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Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression

Updated: Nov 9, 2022

Having a baby is a significant change in life. Many mothers expect to feel happy and proud about the new member of their family, however the reality is that many mums feel moody and overwhelmed instead.

Did you know that up to 80% of new mothers experience what’s called the “baby blues”?

These can be described as short-term dips in mood. Your can mood swing quickly from happy to sad; one moment you could be feeling proud of the job that you’re doing, and the next moment you’re crying because you think you’re not up to the task. You might not feel like eating or taking care of yourself because you’re exhausted, irritable, overwhelmed, and anxious.

It’s normal to feel this way for a little while. Your body has been through big changes. To add to it, your newborn is probably waking up at all hours, affecting your ability to get a proper night’s sleep.

These feelings often begin when your newborn is just 3-4 days old, but usually levels out by the time your baby is 1-2 weeks old.

However, if the baby blues don’t ease up after 2-4 weeks, it’s important to get in touch with your health professional for support.

Up to 15% of mothers develop postpartum depression within 12 months of having their newborn, and this can severely affect quality of life and functioning.

You might not want to tell anyone you feel depressed after your baby’s birth, but treatment can help you feel like yourself again, so it’s important to seek help quickly. Untreated postpartum depression can have adverse long-term effects on the mother and her children


- You feel hopeless, sad, worthless, or alone all the time, and you cry often;

- You don’t feel like you’re doing a good job as a new mum;

- You’re not bonding with your baby;

- You can’t eat, sleep, or take care of your baby because of your overwhelming despair;

- You could have anxiety and panic attacks.


Research studies have consistently shown that the following risk factors are predictors of postpartum depression:

- depression or anxiety during pregnancy;

- stressful recent life events;

- poor social support;

- previous history of depression;

- Low self-esteem;

- Childcare stress;

- Difficult infant temperament;

- Maternal neuroticism (tendency towards anxiety, depression, self-doubt & other negative feelings)

- Obstetric & Pregnancy complications;

- Single marital status;

- Low socioeconomic status & income;

- Poor relationship with partner;

- Negative cognitive attributions (the tendency to make judgments of intent, hostility, and blame regarding others' behaviours).

If you or someone you know need help, contact your doctor or health professional for support. Seeing a Psychologist can help. At D.I.V.E. we offer women's holistic psychology appointments to help support you through the challenges, and equip you with the resources, tools and strategies to bring about a greater sense of balance, health and well-being.

To make a booking, click the "BOOK NOW" button at the top of the page, or give us a call on (07) 5618 8882.


Stewart, D.E., Robertson, E., Dennis, C-L., Grace, S.L., & Wallington, T. (2003). Postpartum depression: Literature review of risk factors and interventions.

Robertson, E., Celasun, N., and Stewart, D.E. (2003). Risk factors for postpartum depression. In Stewart, D.E., Robertson, E., Dennis, C.-L., Grace, S.L., & Wallington, T. (2003). Postpartum depression: Literature review of risk factors and interventions.

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