Beating the Baby Blues
As a new mother, your changing hormones coupled with lack of sleep likely have you feeling overwhelmed. However, you may find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
In fact, nearly 80 percent of new mothers experience the "baby blues". It's no wonder considering that a new baby can affect relationships, time and finances producing intense emotions.
For some, these feelings can result in severe postpartum depression (PPD). While 10 to 20 percent of new mothers suffer from PPD, the good news is that it's 100 percent curable.
The Behavioral Health Services at Northridge Hospital Medical Center offers the following tips to help you begin experiencing the joys of motherhood.
- Cry when you need to. Suppressing your feelings can actually deplete serotonin in your brain and increase symptoms of depression.
- Confide in a close family member or friend who will listen without judgment, or consider joining a support group.
- Breastfeed, if possible. Breastfeeding produces prolactin in the body, which has an effect similar to some antidepressants.
- Exercise regularly. It will not only help you to shed that extra "baby fat", but will also release endorphins in the brain and result in more restful sleep.
- Ask a trusted babysitter to care for your baby while you get some much-needed rest or take time out for yourself.
Remember, after the first few weeks, most new moms feel more at ease and adjust well to motherhood. However, if feelings of irritability, hopelessness and sadness persist, consult your OB/GYN or primary care physician. They can provide you with additional resources if needed.