Tough Stuff: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Tough Stuff: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Being a new mom is tough, and not just for reasons that first come to mind. Pregnancy and motherhood can take a toll on your mental health. Fluctuating hormones and lack of sleep all contribute to postpartum mood disorders. Here, we take a look at two common maternal mental illnesses that are not talked about enough: postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.

So, just how common is postpartum depression?

The CDC estimates that 1 in 9 women experience symptoms, but the data varies by state so it could be as high as 1 in 5. Either way, it’s a lot. Postpartum depression is common, but the symptoms and experience are different for everyone.

There are also certain factors that put you at higher risk – most notably a prior history of depression. Nobody had mentioned to me that it was more common in those that suffered from depression/anxiety before pregnancy. There’s not enough information out there for pregnant moms before it happens,” says Kim C from our Super Moms Facebook group.

It’s important to emphasize that postpartum depression is different from stress or having a bad day. Every mom experiences stress or a bad day or two, but it’s important to seek help or take extra steps if you experience symptoms of depression.

Some common symptoms of postpartum depression:

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
  • Feelings of irritability or restlessness.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Problems concentrating, recalling details, and making decisions.
  • Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Overeating or loss of appetite.
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.


Tough Stuff: Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Postpartum Anxiety

A lesser-known condition is postpartum anxiety which can have completely different symptoms from depression. Anxiety affects about 10% of new moms.

“I wish I had known postpartum anxiety was a thing! I had heard of postpartum depression but not anxiety. Everything seemed like such a BIG DEAL to overcome but step by step things started to seem okay again. Talking with family helped.” (Lisolette D in our Super Moms Facebook group).

Symptoms of postpartum anxiety include:

  • Constant worry
  • Feeling that something bad is going to happen
  • Racing thoughts
  • Disturbances of sleep and appetite
  • Inability to sit still
  • Dizziness, hot flashes, and nausea

(Postpartum Support International)

Tips to cope with depression and anxiety:

  1. Eat nutritious food and stay hydrated. It’s important to keep your body strong and healthy during tough times.
  2. Exercise. Even if you simply go for a walk around your neighborhood, exercise has been proven to make you feel better and less anxious by releasing endorphins.
  3. On that same note – get outside. Nature and exercise have calming effects.
  4. Practice basic self-care. Take a shower, put on clean clothes and fix your hair up a little even if you don’t feel like it.
  5. Get plenty of sleep. This can be hard with a newborn around, but it’s so important. Find more tips on this here.
  6. Make time for YOU. Enlist your spouse, a family member, or a friend to look after your little one so you can get in some much needed ‘me time.’ Take a yoga class, get a manicure, or just get dinner with a good friend.  

Most importantly, find support and ask for help.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned in this post, it’s crucial that you seek more information and help. It’s important to remember that this is common, even if it’s not talked about – and that you are not alone. Postpartum Support International provides many resources including a 24-hour helpline and weekly chats with experts. Seeking support from family members, your doctor, or a moms support group are also good options.

Do you have any additional advice on how to manage depression or anxiety? Share it with the community in a comment.

It’s Rough Being an Infant: How to Cope with 5 Normal Issues

It’s Rough Being an Infant: How to Cope with 5 Normal Issues

Infants face many common issues, some of which can seem overwhelming for new moms. Relieving issues such as constipation take patience and practice but we hope that this guide will make your job a little bit easier. Read on for five common (and completely normal) issues plus tips for coping.


The unfortunate reality is that most newborns won’t sleep through the night. The first few weeks are the hardest but it does get better. Split up sleeping schedules between you and your spouse so you’re able to get some rest. Choose a couple of nights per week for your spouse to be on night duty. Consider inviting a relative to stay over and help out.

A common complaint from moms is that it seems like their newborn is sleepy during the day but wants to stay up all night. Try to make contrasts between day and night. Make sure the house is full of light during the day. Keep it darker and quieter at night. Check out this Baby Sleep Cheat Sheet for info on how much sleep your baby needs by age.

Here are some additional tips to try:

  • Try a white noise machine to soothe your newborn. Many moms swear by these!
  • Use blackout curtains to create a clear distinction between day and night.
  • Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it.
  • Rock the baby to sleep on an exercise ball or rocking chair.

