What Does Your Existing Postpartum Depression Self Care Routine Consist Of?

8. What does your existing postpartum depression self care routine consist of?

Self Care for Postpartum Depresion Self Care for Postpartum Depresion

I need ample amounts of alone time, especially at the end of the day. As a stay at home mom of three kids, it gets very draining and I feel like if I don’t get in a little me time before bed it’s an endless cycle. My husband knows to give me space after the kids go to bed. I just need to not be “needed” for an hour or two. I also do yoga in the mornings and have incorporated aromatherapy into my home.  – Vanessa

As of the past month my postpartum depression has been getting better because I make self care a priority. I wake up at 6 am so I can make MYSELF ready for the day (hair, makeup, clothes etc), and do my daily devotions and bible reading. I try to not get lost on social media for hours and get jealous of everyone’s “perfect” life. I shower. Every day! I listen to self development books on audible. I just my MYSELF a PRIORITY!! – Anonymous

Trying to grab sleep whenever I can, even if it’s just 30 mins whilst my husband plays with our child in the other room. I might not actually sleep but I can rest. I go to the gym as often as I can as it has an instant effect on my anxiety- it just disappears for a little while. I try to eat properly and not miss meals I give myself permission to cancel anything I feel is too much, e.g. social engagements. I try to avoid reading/watching anything even remotely to do with child deaths and abuse. It triggers me so quickly it’s not worth it. – Alexandra

Routine!!! Wake up healthy breakfast medication, staying organize and busy with work and kids, I take time for myself to paint my nails or to make a certain snack I enjoy or just a movie. – Amber 

Letting someone else take care of my son for a little bit and either playing a video game, taking a long shower, napping or going to Target by myself. – Anonymous

I do keep up with my psychiatrist but I guess I don’t really have a routine right now. – Nicole

Essential oils, breathing, medication, reading and exercise. – Anonymous

Slow wean off of the drugs. CBT. – Brittany

A lot of uplifting and telling myself I’m a good mom and surrounding myself by people that love me. – Jodi

Sleep, an hour a day for a TV show.   – Anonymous

Talking about my feelings and tons of support from friends. – Ashley G.

Make sure I’m sleeping well and continuing to take Citalipram to combat anxiety. – Anonymous

Taking my meds, seeing my counselor, exercising, eating well, and taking time for myself when needed. – Amanda

Private alone time to recharge, controlled breathing, naps. – Anonymous

I just had my second baby two months ago and I was put back on medication to take precaution. I made sure to get plenty of sleep this time around and I did not breastfeed. – Katy 

Staying active in therapy and with medication. Journaling feelings. Good hygiene. – Samantha

I believe in self motivation, it helps a lot. When I feel down I start to point out all the good that I have done that day and I see how happy my babies are and how happy my husband is and for me that is all I need. – Anonymous

Working out and oils. Taking time to better my self. My son will not know I am talking more time to my self when he is 3 months old. I want to be the best mom once he starts remembering. – Melissa

Taking herbal supplements and some anxiety meds, watching my self talk, getting out, getting time to myself.  – Marcella

Therapy, yoga, sleep when I can. – Anonymous

Showers and naps anytime I need. – Emily

Make sure I get enough sleep. Taking time for myself. Self-reflecting. – Lorena from Motherhood Unfiltered 

Taking 50 MG of Zoloft a day. – Chelsea

I am focusing on me more. I realize I can just focus on my husband and baby. I have a few medical conditions, so I am now getting monthly massages, chiropractor visits, not to mention what I do daily to take care of myself. – Kathryn

Still on meds. – Anonymous

Hair and teeth don’t always get brushed, I tend to forget deodorant never get dressed up just wear comfy baggy clothes. – Krista

I’m out of it now. Right now self care is light therapy, exercise and outdoor time, crafts. – Karen from Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County

I continue to take my meds daily, but am feeling considerably more stable now, with only a few bad days here and there throughout the month. My “self-care” is really more like a set of rules I’ve given myself. I never go more than 48 hours without showering. I force myself to eat when my toddler eats. I signed up for volunteer activities so I am out and about around other adults on a regular basis. I’ve started telling my friends what are triggers for me, so we can work around those without it being an issue (ex. talking on the phone. On my bad days I cannot for the life of me answer the telephone. I have no idea why). And Saturday’s are my day. My husband takes the baby, and I spend the entire day at a coffee shop with my noise-canceling headphones. – Leah Elizabeth from Lottie & Me

