Baffled by the floods of tears dampening your first days of motherhood?
Around 80% of new mamas are right there with you, wading through the bouts of sadness, guilt, confusion, and feelings of regret (it’s ok). 😩
Emotional is an understatement.
But it makes sense.
You’ve been through the ordeal of labor (and you still need time to heal).
You’re getting approximately two minutes of sleep per night.
Your hormones are entirely out of whack.
And you’re called upon to satisfy every whim of a tiny tyrant – albeit, an adorable one.
Baby blues are common – dare we say natural.
Just because it’s not talked about publicly doesn’t mean the conversations aren’t happening.
And they are. On Peanut. Every day.
So if you’re wondering how long do baby blues last and what can you do about them, we could think of no better experts than the Peanut women who’ve been right where you are.
Welcome to our space mama.
Consider it yours. 💛
In this article: 📝
- What are baby blues?
- How long does baby blues last?
- What are the symptoms of the baby blues?
- What causes baby blues?
- Do men go through baby blues?
- Baby blues vs PPD
- How to cope with baby blues?
What are baby blues?
The baby blues are intense feelings of sadness, irritability, and anxiety that many new moms experience in the days after giving birth.
You might also hear them called the “postpartum blues”.
Starting usually within the first days of early parenthood, baby blues affect any gender with no care for age, background, culture, race, or mental health history.
And this is important.
Because it’s easy to assume feeling wobbly after birth is a sign of being unfit or unsound – especially when you’re deep in it.
(That’s the baby blues talking).
A more compassionate voice would tell you it’s an intense overwhelming of the mind and body as you shift into a brand new (unfamiliar) situation.
Peanut moms describe it best:
- I felt all the emotions. No one does talk about it enough – this bubble of feeling so overwhelmed, love, excited but also upset and lonely, almost missing the way it was before! My little boy is now 14 weeks old (gone way too quick) and I am much better now. Charlie
- It’s perfectly normal to feel so overwhelmed the first few weeks. You’re so amazed by how much love you feel and yet feeling like you’re not doing enough. I really felt like my baby blues took many happy moments away from me and I wish I could have enjoyed the newborn phase to it’s fullest (I really tried but anxiety just got in the way). It gets better with time and being around people who support you helps a lot. Alina
- I know when I had them I was scared to cry around my bf or in-laws because I was scared they were gonna think I was unhappy about having a baby. I never knew we went through these emotions because no one in my family or friends who had babies talked about these things. Marissa
- My partner and I had our baby boy 10 days ago and have been feeling overwhelmed and even sometimes disconnected. I am so happy and proud to be a mumma but so stressed as well. I’m just anxious and worried that I won’t be able to get my baby into a routine or be able to cope by myself. Joo
Anxious, overwhelmed, insecure: the postpartum blues is at the root of it all.
But the good news is, it will pass.
And more importantly, you’re not as alone as you think.
How long does baby blues last?
The baby blues are a passing visitor – a very unexpected, unwelcome one.
Cue the panicked: When do baby blues start??
They tend to arrive around two to three days after baby is born (possibly sooner if you’ve had a difficult labor experience).
And usually by day 10 to 14 of your mamahood journey, they normally pack up and leave.
As you feel more in control – and your body adjusts – you will hopefully notice the feelings of happiness gradually outweigh the tears (well, your tears).
It feels endless when you’re in it but many Peanut moms look back at this period as a fleeting moment in their transformative journey.
That being said, your mind and body are unique to you and so is your personal postpartum experience.
Two weeks may not be exact for you, and that’s ok too.
It’s when it stretches beyond 14 days and shows no signs of easing that you may need to consider postpartum depression.
But one step at a time.
What are the symptoms of the baby blues?
We’ve covered this briefly above but let’s dive deeper into the baby blues symptoms you may experience – shared by the women who’ve felt it first hand.
