What are the Baby blues?
Just a few days after giving birth you may feel a brief episode of mood swings, tearfulness, anxiety and difficulty in sleeping. This is commonly referred to as the baby Blues.
The baby blues are know by a wide variety of names including the postpartum blues, maternity blues. Whatever the name, the symptoms are all the same, general feelings of depression.
These feelings of depression will come on between three and five days after birth and will effects mothers differently. Some women just feel a little bit ‘blah’. Others will get quite teary and be unable to sleep. It can also cause oversensitivity when interacting with others.
As many as eight in 10 mothers will experience some change in their mood after giving birth. Thats right, The baby blues are common enough that they are considered to be normal. So common, in fact, that the baby blues are not actually considered an illness.
These muddled up feelings you are going through are believed to be caused by rapid hormonal changes coupled with your body recovering form the stresses that accompany child birth.
How long do the baby blues last?
The baby blues will incrementally fade over the weeks following child birth. The quicker you get used to the routine of a baby, such as sleeping less at night, feeding schedules and other motherly duties, the quicker the baby blues will subside.
Are there any dangers associated with the baby blues?
Yes. The baby blues share many characteristics with a much more serious condition. postpartum depression. These similarities can sometimes lead to one being misdiagnosed as the other. If your baby blues period has not subsided after a few weeks or if you feel uncertain about anything, consult your practitioner.
How to beat the baby blues
Feeling like a shadow of yourself is no good for anyone, let alone a mother who now has to worry about looking after her baby. Lets take a look at the different methods you can use to keep the baby blues at bay while you are waiting for them to pass.
Everyone is different and one method that works great for someone else may not be the right fit for you. Mix it up and experiment!
Great, not only am I depressed but now you are suggesting I eat should foul tasting fish oil? This may not have been what you wanted to see at the top of the list on how to beat the baby blues but hear me out.
Omega-3 oils can effectively improve mood and beat the baby blues. The easiest way to get your daily dose of omega-3 is through good old fashioned fish oil. Fish oil is great for your brain, skin and hair. You have nothing to lose!
Since fish oil became available in easy to take pills there have been less people complaining about experiencing fishy burps, a common problem when taken as a straight oil.
Get up and get active
Exercise releases endorphins into your brain. Endorphins promote feelings of happiness and well being. If you are happy then you can’t possibly have the baby blues. It’s that simple.
Obviously this doesn’t mean hit the gym for hours on end, your body is still recovering from child birth after all. A light walk should be more than enough.
“But I cannot leave my baby” I hear you say. Well, the beauty about your baby is its small size and light weight. Your baby is super transportable. Take him with you. Grab your baby carrier and you are good to go.
Your baby will love the sights and sounds of your walk. Just make sure you get a baby carrier that faces your baby outwards so that your baby can take them in. Many baby carriers face your baby towards you. Seriously, your baby spends enough of its time staring at your chest. Mix it up!
Find comfort friends and family
With your newborn you may get into the habit of staying at home. While there is nothing wrong with this, staying at home alone with your baby can lead to you feeling quite isolated. These feelings of isolation really compound the baby blues.
As humans, we need to express ourselves to others. Talking to others helps you to rationalize situations, alleviate stress and feel more at peace with yourself.
John Cacioppo is neuroscientist who studies the negative effects of isolation on health. In an interview he went into detail on the importance of human interaction. You can find the interview here.
Make an effort to catch up with friends and family. Like I said before, your baby is super portable. Seriously, I have handbags that weigh more. Make the most of it and take your baby with you on these social outings.
You should have no difficulty in getting your friends and family to catch up. There are eight simple words that will surely rope them in. “Do you want to meet my new baby?”. Who could resist?
Everyone has something that no matter how foul a mood, always manages to cheer them up. Is it a movie? Dinner date with your partner? Whatever it is, go for it.
Your new baby may hinder your favorite activity but that does not mean you can’t modify your favorite mood booster to fit around your baby schedule. Instead of going to the movies, hire one. Microwave some popcorn and snuggle up and enjoy. If baby starts crying you can simply hit the pause button.
The point is to treat yourself as best you can while you are getting used to your new baby routine. You deserve it!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You are not supermom. No one is. Anyone who tells you that looking after a baby is easy and without has never had one.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and look at what you are struggling with. Is it the dishes piling up? That mountain of washing? Call in the help crew.
Whether it is your partner, mother, sister, friends or even a cleaning service there is no shortage of help around. Just a warning though, you may have to return the favor if your helpers have a baby.
Let it all outIf you feel a wave of emotions wash over you, don’t be afraid to cry. Crying is not a sign of weakness. It is similar to a shaken soda bottle. If you open the lid a lot of it will spray everywhere but what is left is is calm and will not overflow again.
After your cry you will feel a little better. Just don’t forget to chase it up with a good laugh. Follow your cry up with your favorite mood booster so that you do not dwell on it.
Just remember that the baby blues are not permanent and are commonly experienced after pregnancy. Stay positive!