A mother’s life and body drastically change after giving birth. These dramatic changes can cause many women to experience the baby blues or even postpartum depression. The main reason for this emotional downward spiral is due to a sudden change of hormones after the birth. Adjusting to parenthood and a lack of sleep can also play a role.
Approximately 70 to 80% of new mothers experience the baby blues, which includes negative feelings and strong mood swings. The blues can roll in for a few minutes or hours each day. Symptoms include random bouts of crying, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, and sadness.
Postpartum depression — which affects 13% of mothers — is similar to the baby blues. In fact, it shares many of the same symptoms, but it is more intense and longer lasting. If your baby is a month old and you are still feeling down more often than not, you may have postpartum depression.
Many moms go through these dark times and make it to the other side — and you can, too. You don’t have to live under a cloud of sadness! Check out these great natural remedies for postpartum depression that might be able to help. Always be sure to consult your provider, too, with any feelings of baby blues or postpartum depression. [bctt tweet=”You don’t have to live under a cloud of sadness, check out these tried and true natural remedies for postpartum depression. ” username=”ecocentricmom”]
Natural Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Caring for yourself and a newborn is a tough balancing act. However, there are ways to nurture yourself while keeping your baby close. You can rest assured that these helpful tips are safe for moms and babies, including breastfeeding moms.
Studies have shown that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression just as effectively as anti-depressants. To get the best results, get moving for 30 minutes about five times a week. Some mom and baby options include brisk walks, home workouts during baby’s nap, and group stroller classes at a local rec center. Make sure you are cleared by your provider before beginning any postpartum exercise program.
A balanced diet will help you heal faster, give you more energy and nutrients, and level out your mood. A diet full of junk food and empty calories will be temporary satisfying, but will leave you feeling sluggish. Try to fill up on nutrient-dense foods and snacks. When family or friends ask if they can bring you anything, say yes and get specific! Suggest a smoothie, large salad, or a veggie soup. Many people like to cater to moms after their babies are born, so don’t feel guilty.
Being isolated and lonely will only feed the feelings of sadness. One of the most important ways to promote mental health is feeling connected to others — and we’re talking about real connections, not just virtual. A face-to-face visit can help blow those blues away. It’s a great time to share your struggles, get another perspective, to laugh, and to think of something else besides feeding and swaddling your newborn.
If you need some mommy friends (and we all do!), sign up for a class or program in your area for moms and babies.
Ask for Help
You are not a machine, and asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Caring for a newborn 24/7 is no easy task. Other people are perfectly capable of watching your baby while you get some extra sleep, take a bath, or indulge in a favorite activity. They say it takes a village to raise a child, so call on your village!
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best supplements for treating postpartum depression. They are safe and can even be used during pregnancy as a preventative measure. To get the most benefits, take a supplement of 200 mg of DHA daily or eat two to three servings of low-mercury fish each week. Salmon, sardines, flax seeds, and chia seeds are rich in Omega-3.
Aromatherapy will awaken your senses and boost your mood. The best essential oils to use are lavender, sandalwood, jasmine, bergamot and rose. The safest way to use these oils is with a diffuser or inhaler. Need a reliable diffuser? Check out this one by Simply Earth that is beautiful and well-built.
Massage is also known to alleviate symptoms and improve cases of depression. It is even more effective when combined with aromatherapy.
Bright Light Therapy
Bright light therapy is scientifically proven to effectively treat depression. It is also safe and easy to bring right into your home. To get the best results, use the light for 30 minutes in the first 10 minutes after waking. Experts recommend an ultraviolet screened light box with 10,000 lux illumination.
Know When to Ask for Help
If you are sinking into a serious depression or experience any of the following warning signs, reach out to your provider and ask for help.
- Unable to care for your baby
- Withdrawing from people in your life
- Unable to sleep (even when baby is sleeping) because of anxiety
- Overwhelming thoughts of guilt or worthlessness that may lead to…
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming your baby
If you feel overwhelmed, call your provider and ask for resources and help. When you talk about your mental health at your postpartum check up, be honest. Don’t be shy to take that first step so that you can get back to your sweet self.
Have you tried any of these tips? What did you think?