231. Riding Out the “Baby Blues”

If you’re like most mothers, you’ve eagerly awaited the birth of your child. So why do you burst into tears for no good reason now that your baby is home? Why can’t you seem to get organized?

It’s simple: You’ve got postpartum blues, or the “baby blues.” And about 50 to 75 percent of new mothers experience this mood change to some degree, typically on the third day following childbirth. Postpartum blues are due to hormonal changes, fatigue, and changes that come with a new baby.

Take these steps to help deal with the “baby blues.”

  1. Arrange for household help when you and the baby come home.

  2. Nap when your baby naps.

  3. Plan to spend some time away from home with your partner or friends (or both), even in the first week that you’re home and even if it’s just for an hour or two.

Postpartum blues should last no longer than two weeks. If you feel blue, overwhelmed, and unable to cope for more than two weeks, contact your doctor. You may have postpartum depression, which affects about 10 to 15 percent of new mothers. Left untreated, it can last for months and interfere with normal functioning. Treatment includes medication, counseling, and support groups for new mothers.

Chapter 9
  1. Women’s Health Problems