Here are some of the signs that you might have the baby blues:
Feeling weepy or crying easily
The most common sign of baby blues felt by mamas everywhere:
- I have been crying so much. I’m not sad about anything and don’t feel sad. I just literally cry lmao. Joanie
- I cried all the time the first week or so PP. I’m 18 days PP now, and the crying is a lot more manageable. Katie
- It lasted until 2 or 3 weeks postpartum and then I just didn’t cry anymore. I wasn’t sad, I felt better for no reason seemingly. Alex
Mood swings and irritability
You may be no stranger to mood swings after pregnancy and countless menstrual cycles, but still, it may catch you by surprise:
- I keep telling myself I’ll be happy when my husband gets home, but it seems like the moment he walks in the door, I’m raging. Caitlyn
- Sometimes it’s anger, other times it’s me bursting into tears and I don’t know why, and sometimes I just feel on edge and impatient. Sometimes seeing my husband when he comes home from work I just break down with one of the three and he just holds me. Rachel
- My partner and I usually have a calm relationship but lately since our son has been born I get so fed up easily over simple things and snappy. Romie
- During the morning I’m on top form but from later afternoon and through the night I literally bite my partner’s head off for the smallest things. Then I get upset because I don’t mean it and don’t want to argue because everything is so amazing and I feel so lucky. Anyone else?! Rebecca
Restlessness and missing your pre-mamahood freedom
A sense of grief for the life you had and restlessness around adjustments are common with baby blues:
- I feel like I’m mourning my old self, badly. I feel so sad at some moments thinking “my old life is no more, it will never be again.” Gabriela
- I feel like because I get so frustrated and overtired that I’m much less attractive or desirable and not like those carefree moms on Instagram that seem to know what they’re doing and say every minute with their baby is such a blessing. Plus the eye bags don’t help. Molly
- I too felt like “what did I do?” I felt like I regretted it and that being a mom was the wrong choice for me. Let me just say, it does get better! Karen
Struggling to concentrate
Between exhaustion and shifting hormones, it’s no surprise you may be experiencing brain fog and difficulty concentrating:
- I feel lonely but when someone tries to talk I just can’t seem to make a conversation. I just ignore and get irritated. Sannii
- Ever since I gave birth, it’s been super hard for me to concentrate on anything. I’ve been sleeping enough, I don’t feel depressed, and been drinking tons of water. I’m just at a loss and feel like it won’t go away. Katelyn
Tiredness and trouble sleeping
Exhaustion and parenthood go hand-in-hand but it can absolutely take a toll on your mental health:
- I find it hard to sleep when she sleeps in the day. I have an overwhelming fear that I’ll fall asleep while feeding her and drop her. I just cry over everything at the moment. Jaden
- I’m literally so exhausted and running on 3-4 hours of sleep every other day. I just can’t shut my mind off when I go to bed or sometimes I’m able to go to sleep but I wake up and can’t get myself back to sleep. I feel like I’m not able to be a good mom for my daughter because I’m so tired all the time. Naomi
Having no appetite
A mixture of being overwhelmed, tired, and beyond busy can have an impact on your appetite:
- Everyone tells you to enjoy the newborn bubble but the truth is I’m exhausted and I’m just feeling anxious about what the day is going to be like. I’ve just got that awful knot in my stomach constantly that I can’t shift and my appetite has been none existent. Nicola
- I can’t remember the last time I had 3 meals a day. I’m not hungry, and when I am I either forget, don’t have time, or can’t finish the meal. I’m aware it’s normal to have no appetite but I’m surprised I’m still functioning on no food. Molly
Feeling anxious and overwhelmed by newborn care
Feeling overwhelmed by caring for your newborn? Oh mama, you’re really not alone:
- The thought of having to look after her by myself really does scare me. I’m constantly googling everything and worrying myself and just feeling very overwhelmed. I’m just sick of crying. I’ve lost my appetite. I really feel like I’m failing her. Shai
- I feel overwhelmed when on my own with her… I love her with every fiber of my being, but I feel like I’ll let her down. Hannah
- I felt useless as a mum, insecure about my capabilities. I was sleep deprived, worried about baby, not eating enough… the list goes on. It felt like it was never going to end. My son is now one month, the sleep-deprived bit has stayed of course, but I feel 110% much better and confident. Catarina
Spending some time with the Peanut community, it’s clear that the baby blues rollercoaster can be a rough ride.
It may be the case that you’ll only feel the symptoms of baby blues for a few minutes (or at most a few hours) each day.
You may even have “blue” spells mixed in with times when you feel completely fine – if still sleepy and sore.
The point to remember is that it’s temporary so exercise self-compassion where possible.
You’re doing your best babe.
What causes baby blues?
The exact cause of the baby blues is still unclear.
They might have something to do with the dramatic hormonal changes that happen in your body around the time you give birth.
Levels of estrogen and progesterone plunge as your uterus returns to its original size and your milk production kicks in.
It could be that you’re going from caring for your baby inside your body to caring for them outside it – often in less than 24 hours!
That’s a big transition for you to make physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Caring for a newborn is hard work – even if you aren’t nursing a bruised vagina or a C-section scar.
