Let's Talk About the Baby Blues
Around 80% of parents experience the baby blues in the immediate postpartum period. It’s considered a pretty normal part of the transition of welcoming a tiny new person into your life and family - so let’s talk about it!
What is the baby blues? What does it look like?
After having a baby, you might feel sad and weepy, anxious or irritable, overwhelmed. You may have trouble sleeping or concentrating, or notice appetite changes.
These symptoms typically appear within the first few days after having a baby or bringing a new baby home. Note: it is not just birthing parents who experience the baby blues. Partners, co-parents, and adoptive parents may all experience these symptoms too.
If you’ve given birth, some speculate that the dramatic drop in various hormone levels after birth plays a role in the onset of symptoms, which often coincide with mature breast milk coming in, too. For the birthing parent, there are so many hormonal changes happening at this time...and when you consider the stress of caring for a newborn plus the huge changes in life, relationships, and day-to-day routines, it’s no wonder that so many new parents experience the baby blues (whether they’ve birthed or not).
How do I know if it’s the baby blues or something more serious?
While there is a lot of overlap in symptoms, there are a couple key distinctions between the baby blues and postpartum depression or other postpartum mood disorders:
1) The baby blues is temporary. It typically passes within two weeks. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks, please talk with your care provider.
2) The baby blues doesn’t interfere with your ability to care for your baby or your overall enjoyment of your baby. If your sadness, crying, and other symptoms are persistent, feel severe, or get in the way of being able to care for or bond with your newborn, please talk with your care provider.
It’s important not to self diagnose or assume that what you’re experiencing is postpartum depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder. Your care provider will ask you some questions, do an assessment, and/or make appropriate referrals.
It’s always okay to ask for help
Talking with your doctor, midwife, or another health professional about your symptoms is never a sign of weakness - it’s the opposite, actually! It shows that you’re wanting to be the best parent you can be. It’s an important form of self care and self love.
If you’re nervous, remember: you’ve done nothing wrong...you’re the parent of a newborn, and that makes you a rockstar! Every parent needs lots of extra support during this time, in different areas. Some might need extra support with mood, and if that’s you, that’s perfectly okay - you’re still a rockstar!
Please note: this post and graphic are for informational purposes only; they are not meant to be diagnostic tools.