One would only imagine that birthing a child would be such a thrilling and exciting experience. Well, it should be, only if baby blues weren’t a thing. The birth of a baby can stimulate a jumble of strong emotions, from bliss and excitement to anxiety and fear. The process is swift. Once the thought of having to change one’s ways of life, routines, and schedules starts to creep in, the excitement is impaired and then the new mom may start to feel a little sad, stressed, and agitated. However, it is important to know that it is completely alright to feel this way, especially since these feelings usually pass fairly quickly.
Symptoms of Baby Blues
- Mood swings and crankiness
- Crying i.e. sobbing for no apparent reason
- Anxiety and worry
- Trouble sleeping and insomnia
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Loss of concentration
- Difficulty in making decisions
For so many reasons, these absurd feelings are completely normal in the postpartum period. They would usually kick off within the first two to three days after childbirth and may last for up to a period of two weeks.
Causes of Baby Blues
Changes in Hormones
Usually, after birth, the new mom’s body goes through extreme hormonal fluctuation and changes such as the rapid drop in the level of progesterone and estrogen, lactation stimulation, shrinking of the uterus, etc. to aid recovery and care for the baby. All of these changes and imbalances combined can impair her mental health.
Loss of Sleep
This is one time when new parents are not sleeping regularly or at all. This is usually as a result of caring and tending to the baby’s needs, coping with the new lifestyle, and adjusting to a new routine.
Truth is, delivery processes can be really draining and so, it is only normal for someone who has gone through these processes or even a more complicated delivery to slide into baby blues.
It is a very well-known fact that having a baby doesn’t only come with responsibilities but also loads of financial burden to bear. These thoughts and attempts to ensure needs are met can be mentally stressful.
It is very easy for these mixed emotions to creep in where there are unresolved issues in a relationship. There may be identity changes in both partners, lack of physical intimacy, adjustment to schedules and roles, and other chasms in support and partnership.
Disruption of Routine
The demands of a new baby together with visits from family members and friends often add to a new mom’s stress since she definitely would have to work towards adapting to the new normal.
Tips to Help Manage Baby Blues
Get Quality Sleep
Most times, sleeping is the best solution. Sleep is a priceless yet underrated means to suppress these mixed feelings. The saying goes, “Sleep when the baby sleeps and let every other thing wait!” Here are some baby lullabys that might help.
Demand for Help
This is one time when parents need lots of help and helping hands to delegate tasks to. New moms should note that asking for help is not a sign of weakness; rather it is a means to avoid or at least subside the pressure of handling the baby’s needs together with several other things.
Take Time for Yourself
Scheduling some ‘me time’ to relieve these feelings while doing something you love is a great idea to help manage baby blues.
Just like a problem shared is half solved, sharing these feelings and thoughts with someone (not limited to a therapist), connecting with other moms, and spending time with your spouse are ways to build sustenance and mental strength to fight against negative feelings that come as a result of baby blues.
Committing to feeding the body nutritious meals and maintaining a well-balanced diet will hasten recovery and balance off hormonal fluctuations. Additionally, it is only wise to avoid intake of alcohol, illegal drugs, abuse of prescribed drugs, or anything that’ll weaken and worsen the mental state of health.
How Baby Blues Differ From Postpartum Depression
It happens that postpartum depression is usually and initially mistaken for baby blues but as time goes on, the symptoms extend and get more serious. Summarily, two distinctive factors indicate whether a new mom’s mixed feelings should be categorized as baby blues or postpartum depression. First, the severity of these feelings is examined, and then the time frame is also considered.
Severity of Symptoms
While postpartum depression is a mental health disorder characterized by extreme anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, loss of control, excessive fatigue, restlessness, anger, panic attacks, etc. that would require prescribed drugs, therapy, or even both, baby blues are merely feelings of moodiness, crankiness and dejection that numerous women normally experience after giving birth.
Although, considering the severity of these feelings might be quite subjective because what a person considers severe might be more or less so for another person. Baby blues shouldn’t affect one’s quality of life very much.
While baby blues usually last for up to but less than fourteen (14) days, postpartum depression is not a psychological state that would easily come and go. In fact, Postpartum depression lasts significantly longer than baby blues. They do not necessarily creep in immediately after birth but might start peaking in weeks or even months after having a baby. These feelings could even last up to a year after birth as the case may be. It is, in short, an extension of Baby blues.
Baby blues is a slight depression; a down or pathetic feeling that follows the birth of a child. These feelings are usually temporary and often subside within two weeks after birth. In other words, baby blues are feelings of unhappiness a woman may have in the first few days after having a child.
Most significantly, baby blues isn’t a personality defect, weakness, or deficiency. It is regarded as an inherent part of a new parent’s process of adapting to life with a baby. It is a very common mental condition that affects up to eighty percent of the total number of new mothers during a particular period.
What is the definition of baby blues?
Baby blues is a temporary psychological state right after delivery when a new mom may have sudden mood swings. Although dreary, it can be considered a normal post-birth experience.
Is it normal to cry a lot after having a baby?
It is completely normal for new parents to feel teary and overwhelmed with their new duties and responsibilities in the earliest days after the newborn arrives.
How long do they last?
The baby blues may last for quite some number of days up to but usually less than two weeks.
How do you get rid of baby blue?
- Get quality sleep
- Eat a balanced meal
- Do something you enjoy doing.
- Bond and communicate with your spouse and other people
- Demand for help