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How to Beat the Baby Blues


You’ve come home from the hospital with your bundle of joy, and you’re over the moon...except when you’re not. Welcome to the “baby blues,” a totally normal, usually short-lived period of days or weeks when your mood may ebb and flow in less time than it takes your baby to dirty a diaper.

“Having a baby is a huge change in your life,” says Dr. Laura Goetzl, a maternal fetal medicine specialist and OB-GYN at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“It’s normal for people to have mostly happy emotions, but also mixed emotions” during the heady first weeks of motherhood. Read on for 10 ways to beat the baby blues and joyfully begin your new life as a mom.

  1. Invite Someone Kind to Visit
  2. a family sitting together on the sofa

    Choose your visitors carefully during your first days and week at home with your baby, inviting in friends or family members who can offer you wisdom, commiserate with your feelings, or just listen. And when your friends give you advice that makes you feel like you’re doing everything wrong? “Take it with a grain of salt,” says Goetzl. “Even if things they say are hurtful, try to the listen to the manner in which they were meant,” which is usually an intention of support and kindness.

  3. You Can Cry If You Want To
  4. grandma hugging mom

    “Some people cry every day in normal life,” says Goetzl, and if that’s your way of coping with the stresses of life with a newborn, don’t judge yourself or worry that you’re not in love with your baby. “Accepting that people have a wide range of ways of dealing with stresses is important,” says Goetzl. So if you feel the waterworks coming on, let them come—then get on with your day.

  5. Talk—and Listen
  6. a couple having a serious discussion

    Goetzl advises regular conversations with your partner to make sure you understand each other’s hopes and expectations for early parenthood. Doing so is a preventative measure against resentments or disappoints that can sneak into your relationship and compound the emotional roller coaster you’re already experiencing. “It’s really important to be honest with your partner without feeling like you’re a bad person—and to hear honestly how they feel,” Goetzl says.

  7. Spend Time with Your Partner
  8. a mom lying on the grass outside

    Make time to just be together and make couple time a priority, says Goetzl. Not only will you find more opportunities to have the conversations that will protect and preserve your relationship, but you’ll also get a chance to enjoy seeing new parenthood through your partner’s eyes—and going through the journey together.

  9. Get Out of the House—Alone
  10. a woman outside in deep thought

    If it’s for an hour to run an errand, or 10 minutes to sit under a favorite tree and breathe clean, fresh air all by yourself, taking a break from your baby is a great way to re-calibrate your emotions and summon a fresh store of energy for the rest of your day.  Ask your partner, a family member or friend, or hire a babysitter to give yourself just enough distance to reconnect with the strong, capable person you are.

  11. Reach Out for Support
  12. a group of female friends at a cafe

    Joining a support group, or introducing yourself to some Mommy peers at the playground, will immediate disabuse you of any notion that you’re alone in feeling like the entry into motherhood can be a bit of a bumpy ride.  Interacting with fellow travelers can make you feel more centered, give you the chance to swap stories about feeding, sleep, and intrusive in-laws, and better equip you to ride out the emotional tidal wave of those early days and weeks.

  13. Be Good to Yourself
  14. a mom sleeping with a blindfold

    Ask yourself what would feel really good, and then make every effort to do that thing, says Goetzl.  A relaxing shower, a phone call with a far-away friend whose voice you’ve been wanting to hear, or a quiet cup of tea and a magazine are all simple ways to reward yourself for the amazing accomplishment of getting through the day (or night).  Try one of these while your baby naps….or for the ultimate in self-care, take a nap yourself!

  15. Find Your Own Rhythm
  16. a mom holding her newborn baby

    “It’s important for some people to have structure” around things like sleep and eating, while “some people like to respond to their own bodies’ signals.” Just as you’re settling on an approach to food and sleep for your baby, support your own natural inclinations and do what feels best to keep yourself rested and nourished without feeling like you “should” be caring for yourself in one particular way.

  17. Be Realistic About Weight Loss
  18. a mom using a weight scale

    During your pregnancy, your body’s blood volume doubled, your breasts grew, your uterus expanded, and—yes—you gained some fat.  It can take a full year for your body to return to its pre-pregnancy state, even if you embrace healthy eating and fitness habits, says Goetzl, so don’t judge yourself if the pounds aren’t melting away.  If you gained more than the recommended 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, consult a nutritionist to start to lose weight in a safe and healthy way—especially if you are breastfeeding.

  19. Be Proactive About Getting Help
  20. a mom visiting a psychologist

    Don’t wait until your 6-week postpartum checkup if you feel like your emotions are beyond your control, or if they are preventing you from caring for yourself or your baby.  Goetzl advises reaching out to your doctor, doula, nurse practitioner, or another trusted member of your care team.  While the “baby blues” are normal and will pass, postpartum depression is a treatable disorder, but one that requires medical help. So don’t shy away from asking questions—chances are, you’ll be reassured you’re on the right track. Congratulations!

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