Taking my meds and vitamins and I get a 2 hour bathroom time for just a hot soaking bubble bath. – Jessica

Clean eating, for starters. I determined that eating sugar or dairy made me have almost immediate anxiety. Tracking my cycle is also a huge part of my self care. Staying abreast of my hormonal changes is key. Daily showers and restful sleep are also important to me—that means a nice hot cup of lavender tea and luxurious pajamas at 10:00 pm. And, of course, I move my body. Every day. I can’t say that I “work out” but I do something to get my heart rate up and follow with a healthy dose of ice water. – Amanda from Mom Like Me

Well I ordered the pills and I’m waiting for them to come in. I try to sleep in when my hubby is home and try to go out by myself without the kids once a week. I work out as many times as I can find a babysitter a week. We don’t live close to family so it’s hard to get support. – Anonymous

Planning, journaling also stamping. – Jacqueline from Planning in the Deep

Taking my medicine and if that doesn’t help enough I will go to therapy.– Haylie

Nothing really. I never even got to sit down never mind “care” for myself during that time. – Crystal from Heart and Home Doula

Making time to keep up with my treatment, being consistent with my medication, finding time for myself everyday .– Anonymous

Medication, sufficient sleep. – Anonymous

Meditating, reminding myself my kids are little and I want to give them the best childhood and not always be irritated when they do natural child behavior like make mess or cry. Having time for myself. Reaching out when I need help. – Anonymous

Routine exercise, time to myself every week, regular appointments with my therapist, healthy eating, plenty of sleep (my husband will watch the baby some nights to give me a full night of sleep). – Anonymous

I have instituted a family schedule giving my husband a defined list of tasks and chores he MUST complete as well as giving me time to shower and get dressed every morning and take the kids off my hands for at least an hour a day every afternoon. I also have a babysitting schedule for my parents and in-laws and force myself to sit down and watch TV instead of doing work or chores during my non-kid time. – Eda

Resting when my body tells me, getting outside a little everyday, essential oils for mood and pain. – Anonymous

I am currently pregnant with my fourth child after remarrying. My youngest is 3 1/2. I have a good support system of moms who have struggled and I can be honest with. I am honest with my doctors and have a doula. I talk to a therapist and I rest when I need it. – Kathleen

I have no self care routine still, when I can I get away to the grocery store etc. – Stephanie

Now I make sure to have time alone. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed I look at my son and express gratitude for getting to be in my son’s life and watch him grow. He is so amazing and I have the capacity for more love than I knew possible. -Yonat from Embodied Therapy Santa Rosa

Trying to maintain my hygiene. Making the bed every morning. Getting dressed. Opening the blinds. – Beth


Postpartum Depression Triggers Postpartum Depression Triggers

We often underestimate the power of self-care.

For women with postpartum depression, it’s too easy to fall into a “funk” and start ignoring basic tasks like brushing our teeth or making the bed.  We may not see it as a big deal at the time but it truly has an impact on our mental health.  When we neglect ourselves, our brain gets the message that we are not as important.  Over time, our brains reprogram themselves to prioritize our needs less and less and it becomes harder to change that way of thought.  

What can we do to change this?

Stop thinking of self care as being selfish.  Yes, you are a mother now and there are children who depend on you but that doesn’t mean that you have to neglect yourself in order to take care of them.  Seek a way to balance how much time you spend taking care of yourself vs. your other responsibilities.  When it comes to self care, there are so many different options and levels of intensity.  Start by getting more sleep or taking a shower regularly.  Eventually you can create a whole list of things you’d like to do for yourself.  Treating ourselves as important will program our minds to believe it. 


5 Reasons Why Self Care Does Not Make You Selfish
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What Type of Treatment(s) Did You Seek for Postpartum Depression?

