. You are starting to question is this the Baby Blues or something else? I can also imagine you haven’t gotten much sleep in the last two weeks so your days are running together, you are not sure if you took a shower, brushed your teeth or ate today.

Characteristics of Baby Blues

Feeling overwhelmed

Sleep Deprivation

Confusion

Irritable

Crying Spells

Mood swings

Lack of appetite

Worrying about everything

Baby Blues generally occurs between 3 days up to 2 weeks after birth. Referred to as the lesser form of postpartum depression.  One could say  it’s a perfect storm of hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and the sudden responsibility for another life could prompt Baby Blues. It occurs in about 70% of women after they have given birth. So you are not alone mama.  This is a condition that is not discussed and often times brushed aside. Leaving women feeling like they are the only ones going through this and feel like they are losing it. Generally these symptoms will last up to a few weeks  then suddenly go way.  If these feelings last longer than 3 weeks and it is starting to interfere with your daily routine please talk to you doctor and/or a qualified mental health professional.

4 Ways to cope with Baby Blues

  • Ask for help – Let me let you in on a secret… There is no trophy to be won for being a martyr and burning yourself out caring for your baby.  When someone asks could I help you with something? Instead of your normal response  “No, I’m fine” actually say what you need. Watch the baby while you take a shower, a nap, bring you some food/ coffee, help sort through your mail, finish up the baby shower thank you cards, etc. Closed mouths do not get fed. If you need something say something.

  • Go outside– The first few days to weeks after birth you are stuck in the house and all the days seem to run together. A change of scenery would do you and the baby some good. Fresh air helps increase your oxygen intake which can help increase your serotonin levels which play a role in improving your mood.  The sunshine can help improve your vitamin D levels which have been shown to have a positive impact on mood. Load up the stroller or put the baby in the carrier and hit the streets.

  • Practice Self Care– A way to de-stress and recharge. What did you do for self care before the baby? Try those activities. Whether if its getting a mani/pedi, eating a nice meal, having coffee with an old friend,  staying hydrated, singing and dancing to your favorite song, coloring, deep breathing etc. Schedule at least 10 minutes a day so you can refill your tank so you can continue to pour into others.
  • Educate Yourself– Know the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Visit https://www.postpartum.net/ for more information about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Monitor how you are feeling and if the intensity of your feelings increase or if the feelings are lasting longer than 2-3 weeks please contact your Doctor for assistance.

 Baby Blues and postpartum depression are temporary and treatable. You are not to blame and with help you will get better. So to answer the question at the beginning of the blog “Is this my life now?” Yes, it is for now and things can improve with a few strategies, supports and patience.

Pictures displayed are stock photos and they are only for illustrative purposes.

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