Friday, February 19, 2010

Battling Baby Blues

First, let me preface this by saying that there is a difference between Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression. Here is a good article outlining the differences:
Majority of women battle the baby blues right after delivery. It's absolutely normal- your hormones are out of control, you're sleep deprived, you're nervous and stressed with a new baby; it's an uphill battle from the very beginning.  Here are some things I found helpful when my rug-rats were born.
1. Schedule people to visit the 2nd week you're home. The first week is for trying to get settled as a family, and get a routine down. Grandparents are OK (or people who won't judge you if you suddenly burst into tears), but everyone else can come when you're feeling more up to it.  If there are some people who insist on coming, or you really want that casserole Mindy is bringing; it's OK to have hubby meet them at the door with baby and tell them you're napping. Or at least have hubby keep a list of excuses to bring up for when the visit is starting to last longer then 10mins.
2. NAP WHEN BABY IS NAPPING!!!! It's one of the hardest rules because as women and mommies, we want to keep the household running when baby is down (and hubby just doesn't do it the same way.) But the more tired you are, the worse the moodiness and tears are.  Plus, the baby won't always sleep as well as they do the first few days and mommy needs fuel for the long haul. It's OK if the house goes down in ashes around you, sleep is of utmost importance to make you a better woman, wife, mommy. Feel free to call in the Grandparents for some quality baby time while you nap!
3. Don't forget to eat and drink lots of water! Especially if you're breastfeeding. It takes about 300 extra calories a day when pregnant and 500 extra calories a day when breastfeeding. You need these extra calories to keep your energy up. Sorry, it will be a few more months before you're able to try to lose that extra baby fat. This is a great 'job' for all those people who ask what they can do for you. Can I do anything for you? "Sure! If you could bring some lunch or dinner over, that would be great!" Don't feel bad for asking, people want to help! I also find it helpful to keep lots of fruit or yogurt around for snacking.
4. If you start feeling especially moody and irritable, I found it best to hand baby over to Daddy (great bonding time) run a hot bath or shower, put on my saddest music, and just cry for a good 15-20 minutes. I always feel much more calm and collected afterward. Your bucket can only hold so much before you need to empty it. If you need to empty your bucket, and Daddy is already back at work; you're not a bad mother if you set baby down safely in her crib and walk away for a few minutes.  My oldest child was so fussy all the time. She had bad reflux and would just cry and cry and cry. I would get so frustrated because I didn't know what to do for her. I would place her crying in her crib, and I would sit outside the door and cry just as hard. Then I'd get up, wash my face, get a drink of water, and go back to her a much more calm and effective mommy.
5. Walks outside can be refreshing. I know, the last thing you want your neighbors to see is a frumpy, chunky you puffing away with the stroller. But it really does help, and the majority of your neighbors have been there before too......they won't hold it against you.
6. Remember that Daddy can get The Grumps too (Baby Blues is not a manly enough name for Daddy, so we'll call it The Grumps.) While his is not as hormonal, it's based more on stress of being responsible for a larger family, as well as trying to take care of a hormonal and moody wife. Cut Daddy some slack if he needs a walk around the block, or a nap too. He'll be able to better take care of you and baby if he is well rested as well.  I found it best to give Daddy time away each day by having him run errands or better yet, grab me something to eat! He always came back feeling better and ready to take over while I take my turn resting.

Remember, this is a stage in life that will pass too.  Things WILL get better with time. Baby Blues is not something that you need to feel ashamed of- talking with other moms can be very helpful. There are many mom groups out there if you don't have any friends you feel comfortable enough discussing this with.  Also, if you don't feel comfortable talking about it in person, there are many online groups that you can share and discuss your frustrations with other moms online.  The most important thing to remember is that you are a wonderful mother! Motherhood is very frustrating, irritating, and emotional; but when that baby looks at you, eyes brimming with love, and flashes you the most beautiful smile in the whole world- it makes it all worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice!! I always remember that the first three months are the hardest...after that it seems to get a little easier. :)