Postpartum Depression Or The Baby Blues: How Do You Tell The Difference?

While it might seem like a problem that only happens to a select few new parents, experts estimate that postpartum depression is an underreported issue. Roughly 10% of women experience postpartum depression after delivering a newborn. Some studies even suggest that these numbers could be as high as one in every seven new mothers. 

Although postpartum depression tends to resolve itself within 3 to 6 months, different factors can influence the duration of a postpartum depressive episode. 

By some estimates, almost half of all people with postpartum depression are not properly diagnosed by a healthcare provider. While a reported 80% of mothers with postpartum depression experience a full recovery, swift diagnosis and treatment tend to improve the likelihood of this outcome.

We know that for parents especially, maintaining good mental health is an important part of preventing a variety of problems including substance use.

Here are the differences between postpartum depression and baby blues for new parents and their loved ones.

Postpartum Depression or The Baby Blues
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a diagnosable mental health condition characterized by depressed mood, difficulty bonding, and social isolation. Postpartum depression can also manifest as feelings of emptiness or intense sadness that last longer than two weeks after birth. It primarily affects new mothers, although new fathers can also experience postpartum depressive episodes.

People from different cultural backgrounds and with different personality types may feel as though postpartum depression symptoms are laziness or poor parenting. But, this isn’t true. Postpartum depression is considered a complication of giving birth in the same way that perineal tearing can be. It shouldn’t be seen as a source of shame or a sign of failure.

Usually, postpartum depression symptoms start within the first few weeks following birth. But sometimes these symptoms can surface earlier. They can also come on later – up to a year after the baby is born.

Although postpartum depression can happen to any parent, certain risk factors put some new moms at greater risk. When a new mom or dad has a personal or family history of a mood disorder, lack of support from loved ones, depression during pregnancy, or pregnancy, they may be at higher risk of developing postpartum depression. But regardless of  whether someone seems at high risk for postpartum depression, it’s important to keep an eye out for symptoms in the weeks following birth.


Physical Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

Although postpartum depression usually comes with a pervasive feeling of emptiness and sadness, there are other key symptoms for providers and parents to keep on their radar.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include depressed mood, extreme mood swings, challenges with bonding with the new baby, withdrawal from loved ones, changes in appetite, excessive crying, changes in sleep patterns, extreme fatigue or energy depletion, irritability, and hopelessness. Sometimes, postpartum depression can also look like fears of not being a good mother or struggling to care for the new baby or oneself.

Especially concerning symptoms of postpartum depression include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby and thoughts of death or suicide. While these thoughts do not make you a bad mother or a bad person, they warrant immediate medical attention.

How is postpartum depression treated?

Postpartum depression can be treated with a combination of therapy and medication. In severe cases that resist medication or therapy, ultra-brief electroconvulsive shock treatments may be a viable treatment option.

Reaching out for help from family and friends, trying to get regular sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking time for self-care are also important parts of recovering from postpartum depression.

Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression
.

What is the Baby Blues?

The “baby blues” refers to a period right after giving birth where a lower than normal mood is common. Typically, after four or five days of postpartum, the baby blues kick in. Those dealing with the baby blues postpartum are far from alone research suggests that up to 80% of new moms experience some level of “baby blues.

What are the symptoms of baby blues?

While this period of sadness and anxiety is different for everyone, there are some common symptoms of the baby blues. Most parents experiencing the baby blues report symptoms such as sadness, anxiety, crying spells, changes in appetite, sleep difficulties, irritability, mood swings, trouble concentrating, and feeling overwhelmed by parenting tasks.

While bringing home a bundle of joy seems like it should be a happy time, there are several reasons why the baby blues hit most new moms. Although we can’t say for sure why they strike some parents, research suggests that hormonal imbalances, hefty adjustments to lifestyle, daily routine disruptions, and leftover emotions from childbirth might be to blame. 

How can you tell the difference?

Although it might be challenging to tell the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression, certain clues might help differentiate the two conditions.

The biggest difference is that postpartum depression tends to be more severe, persistent, and disruptive to daily life than regular baby blues. The intensity and duration of symptoms of postpartum depression make it more of a health concern than baby blues. 

If a new mom finds herself experiencing the symptoms listed above for more than a couple of weeks or they feel unmanageable in intensity, it’s important to seek help from a trusted provider. Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming the baby are both indicators that a new mom is likely suffering from postpartum depression. In these cases, urgent medical care is important for the health and safety of mom and baby.

Postpartum Depression or the Baby Blues


The good news is that with treatment, support, and regular communication with healthcare providers, most parents dealing with postpartum depression recover. If you find that a case of the baby blues is lasting more than a couple of weeks or taking a turn for the worse, don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor and see how they can help.


Author Bio

Patrick Bailey is a professional writer, mainly in the fields of mental health, and wellness. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the mental health world and enjoys writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Common Parenting Styles and How To Choose the One for You

There are many different parenting styles to choose from. Some of the most common parenting styles include authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and overprotective. Educating yourself on the various parenting styles is wise when you’re becoming a mom. 

Common Parenting Styles
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Authoritarian Style

The first style is parent-driven, with strict rules and punishments. This form of parenting is generally a one-way communication structure. Usually, the parent enforces the rules, with little input from the child. These parents have high expectations for their children and limited flexibility. 

Children with authoritarian parents are typically well-behaved because of the consequences they might face for bad behavior. These children are more likely to listen to directions, but they could also show signs of aggression and find themselves unable to make their own decisions later. 