7. What type of treatment(s) did you seek for postpartum depression?

Postpartum Depression Treatments
Postpartum Depression Treatments

I saw a therapist but it didn’t help much. I read some books to try to “fix” myself. But eventually I started taking anti-depressants. I started taking Venlafaxine (Effexor) but didn’t like the side effects. It made me feel dizzy and caused me to sweat profusely. So I switched to Escitalopram (Lexapro) and it’s been much better.   – Vanessa

I didn’t seek medical care, I thought I was “strong enough” to overcome it on my own. When the PPD came back like a blazing fire in a parched forest after my second baby I also thought it would go away on its own. But it didn’t. I did go to a doctor for it and got a prescription but after thorough research I just couldn’t get myself to take the medication. – Anonymous

I had CBT. My therapist has been incredible. It’s been a long road and I’m still in the service 12 months after accessing it for the first time. But it has helped so much. I can sit in that room and say all the crazy frightening horrible stuff in my head and she calmly accepts it and helps me understand why it’s happening. – Alexandra

When I first realized I needed help I went to my midwife and family doctor. I started medication but it didn’t help. I then attempted suicide and was sent to the hospital for an overdose on a prescription my doctor gave me. I stayed in a behavioral health unit that didn’t help one bit. I didn’t want help at the time I was angry and mad that I lived. I hated that my spouse was there but wasn’t there when I needed him. I hated everything and everyone. I felt that my children were better off without me because that’s what I was told. The second time I went to my family doctor and broke down I told him nothing is getting better I feel the same I don’t want to live I then went to a facility just for mental heath that was amazing! I stayed for a week and got to attend therapy 12 times a day with different types of groups. I was eating healthy, taking the right medication and improving my mood. This stay is what helped me, this saved me! And I’m so thankful because now I know I want to be alive I want to be there for my children. I don’t have those awful symptoms. – Amber 

I haven’t sought treatment yet because I am afraid to. – Anonymous

Psychiatrist with very short term use of Zoloft. One hypnotherapy session. Exercise. Forcing myself to get out of the house even if it made me uncomfortable. – Nicole

Therapy, medication. – Anonymous

I called 911 on myself and spent 9 days in psych in the hospital. Only after months of doctors shoving SSRI’s down my throat despite me telling them they were making everything dangerously worse. I had to be put on antipsychotics. – Brittany

I called my family doctor and got put on antidepressants. – Jodi

Therapy and medication.   – Anonymous

Therapy and meds. – Ashley G.

Psychiatrist. – Anonymous

Cognitive behavioral therapy and medication – Amanda

Therapy and medicine and self care. – Anonymous

I went to my OBGYN for medicine, I was on that for about 6 months. I started therapy, yoga, working out, getting a babysitter (I’m a stay at home mom). – Katy 

Started with speaking to my OBGYN. Found a psychiatrist and therapist. Medication and self care. And whatever help you can get with the baby. – Samantha

I went to my psychologist and because I was breastfeeding I didn’t wanted to be admitted so I went every day for clinical treatments. I was on treatment for a few weeks. – Anonymous

I attempted medication however it made it worse. I started therapy. – Melissa

Medication, alternative remedies, exercise.  – Marcella

Therapy, meditation, self care. – Anonymous

None. – Emily

I started with Zoloft but then I started taking better care of my self and joined a support group with other ladies. – Lorena from Motherhood Unfiltered 

I talked to a nurse practitioner at my OBGYN office and discussed medication options and I went with Zoloft. – Chelsea

I asked my doctor for medication. I really didn’t have faith in a therapist, or the time, and I really just wanted a “quick fix.” Within a few days I started feeling a difference, even my husband noticed. I had more energy, I smiled more, just everything seemed brighter. – Kathryn

Weekly psychiatrist, bi-weekly with OBGYN appointments and medications. – Anonymous

I went to my doctor and started meds with wanting to try therapy later to help cope with it. – Krista

Received Zoloft from OBGYN. – Karen from Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County

After visiting with my doctor, I started on Sertraline (an anxiety medication) as at the time, my anxiety is what was most present. After about a month of Sertraline, they added Buproprion (depression med) to my treatment, as once my anxiety settled down, I found myself constantly sleeping and crying. I had many people suggest counseling, but I honestly didn’t see how it would help me. I have seen counselors numerous times in the past and believe strongly in the power of counseling, but all of those times I had a definitive problem that I needed to talk through. I didn’t see how I could “talk through” an issue being caused by hormonal chemical imbalance. – Leah Elizabeth from Lottie & Me

Medication and I started writing in a journal about how I felt if I didn’t want to talk about it. – Jessica

None. – Theresa

I did not use medication because, honestly, it just didn’t feel like the right path for me. Unfortunately no one could suggest and alternative, so I tried A LOT of remedies. Ultimately, hypnotherapy and a weighted blanket were my saviors. CBD oil was also very helpful for managing the unexpected spikes in anxiety and rage. Establishing a clean diet and regular exercise routine were life giving, even if I just ran up and down the basement stairs a few times at the end of the day or during nap time. I still struggle, but I’m building my collection of tools. – Amanda from Mom Like Me

