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Battling the Baby Blues

How Can I Get Rid of the Baby Blues?

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Talk to someone who understands.

Talk to a sibling, relative or friend with young children about what you are feeling. Someone who has experienced the baby blues can help you realize that they are temporary, and everything will be fine. A confidante can also serve as a checkpoint who can encourage you to seek help if he or she perceives that you need it.

Reach out and get out.

Simply getting out (if you are physically able and okayed for this by your health care provider) and connecting with people at large can go a long way toward reorienting your perspective. Four walls can close in very quickly, so change the scenery and head to the mall, the park, the library, a coffeehouse -- whatever place you enjoy. You'll feel a sense of pride as strangers ooh and ahh over your little one, and your baby will enjoy the stimulation, too.

Join a support group.

Joining a support group, either in person or online, can help you sort through your feelings about new motherhood. Take care to choose a group that aligns with your core beliefs about parenting a baby. As an example, if you are committed to breastfeeding, but most other members of the group are bottlefeeding, this may not be the best place for you, since your breastfeeding issues won't be understood and you won't find many helpful ideas among this group. If you have multiples, a premature baby, or a baby with special needs, for example, seek out a group for parents with babies like yours. And within those parameters, look for a group with your same overall parenting beliefs. Just because you all have twin babies doesn't mean you will all choose to parent them in the same way, so try to find like-minded new friends.

Accept help from others.

Family and friends are often happy to help if you just ask. When people say, "Let me know if I can do anything" they usually mean it. So, go ahead and ask kindly for what you want, whether it's watching your baby so that you can nap, taking your older child to the park, helping you make a meal, or doing some laundry.

Get some sleep.

Right now, sleeplessness will enhance your feelings of depression. So, take every opportunity to get some shuteye. Nap when the baby sleeps, go to bed early, and sleep in later in the morning if you can. If you are co-sleeping, take advantage of this special time when you don't have to get up out of bed to tend to your baby. And if your baby's sleep patterns are distressing to you then reach out to an experienced parent for help, or check out my book The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night.

Don't fret about perfection right now.

Household duties are not your top priority now -- in fact, nothing aside from getting to know your baby is. Remember that people are coming to see your baby, not your house, so enjoy sharing your baby with visitors without worrying about a little clutter or dust. Simplify, prioritize, and delegate routine tasks, errands, and obligations.

Enjoy your job.

If you work outside the home, then view your time at your job as an opportunity to refresh and prepare yourself to enjoy your baby fully when you are at home. Go ahead -- talk about your baby and share pictures with your co-workers. Chances are, they'll love to hear about your new little one. This is a nice and appropriate way of indulging your natural instincts to focus on your baby when you can't be with her.

Get into exercising.

With your health care provider's approval, start exercising with short walks or swims. Exercise will help you feel better in many ways both physical and emotional. Even if you didn't exercise before you had your baby, this is a great time to start. Studies prove that regular exercise helps combat depression, and it will help you regain your pre-baby body much more quickly.

Eat healthful foods.

When the body isn't properly nourished, spirits can flag -- particularly when the stress of recovery makes more nutritional demands. If you are breastfeeding, a nourishing diet is important for both you and your baby. Healthful foods, eaten in frequent meals, can provide the nutrition you need to combat the baby blues and give you the energy you need to handle your new role. And don't forget to drink water and other healthy fluids, especially if you're nursing! Dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches.

Take care of yourself.

Parenting a new baby is an enormous responsibility, but things will fall into place for you and everything will seem easier given time. During this adjustment phase, try to do a few things for yourself. Simple joys like reading a book, painting your nails, going out to lunch with a friend or other ways in which you nourish your spirit can help you feel happier.

Love yourself.

You are amazing: You've become mother to a beautiful new baby. You've played a starring role in the production of an incredible miracle. Be proud of what you've accomplished, and take the time to know and enjoy the strong, capable, multifaceted person you are becoming.
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