What are the baby blues? How you can you help after your doula training? We’ll break it down for you and give some great strategies to offer new moms.
Many new moms are caught off-guard by the myriad emotions they experience during the first few days postpartum. One second they may feel elated, and the next they could be reduced to tears for seemingly no reason at all. These ups and downs are all thanks, at least in part, to their plummeting hormones.
You’ll learn during your doula training that this is perfectly normal. However, to the women going through it, the conflicting emotions can be scary. They could be wondering if they are experiencing postpartum depression. Some may be scared to open up about their mood swings for fear that they will be judged or seen as a bad mother.
Thankfully, they will have you to lean on.
New moms will love knowing that you completed your doula training and are coming to them with an open mind while creating a space that’s judgement free. Doulas are experts at providing a listening ear and reassuring moms that what they’re going through is normal.
So, what exactly are the baby blues, and how are they different from postpartum depression?
Although the symptoms are similar (i.e. weepiness, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, mood changes, anxiety), the trademark difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression is timing. Approximately 70%-80% of all new mothers will experience unpleasant emotions and mood swings after the birth of their baby. Symptoms may not appear until four or five days after the birth, and will generally disappear within two weeks.
In comparison, postpartum mood disorders can appear any time within the first year. If you notice any symptoms lasting beyond two weeks, encourage your client to seek help. Of course, as you’ll learn during your doula training, you’ll want to be prepared with a list of local resources so you can help point her in the right direction.
The best way to help a mom overcome the baby blues is to make sure she’s taken care of.
- Be a listening ear for her. She’ll feel better when she can open up about her feelings to a trusted person.
- Help with meal and snack preparation. New moms often are not focused on healthy eating. After all, they’re learning how to balance life with a new baby. You can make sure she is maintaining a balanced diet, which will help with her overall well-being.
- Encourage her to get some fresh air. Even a quick walk around the block and a change of scenery will help immensely.
- Help her get some rest. Remind her that you’re more than happy to care for baby while she sneaks away for a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep.
- Help her create a list of things that need to be done around the house. Of course, you’ll be there to assist with the daily routine, but if she has a list prepared, she won’t have to think about what needs to be done when visitors ask how they can help.
As you’ll learn during your doula training, being able to mother the mother is incredibly beneficial during the early postpartum weeks. This is particularly true when she’s struggling with the baby blues. She will be glad to have you by her side as she navigates her conflicting postpartum emotions.