I asked a friend who went through it for natural remedies. She told me Raspberry pills B-100 and Fish Oil.  – Anonymous

Therapist and a doctor who had put me on medication I’m currently taking. – Jacqueline from Planning in the Deep

Antidepressant medication.– Haylie

Honestly, during that time I thought they would give me medication of some sort and my thought process was me taking a pill isn’t going to get me more sleep, less of my baby crying or my husband to help more so I just never mentioned it to my doctor & dealt with it. – Crystal from Heart and Home Doula

Group support, individual counseling and medication. – Anonymous

Medication. – Anonymous

Looked into therapy but still waiting. Doing meditation, and getting healthier through eating better. – Anonymous

Pharmaceuticals and talk therapy. – Anonymous

None. I couldn’t call, I couldn’t make an appointment with a therapist. I wanted to desperately, but I couldn’t. – Eda

Being OK with asking my dad and kids for help. I treat myself with better self care. – Anonymous

I finally checked into a hospital after driving my car into a telephone pole, where I was kept for three days and monitored while I tried new medication. I saw a therapist once a week for a year and a psychiatrist who worked at a newly opened mental health clinic in my area. – Kathleen

Medication, Sertraline and counseling. – Stephanie

I went to healing retreats for myself, not realizing what I was “treating” but knowing I needed space to find myself again. I went away for 10 days on a wilderness quest when my son was 18 months old. It was so important for me to have time to reconnect to myself and let go of old parts of myself. I was so lucky to have my husband and mom to take care of my son while I went away. -Yonat from Embodied Therapy Santa Rosa

I reached out to my OB and she prescribed me meds but said exercise does the same thing. It was cold at the time and it was too hard with a newborn and 2 other children in school. – Beth


Postpartum Depression Triggers Postpartum Depression Triggers

Anti-depressants are not the only treatment option.

It’s a common misconception that prescription medications are the only treatment for postpartum depression.  Many mothers don’t seek treatment at all because they don’t feel comfortable being “drugged up” during this sensitive stage of life.  Various forms of therapy including talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, art therapy, aromatherapy, group therapy and so much more can all offer relief from symptoms.  Natural treatment options can work as well, including changes to diet and exercise, vitamins and supplements, yoga and meditation.

What can we do to change this?

The best place to start is by discussing your condition with a medical professional.  Don’t assume that you can fix yourself or that it will go away on it’s own.  While it’s important to know and recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression in yourself, the intensity of your mental illness should always be assessed by a doctor or psychiatrist.  If you’re not comfortable taking antidepressants, then speak up and ask about your options.  If your treatment plan isn’t working, then try something different, or a combination of things.  Postpartum depression can be a long term battle, so figuring out a treatment plan sooner rather than later will save you a lot of pain in the long run.


Related Reading:

This is Why I’m Not Excited About The Postpartum Depression Drug

How to Know if Online Therapy is the Right Choice for Moms

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

6 Reasons Art Therapy is One of the Best Forms of Self Care

How Long Has it Been Since Your Postpartum Depression First Started?

Continue reading “How Long Has it Been Since Your Postpartum Depression First Started?”

Jordan’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Jordan’s Postpartum Depression Story”

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

Many women with postpartum depression report struggling to breastfeed, or at least feeling that extra pressure to do so.

It’s hard to know for certain whether breastfeeding problems cause postpartum depression symptoms or if symptoms of postpartum depression are making it difficult to breastfeed.  It could be a combination of both.

Either way, breastfeeding takes some work.  For a mother with postpartum depression, it’s just another aspect of motherhood that can contribute to more stress, added pressure, and self-doubt.

Here are some tips for mothers who are, or who might be, concerned about breastfeeding with postpartum depression.
How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with postpartum depression
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

Do Your Research

Don’t expect breastfeeding to come naturally to you and baby.  Sometimes it does, but don’t expect it to.  Breastfeeding may have come naturally to our ancestors hundreds of years ago when life was simpler, but if we want to be successful at it now, then we need to do some research.

The best time to do that research is while still pregnant, since the first few days of breastfeeding are the toughest.  If you’ve enrolled in a birthing class, it’s likely they will cover breastfeeding as well.  Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can think of and take detailed notes.  You never know which aspect of breastfeeding you might struggle with.