It’s Rough Being an Infant: How to Cope with 5 Normal Issues


Infants can have a hard time letting gas out which leads to a bloated belly and discomfort. The gassiness should subside after a few months. Here are some tips for relieving gas:

  • Burp your baby during meals to prevent build up.
  • Gently massage your little one’s tummy to get the air moving.
  • Get baby moving. Lay your baby on her back and move her legs in a gentle bicycle motion to release trapped air.


Teething starts at around three months and can disrupt baby’s sleep and cause irritability. Luckily, you can help relieve some of the symptoms of teething. Teething toys can help relieve pain and inflammation. We recommend trying the best-selling Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether. It helps to gently massage sore gums. Rashes caused by excess drool are another common symptom. Try applying a natural rash balm or cream.

It’s Rough Being an Infant: How to Cope with 5 Normal Issues

Dry Scalp

Dry scalp or dandruff, also known as “Cradle Cap” is a common skin issue encountered in your baby’s first year. It’s a harmless issue that typically clears up on its own. However, you can take steps to treat areas with dandruff. Wash the areas with warm water and a mild soap or shampoo then rinse thoroughly. Gently massage coconut oil (or another natural plant-based oil) into your baby’s scalp. Leave the oil on for up to 30 minutes then use an infant hairbrush or a soft washcloth to remove dandruff flakes. Repeat as needed.


Have diaper changes become infrequent? Your baby is likely suffering from constipation. Constipation symptoms in infants can include a red face or fussiness when trying to pass a stool. Your baby’s belly may also feel bloated and hard. Usually, constipation can be relieved naturally. However, it’s time to see a doctor if you notice bloody or black stools, inflammation, vomiting or fever.

Common causes of constipation include a change in formula, dehydration, fiber deficiency, or gastrointestinal infection (Mom Junction). Before you start worrying, try some simple changes in diet:

  • Increase feeding frequency
  • Try a new formula
  • Try a warm bath
  • Feed baby foods that start with a “P” – prunes, peaches, plums, peas, and apricots (My Little Moppet)
  • Massage baby’s belly with coconut oil

For further reading, check out our 9 Tips for Surviving Your First Week Home With a New Baby.

March Photography Contest

We love to show off the work of our amazingly talented photographers. Take a minute to enjoy the slideshow below. Check back each month to see more unique and beautiful photos. Congratulations to all winners and honorable mentions!

To get your own Bella Life or Bella Baby photos, contact us to see if we are in your area!

“Stay away from Dr. Google” and more tips for new moms

“Stay away from Dr. Google” and more tips for new moms

Being a new mom is one of the most incredible and one of the most challenging experiences women will encounter. And like with most change there is a learning curve.

Last month, we sourced advice for new moms from our wonderful community of Bella Baby Super Moms. We were thrilled to see the large amount of advice that poured in. We hope this post will prepare you for the ‘unknowns’ and support your amazing new mom journey.

Are you expecting? Here are some of our Super Moms’ tips and sweet advice that may just come in handy.  

Accept help.

“Don’t plan on being SuperMom. You cannot get all the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and other housework done every day.” – Sara H

“Take help when it’s offered!! It’s easy to become overwhelmed trying to be supermom when you’re new to the game! Talk to your doctors, not Google!” – Britni K

“Don’t worry about being a super momma / wife. Get what you can get done each day …cleaning etc. and enjoy the time you have with your little one! Don’t worry about being nervous. You and your baby are going through lots of firsts – you will get comfortable and feel like a pro in time. Also, I would have liked a lesson on bathing a baby before leaving the hospital. I was so nervous the first time.” – Kristen A

“Don’t feel guilty for accepting help with meals, cleaning, etc. Try to take in all the precious moments you can with your baby!” – Erin T

“Take help from people you enjoy being around. Don’t feel like you need to please everyone, take some time to sleep but most of all, enjoy your baby and hold them as much as you want.” – Erin O

“I wish I knew how isolating it can be and that it is okay to ask for help in the form of a meal, a load of laundry, or even just a conversation.” – Macy H

“Asking for help or for someone to watch the baby for a few minutes doesn’t make you a bad mom! No one goes into motherhood knowing exactly what they’re doing!” – Emily H

“Don’t worry about the house being cleaned or laundry being done….that can all be done when the baby sleeps. Enjoy the newborn stage while you can because before you know it that baby will be a toddler and won’t want to snuggle quite as much as they once did.” – Jessica G


