Article by Angela Haldane
Q. I think my sister might have the "baby blues". What are some suggestions to help her feel better?
A. The 'baby blues' are common a few days after the birth of a child. If her low mood continues for longer it would be wise to get her to the doctor for diagnosis and treatment as post-natal depression is also a risk. However, as motherhood involves adjustment, moderate measures may help. Getting enough sleep is essential, rest when baby does.
I recommend she seeks professional advice from a registered herbalist or naturopath (www.nzamh.org.nz, to find a practitioner near you) as well as her doctor – then she will get high-quality, effective medicines and care from the support services that she will be entitled to.
Exercise is important; this increases endorphins to create a feeling of wellbeing and gets her out of the house. If you or a friend could walk with her and her baby at least three times a week, this would be beneficial.
Socialisation with other mothers can help her to identify with her current role, and learn useful tips on how to manage. Inform the Plunket nurse of your concern – they know of support networks in her vicinity.
A good B complex vitamin (approx. 50mg dosages) and fish oil are beneficial . The herb, St John's Wort (in practitioner range) has been shown to treat mild to moderate depression without side effects. Or she could try 'Mother's Cordial' (available on my website) which contains lemon balm – an uplifting herb.
Pulsatilla homoeopathic remedy is fantastic if she is tearful.
Help her with time management, so she gets time for herself and with her partner. Offer to babysit or help her organise one .
Ensure her diet is rich in quality protein and reduce coffee and sugary carbohydrates.