How Do I Combat the Baby Blues?
So you just got home with your new little bundle of joy. You've finally taken a shower and you mostly have the whole diaper changing thing under control. Everything is looking pretty okay right about now. But now you've got something else to worry about that you never saw coming...
You're feeling sad, run down, and you're having a hard time connecting with your new baby or feeling happy or excited about this new time in your life. More than likely you're dealing with something that the majority of new mamas (around 60-80%) experience: the baby blues.
The baby blues normally show up a few days after you deliver, last about a couple of weeks, and will usually go away on their own without any treatment.
So, since you know this is a thing for a lot of mamas, and you know that it will only last for a short time, how does that make it any easier to get through the fact that you are tired and sad and annoyed and distant? It doesn't feel good and no mama wants to deal with it, so I put together a little list of tips and tricks to help you get through!
This one should be for every mama, not just those who are feeing down. But with the baby blues, it is especially important for you to get some sleep because your body is working in overtime to keep things going for you and your babe and your mind is just not able to keep up. Put everything else off--no laundry, no dishes, only order takeout so you don't have to worry about cooking, and just focus on the couple of things you actually need to do.
When you're having a hard time and dealing with the sadness and lack of motivation during the baby blue weeks, just make your life even more simple by feeding the baby, changing the baby, and then doing the one thing that makes the most sense of all: sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Don't worry about what's going on in the world. Don't worry about posting to social media or answering every text. Take the time your body and mind need to recharge and reset and get some rest, mama.
If you're a social mama, and miss the contact with your besties that you were having right up until delivery, reach out to them and let them know how you're feeling and that you need a little bit of support and love and someone to talk to. It helps a lot of mamas to have their friends come over right away to just to make them feel normal and to remember themselves after going through something so massive as childbirth.
When I first had my son, and was home from the hospital, my best friend came over and was with me through every hard step of the first week of my postpartum depression. She drove me to my doctor's appointment to meet with my OBGYN earlier than expected so that I could talk to her about it, and she drove me through Mcdonalds after to get a coke, because love. Reach out to your no-questions-asked, no-judgements, and-only-all-love bestie and I promise you'll feel more like yourself and your baby blues won't seem so bad.
Connect with Baby
One of the things that makes a lot of mamas realize that they have the baby blues is their inability to connect with their baby in the way they expected to. Some mamas don't feel that instant love towards their baby as soon as they deliver, and especially not when they bring the baby home and the real life worries and doubts set in. Some mamas deal with resentment towards the new babe for the change in their life, body, feelings, and relationship with their spouse.
It's okay to feel like you're not already the perfect fit for your new babe, but it doesn't make it any easier to feel that way. A good way to build that bond between you and your new babe would be to get a comfortable cloth sling or carrier and wear your little around during the day. This will be a great way for you to keep them calm and comfortable, you'll deal with less stress and anxiety when it comes to whether or not they're safe, and you'll be quicker to respond to their queues when they're ready to eat. Plus there is something about a little babe sleeping against your chest that just makes any mama feel closer to her little.
This is something that I recommend to every mama regardless of your feelings about life, or if you're going through the baby blues or if you have 2 kids or 10... but when you're going through times of depression, or sadness, or not feeling like yourself, do what you need to do to feel good. I think it's important for mamas, especially new mamas, to do at least one thing every day that makes you feel good. Not for the babies. Not for your husband. Not for anyone else, but for you.
It will probably have to be small, because it's not like you have the ability to go to Disneyland midweek when you've got a newborn, but at least drink a can of coke. At least sit and listen to a book for a little bit without worrying about what you should be doing instead. Get out your yoga mat and do some stretches and some of your poses you've been unable to do for the last 10 months. Watch The Office in your comfy, nursing-friendly housedress, eat a snack, and don't think about anything for a little while. Do the feel goods, mama.
When you're hit with the baby blues and you've got the sadness and guilt and feelings of inadequacies that come along with that, you need to actively work on being kind to yourself, mama. I think it's important to tell yourself every day how incredible you are. How strong and capable your body is. How important you are to your baby and your family. Have a little mantra that's easy for you to remember, that you can say in your head whenever you start to feel yourself get down, and keep it up until you believe it, mama.
I know that it's tough mamas. I know that there are days that make you want to go back to bed the minute you open your eyes, and it makes it hard for you to love your baby when you feel so down. The baby blues aren't a way any new mama wants to spend her first few weeks, but hopefully these tips gave you some ideas that will help make things a little easier on you until you're feeling like better, mama!