Breastfeeding, Baby Blues & Postpartum Depression

After the big announcement, name searching, scans, diaper parties and baby showers, a constant inflation of your belly and the hormonal flux during the 40 weeks of pregnancy, the day arrives and suddenly, you’re a mom. Nothing quite prepares you for that responsibility. The first four weeks of being a mom is particularly tough for one in ten moms who suffer the baby blues and about one in a hundred moms who experience a more severe version which is diagnosed as postpartum depression. 

There are many reasons for this. It is often attributed to the numerous physiological, social, behavioural and lifestyle changes that occur after birth. Often it is because the mother’s body goes into overdrive during pregnancy when oestrogen and progesterone levels increase tenfold and then drop sharply immediately after birth.

As the body tries to snap back into hormonal harmony on all levels, it’s quite normal for some moms to experience mood swings, tears and crying outbursts for no apparent reason and just a general feeling of unworthiness. The interrupted circadian rhythm cycles including sleep and wake also play a role. The baby blues happen during the first couple of days after birth and tend to last for about a month while mom adjusts on all levels.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the DSM-5, categorises postpartum depression as far more severe and longer version of the baby blues. Here changes in appetite, apathy, chronic fatigue and mood swings are combined with other major symptoms of depression. These include feelings of worthlessness, almost zero sense of pleasure, helplessness, hopelessness and even thoughts of self-harm. This is when intervention is required.

With all the pressure that new moms are under and the constant feelings of uncertainty as to whether they’re being good moms, studies also show that there is a link between postpartum depression and breastfeeding or wet nursing. 

For some moms, wet nursing is not an option for numerous reasons including mastitis, inverted nipples, low milk production, baby latching onto nipple or even very dry, cracked and painful nipples making it impossible to nourish their baby this way. This is where the feelings of inadequacy are expounded.

In an article entitled Breastfeeding Difficulties May Lead to Postpartum Depression, the MGH Centre for Women’s Mental Health statistically concludes that far too often, women feel ashamed and inadequate as mothers when they cannot (or choose not to) breastfeed.  Being a new mom is stressful enough.

The good news is that postpartum depression is treatable with safe medication and counselling. It is vital that mom has a support network to help her through this and speak openly to her doctor and nursing staff. This is nothing to be ashamed of.

Cellnutrition knows that it takes a village to raise a baby and has a range of products designed to help new moms along every step of their pregnancy and thereafter. All our products are 100% pure and natural, pregnancy and paediatric safe.

Consider investing in Cellnutrition Quinton Dermo Skin Spray during pregnancy and thereafter to help with stretch marks and scaring and to help with healing painful nipples. To ensure that moms receive all 78 minerals and trace elements needed to stay fit on a cellular level consider investing Quinton Isotonic Ampoules which do just that. And, to ensure that mom receives all the necessary essential fatty acids while avoiding fish, consider the 100% vegan-friendly, plant-based Omegabiocell 369 range which is also proven to assist in mood stabilisation.