The birth of a newborn is an exciting time. Along with emotions of hope and happiness come other more intensely confusing feelings. For many parents, postpartum depression can set in after pregnancy, making it difficult to adjust to their new life. Are you experiencing postpartum depression? Here are some practical ways to reduce the effects of postpartum depression in your life:
1. Build a Bond
When parents from emotional bonds with their babies, they are allowing the child to feel safe and are establishing the basis of the parent-child bond that will continue to grow for the rest of their lives.
This introduction to communication will help impact the way they form relationships later on in life. Moreover, this bonding allows you to feel closer to your child, which in turn helps to reduce your symptoms of postpartum depression.
There are numerous ways to go about building a bond with your baby. Consider the following:
- Skin-to-Skin Contact
While breastfeeding is a prime example of skin-to-skin contact, this isn’t the only example. Simply having your bare skin next to your baby’s bare skin will do the job. This close contact relaxes the baby and the mother, further enhancing the bond between the two.
In addition to helping to treat postpartum depression, skin-to-skin contact helps to improve alertness, sleep, weight gain, and may even guarantee you an earlier hospital discharge after giving birth.
- Baby Massage
Massage can play a significant role in your child’s development. As it introduces the element of touch, massage also helps the mother reduce any symptoms of postpartum depression. Once you learn the proper techniques for massage, you’ll be able to bond with your baby in this very intimate way.
Babies are able to smile on their own between 6 and 12 weeks old. Research has proven that the smile of a baby can trigger a release of dopamine in the mother. Essentially, seeing her baby smile is akin to feeling a “natural high”.
Parents that aren’t natural born singers often feel uncomfortable with the idea of singing to their child. However, singing to your child is an important way to connect with them. Whether you have the voice of an angel or you’d rather sing alone in the shower, your baby will enjoy hearing the sound of your voice.
Singing gives your child the stimulation needed to develop stronger cognitive functions as they strive to focus on your voice. Similarly, this interaction helps to get the mother’s mind off of other thoughts and to really pay attention to this moment with her baby.
2. Practice Self Care
The anxiety and stress brought on by postpartum depression and caring for a new baby can force your needs to take a back seat. Though you should be prioritizing your child’s needs, you do need to set time aside for yourself.
Stan Millhouse from Psychic 2 Tarot (https://www.psychic2tarot.com/) says that if you’re experiencing postnatal anxiety, it is important to take a few minutes out of the day for yourself. If you notice that you have no time for yourself or that you can no longer practice some of your favorite self-care routines, it’s time to do something different.
Try the following ideas:
- Eat more omega-3
A diet that is rich in fatty acids is likely to lower your risk of developing postpartum depression. Moreover, it can also act as a treatment for this depression. Try foods like oily fish during your pregnancy and after giving birth to boost your omega-3 intake.
- Nap often
Napping isn’t always popular among adults, but it is often a must for new parents. Parents adjusting to life with their new baby often spend weeks or months trying out different sleep schedules. Postpartum depression often makes sleeping worse for mothers, further adding on to the level of anxiety they already feel. Low-quality sleep will only exacerbate these feelings, resulting in a cycle of sleep deprivation and depression.
This is why napping is so important for new parents. While they may try to stick to sleeping while their child sleeps, this often isn’t enough. Whenever possible, new parents should ask a friend or a family member to look after their child so that they can nap and get some desperately needed sleep.
- Get some sun
Sunlight has been proven to lift one’s mood. Going for a lap around the block can do wonders for lifting your depression. For long-lasting effects, aim to get outside for 10 – 15 minutes (or more) each day.
3. Start Exercising Again
Whether you were exercising up until you gave birth or you haven’t exercised for quite a while, getting into the habit of regular physical activity can significantly improve your mood.
With postpartum depression, it is imperative that you exercise. Regular physical activity will improve your psychological wellbeing and help to reduce symptoms of your postpartum depression.
Many mothers begin their post-pregnancy exercise with walking. If you want to jump into more intense exercise, it’s important to consult your doctor to ensure this is safe. Women that have had complications during birth should get the all clear from a doctor before beginning to exercise.
4. Find Your Support Network
Much of a mother’s postpartum depression comes about after spending so much time alone with the baby. We are all social creates and need regular human interaction. Mothers need to find a support network during their pregnancy and after giving birth.
Connecting with a support system will allow these new parents to share in the joys and struggles of childbirth together. Having this outlet helps mothers feel less alone. Moreover, getting to share a positive experience with like-minded people will help to rid mothers of any anxiety related to postpartum depression.
5. Research Medication and Psychotherapy
If self-help and similar avenues haven’t been effective, parents dealing with postpartum depression should research medication and psychotherapy. Consult your doctor to determine which of the following options are best for you:
Also known as mental health counseling, psychotherapy encourages patients to discuss their feelings and concerns. Through psychotherapy, new parents can set manageable goals and learn how to better respond to certain situations.
Antidepressants should be taken if you have severe depression that has not been alleviated by other treatments. If you are considering antidepressants, your doctor should be sure to speak with you about breastfeeding and medication.
Postpartum depression is something many parents experienced. Though these baby blues are intense, these feelings won’t last forever. Use this guide as you navigate all the various experiences that come with your newborn baby.