Being prepared for any breastfeeding setbacks can help you handle problems better if you end up suffering from postpartum depression.

If you’re already breastfeeding with postpartum depression, it’s never too late to research ways to improve your experience.  There are plenty of resources available to help you.

A postpartum doula is a great option to consider if you’re worried about breastfeeding.  They are trained to help mothers breastfeed successfully and can help you get enough rest and proper nutrition after giving birth, which is important for milk production.

Benefits of Doulas
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Recommended Resources:

Milkologyan online breastfeeding class that offers tons of information for all the different stages of breastfeeding. 

Mom Smart Not Hard this site has some really specific breastfeeding articles.  I also recommend taking their Free 5 Day Breastfeeding Course and downloading the Breastfeeding Handbook to use as a reference when you’re offline.

KellyMomthe ultimate online breastfeeding resource.  You can find articles about basically every single breastfeeding situation and/or question you could possibly have.

ABCKidsinc– a great collection of articles about all things breastfeeding.  Includes common questions about health, diet, medications and products.

The Womanly Art of BreastfeedingThis book from the La Leche League is a breastfeeding bestseller for a reason.  You can read it while pregnant and keep it on hand as a quick resource when and if situations arise.

For more resources, check out this post from The Merry Momma – An Epic List of Breastfeeding Tips and Resources


Learn About D-MER

Also known as Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex.  D-MER is a newer breastfeeding condition that often gets confused as a symptom of postpartum depression.  It is characterized by feelings of anxiety, sadness, panic, dread or loneliness that are brought on during letdown.

It is important to note that D-MER is NOT a symptom of postpartum depression, although it is triggered by a change in hormone levels.  The “dysphoric” state that it causes is purely a physiological response to the sudden drop in dopamine levels required to increase milk-producing prolactin.  In other words – a chemical imbalance.

Women with D-MER can also suffer from postpartum depression, which can add to the confusion and increase aversion to breastfeeding.  Simply recognizing the unpleasant feelings as a physiological response, as opposed to a psychological condition, can make a huge difference.

D-MER: When Breastfeeding Makes You Feel Sad
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Start Off Right

There is one epic moment after you have a baby that opens the door for breastfeeding success.  What you do in this moment will set the pace for your breastfeeding journey.  I’m talking about when your milk comes in.

Up until your milk comes in, baby has just been “suckling” and they haven’t really been “feeding” on much other than colustrum (still super important, though).  And then one morning, you wake up with boulders on your chest, pain up to your armpits and a soaked t-shirt and have more milk than you know what to do with.

The most important things to focus on when your milk comes in are:

Proper Latching

It will be difficult to latch a baby onto an extremely full breast.  The nipple can flatten or invert, and squeezing the breast to get it into baby’s mouth can be incredibly painful.  Using breast shells was a lifesaver for me during engorgement.

Here’s a helpful infographic about getting the right latch from The Milk Memoirs.

Hind Milk

With extremely full breasts, there is a lot of watery fore milk at the front, and the rich, fattier hind milk at the back of the breast.  You want to make sure that baby is getting enough of the fattier hind milk before they get full.  Otherwise, you can end up with greenish poops and red bums, along with other problems.  The breast compression technique is the best way to ensure baby is getting the good stuff.

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression
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Clogged Milk Ducts

The name says it all and the last thing you want to end up with is a swollen, red clogged milk duct.  If left untreated, it can lead to mastitis.  Thankfully there are lots of easy remedies to help loosen up a blocked duct.

Regulating Milk Supply

It might be tempting to pump out all that extra milk, but the best thing you can do is just feed, feed, feed.  Baby may go through a cluster feeding phase when your milk comes in so just lay in bed and feed baby all day long if you need to.  Feeding on demand will help to regulate your milk supply so that your body will learn to produce exactly the right amount of milk for your baby’s needs.

Nursing Positions

Once you have an adequate supply of milk, you should start experimenting with different nursing positions.  A football hold is great for managing those XL sized engorged breasts.  Lying back can be helpful if you have a forceful letdown.  Side-Lying is always a popular option for night feedings or to get through cluster feeding sessions.  You can even try nursing with baby in a baby carrier.

[Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions]


Reduce Stress While Nursing

Stress is the number one killer of a good milk supply.  Stressing out about whether or not you’re producing enough milk is the last thing you should do.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety and feel like it is impacting your milk supply, try to find ways to calm yourself down during feedings.

