Seven Ways New Moms Can Help Avoid Postpartum Depression Amid COVID
When a baby is born, friends and family gather to celebrate the new arrival. However, that was before COVID-19. Today, many new moms are struggling with loneliness, exhaustion, and fear.
Without a social support system to lend a hand, many feel emotionally and physically overwhelmed.
Outside of the apparent need to safeguard against COVID, new moms need to manage this new reality. The need to mitigate the increased risk of postpartum depression while also protecting the newborn is critical. The following seven tips can help.
Six Tips to Help New Moms Decrease the Risk of Postpartum Depression
- Connect with others. You are not alone. While social distancing is a requirement for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t mean you have to completely isolate yourself and your new baby. We recommend using this time to connect with people via video chat and social media. Yes, it is not the same, but it is a way to feel like you are part of the outside world. Video allows friends and family to see your new bundle of joy while not risking your newborn’s health.
- Get rest. Having a new baby is downright exhausting. Rest is critical for proper functioning. Try sleeping whenever your baby does or recruit help from your partner or your baby’s older siblings so you have time to take care of yourself.
- Do not skip postpartum and pediatric appointments. If you have concerns about attending an appointment, talk to your healthcare provider, or your baby’s pediatrician. Depending on the provider and the type of appointment, postponing the appointment or having a Telehealth visit instead may be an option.
- Breastfeed. Breastfeeding strengthens the immune system of infants and is their best source of nutrition. According to the CDC, it is not yet known if mothers can pass COVID-19 through breastmilk. However, data suggests it is not likely. Women who have COVID-19 and choose to breastfeed should do so while wearing a mask. They should also wash their hands for 20 seconds before breastfeeding. For moms who wish to express their milk, the same recommendations apply (wear a mask while expressing and wash hands for 20 seconds before touching any of the breast pump parts). Also, follow the CDCs recommendations for proper breast pump cleaning. Anyone feeding the baby should not have COVID-19 and should wear a mask.
- Limit visitors. Because an infant’s immune system is still developing, it is essential to postpone visitors and practice social distancing. Keep your baby at home as much as possible. This is a big challenge for many families, but we can’t stress its importance enough.
- Get exercise. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety and release happy endorphins. Avoid gyms and opt for other forms of physical activity. A recent study out of Canada found that women who got 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week had significantly lower postpartum depression and anxiety symptoms.
- Talk to your pediatrician. Your pediatrician is here to help. Never hesitate to call for advice. They can help with a variety of concerns, including those related to postpartum depression.
Keeping you and your family safe and healthy is a top priority. If you have questions or concerns about your health, postpartum depression, or the health of your newborn, talk to their pediatrician. Working through your concerns will help you safely navigate the new world in which we live.