How to Handle the Baby Blues

The 'baby blues' are a common experience for postpartum birth-givers. The change in hormones can trigger strong feelings and the adjustment to parenthood (regardless of how many children you have) can be difficult and even daunting.


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    Learn about the 'baby blues' before you give birth. This will help you be prepared and know what to expect. The baby blues usually start the third day after giving birth and resolve within the week. Symptoms include: feeling teary/weepy, feeling irritable, and feeling sad. These feelings are normal; however, if you continue to feel this way for more than two weeks, see a doctor.
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    Seek positive experiences. Prevention is the best cure. Studies have linked the 'baby blues' to traumatic births as well as difficulties in relationships.[citation needed] Having a positive birth experience and support from those closest to you are the most important aspects of avoiding the baby blues. Feeling 'out of control' while giving birth, even if the birth proceeded normally, can leave birth-givers feeling angry, depressed, exhausted and overwhelmed. Consider having a homebirth, as homebirths with a registered midwife have been shown to have the best outcomes for both parents and babies.[citation needed] If this isn't right for you, consider hiring a doula or birth attendant to accompany you in the hospital; this helps ensure that you're informed and empowered throughout the birth.
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    Be honest about your feelings with yourself and those around you. No one can help you if they don't know what's going on. Having a close friend or family member spend time with you and help you with the baby can make a big difference. Let people help you, whether it's cleaning the house or cooking a meal. You don't have to do everything yourself.
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    Express your feelings. Vent to your partner about how stressed you are. Let yourself cry; crying is healthy and cleansing, there's nothing wrong with it. Bottling up your feelings or denying them can make things worse in the long run. Consider writing a birth story or discussing the birth with your midwife, doula or obstetrician. Tell them if you have any concerns about the birth process or how you feel afterward.
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    Focus on yourself and your baby. Try not to worry if the floor hasn't been mopped or the washing is beginning to pile up; what's important is you and your new baby. Accept help for the practical things and take time out for yourself if you can.
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    Make sure you're eating enough and getting sufficient rest. Birth can be an ordeal, especially for your body. Don't feel guilty over how much you eat while you recover. Remember as well that breastfeeding takes a lot of energy, so you need to eat more and drink lots of water. This is normal and nothing to feel bad about.
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    If you begin to have thoughts of self harm and/or suicide, or if the baby blues don't go away within two weeks, see a doctor. Post-natal depression is a very common problem, and the sooner you can get help, the better.


  • Be gentle with yourself. Feelings of stress about not being a good parent, worry about money, concerns about how much your life is going to change, are all very common and do not make you a bad parent.
  • Accept any help you can get.
  • If you're feeling like hurting yourself or your baby, see a doctor immediately.


  • Post-natal depression can be difficult for new parents to identify and can be left untreated for a long time. It's very important to see a doctor if you still feel blue after two weeks, if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, or are feeling like you can't cope.
  • In an emergency, call the national emergency line in your country, e.g. 911 or 000.

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Categories: Babies and Infants | Managing Sadness and Nostalgia | Articles in Need of Sources