College of DuPage Nursing Student Sandy Cesar shared with Healthy Lombard that many feel that women having a baby is all happiness. It is challenging work, there can be complications, and the first couple of days after birth a mother tends to be exhausted.
Exhaustion can have negative effects on a new mother if she doesn’t get enough rest during the postpartum period. The mother can experience what is called “baby blues” or, if symptoms are more severe, a mother may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Learning to differentiate between baby blues and postpartum depression. Baby blue’s symptoms are irritability, unexplained crying, mood swings, and bouts of sadness. Baby blues usually happened between the 2nd or 3rd day after birth, but usually resolves themselves within the first 2 weeks as the new mother acclimates to a routine with the baby (Bradley, 2020). Postpartum depression symptoms are depressed mood or severe mood swings, excessive crying, difficulty bonding with the baby, withdrawing from friends and family, insomnia, irritability and anger, and much more. Postpartum depression can manifest between 2 weeks or more after birth, but can start as early as two weeks after birth (Mayo Clinic, 2021).
Activities that can be done to decrease baby blues or postpartum depression are important. Sleep as much as possible, rest and relax, exercise, eat a well-balanced meal, get a family member to help around the house, spend time outdoors and enjoy the scenery, and enjoy a night out with your spouse or partner without the baby (Bradley, 2020).
If all else fails, talk to someone you can trust, don’t be afraid to express your feelings, and get it off your chest. Talk to a friend or family about what is being felt or talk to your healthcare provider. They may be able to help with a referral to a support group (i.e. Postpartum support international), which can be reached by phone, text, or email. The physician can also prescribe medication if it is deemed necessary.
Bradley, S. (2020). What are the baby blues and how long do they last? Healthline.
Mayo Clinic. (1998-2021). Postpartum depression. Patient Care & Health Information
Postpartum support international, (2021). (800-994-4773).