7 Tips for Surviving the Postpartum Baby Blues


The day after I had my first baby while still in the hospital, my OB came in to check on me and see how I was recovering. She asked a few questions and talked about what to expect over the next several weeks. She explained that I might experience the baby blues and said that it was normal to feel a little sad for the first couple weeks.

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“A little sad” doesn’t even begin to explain the complexity of the emotions I felt those first three weeks of my son’s life. Of course there was the overwhelming joy and love, but there was also fear, anxiety, and depression. The days would start out fresh and new, but with evening would come waves of stress, insecurity, and sadness.

It did eventually pass, but I’ll never forget how scary it was to be a new mom and have so little control over my emotions that first month.

When my second baby came along, I experienced those same baby blues again (though to a lesser extent), but there was one big difference: I knew what to expect and I knew what I could do to help myself through those couple weeks. Here are a few pieces of advice for surviving the baby blues…

  1. Know that what you are experiencing is normal. Almost all women experience the baby blues to some extent. Pregnancy and birth wreak havoc on your hormones and, just as you need time to recover physically, your hormones need time to return to normal.
  2. Find a support group. Whether it’s in person or online, find a group of women who have babies around the same age as your little one. Recovering from childbirth can be difficult and it’s nice to have other women you can share your struggles with who truly get it.
  3. Have a conversation with another adult every day. If you can’t talk face-to-face, pick up the phone and call. A friend, a mom, a sister–anyone you can have an adult conversation with that will allow you to feel connected to the outside world. Bonus points if they’ve been through the baby thing before.
  4. Get out of the house. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a drive-thru to grab some coffee, or a stroll through the mall, get out of the house on a regular basis (preferably daily). It will make the day go by faster and the change of scenery will be good for both you and baby.
  5. Let it out. I was a weepy mess the first few days after both my kids. All emotions–happiness, sadness, anger, frustration–were expressed through tears. I hated seeming like a crying mess during such a joyous time, but I found that holding it in only made it worse, so once a day I would allow myself to feel all the feelings and let the tears flow and I almost always felt a lot better after. It also helps to talk through your emotions with your partner so that they can be a source of comfort and reassurance.
  6. Shower daily. Even if you don’t wash your hair, a quick shower will help you feel refreshed and more energized, so hand the baby off to someone else and take a couple minutes to yourself. If you’re feeling really motivated, sprinkle a little lavender on the shower floor ahead of time for a relaxing, spa-like experience.
  7. This too shall pass. Make it your mantra. As tricky as things seem now, they will get better; it just takes a little time. If you aren’t feeling more like yourself within 2-3 weeks, be sure to talk to your doctor, as this can be a sign of postpartum depression/anxiety.

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