The experience of motherhood is both joyous and overwhelming at the same time. Physical soreness and fatigue, hormonal changes, baby care responsibilities—these are just some of the things a new mother has to deal with. Hence, it’s not hard to understand why about 80% of new mothers experience mood swings and feelings of unhappiness known as the “baby blues”. Baby blues symptoms commonly improve in a few days or weeks. However, for some mothers, it might become a more serious condition called the postpartum depression (PPD).
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression may appear among new mothers as persistent mood swings, excessive crying, hopelessness, guilt, restlessness, insomnia, decreased energy, loss of appetite, unhealthy binging, difficulty bonding with the baby, and more. These signs can last up to a year after childbirth. Postpartum depression is not a weakness or a flaw in the character flaw, and it can be overcome through proper medical treatment.
How To Prevent Postpartum Depression?
While PPD can develop in any new mothers, there are certain factors that might increase your risk. Learning more about PPD can help you prevent it in the first place, or lessen its seriousness if you do come across it. The following 6 tips for new moms can help to make your transition to motherhood smoother.
Have A Nourishing Diet
Studies suggest that a well balanced diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, fish, grains, legumes and herbs could help in reducing the risk and development of PPD. It goes without saying that solely having a healthy diet is not going to cure or prevent PPD. However, consuming nutritious food can give you the nutrients your body needs to recover, not to mention you are likely to be in a better mood when you are eating full and well. No matter which culture’s confinement practices you are practicing, the perfect confinement menu for you is one that is filled with a wide variety of nutrients-packed whole foods.
Get Adequate Rest
Many parents would agree that having long hours of undisturbed sleep is a luxury once you have a newborn in the house. Getting enough rest can positively contribute to your mental and physical health. When you are well-rested, you are able to take care of your baby in a better mood and with much more patience—even when your baby is being difficult. The strategy here is to sleep as much as possible, whenever possible. This means sleeping when your baby sleeps. Try aiming for at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep a day, this can be during any time of the day.
Seek Help At Home
With your body still under recovery, and your newborn requiring extra attention, the first month after birth is especially challenging. It’s impossible to learn and do everything overnight, so please don’t beat yourself up whenever you feel like you are not doing enough for your baby. Get help around the house, and take your time to slowly recover and adapt to your new role as a mother.
This includes having the assistance of your spouse, parents and in-laws. Alternatively, you may get a professional confinement nanny from PEM Confinement Nanny Agency. PEM’s confinement nannies are experienced and well-trained to assist you with day and night baby care, breastfeeding guidance, basic chores, and preparation of other essentials of postnatal confinement such as confinement food, herbal tonics and soups, and confinement herbal bath.
Consult A Medical Professional
If you feel like your new role as a mother is stressing you out more than usual, and whatever solution that you try at home doesn’t seem to help, it is important that you approach a medical professional to talk about your feelings. Having frequent contact with expectant and new mothers, your ob-gyn can help you detect signs of PPD early. PPD can usually be successfully treated with psychotherapy, or medication, or a combination of both. Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy, and it may help you cope with your feelings better, react to situations positively, and have realistic expectations for yourself. Meanwhile, antidepressants are commonly used as medication to treat PPD. Before consuming any medication for PPD, be sure to get professional advice from your doctor to get the antidepressant that works best for you and your breastfed baby.
Make Time To Exercise
Exercising helps new mothers to feel better emotionally and more comfortable with socialising. This is because exercises help to increase endorphins (a.k.a. happy hormones) and decrease hormones that cause stress, like Cortisol. That said, do avoid strenuous exercises that can strain your delivery wounds. The key here is to improve your blood flow rather than burning calories or building muscles. Hence, you don’t necessarily have to get all geared up for a trip to the gym. It can be something as casual as taking a walk around your house.
Emphasize On Communication
Communicating with yourself and your spouse can help you be more mentally prepared for life after baby. Be aware of your vulnerabilities and triggers, and understand how you usually process thoughts in your mind. The first year after childbirth is a challenging one for new parents, and the more the both of you communicate before your baby is born, the more ready you will be to overcome the struggles. Some of the important topics to discuss include your parenting expectations, fears, and responsibilities.
Being a mom requires a tremendous amount of time, energy, and dedication, and it is perfectly fine to take baby steps along the way. Don’t stress out trying to be the perfect mom, because at the end of the day, all your child needs is a healthy and happy you.