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Why Do I Have The Baby Blues After Giving Birth?

Feeling sad after having a baby is a common experience that many new mothers go through. This is often referred to as the “Baby blues”. We explore the baby blues after giving birth.

What Are The Baby Blues?

The baby blues are feelings of sadness, mood swings, or emotional instability that many new mothers experience shortly after giving birth. These feelings are considered a normal and a common response to the hormonal changes, physical exhaustion, and emotional adjustments that accompany childbirth and the postpartum period. They usually begin within the first few days after childbirth and may last for up to two weeks.

What Are The Symptoms Of The Baby Blues?

Symptoms can include:

Mood Swings

Feeling happy one moment and tearful or irritable the next.

Crying Spells

Suddenly bursting into tears without a clear trigger.


Feeling anxious or overwhelmed about the responsibilities of motherhood.


Extreme tiredness or exhaustion from the physical demands of childbirth and caring for a newborn.

Difficulty Sleeping

Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, even when the baby is sleeping.

Appetite Changes

Changes in appetite, including loss of appetite or overeating.

Difficulty Concentrating

Trouble focusing or concentrating on tasks.

Feelings of Doubt or Guilt

Second-guessing oneself as a parent and feeling guilty for not meeting perceived expectations.

What Causes The Baby Blues?

The baby blues are primarily caused by physical, hormonal, and emotional factors that occur during the postpartum period. Here are some common reasons why new mothers may experience the baby blues:

Hormonal Changes

After giving birth, a woman’s hormone levels fluctuate. The sudden drop in oestrogen and progesterone levels, along with other hormonal changes, can affect neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to mood swings and feelings of sadness or irritability.

Physical Exhaustion

Childbirth is physically demanding, and caring for a newborn requires around-the-clock attention and care. Sleep deprivation, fatigue, and physical discomfort from the birthing process can contribute to feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm, which can intensify the baby blues.

Emotional Adjustment

Becoming a parent is a major life transition that can bring up a range of emotions, including joy, excitement, anxiety, and fear. Adjusting to the new responsibilities and demands of parenthood, as well as changes in relationships and lifestyle, can be overwhelming and may contribute to feelings of sadness or anxiety.

Stressful Life Events

The postpartum period can be accompanied by other stressful life events, such as financial strain, marital conflicts, or health issues, which can increase the risk of experiencing the baby blues.

Lack of Support

Feeling isolated or lacking support from friends, family, or partners can intensify feelings of sadness or loneliness during the postpartum period. Having a strong support system in place can help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide emotional support during this challenging time.

Personal History

Women with a personal or family history of depression or anxiety may be at a higher risk of experiencing the baby blues. Genetic factors, as well as past experiences of trauma or loss, can influence a woman’s susceptibility to mood disorders during the postpartum period.

How Are The Baby Blues Different From Postnatal Depression?

The baby blues and postnatal depression are two distinct but related conditions that affect new mothers during the postpartum period. Here’s how they differ:

Timing and Duration

  • Baby Blues: The baby blues usually begin within the first few days after childbirth and may last for up to two weeks.
  • Postnatal Depression: Postnatal depression, however, is a more severe and long-lasting condition that can develop anytime within the first year after childbirth.

Severity of Symptoms

  • Baby Blues: Symptoms of the baby blues are usually mild to moderate and include feelings of sadness, mood swings, tearfulness, anxiety, and fatigue.
  • Postnatal Depression: Postnatal depression is characterised by more severe and persistent symptoms, which may include prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, irritability, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, difficulty bonding with the baby, and thoughts of harming oneself or the baby.

Impact on Daily Life

  • Baby Blues: The symptoms of the baby blues are temporary and do not interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself and her baby.
  • Postnatal Depression: Postnatal depression, however, can have an impact on a woman’s daily life and functioning. It can affect her ability to care for her baby, perform household tasks, maintain relationships, and attend to her own needs.

What Are Some Ways To Manage The Baby Blues?

Managing the baby blues involves a combination of self-care strategies, social support, and seeking professional help if needed. Here are some ways to manage the baby blues:


  • Prioritise Rest: Take as much rest as possible, even if it means sleeping when the baby sleeps.
  • Eat Well: Maintain a balanced diet with nutritious meals and snacks to support your physical and emotional well-being.
  • Gentle Exercise: Engage in gentle exercises like walking or yoga to boost your mood and energy levels.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
  • Avoid Isolation: Stay connected with friends and family members, either in person or through phone calls, texts, or video chats. Social support can provide emotional reassurance and help alleviate feelings of loneliness.

Social Support

  • Talk About Your Feelings: Share your feelings and experiences with friends, family, or a support group for new mothers. Sometimes, simply talking about what you’re going through can provide relief and validation.
  • Accept Help: Don’t hesitate to accept offers of help, whether it’s assistance with household chores, childcare, or running errands. Allow yourself to focus on self-care and bonding with your baby.
  • Join a Support Group: Consider joining a support group for new mothers, either in person or online. Connecting with other women who are going through similar experiences can provide valuable support and validation.

Professional Help

  • Talk to a Healthcare Professional: If you’re struggling to cope with the baby blues or if your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, talk to your doctor. Some of the warning signs include the severity or duration of symptoms, difficulty functioning, changes in eating or sleep patterns, thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, a lack of interest in activities, or are feeling overwhelmed/unable to cope. They can offer guidance, support, and resources to help you manage your symptoms.
  • Consider Therapy: Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling, can be beneficial for women experiencing the baby blues or postnatal depression. A therapist can provide a safe and supportive environment to explore your feelings, learn coping strategies, and develop healthy ways of managing stress.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be recommended to help alleviate symptoms of the baby blues or postnatal depression. Talk to your healthcare provider about the potential risks and benefits of medication, and whether it’s an appropriate option for you.

In summary, the baby blues are a temporary and common experience for many new mothers, characterised by feelings of sadness, mood swings, and emotional instability. With the right support and self-care strategies, most women are able to navigate through the baby blues and emerge feeling more confident and resilient in their new role as a parent.

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