“Stay away from Dr. Google” and more tips for new moms

“Listen when everyone tells you to nap while the baby naps.” – Jessica R

“The sleep deprivation doesn’t last forever.” – Patti B

“Nothing is forever! They baby WILL sleep at some point!” – Shari D

“When you manage to put your baby down to sleep during daytime, don’t keep your surroundings quiet. Let the usual noises go on – usual talks, music playing in the background, washing machine spinning, traffic noises, etc. Your baby is used to all these noises while in the womb so let it be same. Just make sure the noises aren’t too loud to disrupt your angel’s sleep.” – Danielle K

“White noise machines! I didn’t use one until my second baby. I had one with my first baby but had it in super low volume. I’m still kicking myself over that.” – Marisol M


“I wish I knew more about breastfeeding BEFORE the baby arrived. It’s such a time-sensitive experience; knowing more beforehand would have been really helpful. When the baby arrives, you’re exhausted and have so much going on. It’s all so overwhelming. Hopefully, next time around it will be more successful! For now we EP and baby gets fed.” – Susanna G

“I wish I knew that breastfeeding wasn’t easy at all. But it’s well worth it.” – Bree C

“When you breastfeed or bottle feed the baby, try to keep him almost like standing position to prevent vomiting after.” – RaWaa H

Stay away from Dr. Google.

“Stay away from Dr. Google, take everything you see of those perfect Instagram moms lightly (seriously whose house is that clean?!) and tread carefully through Pinterest. You do you, new momma. You are made for your little. I’m still new and still telling myself this daily.” – Sarah K

Time flies.

“Take your time taking in all the info. Enjoy your baby, take help when it’s offered, and don’t rush the process..they grow up fast.” – LaToya W

“Make a journal for your baby. Record things like first smile and even first doctor’s visit because you’re so busy trying to do everything. In 18 years, you can sit down and look back at your journey and how time really does go by fast. Take every day as a new day – learn as you go.” – Tina H

“Stay away from Dr. Google” and more tips for new moms

Go with your gut.

“Everyone will give you advice on everything! Go with your gut. Do what is right for you and your baby.” – Phuong P

“I wish I knew how to better stand up for my daughter and ask more questions at her first peds appointment. She lost a few ounces (she was 9lbs 8oz at birth) and they had us force feeding her way more than she could eat. She was throwing up most meals and because everyone was so worried about weight numbers, stress levels go up and milk production went down to almost nothing. Here we are 9 weeks later (her weighing 12lbs 2oz) and I’m still struggling with production. All that to say… Mommas, stand up for your babies and ask ALL the questions you can because you are advocating for your kiddo.” – Shobai R

It’s not all happy.

“I wish I would have known more about life in the NICU. We spent 81 days in. All the ads show happy baby placed on mom’s chest. Not everyone gets that. I had emergency C-Section and my 29 weeker got an incubator and IV. I got ICU for 2 days and didn’t get to see her for 48 hours then couldn’t hold her for 8 days, then got sick and was banned from NICU for 2 weeks. I wish I knew that it is not always a happy moment after birth; sometimes it’s just sad and hard.” – Gabrielle M

“I wish someone had had a REAL conversation with me about postpartum depression. Not just the way they mention it and brush it off in the classes – a real, honest, raw, true talk. I think that would have been helped me feel less alone and unprepared when it happened.” – Jenny G

“Make time for yourself…even if it’s a hot bath or a coffee run. Mom’s mental health is very important!” -Lynne W

Even more advice…

“Don’t put leather moccasins on your baby without socks especially on a hot day! The friction from the leather can hurt your babies ankles!” – Jamie A

“Prep freezer meals!” – Janelle R

“Expensive baby items don’t mean better baby products.” – @mustanghope08  on Twitter

“Stay away from Dr. Google” and more tips for new moms

“I wish I didn’t underestimate how many diapers were actually needed.” – Mel Y

“Burp that baby! The littlest air bubbles can mean the difference between a nap and a very fussy little one.” – Pablo H

“I wish I didnt stock up on so many adorable small baby clothes! They grow way too fast – we didn’t touch half of them.” – Jenna-Lin B

“Always be prepared! Have extra clothes, plenty of diapers, wipes, etc at all times! Especially when potty training time comes!” – Connie M

If you’re a mom-to-be, we would love to capture those first special moments with your newborn. Bella Baby brings experienced, professional photographers into hospitals to capture your baby’s first photos with a natural, artistic style. Our 15-minute in-hospital photo shoots are fast and convenient. Find a photographer near you.