Permissive Style 

The second common parenting style is the opposite of authoritarian. This style is more child-driven and encourages the child to develop their own solutions and conclusions. Communication stays open between parent and child, but with more input from the child. 

There are usually no expectations of the child, and the parent remains warm and nurturing. Permissive parents use the tactic of acting more like a friend than a parent. Kids with permissive parents have great self-esteem, but they could develop unhealthy habits from a lack of structure. 

Authoritative Style

Authoritative parenting is a more commonly used style with many benefits. These parents remain the authority figures, but they allow for more input from the child. Rules are thoroughly explained, and communication is frequent and appropriate to the child’s age. 

Parents that choose this style still use disciplinary actions, but these actions are used for support instead of punishment. A style such as authoritative parenting may require more patience, but the outcomes can be more rewarding. Children with parents under this style tend to be more confident and responsible. 

How to Be a Positive Influence on Your Child

Overprotective Style 

Lastly, this parenting style mainly relies on the fear of something happening to your child. These parents constantly monitor their child’s every action. The parent often does not choose this style; it mostly chooses them

Overprotective parents will limit the child’s activities and fixate on every decision the child makes. In most cases, the parent must learn to avoid being an overprotective parent. These children will probably develop attachment issues, but they have tremendous street-smart skills. 

Which Parenting Styles Suit You? 

Parenting does not have to be linear, nor does the style. Often, parents will choose aspects from many different types of styles and roll them into one. It’s okay to start with permissive parenting and then implement authoritative parenting later down the road. 

Much of the time, parenting comes naturally. Making a conscious decision to change is a mighty feat. Always keep in mind the temperament of your child and the relationship you wish to have with them, and the rest will figure itself out. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.


Author Bio

Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.

 

How to Help New Mothers With Mental Health Problems During COVID-19

COVID-19 resulted in jam-packed hospitals and long lines in healthcare units, leaving new mothers to deal with all kinds of mental health problems. Infected people were rushed to the hospitals, resulting in chaos and fear. On the other hand, healthy people started hoarding basic medical supplies, which caused problems for those who really needed them.

How to Help New Mothers With Mental Health Problems During Covid-19
*This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we love from companies that we trust.

Among all the people who suffered, everyone’s heart goes out to mothers who fought for their welfare and children’s lives. It’s common for parents to worry about their children’s safety, but their anxiety was compounded by the health and economic crisis.

With hundreds of people dying every day, it’s horrific to imagine the struggle of someone trying to bring a new life into the world. What if the child has the virus? What if they need to be rushed to the hospital? What if all the doctors are busy? These were the common concerns among the family members of pregnant women.

The Signs of Anxiety in Pregnant Women

When your worry becomes debilitating, you can assume that you have anxiety. Worrying about your child’s future is common amongst mothers, but COVID-19 has taken it to a whole new level. When negative thoughts about a child’s health don’t subdue even with doctors’ reassurance, you need to provide emotional support. Physical symptoms include increased heartbeat, excessive sweating (in palms), and experiencing difficulty in breathing.

If a pregnant lady or new mother becomes obsessive about their child’s health, chances are she needs support. They may refuse to perform basic tasks to stay with the child or refuse to go to places where they may suspect danger from the virus. You must be patient with them while treating these symptoms.

7 Reasons Why It's Hard to Control Your COVID Anxiety
.

How to Help Pregnant Women and New Mothers With Anxiety and Depression

Some common suggestions include eating healthy and working out with trained professionals who have taken cert 3 and 4 fitness online courses. Watching what they eat can profoundly influence their mood in general and make them feel better. These are the points to remember when supporting a new mother or a pregnant woman during COVID-19.

1. Seek Treatment

There’s no point beating around the bush if you know that your wife or daughter, or sister is suffering from anxiety during this stage of her life. You must actively seek treatment for her that’ll take away the problem. Cognitive behavior therapy is the most common resort chosen by doctors during the peripartum period. Doctors tackle negative thoughts, emotions, and actions with anxiety management techniques during this therapy. For severe cases, doctors may suggest medications. If you are at a mild level, avoid medications and focus on the therapy.

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy
.

2. Journal

The root cause of anxiety among pregnant women is negative thoughts and worries, and this extends to motherhood. Along with therapy, journaling is a great option to tackle these thoughts. Penning down your thoughts is a great way to judge them. It gives you a perspective on what’s really important and what’s not. It allows you to empty your brain. When you journal at the end of each day, you start another with a fresh mind. Journaling is a must-try activity for expected mothers.

3. Yoga

Yoga is great for pregnant women and new mothers as it doesn’t stress the body. Depending on the strength of a woman, she can combine regular workouts with yoga sessions. It involves a series of poses and breathing exercises that work wonders for your body. It relaxes the mind and helps with the general muscle pain that comes with pregnancy. It is recommended to do yoga early in the morning for a fresh start to your day.

4. Adequate Sleep

Sleep is vital for people with anxiety disorders. Lack of good sleep causes strain in an individual’s brain, which leads to headaches. Sleep can expect both labor process and delivery of the child. It’s common to feel fatigued during the day when you’re pregnant. This is caused by increased progesterone in the body, which causes you to feel exhausted. Sleep is a cure for this tiredness, and anxiety can strip that from you. That’s why you need to use tools that can help you sleep. Try white noise generators or candles that can trigger sleep, so you wake up all relaxed and active.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia: 15 Ways To Get Better Sleep


The chaos and uncertainty have left these new mothers with trauma and mental health problems. Pregnant women are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their child which has left them with anxiety. Not only pregnant women but also new mothers suffer from different mental health issues due to increased stress.

