Baby blues can feel overwhelming and upsetting. Becoming a first-time parent is one of the most rewarding experiences in your life, but it can also be one of the most stressful and scariest.
If you are experiencing the baby blues or having a down moment with your newborn, continue reading for some ideas of how you could boost your mood.
What Are Baby Blues?
80% of postpartum mothers experience baby blues. This term refers to the short period that occurs after giving birth that is filled with mood swings, anxiety, stress, and bouts of sadness. This means, that every 4 out of 5 mums experience baby blues. So, the chances of you experiencing baby blues are high.
Baby blues start within a few days after you have delivered your baby, but if your delivery was really tough, they can start even sooner.
For some, the blues are much more severe, and you may be struggling with post-natal depression.
What Are the Symptoms of Baby Blues?
The symptoms of baby blues start 2-3 days after your baby is born, and they last 10-14 days postpartum. Baby blues are experienced different from mother to mother, but the symptoms generally include the following :
• Feeling no bond with your baby
• Mood swings, especially irritable ones
• Minor triggers that make you weep or cry inexplicably (I remember crying over a bowl of risotto for no reason whatsoever, and then feeling guilty for doing so)
• Missing your old life, like going out with friends
• Feeling anxious or worried about your baby’s health and safety
• You’re exhausted but still experience insomnia and feel restless
• Trouble to think clearly and make easy decisions
If your symptoms last longer than two weeks, then there may be a high chance that you have post-natal depression. In this case, you need to speak to your health visitor or GP who will be able to support you. Baby blues tend to come and go throughout the day, whereas postpartum depression doesn’t as the symptoms are more persistent.
Ways to Deal with Your Baby Blues
There is nothing that can be done to treat the baby blues as such, but there are ways that you can deal with them so that you can adjust to your new routine and role, and settle so that you begin feeling more like yourself.
Get as much sleep as possible… Sleep is a commodity that’s priceless, so sleep when your baby sleeps. Sleep is the best remedy when you’re feeling exhausted.
Ask for help… People are usually looking for ways to help new mothers, so when your friends or family come over and ask what they can do for you, ask for help. Give them tasks that you need help with, such as changing nappies, cooking meals and running errands. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out a little help; in fact, it’s much healthier to ask for support than struggle on.
Get outside and eat well… Get some fresh air and eat nutritious foods; it’s a simple but effective solution. Of course, there will be times where you dread bumping into someone you know when you are outside of your home. If that sounds like you, jump in the car and go somewhere else to take a walk. When it comes to food, a delicious homemade soup is a great option.
Talk to someone… You don’t have to see a therapist, but if you have a therapist, feel free to see them. Alternatively, talk with a friend or family member that understands you and will listen without judgement. Sometimes it’s about getting things off of your chest.
Bond with your partner or spouse… Commit to doing at least one thing with your partner or spouse each day, so that you will both feel supported and connected.
If you’d like to read about someone else’s experiences of the baby blues, Laura’s story appears here on the Procrastinating Mum. She and her husband came up with a plan to alleviate her low mood, and it worked.
Baby blues can feel terrible and take the joy away from those early days with your baby. Try to remember that they won’t last forever and that your hormones are all over the place. And, if things don’t start to feel better after a couple of weeks, seek help from a professional.