The baby blues is a an extremely common phenomenon that is experienced to some extent by the vast majority of new mums in the first few days after the birth.
Around 50-80% of new mothers will at times feel sad, irritable and occasionally anxious.
Maybe you find yourself overreacting to situations you would normally take in your stride, or burst into tears more easily than usual. You may have trouble sleeping or lose your appetite.
Despite not feeling themselves, most women with the baby blues can continue to care for their newborn and themselves.
The symptoms of baby blues usually kick in around three days after the birth, just as your milk comes in. This is no coincidence.
The baby blues are brought on by dramatic hormonal changes: oestrogen and progesterone levels decrease and breastfeeding hormones increase.
They can also be brought on because exhaustion and the reality of the fact that you are a mother and your life will never be the same again both hit hard at this point.
Remember, the baby blues is a normal reaction to having a baby – not an illness. Despite the tears and overwhelming feelings, you enjoy being a mother most of the time and generally feel happy.
Feeling this way often only lasts a few hours or days and should definitely resolve itself within a fortnight.
But it is important to be aware of your mental state during these early days, in case the baby blues turns into post-natal depression. Try to be aware of how intense and long-lasting your symptoms are. Educate your partner or close support to be on the look-out for possible post-natal depression too.
Meanwhile, be aware that getting more sleep and recruiting additional helping hands during the early days post-partum can help ease your baby blues.
Do you have the baby blues?
If you can tick some or all of the following, you may be suffering from the baby blues:
- I had a baby less than two weeks ago
- I feel very irritable at tiems
- I have been moody at tiems
- I cry easily
- I overreact to situations
- I feel a bit anxious at times
- I am still able to care for myself and my baby
- I am mostly enjoying myself and my baby
Keep an eye on your feelings to make sure they resolve themselves within a couple of weeks and do not prevent you from functioning normally.
After two weeks of constant baby blues, you should consider whether this is turning into someting more serious. Do not wait any longer before consulting your doctor about possible post-natal depression.
Taken from When Baby Brings the Blues by Dr Ariel Dalfen MD. Published by Wiley.
Visit our sister site etdoctor.co.uk for more information about post-natal depresson.