This calls for their family members and friends to extend a helping hand. They need support in terms of work and emotional support to conduct their daily tasks and get back to normal life as soon as possible.

Coping with Anxiety During the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be an exciting time of the year. For most, it’s a time of celebration, reunions with family and friends, and making memories. However, for some, it’s a season of heightened anxiety and depression. This time of year can come with an array of demands, including unrealistic expectations, financial stress, and high amounts of socialization. Although many find the holidays overwhelming and stressful, those with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder may find this time of year triggering. 

Coping with Anxiety During the Holidays
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that we only recommend products that we love from companies that we trust. Furthermore, we are not medical professionals and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

 Understanding your worries can help you prepare and cope with the season. Here are a few tips to help you manage your anxiety during the holidays:  

Don’t Abandon Healthy Habits  

    • Don’t forget to be kind to yourself during the holiday season. This time of year, it can be easy to forget about your self-care needs. Taking care of yourself by being physically active, eating properly, and sleeping well can improve your overall well-being. 
    • Schedule a time during the day to unwind. While you may feel like you must be on the go constantly to be productive, allowing yourself to relax can help you calm down and accomplish more throughout the day.
    • Find time to do things you enjoy such as take a walk, read a book, or practice yoga.  

Organize Your Finances  

    • Gift-giving can take up a lot of time, money, and energy. Creating a budget can help minimize stress by reducing surprise spending. Try making homemade gifts or suggest a gift exchange to help lower expenses. 
    • With the holidays requiring a lot of spending, looking into the cost to refinance your home can be an option to reduce your monthly spending. Taking advantage of the record low mortgage rates can help you ease your financial stress by having more money to put towards high-interest credit card bills or save up for home improvements you’ve been hoping to accomplish.  

How to Survive the Holidays with Postpartum Depression

Use Your Support System 

    • Between shopping and many social gatherings, remember it’s okay to ask for help. Saying no in situations where you may feel overbooked is okay. Friends and colleagues will understand if you’re unable to attend every event.  
    • Understanding your stressors and talking through them with a loved one can help you sort through your thoughts. Writing your feelings down in a journal may help you prioritize your problems and concerns.  
    • If you’re feeling lonely or stressed, try reaching out to friends, family, or professional help. There are many support groups you can reach out to that can help you get through difficult times.  

Have an Anxiety Plan of Action  

    • You want to hope for the best, but also plan for the worst. Having a plan of action when your anxiety does arise can help calm your “what-if” worries.  
    • Determine how you will respond to your growing anxiety.  

Many feel stressed over the holidays. If your anxiety starts to take a toll on your overall well-being, it might be worthwhile to reach out for support. Remember to not overdo yourself and be realistic with your expectations. When battling anxiety, make sure to set aside plenty of time to focus on yourself too, during and after, the busy holidays.  

Does Having a Mental Health Disorder Mean You Need Treatment?

Mental health is the membrane for doing the communication, learning, thinking, emotions, and self-esteem part. Mental health is also a primary key to personal, emotional well-being and contributing to community or society. So many people have a mental illness, but they are not showing and talking about it, despite having several mental health treatment options.

But mental illness is nothing to be regretful of, it is a medical condition just like diabetes and heart disease. And these mental issues can be treated very nicely and properly. So many professionals are understanding and expanding how the human brain works and treatments that provide people to control or manage these mental health conditions successfully.

Does having a mental health disorder mean you need treatment?
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Mental illness does not separate. It can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, social status, geography, religion, spirituality, ethnicity: background, or some other aspect of cultural identity. As there are many teens who go to teen mental health treatment for their cure. While mental illness can take place at any age group, three-fourths of this illness starts by age 24.

Mental illnesses have many forms. Some are mild and only interfere in limited ways with daily life, such as specific phobias (abnormal fears). Other mental conditions are so severe that a person may need care in a hospital.

Mental illnesses are conditions that affect your thinking, feeling, mood, and behavior. They may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic).  They can also work on your ability and functions of day-to-day lifestyle.  Do we need medical help if we have any mental disorders or illnesses? This is a very well-asked question, which may save many people’s lives.


Some Mental Health Disorders

Many different conditions are acknowledged as mental illnesses. The most general types include:

Anxiety disorders

People with anxiety disorders react to certain situations with concern and fear, as well as with physical signs of panic or anxiety, like sweating and rapid heartbeat. An anxiety disorder is diagnosed if the person’s comeback is not applicable for the situation, only if the person can not handle this type of response, if the person cannot control the answer, or if the anxiety alliance with normal functioning. Anxiety disorders involve generalized panic disorders, social anxiety, and specific phobias.

Mood disorders

These types of mood disorders are also known as affective disorders, involving the feeling of overly happy or head seek feelings of sadness or fluctuations from extreme sadness to extreme happiness and vice versa. The most common mood disorders are cyclothymic disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder.

Psychotic disorders

Psychotic disorders hold distorted thinking and awareness. There are two most common types of psychotic disorders, which firstly contain hallucinations- in which the experience of blare or images which are not real, like hearing the voices of someone and imagining the appearance of a person or an object. And secondly is delusions, in which there are some false fixed beliefs that the patients accept as actual incidents, despite evidence to the contrary. Schizophrenia is also an example of this psychotic disorder.

Good Mental health Tips
.

Eating disorders

This eating disorder includes extreme behaviors, emotions, and attitudes involving food and weight—some expected and binge eating disorders.

