Adjusting to Life with a Baby

Emotional impact

Your baby will bring out the strongest emotions in you, such as overwhelming love, or sometimes baby blues or even depression.

To manage the baby blues, try to rest as much as you can and accept help from others. Eat a nutritious diet and try to exercise by taking walks with your baby. You might want to join a mothers’ group where you can share your experiences and find out what other moms are going through. Do not be afraid to limit visitors if they tire you out.

If your sad feelings last more than a few weeks or are overwhelming, you could be experiencing depression. Speak with your health care provider for advice.

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Postpartum depression

Postpartum or major depression is a depression so pronounced and continuous that it affects normal functioning. A diagnosis of postpartum depression can be made if symptoms are present every day for at least two weeks. If untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or up to a year.

Women with postpartum depression feel sad and blue, and have some of the following symptoms:

  • feeling out of control
  • unpredictable, uncontrolled tearfulness
  • feelings of sadness, melancholy, weary anger, guilt, apathy, or general despair
  • an overwhelming sense of worthlessness
  • forgetfulness, difficulty making decisions, or inability to concentrate
  • sleep disturbances
  • a change in eating habits, such as lack of appetite or excessive appetite
  • a total loss of sexual energy
  • withdrawal from baby, partner, friends, and family
  • a feeling that you might harm yourself or your baby
  • sometimes: a suicidal feeling

Hormone level changes, in combination with intense emotional stress, can send a woman into depression. Some forms of stress that can lead to postpartum depression include feeling overwhelmed, having an unsupportive partner, and low family income.

Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. Treatment of postpartum depression may include medication, psychotherapy, and education of the rest of the family.

If you experience any of the symptoms of postpartum depression, see your health care provider right away.

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Postpartum and well-baby visits

Remember to see your health care provider at your six-week check-up. If at any time you are concerned about your recovery or physical/mental health, or your baby, see your provider earlier. Your provider will also let you know when to schedule well baby visits and vaccinations.

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Vaccinations for the baby

Babies exposed to biologics can receive all non-live vaccines (pertussis, polio). The timing of live vaccines, such as MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and rotavirus, needs to be discussed on a case-by-case basis with your healthcare provider.

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