It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit down after the birth. Around 70% of all new mums suffer from so-called ‘baby blues’. Baby blues describes feelings of mild depression and tearfulness. This is quite different to postnatal depression (PND). It normally kicks in two to three days after the birth and shouldn’t last very long. But it can happen at any time and may last for only a couple of hours or even up to a few days.
Baby blues and how it might affect you
Caring for a new baby can be exhausting. Poor sleep and worries about coping may upset your mood. You may feel really tired or generally not very well. You may cry for no particular reason and find it’s impossible to cheer up. Little things that you’d normally take in your stride suddenly seem like huge problems.
We don’t exactly know what causes the baby blues but we do know it’s perfectly normal. There could be hormonal reasons. While you’re pregnant, your body produces lots of hormones to help your baby develop. After the birth, levels of these hormones drop while others, needed to produce milk, rise. This hormonal rollercoaster can easily lead to mood changes.
The baby blues will go away but it’s important to get extra support while it lasts and if these feelings don’t pass within a few days, do talk to your midwife or health visitor.
Helping new mums
New mums need someone to listen to them, help with the baby and provide support and reassurance. There’s lots you can do to help:
- be ready to listen – and pass the tissues
- remind her that the baby blues are common and will pass
- make sure she isn’t overwhelmed by visitors
- help with the baby
- offer to do the cleaning, cooking and ironing
- try and ensure she gets as much rest as possible.