If you’re pregnant, are close to someone pregnant, or you or someone you love just had a baby, get to know the symptoms of “The Baby Blues.” Paying attention and recognizing the signs and symptoms of Baby Blues are crucial to getting that precious mama the support and TLC she needs and deserves.
The American Pregnancy Association writes that up to 80% of new moms experience the Baby Blues and that they’re most likely to strike on Day 4 or 5 after the baby is born when the oxytocin rush mellows out and your body works to heal and restore after nine months of pregnancy.
The Baby Blues result from postpartum hormones and lack of sleep, combined with the shock and awe of what it really means to have that newborn baby in your life. If your labor and delivery were traumatic, your mind and body are also trying to integrate that. While babies are adorable, innocent, and deserving of constant attention – they also take a significant toll on their primary caregiver.
5 Signs You Have The Baby Blues
Pay attention to these signs and then reach out and get the support you need. The sooner and more tenderly you address the Baby Blues, the less likely they will descend into full-blown postpartum depression.
In most cases, Baby Blues last for a couple of weeks or up to a month. If symptoms don’t diminish or balance out a bit more after a solid month, speak to your OB about whether or not you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
1. Inconsolable weeping (seemingly for no reason)
Babies are demanding to say the least. If most babies had their way, they’d spend their first three months completely attached to their mother’s chests, happily slurping away on breast milk, and with only very short breaks to be changed, burped, bathed, or held by someone else. And, they don’t turn off at night, which means new mothers are chronically sleep-deprived.
So, new mothers aren’t crying “for no reason;” they’re crying due to complete overwhelm. Crying is a healthy release, but inconsolable tears are a sign that more support is needed. This can come in the form of meal preparation, time to take a bath or shower, to take a solo walk outside, or for someone else to hold the well-fed but crying baby while the mama gets a break.
We highly recommend joining a New Moms Group, so you have the support of other women who are or have been in your shoes.
2. Irritability, impatience, and mood swings
These feelings are familiar to all of us when we’re hungry, lack sleep, or feel overwhelmed – so it’s no wonder that new moms are more likely to experience reactive irritability, impatience, and mood swings. You may also feel intense anxiety or anger that is akin to rage.
In addition to seeking more support with chores or baby-related tasks, these intense emotions can be diminished by:
- Sleeping when the baby sleeps (take short naps with the baby, rather than using that time to do chores)
- Making sure you’re getting enough nutrients in your system (if eating full meals are more challenging, focus on smaller, healthy snacks or smoothies to keep you well-fed and nourished)
- Get gentle exercise each day, which helps to clear the head, get you outside if you walk or hike, and often soothes a fretful baby, which can calm the nerves
3. Insomnia and restlessness
Is that ironic or what? You’ve never felt more tired in your life, and yet you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep when you finally have the chance. It’s infuriating. There are a few things you can try:
- Create a sleepytime routine to retrain your body back into a healthy sleep rhythm
- Release your worries that you won’t hear the baby (in fact, we recommend turning the monitors off if possible. You’ll wake up when baby cries, but you don’t need to wake up for every little restless baby noise s/he makes
- Use a meditation or sleep app and let a guided meditation or visualization help you quiet your monkey mind so you can unwind and sing into sleep.
- Sip a warm, relaxing tea (such as chamomile or a sleepytime tea approved by your physician) before bedtime to help your body relax)
The key to surviving the Baby Blues is to understand what they are and how they show up and educate those around you so they also understand what’s going on. Keep in touch with your OB, who is happy to provide support during the tender postpartum period.
Are you struggling to cope with the Baby Blues? We are here for you! Contact OB/GYN Associates, 509-455-8866, and tell us what’s going on for you. Our compassionate and empathetic staff will ensure you have the information, support, and attention you need to start feeling more like yourself again.