Impulse control and addiction disorders

People with drive control disorders are unable to endure impulses or appetite, to perform acts that could be harmful to others as well as for them also. Kleptomania (stealing), Pyromania (starting fires), and compulsive gambling are cases of impulse control disorders. Alcohol and drugs are familiar entities of addictions and substance abuse. Often, people with these disorders become so indulgent with the objects of their obsession that they begin to ignore their day-to-day work, relationships, and responsibilities.

(PTSD) Post-traumatic stress disorder

PTSD is a condition that can rise the terrifying and traumatic events, such as physical or sexual assault, a natural disaster, or the unexpected death of a loved one. People with PTSD often have frightening and lasting thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally anesthetized numb.

Postpartum Depression Triggers
.

Types of Mental Health Treatment Options

Treatment for mental health disorders is appropriate for all humans, gender, and age. In addition, this treatment targets to reduce underlying causes, symptoms and make the condition manageable. It can be a combination of treatments because some people have better results with a comprehensive approach. Following a diagnosis of mental illness, there are various types of treatment options available at the present time. You can also have a word with your doctor to find a plan together.

But sometimes, this type of treatment plan depends on the diagnosis and seriousness of the illness. It is usually created to the individual’s needs and cannot be generalized. It is essential to consult a mental health professional before starting any form of treatment. Here are some standard mental health treatment which may help you to treat proper treatment in your illness;

Medications

There are various categories of medications that help to treat problems like anti-anxiety medications, mood-stabilizing, mental health disorders, and antipsychotic medications. Another potential benefit of medication in the recovery of mental disorders is that it may positively impact your mental illness. Because sometimes the consumption of any substance abuse can give you mental disorder so that medication can be an excellent option for mental health conditions.

At the same time, recovery from illness will assist you to stop the symptoms which are commonly taking place in changes in your relationships, sometimes the hormone levels in the body, and some negative emotions like some of your loved ones are facing this same disorder which includes anger, low self-worth, frustration, depression, etc. While counseling can help with handling these emotions, a holistic approach requires medication. People may try hardly any medications at different doses before finding something that’s right for them.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
.

Psychotherapy

This type of treatment provides the opportunity for you to talk about mental health issues within your feelings, experiences, ideas, and thoughts. Therapists in the first place act like neutral mediators and sounding boards, which helps to teach and learn the strategies and techniques to oversee the symptoms. Therapies are the best medicine for every disease or disorder, and psychotherapy and motivational enhancement therapy can play a significant role in recovering this illness. This type is best for the person who knows their level of symptoms and experience of their health issues. Therapy treatment can also be beneficial for addressing symptoms of psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

Residential and Hospital Treatment

Some people may need a critical care unit of this intensive treatment at residential or hospital treatment facilities. These programs allow an overnight stay for all-out treatment. There are some daytime programs and sessions where people and patients can take part in some long and short treatment periods. This mental illness can be treated very well in these two extents, which significantly depends on your symptoms.

Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy
.

Support Groups

These types of groups play a significant role in someone’s life. You have to take care of your surroundings with whom you are talking and living around. These small things make a big difference in one’s mental illness. Group therapy is also a very successful treatment in the world of disorders. You can plan an adventure sport or a picnic. Talking and spending time with sober and healthy groups will divert the mind from another type of disorder, illness, or any type of addiction.


In Conclusion

As we see, many people in the world are facing the problem of mental disorders because of many reasons, but there is nothing to be frightened of; there are some treatments mentioned in the above article, which can help you recover from this addiction problem. And you can also live a sober and healthy life.


Author Bio

Monika Heft is a passionate blogger who explores the field of addiction recovery. With the help of her blogs, She provides information and knowledge about various types of addiction recovery. For more info visit https://evolvetreatment.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Evolvetreatment
https://instagram.com/evolvetreatment/
https://twitter.com/evolvetreatment
https://www.linkedin.com/company/evolve-treatment-centers

 

Tips for Sleeping Better with Anxiety-Induced “Coronasomnia”

Tips for Sleeping Better with Anxiety-Induced "Coronasomnia"
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that we only work with companies and individuals that we trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
Tips for Sleeping Better with Anxiety-Induced "Coronasomnia"
.

This past year has upended many aspects of our day-to-day life, from our work to our routines of seeing friends and family on a regular basis. The uncertainty and stress, along with constantly changing news, has caused the anxiety of this past year to manifest itself in different ways for many of us. From increased online shopping to late-night doom-scrolling, many people have been unprepared to live in an extended period of trauma.

One of the ways that this uncertainty has manifested itself is anxiety-induced insomnia, especially for those that have never had sleeping issues before. This phenomenon, also known as “Coronasomnia,” is the persistence of sleep issues (such as trouble staying asleep or falling asleep) due to pandemic-related stressors. This includes everything that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered, including:

    • The safety of loved ones
    • Job security
    • Financial security
    • Your own health and safety

Loss of sleep, especially due to anxiety-related factors, can further disrupt areas of your life. Fatigue and disrupted sleep schedules can impact workplace productivity, and can lead to increased feelings of depression.

Though there’s no cure for anxiety or anxiety-related insomnia, there are a number of things you can do to try and get a handle on your sleeping habits to hopefully alleviate your anxiety symptoms at bedtime. Committing to healthy bedtime habits can help you get into a routine for bedtime, that will hopefully keep anxiety at bay and let your body know it’s time for sleep.

Here are a few ways you can prioritize sleep to keep coronasomnia away when you should be catching some zzz’s.