For more advice on handling and reducing stress, you can find a variety of articles on Better Help – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/

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Some Suggestions:

Listen to musicput on your favorite playlist.

Aromatherapydiffuse some essential oils, check out the mood collection from Rocky Mountain Oils.

Practice Deep Breathingyoga and meditation can help you to clear your mind completely.  Try to use slow, deep breaths while you feed baby.

Nurse while in the bathnursing your baby (or pumping) while sitting in a warm bath can help your body and mind relax enough to let the milk flow effortlessly.

Watch TVdistract yourself with a good show or movie.

Read a Book or Magazineor use an e-reader or tablet.

Look at old picturesMake an album filled with pictures of happier times and loved ones. (I love these customizable photo albums from Mixbook)

Get Comfortablefind the most comfortable spot in your home to nurse baby and make sure everything you need are within arms reach.  If you’re out in public, do whatever makes you most comfortable – whether it’s nursing with or without a nursing cover.  

Cry it Outcrying is a way to release stress and built-up tension, not always a sign of despair.

Postpartum Depression Self Care
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Support vs. Pressure

Women with postpartum depression are extra sensitive to criticism, because they already feel like failures themselves.  They often mistake breastfeeding support as pressure to breastfeed.  I have heard many women with postpartum depression say they felt they would let their partner down if they could not breastfeed.

The truth is, your partner likely doesn’t care as much about breastfeeding as you do.  They want what’s best for the baby, and if they’ve done as much research as you have, they also feel the pressure for breastfeeding to succeed.  But they don’t feel the emotional urge like you do.  They don’t understand what a total body experience it is.

What they do care about most, is you.  They don’t want you to be miserable and in pain simply to breastfeeding.  They will never think of you as a failure for not being able to breastfeed.

If they truly support you, then they will stand by you no matter what decision you make.  And if your partner’s opinions about breastfeeding are causing you unwanted stress, it’s important to tell them, because they may not realize how much it’s affecting you.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
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Treatment Options While Breastfeeding

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.  I wasn’t given the option to take anti-depressants while I was breastfeeding, but I’ve heard that there are several safe options now.  Prescription anti-depressants are not the only option, either.

Therapy is a great option for breastfeeding with postpartum depression.  There are different types of therapy available, including cognitive behavior therapy, support groups or couples therapy.

There are several different herbs, supplements, vitamins, and minerals that have been known to improve symptoms of depression.  If you’re not sure where to begin, I recommend this e-book and treatment plan to learn more about which ones are best for you.

Acupuncture has also been known to help with symptoms of postpartum depression, but make sure to indicate that you are also breastfeeding.

Don’t feel like treatment is out of the question for you if you are breastfeeding with postpartum depression, it’s important to know all your options. 

How To Know if Online Therapy Is The Right Choice for Moms
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Giving Up IS An Option

Choosing to stop breastfeeding will NOT make you a bad mother.  Yes, we know that breast is best, and that there are so many benefits to breastfeeding.  But at what cost?

When we weigh out the risks vs. the benefits, your mental health is one hundred times more important than the benefits of breastfeeding. 

There are so many advanced options for formula feeding that your baby will never be at a disadvantage.  In fact, they’ll grow up into junk food addicts just like every other kid.  One day, you will watch your toddler eat dirt in the backyard and wonder why you ever stressed out about breastfeeding.

It’s alright to feel guilty for not breastfeeding, but there are so many other ways to bond with, and provide for, your baby. You will only be able to do those things if you focus on your mental health so that you can be there for them completely.

5 Things New Moms Fear about Breastfeeding
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My own personal experience of breastfeeding with postpartum depression was actually a pleasant one.  Knowing that my daughter needed me for her survival was what kept me going.  As much as I despised doing it at the time, especially the night time feedings, I realize now that it’s what saved me from detaching from her completely.

No matter what your experience is like, or what choices you make for your baby, remember that your mental health and physical well-being are just as important as theirs.

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

14 Ways to Help a Mother With Postpartum Depression

If a woman in your life has recently given birth, then there’s a 1 in 5 chance they are struggling with postpartum depression.

It might be your partner, daughter, sister or friend but no matter who they are to you, it’s normal to feel helpless seeing them in pain.  It can be even more discouraging when you try to help them and they shut you out.  But don’t be offended, mental illness is a tricky situation and displays in many different ways.  There are still several ways to help a mother with postpartum depression, even if she tries to push you away.

