Postpartum Depression

After you give birth, you may feel tired and a little overwhelmed by the huge task of caring for your baby. Your hormone levels have also gone through some major changes. For a few days or weeks, you may have the “baby blues,” which can include feelings of sadness, mood swings, anger, anxiety and low self-esteem. The baby blues are very common and will pass in time. Your doctor can suggest some ways to help you feel better. Less common is Postpartum Depression (PPD). The symptoms of PPD are severe. They can include feelings of hopelessness, high anxiety, eating problems, feeling “out of control,” and thoughts of harming yourself or the baby. PPD is not a sign of weakness. It’s not something you can just “snap out of,” but it can be treated. Call your doctor or midwife if you think you have PPD. If you feel like you might hurt yourself or your baby, call your doctor immediately.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

A baby who will not stop crying can be upsetting but becoming angry will not help you or your baby. A baby may cry because he or she is hungry, lonely, has gas or is sick. You can attempt to calm your baby by offering your breast or a bottle, changing your baby’s diaper, or checking to see if your baby is too hot or too cold. You may also try slowly rocking your baby, playing soft music, or singing or humming to your baby.

If you cannot calm your baby, place your baby in a safe place, such as a crib or playpen, and take a break. Take a deep breath and count to 10 or call a friend for support. Never hold or pick up your baby when you feel angry, and no matter how im-patient or angry you feel, never shake your baby. Hard shaking can cause brain injury, cerebral palsy, visual impairment, learning and behavior problems, seizures, paralysis and death.

Be sure that everyone who cares for your child knows not to shake a baby. If you think your baby has been shaken, seek medical care immediately. Prompt medical attention can save your baby’s life.