1. Read, Don’t Tweet

This is for the people that pop onto Twitter or Instagram “just for five minutes” then end up scrolling away for three hours. We all know that blue light has harmful effects on our eyes and can make it hard for us to sleep, so fight the temptation entirely and grab a book instead of your phone. Reading is a great way to relax at the end of the day and lets your brain gradually shut down and get ready for bed.

If you need another hobby or something cute to remind you to read, try a coloring page bookmark to relax you at the end of a long day and give you something to look forward to every time you open your book.

Printable bookmarks to color
free printable

2. Move Your Body

It may sound cliché, but it’s true — moving your body and/or stretching before bed can help tucker you out for the day, as well as help you get better sleep altogether. If you’re the type that gets hyper or more energized after working out in the evening, try shifting it to working out earlier in the day, or just by doing a few stretches before getting in bed for the night.

3. Stay Away from Alcohol and Caffeine

Especially in times of uncertainty, it can be easy to turn to a little liquid courage to ease our minds and take some of the weight off our shoulders, leading to a bad case of coronasomnia. Avoiding caffeine is a no-brainer, as this gives you energy (which is likely the last thing you want if you’ve been having some sleep issues). While alcohol can make you sleepy, it’s also been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.

If you want something besides water before bed, try a calming cup of Sleepytime herbal tea with no caffeine. To spice it up, you can add some printable “positivi-tea” labels to the end of your tea bag so you’re greeted with a happy reminder every time you take a sip.

printable coronasomnia tea labels
free printable

4. Write It Out

Stress and anxiety can eat you alive, and keeping it all bottled up is one of the worst things you can do. If you find your mind racing and heart pounding when you should be counting sheep, you may want to think about journaling each night before bed. Studies have shown that journaling can be good for mental health, as you’re no longer keeping everything inside that’s causing you stress or anxiety.

Try looking up some journaling prompts if you don’t know where to start, and if you want to try it out before buying a journal and committing try some printable bedtime journal sheets. These can be printed as many times as you need, so grab a pen and start writing — you may be surprised how much better you feel when you can get all your thoughts on paper instead of leaving them trapped inside your head.

Printable sleep journal
free printable

Sleep issues are no joke, especially during such a turbulent time as the one we’re in. Through prioritizing your mental health and doing what you can to get into a sleep routine, you’re doing the best thing for you to keep sleep issues or coronasomnia at bay.


Author Bio

Emily Borst is a digital content creator who creates compelling stories worth sharing. Her background in writing has helped her cover unique topics, including sharing her passion for health and wellness. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and eating her way through Austin, Texas.

Tips for Bringing Home a Baby in the Winter

Winter can be an unforgiving time of year. The temperatures are frigid, the roads are harsh, and there are mountains of snow. At one point, these conditions may have only been an inconvenience. But when you have a new baby, it can be hard not to think of all the things that can go wrong. While the dangers are real, so is our ability to prepare our babies and ourselves for the challenge. These are our tips for bringing home a baby in the winter.

Tips for Bringing Home a Baby in the Winter
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Watch Environmental Temperatures

Babies can be outside safely in the winter. But when the temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to keep a baby’s trips outside as brief as possible, namely to the car and back. However, keeping a baby too warm can also have disastrous consequences, as newborns have trouble regulating their body temperatures. When setting the thermostat, try to keep the temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, especially in the room where the baby is sleeping.

Bundling up

These ideas should also be kept in mind when bringing home a baby all bundled up. The rule of thumb is to dress the baby in at least one layer more than you would need as an adult, paying attention to the hands, feet, and head. Remove the layers as soon as you arrive inside to avoid overheating. Make sure the layers are loose enough that your baby can breathe.

Breathing is also an important consideration when bundling the baby for bed. Good crib bedding practices state that you should not add extra, loose blankets to the crib until the baby is at least a year old. Doing so will risk the baby suffocating. The best practice is to swaddle the baby in breathable cloth to help them feel warm, secure, and safe.

Newborn Daily Schedule
.

Moisturization

If there’s one thing that’s true of the winter, it’s that the dry air can be rough on our skin. The same is true for our babies, too. When bathing babies in the winter, try to wash them briefly in water that isn’t too warm to avoid drying out their skin further. Non-fragranced, non-alcoholic soap will be the least harsh on babies’ skin. When done, make sure you pat babies dry to avoid wiping the oils from their skin. Apply a moisturizer immediately afterward to hold in the moisture. And use bamboo, hypo-allergenic diapers with aloe to help avoid diaper rash and/or chemical reactions. 


Author Bio

Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.

How to Support a Loved One with Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a psychological condition wherein new mothers experience negative feelings after giving birth, as opposed to the happiness and excitement that one might expect. Fortunately, postpartum depression is treatable, and if you know someone going through this condition, there are many ways you can help.

How to Support a Loved One with Postpartum Depression
*This is a collaborative post and may contain 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.
How to Support a Loved One with Postpartum Depression

But first, how do you know if your friend or family member is suffering from postpartum depression? Here are the symptoms of PPD to look out for:

Symptoms of PPD

As opposed to ‘baby blues,’ which lasts from a few days to a couple of weeks in new moms, postpartum depression causes more intense and long-lasting symptoms, such as:

When left untreated, postpartum depression can last for many months or even longer. Over time, this condition can affect the mother’s physical health, mental health, and relationships with family and friends, especially their child.

.

If you want to help a loved one with PPD, here are different ways you can support them:

How to support a mom with PPD

1. Bring a gift

Although a gift won’t magically solve a new mom’s PPD, it can help give them at least a bit of happiness during this trying time. When you visit them, bring a gift that they can use for their hobby, such as a half square triangle ruler, or bring them their favorite food. As long as there is a possibility that the gift will bring a smile to their face, it doesn’t matter how small it is.

