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Postpartum feelings

  • Many women have emotional changes after giving birth.
  • Postpartum depression is a common problem for new moms.
  • Share your feelings with your partner and your provider.
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Going back to work or school after having a baby

Lots of women go back to work or school after they have a baby. You may be ready to get back to your regular routine and be with your coworkers and friends again.

But it may be hard for you to leave your baby with a caregiver all day, even if it's a family member or a close friend. Also, it may be hard to find a caregiver you trust. You and your partner may disagree about what type of child care is best for your baby. You may be upset and angry that you can’t stay home with your baby all the time.

What you can do
Talk to your partner about child care for your baby. Figure out how much you can spend and what kind of care you want. For example, you can have a caregiver come to your home to take care of your baby. Or you can take your baby to a child care center. Ask friends and family members about who took care of their baby when they went back to work. Maybe you can use the same person or service.

If you're using a day care center, ask for the names and phone numbers of people who have used the center. Call to ask how they felt about the center's care.

Ask your boss if you can ease back into work. Maybe you can work a few hours a day at the beginning instead of all day. Or you might be able to work a few days a week instead of 5 days a week.

See also: Choosing a child care provider

May 2009

Signs of depression

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Changes in appetite, weight or sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Talk to your doctor if symptoms last or worsen.

Most common questions

How do I know if I have postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is intense feelings of sadness that last for a long time after having a baby. About 1 in 8 women have postpartum depression. In fact, it's the most common problem for new moms. It can happen any time in the first 3 months after a baby is born. Signs of PPD include feeling tired all the time, having no interest in your usual activities, gaining or losing weight, changing your eating habits, having trouble sleeping or concentrating, and thinking about suicide or death. If you have five or more of these signs and they last for 2 weeks or longer, you may have PPD. Tell your health care provider about your feelings. She can give you treatment that can help you feel better.

What are the baby blues?

Baby blues are feelings of sadness you may have 3 to 5 days after having a baby. These feelings most likely are caused by all the hormones in your body right after pregnancy. You may feel sad or cranky, and you may cry a lot. By about 10 days after the baby's birth, the baby blues should go away. If they don't, tell your health care provider.

What can I do to get rid of the baby blues?

Talk to your partner or a good friend about how you're feeling. It's really common to have the baby blues, and talking about your feelings may help you feel better. Get plenty of rest. It's hard to rest with a new baby to take care of! Try to sleep when the baby sleeps. Ask your partner, friends and family to help you take care of the baby and chores around the house. It's OK to ask for help so you don't feel like you have to do everything yourself. Finally, get out of the house every day, even if it’s for a short time. Don't feel like you have to stay home all day by yourself. Getting up and out of the house can make you feel energized and back in touch with the rest of the world.

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