Beat the Postpartum Blues: Ways to Stop and Reverse Mood Disturbances

The Happy Mom’s Café catches up with Dr Farah Adam Mukadam, a consulting physician at Narayana Hrudalaya Multispecialty Clinic, Bengaluru with a special interest in providing breastfeeding and postpartum support to new mothers on Postpartum Maternal Mental Health.

She shares some easy ways to stop and reverse mood disturbances in the postpartum period.


One of the most important advantages of breastfeeding is the bonding between a mother and her baby. Such a solid foundation to a baby’s relationship with the mother cannot be replicated by any dialogue or other activity. Sadly, the concept bonding is so abstract and non-tangible that it is often undervalued, and many a times completely overlooked.

Without a doubt, the power a human touch can have over another human is undervalued. Have you seen how animals treat their young right after birth? They lick their young’s body thoroughly and this is absolutely essential for the survival of the young.

Free Mother Breastfeeding her Newborn Stock Photo

Yes, mothers are programmed to love their babies in theory but in practice the act of breastfeeding is what fosters this love. When you breastfeed, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin has multiple physical effects on the mother’s body, but it also is the hormone responsible for feeling love towards this new unknown person who is keeping you awake at night and sucking out your body’s resources.

It takes a lot to love someone so selflessly and oxytocin is what’s sowing the seeds of this lifelong attachment in the heart of the mother. Breastfeeding mothers can take the exhaustion and sleep deprivation more in their stride than bottle-feeding mothers. The euphoria of falling in love is caused by oxytocin and so is the euphoria of falling in love with your exhausting new born.

Snuggling and cuddling with the baby happens more often after breastfeeding sessions, increasing the love and satisfaction from the relationship. The gratification a mother gets from breastfeeding makes up for all the selflessness she puts into raising the baby.

Oxytocin plays an important role in new mothers to cause them to forget the birth trauma, the misery of not sleeping for nights on end and the struggles of coping with a newborn’s needs. Had it not been for this hormone’s effect, not many mothers would ever agree to go through all the hassle to produce another child.

Daily massage and bath time:

Studies have shown that mothers stand to benefit a lot from touching their babies too. Women suffering from postpartum depression were taught to massage their babies and the effects observed. After a few weeks there was a noteworthy improvement in their mental health and the overall handling of their new lives as moms.

Daily massaging and bathing the baby is an excellent low-cost way to get attached to your child and overcome the beginnings of baby blues.

Free Baby in White Diaper Lying on White Bed Stock Photo

Interaction with the baby:

Lullabies Live singing rather than recorded music has a positive effect on the feeding as well as sleeping patterns of a newborn. Babies who are sung to by their mother show better development in cognition. Lullabies need to come back in fashion. The lyrics of the lullabies tend to be simple and repetitive and the melody has a calming effect on the heart rate and blood pressures of both mother and child.

These melodies have been associated with increased blood oxygen levels, oxytocin and endorphins levels, the possible prevention of potentially dangerous episodes of apnoea and low heart rates in babies. Lullabies are also the most successful type of music for relieving stress and improving the psychological health of a mother.

They work as a vocational engagement for the mother and serve as therapy whether she is depressed or just plain low, increase milk output, calm her and help her get quality rest, and enhance parent–child bonding. The upcoming field of music therapy which includes singing and song writing for the treatment of depression in adults has shown promise.

Free Close-Up Photo of Mother Kissing Her Baby Stock Photo

Change your world view and thinking habits:

Women are more in control than they used to be, but this becomes a setback when it comes to motherhood. A new person is in the picture and most decisions are dictated by the baby’s wishes. Things will spiral out of control and messes will be made.

Now is the time to let go of the illusion of the multitasking superwoman and accept living in the moment. The mantra for sailing through motherhood is to take one hour at a time. Your life will not run as per schedule now that you have a baby in your life.

Nor can you draw patterns from current behaviour and plan for the future. If your baby has slept in the afternoon today, he most likely will not tomorrow, so don’t plan a soak in the tub for tomorrow just yet. Then again, if he bawled all night and you couldn’t catch a wink, it doesn’t mean there will be a repeat telecast today and you lose sleep dreading that!

Most importantly, don’t, just don’t count the number of hours you haven’t got to shut your eyes and fuss over that. Be mindful of the present and try to get things done on priority rather than spiral out of control trying to multitask and manage every single thing simultaneously.

Free Silhouette Photo of a Mother Carrying Her Baby at Beach during Golden Hour Stock Photo

Stick to your rituals:

If your culture has naming ceremonies or celebrations marking the end of the postpartum period, then please do conduct them. They have stood the test of time because they mark significant transitions, your mind registers the important milestones and doesn’t trivialize life changing events. Celebrate these milestones and recognize them as important. Soon enough your brain will catch up that child rearing is life-altering and that it’s alright.

*Excerpted from New Borns and New Moms with permission from Pan Macmillan India. You can buy the book here:

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