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  • This internet blog provides information of a general nature and is designed for the purpose of education, and information. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your baby, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.

Since the baby was born, I feel like I cry all the time…..

 

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It’s not unusual for a new mom to feel happy one minute and sad the next, and to cry for no apparent reason. The “baby blues” often appear 3–4 days after birth and last for several days. If your symptoms continue or get worse, you may have a more serious illness called “postpartum depression.”

Symptoms of postpartum depression can develop shortly after birth or weeks or months later and can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling sad most of the time
  • Feeling nervous or afraid
  • Feeling bad about yourself, your partner, or your baby
  • Not wanting to care for yourself or your baby
  • Feeling angry
  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby

Factors that increase a mother’s risk for postpartum depression include severe stress, physical pain, exhaustion, lack of support, and a history of previous depression. Women who have had a difficult birth or women with a history of depression or abuse (physically, mentally, or emotionally) are at greater risk for postpartum depression. In addition, having a baby born ill, premature, or with a disability can increase a woman’s risk for postpartum depression.

If you think you are suffering from postpartum depression, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Data suggest that 10–15 percent of mothers experience postpartum depression, but in some groups of mothers the rate is much higher. But postpartum depression doesn’t only affect mothers. It affects fathers. And it affects babies too as it can interfere with bonding and cause behavioral problems, language delays, and affect physical growth.

Postpartum depression is an illness, not a weakness. Its symptoms can last for a few weeks or for many months. It can have serious consequences if left untreated. Contact your health care provider right away if:

  • Your symptoms last more than two weeks
  • Your symptoms are getting worse
  • You are unable to sleep
  • You cannot stop crying
  • You feel sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
  • You can’t perform everyday tasks
  • You are unable to care for yourself or your baby
  • You are thinking about harming yourself or your baby

The sooner you get help, the sooner you—and your baby—will start to feel better.

It is important to know that if you think you have postpartum depression….You are not alone.

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Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D., IBCLC is a health psychologist, board-certified lactation consultant, and La Leche League Leader. She is clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Amarillo, Texas, and Owner/Editor-in-Chief, Praeclarus Press. For more, visit her websites: UppityScienceChick.com and BreastfeedingMadeSimple.com.

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