Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.

How to deal with postpartum baby blues?

Taking care of a newborn baby around the clock is a hard and tedious job. It's no wonder that the fatigue, lack of sleep and stress accompanying the new parents can make them feel less happy about the arrival of the new family member.

Before birth everything was well planned and organised. The baby was greeted with piles of ironed clothes and huge packs of nappies. But soon after the baby was born, these supplies shrank - just like the reserves of energy and good mood of both new parents. Almost every family faces a crisis after a new child is born, no matter how wanted and loved the baby is. Fortunately, there are simple and effective ways of dealing with the unwanted feelings.

Not just mums

After spending the first few days with the newborn in the hospital, the new mum usually feels more confident in her new role than the dad. Sometimes she can make this all too clear by criticising her partner and the way he takes care of the baby: "You're supposed to put the hat on first, then the sleepsuit", "You didn't take enough baby lotion", "I am better in changing nappies than you are". Such words are enough to make the new dad feel even more uncomfortable and make him withdraw from helping. This in turn evokes more critique from the mum who is tired of taking care of the baby on her own, and the feeling of misunderstanding between the parents grows every day. And if any other problems emerge in addition, e.g. concerning babycare or the baby's health, a row is just a minute away. How to survive the crisis? In order to avoid conflicts, find some peaceful moments every day to have an honest discussion with your partner. The best way to deal with marital crises such as this is to tell each other about your expectations and to listen patiently to what the other person has to say, as well as to show your love and sensitivity towards your partner. Set clear rules about babycare which will allow both of you to have time to rest - either after work or after a whole day of looking after the baby.

Baby blues

I recommend taking enough rest, because the more tired the mum is, the more nagging will the postnatal hormonal imbalance be. Depression, mood swings, and even weepiness often occur just a few days after birth. Fortunately, this postnatal gloominess, which doctors call the baby blues, disappears without a trace after approximately two weeks, when the hormones in woman's body stabilise. Nevertheless, there's no sense in waiting idly for the sorrow to pass. A few easy tricks will help scare it away a bit faster.
How to deal with the blues? Sleep is the best medicine. It's good to take at least one nap during the day, in order to gain energy after night feeding the baby. Another effective method for regaining good mood (for both parents) is physical activity. It's enough to do a few minutes' exercise by an open window, energetic music, and just a little bit of time for yourself to scare the melancholy away.Parents who have had a good night's sleep (if possible) and are relaxed will find it much easier to cope with the hardship of babycare.

Is it postnatal depression?

Sometimes strong emotions connected to childbirth may take a dangerous form. Almost one woman out of five suffers from postnatal depression - an illness which often can't be cured with home methods. A depressed mum or dad (dads can also develop postnatal depression!) may suffer from lack of appetite, apathy, sleeping difficulties, panic attacks, feeling of hopelessness and helplessness, and even self-destructive thoughts. If these negative feelings don't pass within few weeks from childbirth, you should consult your doctor, for example during postpartum checkup at your gynaecologist. Many women incorrectly think that depression will pass on its own, although usually it turns out that professional help is needed. How to deal with it? Don't hide your feelings and don't blame yourself for being a bad parent. Depression develops regardless of your feelings towards your baby. Nevertheless, remember not to try to be the perfect parent at all costs. You don't have to be afraid of using the soother or giving the baby to his grandmother for a couple of hours. A moment of peace can help overcome your problems. If depression symptoms appear, it's best to consult a doctor. It's very important, because repressing negative feelings will lead to an outburst sooner or later.

Ania

Mum of 2,5 year old Maksymilian, 8 years of professional experience

Marta Piątkowska

Midwife
- consulting

What you may need