As a new mother, your changing hormones and lack of sleep likely have you
Partnered with the aftermath of a physically demanding delivery and around-the-clock
demands of newborn care, it's easy to understand why the "baby
blues" affect as many as 50 – 80 percent of new moms.
For many women, the baby blues pass quickly. According to
Marsha Granese, MD, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist at
Mission Hospital and
Mission Hospital Affiliated Physicians, it usually peaks around the fifth day after delivery and lasts about
four to 10 days.
Characterized by mood swings, such as crying for no reason, feeling impatient,
irritable, restless, anxious or lonely, the baby blues will likely fade
after you adjust to your new life and get more rest (or more realistically,
begin functioning more effectively on less rest).
In the meantime, Dr. Granese recommends the following tips to help lift
you out of the postpartum slump:
Cry – and laugh – when you need to
If you need a good cry, go for it. Suppressing your feelings can actually
deplete serotonin in your brain and increase symptoms of depression. But
when you're done, don't forget that laughter is the best medicine.
Don't do it alone
Confide in a close family member or friend who will listen without judgment,
and don't be afraid to ask for help — whether from your partner,
mother, sister, friend or cleaning service.
Exercise will not only help you regain your pre-baby shape, but will also
release those feel-good hormones (endorphins) to give you an all-natural high.
Take some time for yourself
Ask a trusted babysitter to care for your baby while you get some rest
or a pedicure, and try to get out of the house. Take your baby for a walk
in the park or mall, or go for a visit with friends — it's amazing
what a change of scenery can do for your state of mind.
Lower the bar
If you're feeling inadequate in your role as a mother, remember that
you won't be a new mom for long. After just a few weeks on the job,
you're likely to feel much more comfortable. In the meantime, lower
your expectations for yourself and for your baby, and just do the best you can.
For some women, however, these feelings do not ease and may become worse.
A woman with postpartum depression (PPD) may have lasting feelings of
sadness, unworthiness, reduced concentration, loss of memory or listlessness.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, please consult with your OB/GYN
or primary care physician immediately.
For more information about Mission Hospital, click
here. For more information about Dr. Granese, click
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.