12 Wellness Tips For Mothers Experiencing Postpartum Depression – Tayababy

12 Wellness Tips For Mothers Experiencing Postpartum Depression

It’s natural to feel a mix of emotions when you welcome your newborn baby into the world. But suppose you’ve had difficulty bonding with your baby, finding yourself withdrawing from your support system, feeling irritable, or even anxious. In this case, you may be experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression (or PPD), which can affect new mothers anywhere from a few days to many months after the birth.

There is good news, postpartum depression and anxiety are treatable. Check out the following wellness tips on how you can start treating PPD:

1. Practice good sleep hygiene. Research has shown that getting a good night's rest for several health reasons-including treating depression. Although 7-9 hours is the standard amount, this isn't always possible. Consider asking someone else, such as your partner or another family member, to do one of the nightly feedings while you get at least a few hours of quality rest. Sleep is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself at this time, so remember to prioritize your rest.

2. Reframe your perspective on breastfeeding. While breastfeeding has its benefits, sometimes the benefits can leave a new mother feeling like her only option. So when the stress and pressure turn into constant worry and exhaustion, consider an alternative. Only you know what your limits are, so if breastfeeding becomes unrealistically complicated, it may be healthier to switch to or supplement with formula.

3. Check in with your expectations. Maternity leave isn't necessarily "time off," as much as we'd like it to be. If your day seems to be passing by with all of the cleaning, feeding, repetition, amongst other mundane tasks, you may want to consider shortening your to-do list. Check in with your expectations of yourself, and recognize whether you're putting too much pressure on yourself to tackle other responsibilities. Especially if you're experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression, it may feel that much more challenging to be efficient, which is okay. Set primary, realistic daily goals, like making sure you eat enough throughout the day, get outside from time to time, or take a shower. Remember to praise yourself for achieving them and take them one step at a time.

4. Ask for help when you need it. Although it’s not the easiest thing to do, asking for help can be one of the most significant steps you can take in finding some relief. Think about it this way. Connecting and spending quality time with your baby is better for them and you, rather than spending every waking hour together and feeling miserable.

5. Get in touch with the things you enjoy. When you're struggling with PPD, it's hard to remember the things that used to bring you joy, let alone do them. However, getting out of your comfort zone and finding a few minutes to do something you enjoy, can make a significant difference in your mood and overall well being. If you have trouble finding the motivation to do so, remember that feeling unmotivated is a symptom of depression, not who you are as a person. Take a small, actionable step towards doing the things you enjoy, every one of them counts.

6. Don’t bottle things up. Feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation are expected to be experienced when it comes to PPD. These feelings can be draining and overwhelming. When repressed and hidden, they can lead to further isolation and worsen symptoms of depression. Talk to a trusted loved one, a friend, or even a support group. They'll validate you in your experiences and remind you that nobody is judging you more than you're judging yourself. It's important to know that you're not alone, and sometimes, hearing those words can make the most significant difference.

7. Write things out! Consider this time in your life as a transition period. When it comes to stressors, simply naming them can be as relieving as it would be fixing them. Whether you write down any distressing thoughts about your in-laws or vent about your partner, your social life, or even work, it's essential to get those thoughts out. In the long run, you'll be able to work on adjusting, but for right now, getting everything off your chest can be relieving at the moment.

8. Eat healthy. Research has shown that your diet plays a significant role in your mood, stress levels, and overall mental health. Mental health professionals are even incorporating it into their treatment plans for patients struggling with depression because food can, in some cases, be as powerful as antidepressants. It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to eat regularly and well rather than processed foods that will ultimately cause you to crash.

9. ExerciseEndorphins, known as pain-relieving hormones, get released when you exercise. While there isn't much time or energy to do an entire workout, a short walk, a few jumping jacks, or even a few minutes of a yoga workout can release them. Endorphins also provide a boost in your serotonin levels and act as a natural medicine in treating and preventing depression. Regardless of where your body is throughout the postpartum period, getting active for even a short amount of time will provide a sense of relief.

10. Be mindful. By practicing mindfulness, deep breathing, or meditation, you're activating the relaxation response, or "rest and digest." The relaxation response also releases GABA, an anti-anxiety neurochemical that can help you manage stress and calm down when stress arises. Check out this 1-minute stress-relieving exercise to get started.

11. Talk to a therapist. Going through the emotional, physical, and general life changes that come with having a baby can quickly feel overwhelming. And there's no need for you to go through it alone. Working with a therapist or counselor about the changes you're going through can help you process them, validate your experiences, and help feel confident about tackling the challenges that come with this transitionary period.

12. Consider medication. It's often misunderstood that medication can be harmful throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. While therapeutic interventions are often the first line of defense, some women may benefit from starting antidepressant medication. Whatever your situation is, your health is interconnected with your baby's health. Consult your doctor if you feel that you could benefit from one; they'll walk you through the benefits and risks to help you decide. 


The bottom line

Postpartum depression is a normal experience. Be patient with yourself as you go through these changes, and remember to ask for help when you need it. You don’t have to go through it alone.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published