Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas Inc.

The Baby Blues

The day you’ve been waiting for has passed. You have a beautiful, healthy baby and delivery was uneventful. Why, then, are you weepy, anxious and irritable? What’s wrong with you?

More than likely, nothing. You probably are experiencing a common malady called the “Baby Blues” and you are not alone. These blues affect 60 to 80 percent of postpartum women within the first three weeks. New mothers often find themselves exhausted, unable to sleep or feeling trapped or anxious. You may notice a change in your appetite or feel overly stressed.

Don’t worry. These feelings are normal during the first few weeks and usually last only a few days.

The medical reasons baby blues occur are several, including a rapid drop in hormones in your body, lack of adequate sleep and just generally feeling overwhelmed by the thought of caring for a new baby while being so tired yourself.

Baby blues are not an illness and should go away on their own. Don’t try and overdo it during your baby’s early days. Avoid stressful situations. Above all, take care of yourself so you can take care of your baby.

One of the best ways to help beat the baby blues is to talk about your feelings with a close friend or family member. Join a new mothers group in your area. You’ll be amazed how much better you will feel knowing you are not alone. Isolation, denial and internalizing your concerns will only make you feel worse and undermine your emotional well-being.

A few other ways to take care of yourself during this difficult time:

  • Don’t be afraid to accept or ask for help from others.
  • Rest when the baby sleeps.
  • Leave the baby with someone you trust and take a break with your spouse or close friend.
  • Lower your expectations of yourself.
  • Take time for YOU when baby is asleep – read a magazine, take a bath or
    watch a movie.
  • Lightly exercise (ONLY with your doctor's permission).
  • Postpartum Depression

If you feel your situation is not improving, getting worse or you are having aggressive feelings toward yourself or your baby, contact your medical professional immediately. Your symptoms may point to a more serious condition called Post Partum Depression.

Signs of depression differ from the baby blues. Women who have true depression can feel sad day after day, often feel overwhelmed by anxiety and truly may not have the energy to care for themselves or their babies. They may feel intense fatigue and sleeplessness. They may lack motivation or have lost interest in themselves and their family. They may even experience suicidal urges. This kind of depression is a serious problem if not treated.

If you notice these types of symptoms, call your medical provider. Don’t wait for them to go away. Help is available and soon you will be back to feeling yourself again and enjoying your new bundle of joy.