If you are a newly postpartum mom who is experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, here are tips on how to combat postpartum depression naturally.
This is guest post by Rosie, a mom and a postpartum survivor. She blogs over at Crafty Motherfather, which is a blog dedicated to helping first time pregnant and postpartum moms feel confidant in their new roles as mothers.
Giving birth is one of the most amazing things a woman can go through. The last thing on your mind is developing postpartum depression after birth. After all, you waited 9 months to become a mom, Shouldn’t you feel love pouring out from every pore for your baby?
I’ll be going over signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and how to treat it naturally.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is defined as a chemical imbalance in the brain of a new mom. Your brain isn’t producing enough of those “amazing hormones and chemicals” like dopamine and serotonin, causing depression.
That means it is not your fault! I just want you to know that right now.
What Are the Symptoms And Signs Of Postpartum Depression
Most new mothers will experience things like the baby blues. However, if those “baby blues” don’t go away by the second week you could be looking at postpartum depression.
The symptoms of postpartum depression is different for all moms but here are a few common factors:
- Increased or Decreased Appetite
- Difficulty Bonding With Baby
- Easily Irritable
- Irregular Sleep Schedule
- Poor Concentration
- Crying Spells
- Depressed Mood
As a new mom you will feel most of these things at some point. However, having postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety you will feel these things stronger and more regularly. Not all postpartum mothers will feel every symptom.
When To Seek Help For Postpartum Depression
A lot of first-time moms feel ashamed to admit how they are feeling about themselves, baby and even their partner. Because of this shameful feeling they avoid getting the treatment they need.
You should go right away and tell your doctor how you feel and let them know you think you might have postpartum depression.
They will evaluate you and help you take the next steps in this journey.
How Is Postpartum Depression Treated?
Doctors normally prescribe antidepressants that have not been sufficiently studied when given to breastfeeding mothers. That is why I have researched natural alternatives that you can try to treat postpartum depression.
Your doctor will evaluate you and see which course of action is best suited for your particular situation.
Does A Mother’s Postpartum Depression Affect Her Newborn?
The answer to this is yes. A mother who is battling postpartum depression is more likely to feel anger and resentment towards her baby.
Although your baby cannot talk or express themselves, they feel that connection right away and will also feel that resentment.
Because of this reason alone, I highly suggest you go to your doctor and make sure you are treated right away to give you and baby both a chance to thrive.
6 Ways To Treat Postpartum Depression Naturally
Now that you know a little more about postpartum depression and how it affects both mother and child, here are a few ways you can try to treat your postpartum depression naturally.
1. Write Down Your Thoughts
If you are struggling to let your partner or doctor know how you are really feeling. You have difficulty speaking what is on your mind. Try journaling your thoughts. The best way to do this (I have found) is to do it at the end of the day.
By journaling your thoughts at the end of the day you are reflecting on everything that has happened.
Here are a few writing prompts to get you started on your postpartum journaling experience:
- What was the best part of your day?
- What could have been better?
- Were you proud of yourself today?
- Did you tell yourself and your family that you love them?
- What was the most frustrating thing that happened today?
- End with a reflection of what you wish to accomplish tomorrow
By answering these questions, you can start to see how your mind is developing as a parent and you can also see signals and signs of postpartum depression that you can point out to your doctor.
2. Start Exercising
Once you get the ‘okay’ from your doctor to resume normal activities (usually 6 weeks after birth for a vaginal delivery and 8 weeks after birth for a c-section) you can start an exercise routine.
It doesn’t have to be anything to severe or extreme; you can start by doing one small act a day.
Here are some things you can try to do daily or implement slowly:
- Take Baby in Stroller on A Walk (20 minutes)
- Baby Wear and Do Deep Breathing Yoga (10 minutes)
- 5 Minute Stretches
- Birthing Ball Exercises (10 minutes)
- Treadmill Walking
- Dancing with Baby
3. Going Outside
You need to get out of the house. I know you’re scared of germs for baby but it is crucial that you get some vitamin D.
Vitamin D is introduced to us by the sun and our body turns it into a vitamin. It helps in aiding our body to heal and decreases pain.
While you can use this time to go outside and do exercise, you can also sit outside your home with your baby (or alone) soaking in the warmth.
4. Prenatal Vitamins & Omega 3 Fatty Acids + B12
Do not stop taking your prenatal vitamins now. I know you hated taking them during pregnancy but during this ‘fourth trimester’ known as postpartum you should continue to take your prenatal vitamins.
They will give you essential vitamins that you may be lacking and help boost your system. They also help in keeping your pregnancy hair (most postpartum moms will lose their hair like crazy after birth).
Did you know that vitamin B12 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids help with brain function? If you’re suffering from postpartum depression, chances are you are not getting enough of these vitamins.
5. Self Care For New Moms
It is hard to take care of yourself when you are sleep deprived, learning to be a mom, and feeling the symptoms of postpartum.
For those reasons alone you should start a self-care routine. It can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. Here are some ideas:
- Shower Daily
- Dress Beautifully
- Go Out With Friends Once A Month
- Call And Talk With Your Family
- Have Date Nights With Your Partner
- Do Your Hair
- Take A Selfie
- Go To The Grocery Store Alone
- Take A Bath
- Ask Your Partner To Watch Baby While You Read A Book (at least a few chapters)
It really can be as simple as getting a few minutes every day for you to do one thing you love. Taking care of your body and mind is critical for success to recover from postpartum depression.
6. Therapy Sessions
Talking about postpartum depression is one of the best ways to cope and understand your mind. It helps to be able to express your feelings in a safe environment.
Ask your doctor for a therapist recommendation that can be covered by your insurance.
Final thoughts about postpartum depression
Now that you have these tools in on how to help treat postpartum depression you can slowly start to heal and cope with your depression.
Remember to always talk with your doctor and tell them sooner rather than later about how you are feeling. You can start journaling your thoughts if speaking out loud is to difficult. You can also start exercising, take the time to go outside, start on vitamins, and take care of yourself by talking about it.