New mothers sometimes experience "postpartum blues." This is understandable. Pregnancy and birth are very dramatic events for your body - both physically and emotionally. So, it's common to feel a little weepy, irritable or moody in the first few days after birth.
If you eat well, supplement your diet with high quality whole food supplements (especially omega-3 oils and B vitamins) and get enough rest, mild cases should pass quickly.
But, if "the blues" continue for more than just a few days, or if you're feeling really depressed and down, please don't try to tough it out. Get professional help. Ask your midwife or doctor to connect you with someone who can give you appropriate counseling.
Here are some tips that can help prevent or ease the symptoms of postpartum depression:
1. Ask for help after the birth. Here are some things friends and family could do for you during the first few weeks that might work better than giving the traditional baby shower gifts. They can:
Bring you a complete dinner (hot and ready to serve);
Volunteer to do your laundry;
Take care of your house cleaning;
And/or entertain older children with a day of play.
2. Get yourself out of the house - if only onto the deck or front steps - for at least a few minutes each day. Set up a lawn chair, wrap up yourself and your baby in a blanket and take a break. Set aside this time for you and baby.
3. Take it easy. Play with your baby. Visit with friends and family. Listen to relaxing music. Watch some old "feel good" DVD's. Get someone to take you and baby for a long ride in the car. Baby will probably fall right off to sleep and you'll get a chance to shut your eyes and relax for a few moments too.
4. And most importantly, eat really well and get yourself on a complete whole food nutritional program including pure omega-3 oils with EPA and DHA. I've seen high quality whole food supplements, combined with wholesome eating, consistently succeed in overcoming postpartum depression.
This is a special time for both you and your baby. It's important to relax and enjoy it. And remember, if your depression continues for more than a few days, please don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Support is only a phone call away at the National Post Partum Depression Hotline 1-800-PPD-MOMS (773-6667).