How blue are the blues?

After the baby is born, many new moms have the “postpartum blues” or the “baby blues.” The word “blues” isn’t really correct since women with this condition are happy most of the time. But compared to how she usually feels, a new mother can be more irritable, cry more easily, feel sad and confused.

Lots of things are happening right after you have a baby. You may feel worried or overwhelmed. You have so many questions. Why is the baby crying? Is he getting enough milk? Why doesn’t he sleep more at night? Now that your baby’s here, you’re probably going through some emotional changes.  It’s common for new moms to feel very stressed.  There’s so much to do and learn. For couples, a new baby in the house also brings changes. While you’re adjusting, your partner is too.

The postpartum blues peak three to five days after delivery. They usually end by the tenth day after the baby’s birth. Although the postpartum blues are no picnic, the mother can function normally. The feeling of the “blues” usually lessens and goes away over time.

Medical experts believe that changes in your hormones after delivery cause the postpartum blues.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women do these things to help relieve the “postpartum blues”:
• Talk to your partner or a good friend about how you feel
• Get plenty of rest
• Ask your partner, friends and family for help
• Take time for yourself
• Get out of the house every day, even if it’s just for a short while
• Join a new mother’s group and share your feelings with the women you meet there

If the symptoms last for longer than two weeks or worsen, you may have postpartum depression.  This is a serious medical condition requiring treatment.

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