It’s estimated that about 1 out of 7 women suffers from postpartum depression (PPD) after childbirth. The condition can strike before delivery or any time after but most commonly begins within a week or month after birth. New dads can experience PPD as well. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of PPD include:
- Feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed most of the time
- Feeling worried, anxious or panicky a lot
- Having severe mood swings, anger or rage
- Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Eating too much or too little
- Having difficulty making decisions
- Having trouble bonding with baby
- Thinking about harming yourself or baby
Treatment usually consists of talking to a mental health professional, medication and/or joining a support group. For most individuals who seek help, PPD goes away within a few months. If you are feeling depressed, empty or constantly teary, contact your healthcare provider right away.
With winter upon us, you may be tempted to wrap and bundle your baby in several layers of clothing and blankets. But, it’s important not to overheat baby. A general rule is to dress your baby in just one more layer than what you are wearing in the same conditions. When putting your little one down to sleep, these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics can keep her warm and safe:
- Dress baby in a one-piece sleeper or sleeping sack and place her on her back in crib
- Keep crib away from drafty windows
- Set the thermostat in your house at a comfortable temperature
- Keep crib free of bulky blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, quilts, bumpers or anything that could get over her face
As for keeping your baby warm in the car, it’s best to dress her in thin, snug layers rather than a bulky coat or snowsuit that can leave extra space under the car seat harness. Once buckled in, place a blanket or her coat over the harness. Remember a hat and cover tiny hands and feet with mittens, socks and booties. When not in use, keep the carrier part of the car set in the house at room temperature.
You’ve likely heard the advice, “Never wake a sleeping baby,” but it’s best to ignore this old adage during baby’s first couple weeks of life. Breast-fed babies need to feed at least every 2-3 hours, and formula-fed babies need to eat at least every 3-4 hours. While older babies usually don’t miss meals, infants can be very sleepy and difficult to wake for feeds. These tips can help you gently wake your newborn:
- Undress him to his diaper and place him skin to skin
- Gently stroke his back or rub his feet and hands
- Dim the lights so he can open his eyes
- Hold him upright and softly talk to him
If he still doesn’t wake, try again in a half hour or so, as newborns move in and out of sleep states rather quickly. This sleepy stage is usually short-lived, but it’s important to keep an eye on your little one’s output to ensure he is having adequate wet and dirty diapers and is gaining weight.