In addition to accepting mild depression as a normal part of childbirth, the mother needs to take special care of herself, including:
- Taking adequate rest.
- Eating a nutritious diet.
- Exercising in moderation.
- Having a social support system.
Trying a nap during the day when the baby is asleep helps. Adequate rest has a major impact on her emotional and physical well being. Babies need well-rested parents to care for them. Accepting assistance from others is sometimes difficult, but she may need to do so to maintain a positive and realistic emotional perspective.
Good nutrition helps the body recover from childbirth. A few small meals a day may be more manageable than three larger meals. Choosing healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables help in weight control.
Light exercise can also be helpful, like taking a brisk walk at a pace that slightly elevates her heart rate. Stretching and flexing while playing and talking to the baby will help tone her muscles and the mood may improve as the body starts feeling better.
As with pregnancy and delivery, a strong social support system is valuable. The fatigue, emotional upheaval and interruptions a new baby brings can strain even the best of relationships. After the baby's birth, the partner may feel left out since all the energy is focused on caring for the baby.
Having easily handled family and work obligations in the past, she may now feel incompetent and overwhelmed with the new responsibilities. Being patient during this transition greatly helps.