Gifts for Mothers with Postpartum Depression
.
2. Focus on her

After a woman gives birth, the people around her tend to focus most (if not all) of their attention on the baby. This is not to be malicious, but the excitement of a new arrival usually overshadows the mother’s well-being after giving birth. So when you visit your loved one, make the conversation about her, not about the baby. Ask her about her day. Let her know that she is not forgotten. And most importantly, listen to what she has to say.

3. Offer to help

Postpartum depression can make mothers feel utterly exhausted, even when they aren’t doing anything physically taxing. As a result, household chores remain undone, and the errand list keeps getting longer. Offering to do a chore around the house or run an errand for them can help ease the burden on their shoulders, even by just a bit, so be sure to offer anytime you can.

14 Ways to Help A Mother with Postpartum Depression
.
4. Give her space

It’s essential to be there for a loved one suffering from PDD, but sometimes you have to pull back and give them space. At times, mothers with postpartum depression need time alone to process their feelings and acknowledge their thoughts in silence. This is especially important during the first few weeks after the baby arrives, wherein everybody wants to see the baby and a million things need to be done in the house.

5. Don’t invalidate her feelings

Instead of saying, “You will be a great mom, you don’t have to worry,” when a new mother voices their concerns, use phrases such as “I understand how you are feeling that way” or “That sounds difficult.” By echoing their concerns instead of disputing them, you help make them feel validated in their feelings, which, in turn, can help reduce guilt and anxiety associated with PDD.

This is What Happens When Someone Incredible Gets Postpartum Depression
.
6. Share your own story

If you have experienced (or are experiencing) PDD or non-pregnancy-related depression and anxiety, ask them if they want to hear about your story. When a woman hears that another person close to them is going through or has gone through the same thing, it can provide them the comfort that they need to push forward.

7. Accompany her to doctor’s appointments

Prompt treatment of postpartum depression is essential. To provide your support, offer to accompany them during their appointments if their spouse or partner cannot make it.

What to do if you think you have postpartum depression
.

If you want to support a mother suffering from postpartum depression, be specific about what you want to help with. Instead of saying, “I’m here if you need me,” which can be very vague, offer to help with specific tasks, such as doing the grocery shopping, babysitting, or doing the laundry. In any case, every bit of help you give can make it easier for your loved one to recover.

Can you think of other ways to help a mom with PPD? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery

You’ve heard of birth plans, but making a postpartum plan can be equally if not more important.

A postpartum plan is a way to help you prepare for those first few months after giving birth.  Many women create birth plans in anticipation of their labor and delivery, but often neglect the postpartum period.  This can result in sleep deprivation, breastfeeding problems, added stress and may even contribute to symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety. 

Here’s how and why you should create a postpartum plan for the months following your baby’s birth. 
How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery
*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.
How to Make a Postpartum Plan for a Smooth Recovery

The postpartum period is often called the fourth trimester and usually considered the first three months after giving birth.  However, women require different amounts of time to recover after childbirth.  The physical and hormonal changes usually regulate within six weeks, but mental health can sometimes take longer.  Whether it’s your first or your fourth child, it can be hard to predict how long you will need postpartum care until the time actually comes.

Download our 13 page printable Postpartum Plan in the Postpartum Depression Free Resource Library!

Limit Visitors

The birth of a baby is like a mass signal to all our family and friends that it’s time to come and meet them.  But too many visitors at once can interrupt the postpartum healing process.  You may either feel excited to show off your new baby, or anxious about too many people crowding them (and you).

If you’ve given birth in a hospital, then there are usually specific rules that visitors must follow and this should also be the case when you are home.  Try to schedule specific times for visitors, and don’t have everyone come all at once.  Make sure visitors are washing their hands before holding or touching baby and don’t let anyone to kiss your newborn baby.  Don’t allow visitors to simply “drop by” because that could interrupt your sleep or breastfeeding routine.  And if at any time you feel anxious or overwhelmed by your visitors, feel free to ask them to leave or excuse yourself to your your bedroom.  You’re not a party hostess. 

Communicate these rules to your family and friends, even if it feels awkward.  Adding this into your postpartum plan and letting them all know your wishes ahead of time can make it easier.  Once baby arrives, the excitement can often distract everyone from the plan, so make sure to remind them in a text, e-mail or a printed note on the front door.  No one should feel offended by your decision to focus on your postpartum health. 

printable newborn car seat signs
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Keep Track of Your Appointments

Just like during pregnancy, both you and baby will require regular check ups during the postpartum period.  It’s important not to skip any of these appointments, and making a schedule of them can help.

Take a look at a calendar and figure out your postpartum timeline. When will you be 2 weeks postpartum?  Baby will need a check up with their pediatrician.  What date will you be 6 weeks postpartum?  That’s when you will need your checkup.  The postpartum period can often go by quickly, so knowing the dates that you hit these milestones ahead of time can help you stay focused on your recovery. 

If you can, try to book all of your appointments in advance.  Doctor’s offices can sometimes be difficult to get into, and a lot can change in just a few days during the postpartum period.  If you know that you have an appointment coming up, you can prepare any questions that you have ahead of time.  Making notes of things that you want to discuss can help to reduce stress and anxiety. 

And don’t forget to include any appointments with lactation consultants, the public health nurse, newborn photographers, for religious ceremonies, to get government paperwork or passports done, etc.  When you think about it, there’s a lot that needs to be done to welcome a new person into the world. 

