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The Baby Blues

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Giving birth to a baby is no easy task. This is a challenging time for the mother, physically as well as emotionally. The event of birth triggers causes a circus of emotions within the mother. It leads to excitement, fear, anxiety, joy and many other feelings. It can also lead to depression in some mothers. This feeling of sadness, anger, depression is called as ‘baby blues’.

What are Baby Blues?

New moms often experience mood swings and crying spells after birth. Many women are confused after birth as the rush of hormones within their body causes them to feel a multitude of emotions. The changes within the body that occurred after conceiving and after giving birth leads to mood swings.

One may be blessed with a beautiful baby and supportive partner as well as family. However, soon after birth many women tend to weep over trivial matters and feel anxious. The loss of sleep, crying baby, adjusting to a new pattern according to the baby becomes overwhelming for some. These women feel irritable, nervous and most importantly trapped. Some begin to worry about whether or not they are a good mother.

If you too are going through an emotional exhilaration, you are not alone. There are about 80% of new moms who go through more or less the same feelings of depression and crying episodes within a few weeks after birth. These feelings are defined as ‘baby blues’ or ‘postpartum blues’. It is completely normal to experience them within a few weeks after giving birth to a baby.

When Does Baby Blue Occur?

Baby blues can happen about 1 to 3 weeks after childbirth and can occur up to 1 year after having a baby.

What are the Symptoms of Baby Blues?

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The symptoms of baby blues include:

  • Weepiness
  • Sudden bursts of tears due to trivial matters
  • Anxiousness
  • Low morale
  • Irritability
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism
  • Indecisiveness
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling of being ‘unbonded’ with the baby

Causes of Baby Blues

The exact cause of baby blues is not known. But, it is thought to be related to the hormonal changes that goes through during pregnancy and after childbirth. These changes cause production of certain chemicals that trigger depression. Also, the loss of sleep, changes in the routine and emotions related to the childbirth all lead to the feelings of blue.

Diagnosis of Baby Blues

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Baby blues is diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms of mother after giving a birth to baby.

Treatment for Baby Blues

Postpartum blues tend to disappear on their own within a few days or weeks. One should rest as much as they can and take help from friends and family. You can even speak and connect with other new moms and get an idea about the way they handle their new baby. This will also help you understand you are not the only one going through the pangs of motherhood. You could even speak to your doctor, who may advice thyroid check-up. If one has an underactive thyroid, they will be prescribed medications.

How Do I Take Care of Myself?

In order to decrease the symptoms of baby blues or postpartum depression, it is necessary to take care of oneself. You can follow the steps below and avoid the mood swings:

  • Talk to someone you trust. Letting go of your feelings will help you clear your thoughts and feel lighter emotionally.
  • Eat  a well balanced diet that includes vitamins and minerals
  • Go outside. Enjoy a stroll in the park with your baby. It will be a welcome change from changing diapers and cleaning vomits
  • Ask for help. Call over your mother or some experienced lady who can guide you as well as help you take care of the baby. You could even hire help to do household chores, so that you can concentrate on your baby.
  • Give yourself time. Adjust to the new member of your family and learn to except the new routine.

It is very important to note and understand your feelings. Remember, postpartum depression can not just affect you, but also affect your baby’s growth and development. If the baby blues last longer than 14 days, it’s time you open up to someone and let them know how you feel. Visit a doctor or counselor and follow up appointments. Be honest with yourself, this could save you as well as your baby from long term negative consequences.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: March 29, 2015