The Baby Blues

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

I remember when I was lying in my hospital bed after the birth of my fourth child, Coleton. I had endured a full day of labor and a difficult delivery (who says the fourth one comes easily?), and I was tired beyond explanation. After the relief of seeing my precious new child came an uncontrollable feeling to close my eyes and sleep. As my husband cradled newborn Coleton, I drifted off; my parting thoughts were, “I can’t do this. I don’t have the energy. How will I ever take care of a baby?” Luckily for me, a few hours of sleep, a supportive family, and lucky genes were all it took to feel normal again. But as many as 80% of new mothers experience a case of the baby blues that lasts for weeks after the birth of their baby. This isn’t something new mothers can control - there’s no place for blame. The most wonderful and committed mothers, even experienced mothers of more than one child, can get the baby blues.





By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care

I remember when I was lying in my hospital bed after the birth of my fourth child, Coleton. I had endured a full day of labor and a difficult delivery (who says the fourth one comes easily?), and I was tired beyond explanation. After the relief of seeing my precious new child came an uncontrollable feeling to close my eyes and sleep. As my husband cradled newborn Coleton, I drifted off; my parting thoughts were, “I can’t do this. I don’t have the energy. How will I ever take care of a baby?” Luckily for me, a few hours of sleep, a supportive family, and lucky genes were all it took to feel normal again. But as many as 80% of new mothers experience a case of the baby blues that lasts for weeks after the birth of their baby. This isn’t something new mothers can control - there’s no place for blame. The most wonderful and committed mothers, even experienced mothers of more than one child, can get the baby blues.

What are baby blues?

Your baby’s birth has set into motion great changes in your body and in your life, and your emotions are reacting in a normal way. Dramatic hormonal shifts occur when a body goes from pregnant to not pregnant in a manner of minutes. Add to this your new title (Mommy!) and the responsibilities that go with it, and your blues are perfectly understandable. You’re not alone; this emotional letdown during the first few weeks is common after birth. Just remember that your state of mind has a physical origin and is exacerbated by challenging circumstances - and you and your body will adjust to both soon.

How do I know if I have the baby blues?

Every woman who experiences the baby blues (also called postpartum blues) does so in a different way. The most common symptoms include:





  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Sadness or feelings of loss
  • Stress and tension
  • Impatience or a short temper
  • Bouts of crying or tearfulness
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping or excessive tiredness
  • Not wanting to get dressed, go out, or clean up the house





Could it be more than just the baby blues?

If you’re not sure whether you have the blues ask your doctor or midwife, and don’t feel embarrassed: This is a question that health care providers hear often and with good reason. If you’re feeling these symptoms to a degree that disrupts your normal level of function, if your baby is more than a few weeks old, or if you have additional symptoms - particularly feelings of resentment or rejection toward your baby or even a temptation to harm him - you may have more than the blues, you may have postpartum depression. This is a serious illness that requires immediate treatment. Please call a doctor or professional today. If you can’t make the call, then please talk to your partner, your mother or father, a sibling or friend and ask them to arrange for help. Do this for yourself and for your baby. If you can’t talk about it, hand this page it to someone close to you. It’s that important. You do not have to feel this way, and safe treatment is available, even if you’re breastfeeding.

How can I get rid of the blues?

While typical baby blues are fairly brief and usually disappear on their own, you can do a few things to help yourself feel better and get through the next few emotional days or weeks:

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