Postpartum Appointment Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Enlist Help

It really does take a village to raise a child.  Many moms these days tend to go it alone thanks to our ever busy lives.  But historically and in many cultures today, it’s unheard of for a new mother to tackle the postpartum period on her own.  Asking for help during the postpartum period does not make you any less capable of a mother.  If anything, it’s one of the smartest things you can do.

Make a list or schedule for those who are available and willing to help you out.  Your spouse or partner is going to be helper number one but it’s understandable that they won’t be available 24/7 as most workplaces only offer minimal amounts of parental leave.  Try to schedule additional help during the times they are not around.  Parents, siblings, friends, neighbors are often more than happy to help you out – all you have to do is ask. 

If you really can’t find anyone to help, and your budget can afford it, considering hiring help.  A postpartum doula is specifically trained to help you with everything you need in the postpartum period. You can also consider hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service, a food delivery service or night nurse.  If there isn’t room in your budget for these kinds of things, add them to your baby registry.

Postpartum Helper Schedule
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Make Time to Rest

Your postpartum plan should be centered around getting rest.  Rest is so incredibly important in those first few months postpartum.  Regardless of how your labor and delivery went, all moms need to allow their bodies time to heal.  A lot is happening inside of us that we don’t always see from the outside.  So while making your postpartum plan, make sure to schedule in lots of time for sleep, naps and lying down with your feet up.

Moms tend to feel guilty when it comes to rest.  The urge to cook and clean and take care of everyone else is a strong force within us.  But rest is an important part of the healing process, both physically and mentally.  Thankfully, newborns are pretty cooperative when it comes to this.  Even if you’re not “sleeping when baby sleeps” make sure that both you and baby are getting enough sleep.

Once you’ve enlisted help to take care of all your other responsibilities, spend as much time as you can in bed with your baby.  Focus on breastfeeding, have lots of skin to skin contact and sleep whenever baby does. This will also help with the bonding process, which can help with symptoms of the baby blues or postpartum depression

Postpartum Sleep Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Plan Out Your Meals

A healthy diet is essential to healing in the postpartum period.  What type of food you eat can affect breastfeeding, your postpartum body and your mental health.  You shouldn’t have to worry about cooking during the first few weeks, so having prepared food ready should be an essential part of your postpartum plan. 

Stocking the freezer with healthy meals is a common practice for many moms during the “nesting phase” of their pregnancy.  This will ensure that you always have something hearty that can be ready with very little effort.  Stock your pantry with healthy non-perishables that are easy to whip up, like canned meats or beans, soups, pasta, or instant oatmeal (great for boosting your milk supply.)  Buy them little by little throughout your pregnancy so that you have a fully stocked pantry by the time baby arrives.

Create a list of some of your favorite healthy dishes that family and friends can cook and bring for you when they come to visit.  The majority of people (especially veteran moms) love feeling helpful by bringing food, but you don’t want to end up with a bunch of casseroles that you’ll never touch.  They don’t have to be full meals either, you can request some simple things like fresh fruit or vegetables, smoothies or sandwiches. 

Or try a food delivery service.  There are so many different ones available now. Many of them offer free dishes and trial periods which can hold you over during the postpartum period.  Don’t forget to add gift cards to these services on your baby registry, they make great last minute or long-distance gift ideas. 

Postpartum Meal Plan
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Add in Light Exercise

Your postpartum body is very different than your pre-pregnancy one.  Many moms are anxious to start dropping the baby weight and get back into shape, but postpartum fitness should be more about strength and wellness than weight loss.  Once you’ve gotten the green light from your doctor or midwife, you can begin to add in light exercise to help your body recover from pregnancy and childbirth.

Focus on your pelvic floor muscles.  The pelvic floor muscles do the majority of the work when it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery.  During the postpartum period, they will need some work to get them back into shape and reduce the risk of pelvic pain, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.  There are several light exercises you can do to strengthen them, including Kegels and pelvic lifts.  Or you can invest in a pelvic floor training device to do them with ease. 

Try low-impact workouts, like yoga.  Postpartum yoga is a popular option and some places even offer mom and baby classes.  Walking or jogging is another great option for moms, with local stroller walking groups popping up all over the place.  Any kind of light exercise will help get you feeling like yourself again.  But until your body is fully healed, it’s a good idea to hold off on weight lifting or high-intensity workouts. 

Postpartum Exercise Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

Monitor Your Mental Health

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are one of most common complications of childbirth.  Even if you are low risk, there are chances that you could get postpartum depression, anxiety or psychosis.  This is something all mothers should be aware of and prepare for in their postpartum plan.

Keep track of changes in your moods and daily habits.  If you feel less energy, are prone to rage and anger, become frustrated or cry easily and often, these could be warning signs that it’s more than just the baby blues.  If you think that you are suffering from postpartum depression, perform a self assessment to help you see things more clearly.

Don’t stay silent about it.  Speak up if you feel like something isn’t right.  Tell your spouse, your mom or best friend.  Talk to your doctor or midwife.  Call a postpartum support helpline.  There are several different options available and it’s better to get help sooner rather than later. 

Postpartum Mood Tracker
Click here to download The Postpartum Plan Workbook.

A postpartum plan should be designed with you and baby in mind.  Just like with a birth plan, make sure to communicate what you want with those who will be supporting you in the first few months.  And, also like a birth plan, bear in mind that things may not always go according to plan.  Your labor and delivery will have a lot to do with your recovery process.  Make sure to leave room for adjustments as needed.  Most importantly, rest, relax, and get to know your new baby!