From a mother who has battled it first hand, here are a few tips that might help you understand her better and be able to provide the right type of support.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

1. Know the symptoms

It’s very common for a mother to be in denial about their postpartum depression at first. Even if she does have her suspicions, it’s unlikely that she will admit it out loud. Often, it can be hard to tell the difference between the common baby blues and a real mental health disorder unless you know what to look for.  The best way to help a mother with postpartum depression is to recognize the symptoms.  Even if she doesn’t want to talk about it, you can get her the help she needs. 

[Think you or someone you love might have postpartum depression?  Check out this post to find out what to do next.]

Resources:

6 Warning Signs That it's More Than The Baby Blues
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2. Believe her

There is a lot of stigma around postpartum depression and many people still don’t believe it’s a real disease.  If she does open up to you about having postpartum depression – believe that her pain is real.  She is not being overly dramatic.  She is not “just tired.” Motherhood is overwhelming in general and it will be for a very long time but postpartum depression is different – it’s uncontrollable.  Sometimes, just being on her team is the best way to help a mother with postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression and anxiety cause a lot of undesirable side effects and symptoms that vary depending on the person.  This can make a woman feel and act like a hypochondriac.

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3. Help her get some rest

Sleep deprivation can aggravate postpartum depression but postpartum depression can cause insomnia so it’s a lose-lose situation.  Do whatever you can to help her rest.  If she cannot sleep at night, then make sure she gets frequent, short naps in throughout the day.  Invest in a new mattress to see if it makes a difference in her quality of sleep.  Here’s an excellent one that you can try for an entire year.

With a new baby, it’s natural and understandable to be sleep deprived.  If you’re having a lot of difficulty getting baby to sleep, consider hiring a sleep training expert.

But if baby is sleeping through the night and mom isn’t, then there’s definitely something wrong. 

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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4. Don’t tell her things could be worse

It’s natural to want to tell her stories about someone else who had it worse in the hopes of making her feel better, but it can have the opposite effect.  Your horror stories won’t help a mother with postpartum depression, only cause added stress.  Instead of being thankful that she isn’t having suicidal thoughts, she might see her pain as insignificant and feel guilty for having such a difficult time when others are going through “things that are worse.”

It’s still important to make sure that she knows she isn’t alone, as long as she knows that debilitating pain from postpartum depression comes in all forms.

10 Mothers Who Lost the Battle to Postpartum Depression

5. Don’t try to explain why

It’s not her fault. But she will try to blame herself anyway.  Trying to find a reason why this has happened can inadvertently put more guilt on her.  Yes, she’s tired, yes, breastfeeding is hard, yes, labor was intense but those are not the reasons why she has postpartum depression.  If labor and recovery were a breeze, baby was nursing fine and sleeping well she could STILL have it.  

Knowing that postpartum depression does not discriminate and there was nothing she could have done to avoid it will relieve some of her guilt.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression - What is the Connection?
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6. Keep it on the down low

For some reason, having a mental illness is embarrassing.  While it’s important to check in on her and ask her how she’s feeling, don’t put her on the spot or force her to open up about it if she’s not ready.

And definitely don’t go advertising that she has postpartum depression without her permission.  The last thing she wants is everyone at your office knowing about her postpartum depression and offering to help.  She will be mortified if someone she barely knows confronts her about postpartum depression, no matter how good their intentions might be.

It takes time to come to terms with postpartum depression for many reasons.  The more public it is, the more guilt and pressure she will feel about disappointing others.

The day will come when she will openly want to talk about it but it should be her who decides when that is.

50 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression

7. Send her a text message but don’t expect a reply right away

Don’t expect her to answer the phone when you call.  Better yet, don’t phone her.  For someone with postpartum depression, their emotions change throughout the day without warning.  Chances are, when you want to talk, won’t be when she wants to talk and vice versa.  

Checking in and asking how she’s feeling is a great way to help a mother with postpartum depression.  A text message will allow her to reply when SHE feels up to it.  You can even include something like “you don’t have to reply right away – whenever you feel like talking, just text me.

Postpartum depression has a way of making a new mother withdraw from society and it has nothing to do with how she feels about you.

Ways to Help a Mother with Postpartum Depression Etsy Printable
Download a printable PDF file of this popular infographic at our Etsy shop!

8. Don’t force her to socialize

And don’t be offended if she doesn’t want to see you.  She’s not trying to keep the baby all to herself.  Going out or hosting visitors means putting on a smile and talking to people when all she wants to do is be alone.  Even her inner circle can be extremely irritating.

