Postpartum Depression and “Baby Blues”
Postpartum can be an incredibly trying time for a new mom! It is not uncommon for women who have just given birth to feel depressed, lose their appetite, have trouble sleeping, or have trouble concentrating. If these symptoms last for less than two weeks, it is probably a normal period called the “baby blues.”
If the symptoms are more serious and last for a longer period of time, you could be suffering from postpartum depression and should get help right away.
Warning signs of Postpartum Depression
- Feeling incredibly depressed
- Excessive crying
- Restless, irritable, anxious
- Don’t enjoy things you used to enjoy
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy and motivation
- Sleep issues, either too much or not enough (not sleeping even when your baby is sleeping)
- Feeling worthless, guilty
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Feeling like life isn’t worth living
- No interest in baby
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby (may indicate postpartum psychosis, seek help right away!)
Overcoming Postpartum Depression
- Talk to someone about your feelings
- Frequent contact with your baby can boost oxytocin, the natural love hormone, and can combat postpartum depression
- Get as much help as you can with the baby, other children, household chores, food preparation, etc.
- Find a few minutes for yourself. You’re a better mother if you’re not totally drained!
- Let some things slide. “Supermom” is a myth! Just do your best to get the necessary things done and take care of yourself. Your baby really won’t mind if there are socks on the floor and the dishes aren’t done!
- Connect with other moms via La Leche League groups, Meetup.com, or church/community organizations
- Talk with your doctor or midwife and they may be able to counsel you as to whether or not medication and/or herbs might be helpful
- Breastfeeding is associated with lower instances of postpartum depression
- Some people believe that eating the placenta helps balance the hormones postpartum and lessen postpartum depression. Crazy, I know, but some people swear by it! If this totally grosses you out sometimes you can find people who make it into pill format.