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Health After Pregnancy

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Last Reviewed: April 2017

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Dealing with the Unexpected

Your Changing Emotions

Key Points

  • "Baby blues" usually start 3-5 days after baby arrives.
  • Nearly 4 out of 5 new moms will experience mood changes after bringing baby home.
  • Support from friends and family is very important during the first 2-3 weeks after bringing baby home.
  • Be patient with yourself as a new mom. It will take some time to return to any kind of a "routine" schedule.

Many new moms experience changing emotions after the excitement of having a baby has passed.

Common feelings and reactions

Nearly 4 out of 5 new mothers will experience changing emotions/baby blues.

As a new mom you'll be happy and relieved that your baby arrived safe and healthy.

But the demands of caring for a newborn can sometimes be a struggle. One minute you might be smiling and feel full of joy; the next minute you might feel sad and start crying.

Like many new moms, you might:

  • Experience mood swings (sudden emotional changes).
  • Feel a little sad.
  • Feel confused and irritable.
  • Find it hard to concentrate.
  • Lose your appetite.
  • Find it hard to fall asleep (even though you're exhausted).

These feelings and reactions - known as the "baby blues" - usually start 3-5 days after baby arrives and can last up to 2 weeks. Almost 4 out of 5 new mothers will experience some level of changing emotions/baby blues.

Reasons for mood changes

What causes these sudden emotional changes?

No-one knows exactly, but experts think that any one (or combination of) these factors can cause the "baby blues":

  • Hormonal changes
  • Concern about being a good mother
  • Lack of sleep
  • Worrying about your changing relationship with your partner
  • Thinking you will have the same daily routines as before your baby arrived

Ways to cope with your changing emotions

Remember: most new mothers experience baby blues and emotional reactions after they bring their babies home.

Your changing emotions won't last forever; in fact, the baby blues usually end after a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, do things that will make you feel better and help you cope through the first few emotional days after giving birth.

  • Talk to you partner or a good friend about your feelings.
  • Get out of the house everyday (even for just a little while).
  • Read a magazine.
  • Watch TV or a DVD.
  • Take a nap while baby sleeps.
  • Join a group for new mothers.

Try to be patient with yourself. It will take some time to return to any kind of a "routine" schedule.

Get support from friends and family

Support from friends and family is very important in helping you get through this time.

You need your energy to care for your baby and focus on breastfeeding. Accept offers of help so you can rest, get adequate sleep and eat healthy during this time. Ask family and friends to call before they visit; an unexpected visit might increase your stress levels.

When "baby blues" don't go away

Sometimes mood swings and sad feelings don't go away after the first 2-3 weeks after baby comes home.

1 in 5 women will experience a postpartum mood disorder (PMD). PMD can happen up to the first year after the birth or adoption of a baby.

A postpartum mood disorder usually won't go away on its own. Women experiencing PMD can benefit by seeking help from their medical providers to fully recover and/or speed up recovery time. Contact your doctor or midwife if you have any symptoms of PMD.

DON'T WAIT! Help IS available.

Related links:

Speak with a Peel Public Health Nurse
905-799-7700
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216


Bringing baby home | Staying healthy | Dealing with the unexpected
Your changing relationship | Becoming a dad | New parent resources | Contact us

Revised: Wednesday September 20 2017

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