What are the baby blues?Just a few days after giving birth, you may feel moody, weepy and irritable. This is called the baby blues. It’s probably the last thing you expected to feel after the joy and elation of having your baby.
The baby blues are so common that they are considered to be normal. As many as eight in 10 mums experience some changes in their mood after giving birth.
You may feel:
Pregnancy hormones gradually leave your body just as you are producing breastmilk. Your appetite may change, though it’s not just physical changes that are happening to you. Your emotions are likely to be put through the wringer, too. The new sense of responsibility that comes with having a baby can be overwhelming.
The reality of what parenthood involves may not hit you until you have left hospital and are spending your first few days at home. However much you love being a mum, your new role could make you feel trapped and fretful.
You may be uncertain about how to care for your newborn baby and feel a huge anticlimax after the birth. You are likely to be exhausted, but you may not be able to get a good night’s sleep or a decent nap during the day, even when your sleeping baby allows it.How long will the baby blues last?You may feel that being a mum will always be like this. But try not to worry, as things will get better, and quite quickly, too. The baby blues are not an illness, and usually last for just a few hours or days. You’ll probably feel your worst between the third day and fifth day after your baby is born.
The baby blues should lift within the next few days, without the need to see a doctor. With the right amount of rest and reassurance from your family and friends, you will soon start to feel better.
However, if you still feel depressed a month or so after having your baby, you may have postnatal depression (PND). If you think you might have PND, speak to your midwife, health visitor or doctor, who can offer you advice, support and treatment.How can I help someone with the baby blues to feel better?If you are a partner, relative or friend of a mum with the baby blues, reassure her that it’s normal to feel this way. She may be exhausted and unsure of herself. Try the following:
Above all, let her know you are there for her, no matter what. Give her the space she needs to take care of herself, too.
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