Baby Blair is two months old now and the time is just flying by! I love this newborn stage so, so much – the sweet smelling baby that sleeps all the time, curls up in a little ball, makes such cute and funny faces and noises, and is most happy and content when they are in your arms.
But, the newborn stage can be a difficult stage too – adjusting to life with a new baby, nursing around the clock, dealing with behavior issues of older children, feeling sleep deprived and dealing with the ups and downs of postpartum hormones.
I shared a few weeks ago about how I dealt with depression during pregnancy, and how much better I have felt since Blair was born. But I will be honest, not everything has been roses and rainbows.
I’ve also had some strong baby blues on certain days, and once we became more aware of them, Jer and I have worked to really deal with those emotions and feelings so that they didn’t turn into something more severe like postpartum depression.
So I wanted to share what has really helped and worked for boosting my mood, reducing my feelings of being overwhelmed, and just generally helping me to feel better during this postpartum period. Please always keep in mind that I am not a doctor, this is just my personal advice of what has worked for me. If you are experiencing strong postpartum emotions, be sure to discuss them with your doctor or midwife so that you can get the appropriate help that you need.
Natural Remedies for Postpartum Baby Blues
:: Fish Oil
This is the supplement that I would most recommend taking postpartum (it’s good to take during pregnancy too), I take 1000mg of fish oil every day. It will make a big impact on your mood, your stress levels and your overall emotional well-being.
I know it works because I ran out, and didn’t get more ordered right away. I went about a week or so without having it, and within a few days, I could just feel myself slipping backwards. I was more moody, easily annoyed and frustrated, felt sad for no real reason, and just overall felt overwhelmed and like I couldn’t deal with things.
Within a day or two of beginning to take fish oil again, I could, again, feel such a difference. I feel less stress and overwhelmed, I feel more in control, both of my emotions and of my responsibilities with the kids, our home, and my work. I am less likely to lose my patience with my kids, or start crying at the drop of a pin with Jer. The difference has been like night and day for me, so that’s why I so highly recommend taking fish oil.
:: Light Exercise
While you do need to be careful not to overdo it, especially in the first postpartum weeks, light exercise can really also help to boost your mood and help to regulate your hormones after your baby arrives. I started taking light walks when Blair was two weeks old, and have since worked up to short run/walks about three times a week.
Put your baby in a carrier (look for more to come on babywearing with a newborn!) and take a light walk around the block. Or if you can manage it, after the baby is fed and content or sleeping, leave dad in charge for a few minutes and get out of the house by yourself for a quick walk. Exercise helps to clear your mind , boosts your serotonin levels, and even to begins to help your body bounce back from pregnancy, which will also help you to feel better.
:: Connect with friends and family
Sometimes with a newborn it can feel hard to get out the house, but staying home alone with a baby all the time can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness and can make your baby blues worse. Ask me how I know this!
The reality is that the newborn stage is actually the easiest for getting out and about, once you actually get out of the house after feeding, spit up, diaper explosions and changing the baby’s and your clothes! Twice!
Newborns sleep all the time, and will sleep pretty much anywhere, so you don’t have to worry about being at home for nap time at this age. Taking advantage of this time by making a point to meet with family and friends will help to ease those feelings of isolation.
You know how they tell new mothers to sleep when your baby sleeps? Often, that seems easier said than done. When the baby is sleeping you may feel like you need to use that time to get stuff done, or you may have older children to care for while the baby sleeps, or if you have a lot of visitors, you might be chatting and visiting through the baby’s whole nap.
With my first two babies, I was really bad at sleeping when the baby slept. But this time around with Blair, I made the point to try to sleep with her at least once during the day, whether that was for a mid-morning nap during the weeks that I had help with my older two kids, or during afternoon nap time, when all of the kids were sleeping. Or a few nights I even went to sleep really early, when Blair would go down for the night. (That was before the Olympics, ha!)
Making sure you rest and get enough sleep during those early weeks can really make a difference in how you feel. So while you don’t always have to sleep when the baby is sleeping – babies sleep A LOT! – you can make an effort to at least sleep some of the time when your babe is sleeping.
:: Fresh Air
I don’t know what it is about having a newborn, but for some reason I find myself often being stuck inside. Whether it’s because I’m nursing, or rocking the babe while she sleeps, or listening for her when she’s napping in her bassinet. (Or the fact that it was close to 100 degrees here for a few weeks in a row!)
But, going outside, and getting fresh air, can really help you to feel better and boost your mood. Also getting some sun (Vitamin D), is good for you, and good for the baby, it helps to reduce jaundice. So make the effort to get outside at least once every day that the weather is cooperative.
::Niacin & B Vitamins
This is another supplement that I take, along with continuing to take my prenatal vitamins. Niacin helps to ease symptoms of depression, and B-vitamins in general help with mood and energy. I Take a B-Complex supplement to make sure I’m getting enough of all of them.
If it was winter time and I wasn’t getting much time outside in the sun, I would probably also take a Vitamin D supplement.
:: Getting Help
The first few days, weeks, and even months with a newborn can feel overwhelming. Between the time spent sitting and nursing, to caring for older children, it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. Try to get as much help from others as you can – whether it’s accepting meals, offers to watch your older kiddos, or even cleaning your house.
The less you have to do, and worry about, in those early weeks, the less overwhelmed you will feel. And remember, if others aren’t forthcoming about offering to help, just ask! Many times other people are really willing to help out a new mama, but may not know what kind of help is best for her. So don’t be afraid to ask, and you will probably find many people that are more than happy to help you in one way or another.
:: Essential Oils
There are certain essential oils that can help to boost mood and reduce stress and anxiety during the postpartum period. These include sandalwood, lavender, bergamot and other citrus oils, and ylang ylang.
One easy way to incorporate these essential oils into your day is to make up a room spray with water and several drops of essential oils in a little spray bottle and spray it around your house as often as you like, or you can even purchase a pre-made spray with a mix of helpful essential oils like the Happy Mama Spray from Earth Mama Angel Baby.
My favorite way to use essential oils is to mix a few drops with a carrier oil, like almond, jojoba, or even olive oil, and rub it into my skin, especially my wrists, and upper chest and neck.
:: Talking About It
Finally, I found that one of the best ways for me to deal with my baby blues was to talk about it with Jer. If I held my emotions in and didn’t share my feelings and discuss it with him, it just made things worse because it made me feel like he didn’t know or understand how I was feeling or what I was going through. But how could he if I didn’t talk to him about it?!
I think at first I was worried about admitting I was having a hard time. But acknowledging my feelings, and talking through them with Jer, not only helped me to feel better, but also helped him to better support me in the way that I needed him to. And then we worked together to find ways to help ease my stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, as well as find ways to boost my mood and balance my hormones, which all helped me to feel so much better.
Again I’m not a doctor, or a mental health professional, these are just some natural ways that we found effective to help with my postpartum baby blues. If you are experiencing baby blues, or stronger feelings of depression, the most important thing you can do is to talk it over with your doctor or midwife to find a treatment plan that will work for you.
The first days and weeks after your new baby arrives should be sweet and savored, but they can also be overwhelming and sad at times. If you’re dealing with postpartum baby blues I’d encourage you to try out several, if not all of these ideas, and hopefully they will help you to start feeling good again.
Do you have any natural remedies or tips to share for dealing with the baby blues in those early postpartum days? What did you do to help boost your mood and ease your baby blues after your baby arrived?
If you’d like to learn more about living green and living frugally I’d love to have you as a Live Renewed reader! You can subscribe, either by email or in a reader, to get the latest posts, ideas and inspiration for living frugally green. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!
*Disclosure – There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting Live Renewed!