Tell your doctor if you’re feeling anxious or depressed and it’s not getting better.
Hormone levels drop after delivery, which can lead to moodiness and anxiety (the “baby blues”). This is very common after birth and usually goes away within a few days or weeks. Longer-lasting or severe depression or anxiety that doesn’t go away is called is called postpartum depression (PPD).
Postpartum depression can be disabling, causing symptoms like loss of interest, racing thoughts, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, irritability, anger, sadness, constant anxiety, and others. Nearly one in seven women who give birth experience PPD, yet many are reluctant or embarrassed to seek help.1
If you’re feeling intense anxiety or depression that’s not going away, reach out to close friends and family members for support caring for your baby, and see your doctor, who can recommend support groups and prescribe medications to help with PPD.
Get Breastfeeding Support.
Most women have difficulty breastfeeding during the first week after giving birth. One study found that 92% of new mothers had problems breastfeeding during the first three days after delivery.2
Some mothers can’t produce enough milk. Others develop clogged ducts or find breastfeeding exceedingly painful. Some develop an infection.
If your baby is having trouble getting a good latch, you’re experiencing excessive pain while breastfeeding, or you notice your baby isn’t gaining weight after two or three days, a lactation consultant can help. The consultant will help you check your baby’s latch, try different breastfeeding positions, help you make tiny adjustments while breastfeeding, show you how to breastfeed using nipple shields (if needed), and give you advice on when to pump and how often to feed your baby.
Some women may need to supplement with formula or consider using donated breast milk. This isn’t a failure—sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned, despite a mom’s best intentions.
Stock up on supplies … for yourself.
You spent months picking out the perfect crib, baby clothes, car seat, stroller, diapers, and nursing blankets. In the days and weeks after delivery, you’ll need supplies for yourself, too. Here are some things to add to your postpartum supply list:
- Maxi pads
- An ice pack (to help relieve pain in your lady bits)
- A sitz bath (relieves postpartum hemorrhoids)
- Cold compresses
- Comfortable postpartum clothes (think loose-fitting blouses and spandex pants)
- Lidocaine spray
- Ibuprofen or naproxen (for postpartum body aches)
Being a mom to an infant is constant, demanding work! Find ways to treat yourself every week, whether it’s indulging in your favorite coffee drink (just watch the caffeine), a walk in nature, or lunch with your girlfriends.