Postpartum Plan Printable Workbook
Click here to download the Postpartum Plan Workbook, available in the Postpartum Depression Free Resource Library.

The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety and Substance Abuse

There seems to be a common connection between postpartum anxiety and substance abuse.

Many mothers suffering from postpartum anxiety are prone to addiction and substance abuse.  It’s true that drugs or alcohol can work to help numb the pain and drown our worries.  But it’s not a permanent, nor a safe, solution.  If this is a problem that you are dealing with, know that help is always available and there are other options available for handling the crippling symptoms of postpartum anxiety. 

Here’s some information for moms suffering from postpartum anxiety and substance abuse.
The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety and Substance Abuse
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Who is at risk for postpartum anxiety and substance abuse?

Postpartum disorders and addiction have a dangerous relationship, and each of them often make the symptoms of the other more severe. In the first days and weeks after childbirth, a new mother will go through a variety of emotions and sources of stress. She may experience difficult feelings and struggle with sadness, constant worrying, and extreme sleep deprivation.

Postpartum anxiety is when a woman develops an anxiety disorder following the birth of her baby that causes a disruption in her life and affects her health and well-being. Studies have discovered that women with postpartum depression or anxiety are at a greater risk for substance abuse compared to postpartum women without a mood disorder. Likewise, women with a history of substance abuse are more likely to show symptoms of postpartum anxiety.

Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Anxiety
.

Why do some mothers with postpartum anxiety abuse drugs or alcohol?

Caring for a newborn entails a great deal of work, and it is normal for a mother to experience a range of feelings including worry, unhappiness, and fatigue. If these feelings persist or interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself or her family, she may risk developing a mood or substance use disorder.

Environmental factors such as relationship status or economic status may also leave certain mothers at a higher risk for substance abuse. Postpartum substance abuse may be a continuation of drug or alcohol use that was prevalent before or during pregnancy, or it may be the beginning of a new behavior.

Women with postpartum anxiety may use drugs or alcohol in order to:

    • Self-medicate
    • Elevate their mood
    • Relieve stress and anxiety
    • Assist in falling asleep
    • Increase Energy

Women who are prescribed opiates for postoperative pain-management or benzodiazepines for anxiety are also at an increased risk for developing a drug dependency. If you have a history of prescription drug abuse, let your health care provider so they can discuss safer alternatives during postpartum treatment. Opioids are especially addictive, making drug rehab a valuable tool for mothers struggling with dependencies after their pregnancy.

The Postpartum Depression Drug | Brexanolone (Zulresso)
.

How to treat substance abuse in mothers with postpartum anxiety

Postpartum substance abuse can limit a mother’s ability to emotionally connect with her infant, adjust to their rhythms and behaviors, and anticipate or follow their development. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and postpartum anxiety, it is important to seek treatment that will address both issues.

Many addiction treatment therapies can also be used to treat symptoms of postpartum anxiety. There are many options for rehab including inpatient or outpatient treatment and a wide variety of support groups. If you are unsure about which treatment option is best, contact a rehab specialist who can go over the options and help you find the right treatment facility.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behavior. The therapist works alongside you to anticipate problems and develop healthy coping strategies. When treating anxiety in the general population, CBT has been proven to be effective with improvement rates estimated between 34% and 68%.

Common CBT exercises for treating substance abuse in women with postpartum anxiety include:

    • Setting realistic goals and learning how to solve problems.
    • Learning to manage stress and anxiety, especially with relaxation techniques.
    • Identifying and challenging negative thoughts.
    • Keeping track of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors to be more aware of symptoms and to make it easier to change thoughts and behaviors.
    • Exploring the negative consequences of continued substance abuse.
    • Identifying high-risk situations for substance abuse
    • Developing strategies for coping with and avoiding high-risk situations and the desire to use.
Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy
.
Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness training is the practice of awareness and attention exercises focused on accepting your present state of emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations. When mindfulness training is practiced before, during, and after childbirth, it has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety and stress.

Some of the skills taught in mindfulness training are:

    • Observation: Being mindful and paying close attention to what is going on in the world around you.
    • Description: Having the ability to say what happened and how it made you feel.
    • Participation: Becoming involved in an activity without being self-conscious about it.
    • Taking a Non-Judgmental Stance: Learning to accept things you can’t control rather than judging them.
    • Focusing on what is going on in the moment without distraction from other ideas or events.
    • Effectiveness: Doing what works instead of second-guessing yourself.

Mindfulness training can help you recognize when you are running on “auto pilot”(acting without thinking about what you are doing), as well as developing a better attitude towards yourself and others.

Talking about Substance Abuse and Postpartum Anxiety

Postpartum anxiety can make the experience of motherhood even more stressful than it already is. The risk of drug and alcohol abuse is greater for mothers who are dealing with other disorders and unfortunately, many are afraid to speak up. Drugs and alcohol may numb the pain and symptoms of anxiety, but it only offers temporary relief and does more harm in the long run. If you are suffering from symptoms of anxiety or drug and alcohol dependency, seek help from a qualified professional and get started with a recovery program. Talk with other moms about your experience or join a support group and know that you are not alone in this battle.

How to Talk About Postpartum Depression
.

If you, or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse in the postpartum period, please check out our resources and recommendations page for some sites with important information.

article Resources:


Author Bio:

Ginni Correa is a Latinx writer and mental health advocate living in Orlando, FL. Her mission is to build awareness and promote resources that can help people transform their lives. She believes in the importance of ending stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse