Bringing Home Baby: Keeping Your Mental Health a Priority
When a new baby arrives, it can be a joyous time. But it can also be a time of anxiety and stress. Self-care is as vital for moms as it is for newborns.
“Many new mothers experience postpartum depression,” said November Collins, behavioral health consultant with Memorial Physician Services Women’s Healthcare. “It’s important to know that you’re not alone, take care of yourself and seek support.”
Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression include sadness, inability to sleep, irritability, mood swings, spontaneous crying, withdrawing from your partner or newborn, anxiety, feelings of guilt and in severe cases, suicidal thoughts and inability to care for your new baby. Approximately 10% of new mothers experience postpartum depression, which can last up to a year.
“While there’s no specific cause of postpartum depression, hormonal and physical changes, as well as stress, can contribute,” continued Collins. “All new mothers should make their mental health a priority.”
Collins offers these tips to help you practice self-care and make your mental health a priority:
- Sleep enough and sleep well. Sleep when the baby sleeps to ensure that you get enough rest.
- Eat healthy, nutritious foods and stay hydrated. This is great advice postpartum and throughout life. Nutritious foods and staying hydrated will help you as you recover and especially if you are breastfeeding.
- Stay active. Go for walks and stretch—keep moving throughout the day.
- Take breaks. Ask a partner or other trusted person care for your newborn when you need to take a break.
- Maintain relationships. Stay connected with your partner, loved ones and friends. Communication is important for maintaining relationships.
- Seek treatment. If you are struggling, reach out to your counselor or your OB/GYN for a recommendation. In addition to counseling, there are treatments available that can help.