Mother's Day 2022: Becoming a parent triggers an array of emotions, from joy and excitement to anxiety and fear. Baby blues are fairly common among new moms, but how do you cope with postpartum depression, a long-lasting and severe mood disorder? Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major health concern that produces insidious effects on new mothers, their infant/s, and family. While a mild depression called 'baby blues' is common in new mothers, PPD requires medical attention, and if left untreated affects a woman's ability to take care of the baby and herself.
It is important to recognize that PPD likely affects all members of the family. Left untreated, it can undermine a woman's confidence in her ability to be a good mom. PPD also can tear apart a couple's relationship, especially when communication breaks down and hope runs out.
Here are some tips to follow to cope with postpartum depression.
Exercise when you can
Talk to your doctor about simple exercises you can do after your baby is born. Exercise is a sure-shot way to release the "feel good" hormones. Studies have demonstrated that physical activity might help to combat postpartum depression. Exercising during the postpartum period is an efficient way to achieve better psychological well-being as well as ease the symptoms of postpartum depression.
Maintain a healthy diet
Nourish your body by filling your plate with nutrient-rich foods (and refilling your water bottle on the reg). Keep up postpartum nutrition by consuming protein-rich foods like fish, meat, beans, yogurt, milk and cheese, also not forgetting to keep hydrated with water and fruit juices in order to speed recovery and boost your energy.
Develop a bond with your newborn
Learning to bond with your baby benefits both you and your child. Close contact with your infant releases oxytocin, the “love” or “cuddle hormone.” An increase in oxytocin makes you feel happier, more caring, and sensitive to the feelings of others, and it enables you to recognize non-verbal cues from your baby more readily.
Create time for yourself
While you focus on your little one, don’t forget to take care of yourself. It’s an important part of your postpartum care and recovery. You can practice self-care by taking care of your beauty and wellness rituals, spending quality time with your partner and family and friends, creating a support group with new mums, taking up a new hobby or a sport, etc.
Make time to rest
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is a phrase often used by those giving new parents advice — advice that parents usually roll their eyes at. After all, getting any form of sleep while looking after a newborn is a tricky task. Women living with postpartum depression often take longer to fall asleep and sleep for less time than those without the condition. Moreover, the lower the quality of their sleep, the more severe their depression often is. If you have family or friends who can look after your baby while you take a nap, be sure to enlist their help.
Limit Social Media and News
In a hyper-connected world, we just can’t help ourselves from checking our phones for the latest information regarding friends, family and the world. While it may feel like Facebook and Instagram are keeping you “connected” with others and what’s going on around you, it can contribute to anxiety and affect your sleep. If you are nursing or feeding your baby in the wee hours of the morning, resist the temptation to check your phone. Instead, take this time to focus on holding and connecting with your baby.
(This article is attributed to Richa Vashista, Chief Mental Health Expert, AtEase)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)