Have you or someone you know ever seemed sad right after having a baby? Perhaps sudden onset of tearfulness, feeling down, anxious, or even irritable? If so, it could have been due to baby blues.
“Baby Blues”, the phrase that describes feeling brief sadness soon after a baby is born and possibly linked to hormonal changes, can create a feeling of sadness in what would seem to be a joyous time. Some studies show that up to 80% of women will experience these symptoms, and they will resolve on their own in about two weeks. The onset of these symptoms are usually within the first week of postpartum.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to baby blues, including:
- Traumatic birthing experience (this includes the birth not going as planned)
- Loss of sleep
- Increased anxiety and worry of new baby
- Drastic drops in hormone levels after delivery
- Limited social support/family help
- Feeling depressed or anxious before birth
If you are experiencing baby blues, here are some helpful tools to support you during this transition.
- Make time to get rest. The postpartum period can be exhausting and emotionally it is harder to regulate our moods when we’re sleep deprived. Make sure you are taking time to sleep when you can. If this is a struggle for you, we encourage you to nap when you have time or ask a partner/family member/friend to help with the baby so you can get some rest.
- Socialize. Staying connected socially and talking about how you’re doing is important during this period. Make time to still talk to friends, allow family to visit/help, and/or seek support online through support groups.
- Nourish yourself. Food plays a massive role in energy and mood regulation. It’s essential that you are staying nourished and well fed during this time. We encourage you to eat regular meals and snacks when you can. This is not the time to focus on dieting or limiting your food intake, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
- Be compassionate. This is hard mama. You have been through a lot and this may be the first time you’re processing your pregnancy, your birth experience, having a new baby to care for, and more. It’s okay to not have all the answers (no one does), feel worried, and even anxious. Give yourself grace and remind yourself of how well you’re doing.
While these symptoms can feel confusing and even worrisome in the moment, baby blues are very common and resolve on their own. If symptoms persist and become worse, impacting your daily functioning, ability to care for self or baby, or you experience intrusive unwanted thoughts, this is likely postpartum depression. If you feel you may be experiencing postpartum depression, we encourage you to reach out for support. We are here and ready to help support you during this time. Additional resources for postpartum depression can be found at:
Virginia Residents Specifically: https://postpartumva.org/