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An estimated 60-80% of new moms experience the "baby blues" for a short time after giving birth. Symptoms of the baby blues can range from unexpected sadness and irritability, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and bouts of crying. These reactions typically happen because of postpartum hormonal changes in the body, and can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
*Author's Note: If more time has elapsed, and you are still feeling depressed and/or anxious, please contact your doctor. The baby blues can develop into full-blown postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum anxiety (PPA), so it's important to make sure you're taking care of yourself.*
Here are five tips to help you overcome the baby blues:
1. Lower your expectations
If you're feeling overwhelmed or like you're an inadequate mom, please know that you won't feel this way forever. You've experienced a lot of changes (both physical and emotional) in a short period of time, and you're also sleep-deprived. Be kind to yourself and don't expect to bounce back immediately. Give yourself time to adjust to your new routine and lifestyle.
2. Don't be afraid to ask for help
Asking for help is a great way to take the pressure off. Whether, it's help with meals, other kids, cleaning or help with your newborn, receiving help will aid in alleviating unnecessary pressure and stress. Allowing your partner and family to help will also allow them opportunities to bond with the baby. And don't be afraid to utilize the services of a postpartum doula or a cleaning service.
3. Get dressed
Okay, hear me out. Spending time getting yourself ready will actually help you feel better. Take a nice shower, blow dry your hair and maybe add a bit of makeup. Change into new clothes that aren't covered in spit up, even if it's just a new pair of sweats. It's amazing how restorative that process can be when you're feeling like a mom blob.
4. Get outside
To me, there's almost nothing better than going outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air. Even if you're taking a quick walk around the block, being outside can give you a much-needed break from mom life and help lift your spirits. And any minimal amounts of exercise you can perform will help generate endorphins to combat your blues.
5. Eat a well-balanced diet
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is another great way to stave the hormonal swings that contribute to your baby blues. Try stocking your fridge with healthy snacks, and try not to overdo your simple carbohydrate intake, as these can make your mood swings more pronounced. It may be the most obvious statement in the world, but, when you eat well, you feel well.
Remember that these feelings will only last a short time, and that your baby is totally worth it! And if your blues are persisting, and you're feeling overwhelmed, remember to reach out to your family and doctor. This website is a great resource to explore to understand more about PPD and PPA.