What is the impact of postpartum depression on the baby if left untreated?
Postpartum depression can interfere with your ability to take care of you and your baby. Still, if you suffer from postpartum depression, this does not mean you are a bad mother.
Research has shown that depressed mothers interact less with their babies. For example, they are less likely to feed the baby in the breast, to play with or to read to them. They may also be irregular in their attention to the baby. At times they may be very careful, and at other times they may neglect the child or not care for it at all. This inconsistency makes the bond between the mother and her child frangile whereas it is precisely thanks to the attachment that the baby will feel able to discover the world around him.
A strong attachment is formed when the mother responds regularly and consistently to the physical and emotional needs of the baby. When the baby cries, the mother runs to comfort him. When the baby starts to laugh, the mother responds with a smile. Clearly, the mother and child are synchronous. They recognize and respond to each other’s signals. However, a depressed mother will find it harder to respond to these signals and this will make the attachment more fragile.
If you suffer from postpartum depression, there is no reason to feel guilty or ashamed. The symptoms of postpartum depression are out of your control and do not make you a bad person or a bad mother. Nevertheless, the choice to follow a treatment is within your reach. Given the impact that depression can have on your child, which a priori is doing well, it is important that you start looking for help as soon as possible.
What are the treatments for postpartum depression?
If you are suffering from postpartum depression, you should seek treatment provided by a health professional. If left untreated, postpartum depression can last a very long time – up to a year, see more. Therapy, medications, and support groups can help.
Psychotherapy – Individual therapy or group therapy can be very effective in treating postpartum depression. Psychotherapy is often a treatment of choice because of the problems that can cause antidepressant medications if you feed your child to breast. Interpersonal therapies, which focus on your relationships with others, are particularly effective against postpartum depression.
Hormone Therapy – Estrogen-based hormone therapies can help fight postpartum depression. Estrogens are often used by combining them with antidepressants. However, hormone therapies are not without risk due to side effects. Talk to your doctor about the implications of this type of treatment.
Marriage counselor – If you have difficulties in your couple or lack of support at home, the marriage counselor can bring you solutions.
Antidepressants – In severe cases of postpartum depression where the mother is not able to care for her or her child, the antidepressant solution must be taken into account. Medications such as Prozac are most commonly used.
Is it safe to take antidepressants while breastfeeding?
If you are considering taking antidepressants, it is important to know that the medications you are taking can circulate through breastfeeding that you will give to the baby. The research indicates that in the case of tricyclic antidepressants, the effects of medications on the baby through breastfeeding are very low or even non-existent. However, (rare) cases with inverse effects have been detected. In addition, the effects of long-term exposure are unknown at this time.
How to cure postpartum depression by yourself?
The best thing to do if you suffer from postpartum depression is to take care of yourself. Make sure you take enough rest, take the air every day and eat healthily. Book yourself time to relax and take some rest on your mom’s obligations. It is also important that you stay in touch with your family or friends. Do not keep what you feel for yourself. Share your feelings with them or with a close friend. Do not hesitate to tell them or ask them how they could help you.