Here are some tips for you to take care of yourself if you have the Baby Blues.
New mothers need to take care of themselves as well as baby as it is the best way to help decrease the symptoms of the “baby blues.”
There are several different ways that you can care for yourself if you are having the “baby blues.”
• Get plenty of rest. Being tired will only make you feel worse. Take a nap when your baby is napping. Don’t be afraid of shutting off your phone and putting a do not disturb sign on your door. If you and baby are tired don’t be afraid to ask visitors to leave. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to look after baby while you take a nap. You should try and relax in your bed even if you can’t go asleep.
• Talk with an understanding and sympathetic member of your family or a friend about how you are feeling. Bottling it up will not make you feel any better and getting as much support as possible is important. If you feel like crying then have a good cry. It’s important to remember that baby blues are not a sign of personal weakness or failure or that you are a bad mother so don’t be afraid to talk. If you are experiencing the baby blues and would like to talk to someone in Nurture please click here to see how to contact us.
• It is important to remember that you are not alone in your feelings. Be honest with your doctor or health nurse at all your follow up appointments. Remember you are not going to shock them with your feelings. They speak with postpartum women all the time and are the best to evaluate how you are doing, if you are honest about where you are at.
• Maintain a well balanced diet and drink plenty of healthy fluids. Coping with a new baby may cause you not to eat proper healthy meals, and a bad diet with sugar and too many simple carbohydrates can make mood swings more pronounced. If you are breastfeeding, a nourishing diet is important for both you and your baby. Healthful foods, eaten in frequent meals, can provide the nutrition you need to combat the baby blues and give you the energy you need to handle your new role. And don’t forget to drink water and other healthy fluids, especially if you’re nursing! Dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches. Ask family and friends to cook some healthy meals for you that you freeze and reheat. There are now plenty of places that make healthy tasty takeaway meals like coffee shops, delicatessens and healthy restaurants so this is another way of eating well if you have limited support from family and friends. Now is the time to be building up your strength and recovering from the birth, don’t be worrying about your weight. If your weight is upsetting you then limit or cut out very fatty or sweet foods.
• Ask for help. Family and friends are often happy to help if you just ask. Help with meals, house cleaning, laundry, time for you to take a bath or have a shower, other children, getting into a “routine”, any help that allows you to focus on the joy of having a new baby and not just the pressure of juggling it all. Have a list posted with things people can do. Anyone who comes over to see the baby can also do something off the list.
• Grant yourself permission to take the time you need to become a mother. Don’t expect perfection in the first few weeks. Give yourself time to heal from birth, time to adjust to your new “job” and time for feeding and sleeping routines to settle in.
If something physical is really bothering you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your GP may be able to suggest treatment or refer you to a specialist or an obstetric physiotherapist, who can help with back and bladder problems and painful stitches.
• Get outside to enjoy fresh air and life outside the confines of nappies, feedings and spit up. Sometimes just a different view for a few moments can make a huge difference. With your doctors approval and if you are physically able take a slow 5-10 minute walk outside every day or go for a gentle swim. Gentle activity can relax you; it can help your body recover after childbirth and make you feel better and more energetic.
• Remind yourself that it’s okay (and necessary) to focus on this new aspect of your life and make it your number-one priority. Tending to a newborn properly takes time — all the time in his world. So, instead of feeling guilty or conflicted about your new focus, put your heart into getting to know this new little person. The world can wait for a few weeks.
• Household duties are not your top priority now — in fact, nothing aside from getting to know your baby is. Remember that people are coming to see your baby, not your house, so enjoy sharing your baby with visitors without worrying about a little clutter or dust. Simplify, prioritize, and delegate routine tasks, errands, and obligations.
• Alcohol is a depressant so you should avoid it, it will only make you feel worse especially when the intoxication effects have worn off.
• Parenting a new baby is an enormous responsibility, but things will fall into place for you and everything will seem easier given time. During this adjustment phase, try to do a few things for yourself. Simple joys like reading a book, painting your nails, going out to lunch with a friend or other ways in which you nourish your spirit can help you feel happier.
• Last but not least tell Daddy what he can do to help. It’s very important that your spouse or partner be there for you right now. He may want to help you, but he may be unsure of how. Show him how to look after baby, it is important for dad to know how to take care of baby too as well as being a great way for dad and baby to bond.
• Remember that the baby blues do not usually require any medical help and normally only last up between 10 to 14 days. However, if your symptoms last longer than fourteen days or are very severe it could be an indication of a more serious condition, such as postpartum depression so we suggest you talk to your GP immediately and/or call Nurture and talk about the feelings you are experiencing.
If you are experiencing the baby blues and would like support please click here to see how to contact us.