So, try to be gentle with yourself if you can.
You will get through this.
Do men go through baby blues?
As we said, the baby blues by definition does not discriminate.
Paternal depression is a very real thing with about 10% of men experiencing emotional overwhelm in the first three to six months of parenthood.
Again it makes sense.
The home and life you share have gone through a major upheaval – even if you’ve been TTC for some time.
There’s even evidence that men can experience hormonal changes postpartum too with a drop in testosterone levels.
And let’s not forget the rise in cortisol levels.
Some male baby blues symptoms may even overlap such as:
- Feeling sad
- Irritability or anger
- Having trouble sleeping
- Finding caring for baby overwhelming
Other signs of baby blues in a partner include withdrawing, working a lot, or losing interest in activities they once had.
Sometimes the expectations we have about parenthood look very different from reality, and the pressure to keep up appearances can be too much.
Now is the best time to foster connection and compassion but if you feel concerned encourage your partner to seek professional help.
Baby blues vs PPD
The difference between baby blues and postpartum depression is a matter of time and intensity.
PPD is less common than the baby blues (it affects about 15% of women), but it’s more serious, and it needs to be treated for you to get better.
Some signs that you might have postpartum depression include:
- Intense feelings of depression, guilt, or worthlessness
- Severe anxiety, panic attacks, and fearing that “the worst” will happen
- Negative feelings that last all day, every day, and they don’t ease up 14 days after you’ve given birth
- No longer being able to look after yourself
- No longer being interested in the things you used to enjoy
- Struggling to bond with and look after your baby
- Thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby
If you notice any of these signs, talk to your doctor immediately.
What you’re experiencing is very real, but it’s also not in your control.
Because the truth is mama, PPD can be serious if not treated.
The sooner you get support with postpartum depression, the sooner you can be on the road to recovery.
There is no blame or shame, just support.
How to cope with baby blues?
What about treatment for baby blues?
Generally, they tend to naturally slip away on their own, but while they’re still hanging around, a little self-care can go a long way toward helping you feel better.
Besides, feeling proactive can be a powerful tool when your emotions feel completely out of your control.
And who better to provide than the Peanut women who have been right where you are and come out the other side:
- I’m 14 weeks PP and now look back on that period as if it wasn’t that bad though at the time it felt like an eternity. Just do whatever you need to do to make your life as easy as possible. We lived off quick easy food and the house was upside down but everything’s pretty much back to normal now. Menna
- The thing I found helped was being a strong team with my husband. I would lean on him a lot (emotionally and physically) which got me through most days. Take naps when you can too. Also going for short walks to get some fresh air was amazing for me. Have a good cry when you need to, letting it out helps so much. You can do this, you’re doing amazingly! Sophy
- My advice for getting through this first stage is to acknowledge that these first few weeks are just an endurance test that you will pass. How can you be expected to not feel overwhelmed when you’re in pain, full of hormones, and suffering from lack of sleep!? The fact that you can acknowledge that you’re feeling this way is good and it means you’re in a good place for coming through it. Anna
- What really helped me was going out for a walk with baby and my partner. I started to fall into a routine and got to know her little quirks. Finally after two weeks I started to get used to being a mum and the lack of sleep and tiredness started to feel like a ‘responsibility’ rather than physical/mental pain. I’m now 6 weeks PP and can’t imagine life without her. Things will get better. Jennifer
- The best thing that made a huge difference was asking for help. I wish we did that sooner. Whether that’s asking someone to watch baby for an hour or two so you can nap, or even hiring a night doula to help you through the rough times (expensive route but worth it). Seeing a therapist has helped me a lot, along with joining new mom support groups. And of course, being kind to yourself and keep reminding yourself it will get better! Melissa
There are tonnes more tips on Peanut – far too many to include here – which goes to show how big a part the baby blues play in parenthood.
You might even call them a right of passage.
Treat your baby blues with compassion, they’re a sure sign you’ve been through something extraordinary.
And if you need an extra boost, these following steps really make a difference:
- Talk to a trusted friend about your feelings
- Sleep as much as you can (noisy-little-human-permitting)
- Breathe in some fresh air and go for a walk
- Eat nutritious meals (that someone else has cooked for you!)
- Ask for help from friends and family
- Be kind to yourself and don’t aim for perfection. You’re doing great
Last but not least, connect with other new mamas on Peanut.
Because you’re not alone. 👭
The door is always open.
And we’re having the conversation. 💛