The “Baby Blues” and PPD

Why is Getting Help So Hard?  Is it the “Baby Blues” or Postpartum Depression?

The Baby Blues:

The challenge is that many new mothers, up to 8 out of 10 new mothers, experience postpartum “baby blues.” The “baby blues” typically begin within the first two to three days after the baby is born and improves by about two weeks.

New mothers with the “baby blues” may experience:

  • crying or weeping (some mothers say for no reason)
  • difficulty sleeping even when the baby is asleep
  • mood changes including sadness
  • impatience
  • poor concentration
  • feeling vulnerable

If you are experiencing these things, new mothers should:

  • Ask for help and accept help from family and friends
  • Try to sleep whenever the baby sleeps
  • Eat well and avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Talk to other moms about their experience
  • Visit a provider if these feelings go longer than 2 weeks or worsen

Postpartum Depression (PPD):

Postpartum depression may initially be mistaken for “baby blues” in the first two weeks after the baby’s birth. Many health care providers learn that PPD symptoms typically start at about two weeks after the baby’s birth, but PPD can start any time after the baby’s birth through to the baby’s first year of life. PPD is less common than the “baby blues.” About 6 of 100 new mothers will suffer from PPD.

New mothers with PPD may experience:

  • Feeling depressed
  • Severe mood swings
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions

Symptoms that are especially upsetting to new mothers with PPD include:

  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide