The Baby Blues, What is the baby blues? Why are they so common? Am I depressed? Is it okay to cry this much?
“You may not have been expecting it, but mild depression and mood swings are common in new mothers—so common, in fact, that it has its own name: the baby blues,” writes Dr. Segal. Dr. Segal writes that the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression is that these symptoms are much longer lasting.
In this article Dr. Segal outlines excellent self help guidelines for the Baby Blues.
- Don’t skimp on sleep. A full eight hours may seem like an unattainable luxury when you’re dealing with a newborn, but poor sleep makes depression worse. Do what you can to get plenty of rest—from enlisting the help of your husband or family members to catching naps when you can.
- Set aside quality time for yourself to relax and take a break from your mom duties. Find small ways to pamper yourself, like taking a bubble bath, savoring a hot cup of tea, or lighting scented candles.
- Make meals a priority. When you’re depressed, nutrition often suffers. What you eat has an impact on mood, as well as the quality of your breast milk, so do your best to establish healthy eating habits.
- Get out in the sunshine. Sunlight lifts your mood, so try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day.
- Ease back into exercise. Studies show that exercise may be just as effective as medication when it comes to treating depression, so the sooner you get back up and moving, the better. No need to overdo it: a 30-minute walk each day will work wonders.
However, if you feel you need more support. Dr. Segal continues to explain that seeking professional treatment can be helpful. Dr. Segal writes. “If, despite the self-help and the support of your family, you’re still struggling with postpartum depression, you may want to consider seeking professional treatment. Postpartum depression responds to the same types of treatment as regular depression. Therapy, medication, and support groups can all be helpful.” Dr. Segal outlines important information regarding the treatment of postpartum depression and anxiety.
- Individual therapy or marriage counseling – A good therapist can help you successfully deal with the adjustments of motherhood. If you are experiencing martial difficulties or are feeling unsupported at home, marriage counseling can be very beneficial.
- Hormone therapy – Estrogen replacement therapy sometimes helps with postpartum depression. Estrogen is often used in combination with an antidepressant. There are risks that go along with hormone therapy, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what is best—and safest—for you.
- Antidepressants – For severe cases of postpartum depression where you’re unable to care for yourself or your baby, antidepressants may be an option. However, medication use should be accompanied by therapy, and closely monitored by a physician.
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