The Baby Blues and Beyond

Nearly 80% of new mothers experience weepiness, sad feelings, worry about being a good mother and sometimes feel overwhelmed.

The baby blues is considered a normal part of adjustment to motherhood and is not an illness. It can feel like an emotional rollercoaster that starts within days of giving birth, peaks at 4-5 days and goes away on its own in about two weeks.

What are the Baby Blues?

After giving birth the levels of the hormones that helped sustain a healthy pregnancy drop rapidly – and immediately – following delivery. Hormones and emotions are closely connected, so these hormonal changes can cause changing moods, weepiness, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed.

Factor in the sleep deprivation and the massive life transition and it makes perfect sense that the early days with a new baby can feel very hard – even overwhelming at times. The good news is that the baby blues go away as your body adjusts and you get used to your new role.

But it's natural to wonder if what you are feeling may be a symptom of something more serious. And considering 20% of women do experience postpartum depression or anxiety, it's also important to know when to seek professional help to feel better.

Here are some basic guidelines to assess whether you are feeling (or your loved one is experiencing) the baby blues or the beginning of postpartum depression or anxiety.

Baby Blues Symptoms

  • Feeling weepy, crying easily- All new mothers cry. But if you cry all day, for many days, and are unable to function because you are crying too much, that's different.
  • Lack of confidence in mothering
  • Overly sensitive with others
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed at times
  • Burst of worry / panic that comes and goes

How Postpartum Depression Differs From the Baby Blues

The fundamental differences between the baby blues and postpartum depression are how long the symptoms of distress last after delivery and how severe the symptoms feel or interfere with your daily activities and/or relationships. Symptoms of PPD. 

The Importance of Reaching Out for Help

It can be hard for women to recognize when they have symptoms that requires treatment, so always err on the side of getting checked out. Just talk to your doctor - any time you are worried about the way you are feeling or thinking it is time to let someone you trust know how you feel.

There is no shame in reaching out for help. Baby blues typically go away and postpartum depression is common and very treatable. However, left untreated, postpartum depression can affect you and your baby.

Maternal Mental Health Checklist

Talking about your mental health can be difficult. You may not know the words to say or how to describe you feelings. This checklist may help.