In addition to feeling socially withdrawn, many women with postpartum depression also suffer from social anxiety.  She may feel incredibly uncomfortable in public, even in small groups of close friends.

Allow her some time to avoid social interaction, and gradually work your way up to larger social gatherings.  

To The Husbands of the Women with Postpartum Depression
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9. Cook food for her

Appetite changes are a major symptom of postpartum depression.  She will either not want to eat anything at all or not be able to stop eating. Having a fridge stocked with healthy ready-to-eat food will help her get the calories and nutrition she so desperately needs (especially if she’s breastfeeding) without all the added exhaustion of having to prepare it.

Proper diet and nutrition plays a big role in managing her symptoms, so it’s important to make sure that she has access to healthy food.

Why You Should Never Give A New Mom Unsolicited Advice
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10. Clean the house but don’t make a big deal about it

Do it while she’s napping so she can’t tell you to stop.  Cleaning will be the last thing on her mind but looking around at piles of laundry, overflowing garbage bins or dishes in the sink will cause her unnecessary stress and anxiety.  It’s one thing to tell her not to worry about the cleaning, it’s another to make the clutter magically disappear.  A clutter free environment will help her mind to feel clutter-free as well.

If you notice that she starts to become obsessed about cleaning, she could be suffering from Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Check out Jordan’s story to see if it relates.

Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and OCD
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11. Get up with her in the middle of the night

If she’s breastfeeding, you may feel like there’s no point in getting up for night time feedings.  But those dark, lonely hours can be the scariest times for a mother with postpartum depression.  If for no other reason than to keep her company – get up with her. She may tell you that she’s OK and to go back to bed.  But at least get up and check on her.  Check if she needs anything, rub her feet or her back while she nurses.

Breastfeeding in itself can cause a lot of stress on new mothers.  If you see her struggling, let her know there are online lactation courses available, so she doesn’t need to do it alone.

How to Ensure Successful breastfeeding with postpartum depression
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12. Help her find strangers to talk to

Don’t try to force her to talk to you about her feelings. Sometimes, the best way to help a mother with postpartum depression is to find someone else she can talk to.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who understand and won’t judge her.  She can be completely honest and vulnerable without having to worry about hurting someone’s feelings.

Whether it’s an online forum, support group or a therapist – she will be much more comfortable talking to someone who has been in her position before and/or who has experience to share.

postpartum depression Facebook groups

Postpartum Support International
Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group
Postpartum Anxiety Support Group
Postpartum Depression Awareness

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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13. Take pictures of her

Not happy, dressed up, perfectly posed pictures but real pictures.  Pictures of her nursing in her pajamas, pictures of her holding or sleeping beside the baby and pictures of her when she hasn’t showered in 3 days and has dried breast milk all over her shirt.  Take pictures of her crying.  Aim for honest pictures of her so that she can look back at them when she is better and remember this part of her life.

You can even make a special photo album filled with pictures of her and baby as a keepsake because she may not remember all these days as clearly.

Reassure her that you will never show them to anyone else or post them anywhere, they are only for her.

Maternity Photo Shoot Ideas 1
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14. Wait it out

Don’t try to rush her recovery. Helping her find the right path to recovery is important but don’t keep asking if she’s feeling better yet. If she has a good day, don’t assume she’s past the worst of it.

She may go years without an episode, only to have it triggered by stress, sleep deprivation, illness or something else entirely.  Many women will battle postpartum depression for years, if not forever.  So if you’re in this with her – prepare to go the lengths for her.

Know that there is no cure for mental illness, only treatment options to keep it under control.  

One Year Postpartum & Still Depressed
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For more information on the recovery process, check out this post: How long does Postpartum Depression Last? Accelerate Your Recovery!


Postpartum depression is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in North America for a reason.  Women, moms in particular, pride themselves in being able to handle it all.  Admitting that they are struggling or need help is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.  While these tips may help the woman in your life open up to you, nothing is ever certain when it comes to postpartum depression.  Many women experience it in different ways. The best way to help a mother with postpartum depression is just to love her and support her and don’t ever give up on her.

Postpartum Support Crisis Numbers
Get this FREE printable PDF Quick Reference Guide of National Crisis Support Numbers in the Running in Triangles Free Resource Library, available exclusively to subscribers of the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide. Click here to subscribe.