Category Archives for Postpartum

Whatcom Birth Stories

Two doulas bringing you a local birth podcast! Branches & Roots and Simply Natural have teamed up to help share birth stories in our area. Why? We believe birth education is important. We believe a healthy birth culture is important. Sometimes the best way to learn about your options is through other people’s experience. Listen in and follow along this journey!

CLICK HERE to hear the podcast!

Bringing Baby Home

So you’ve been pregnant for 9 months. You made it through birth (well done). And now you’re getting settled at home with your brand new baby.

Of course this was part of the plan the whole time, but it’s a little crazy and the reality is sinking in. This baby is a new member of the family, and is going to be sticking around. And they need a lot from you – everything, actually… they can’t even lift their little heads yet!

Luckily, you will get a chance to gradually figure all this parenting stuff out. The first few days will consist of lots of sleeping, snuggling, looking at all your baby’s little features, and feeding and cleaning poop.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE POOP!

Within the first day or two, your baby’s poop will be tar-like, black and sticky. This is called meconium.

By day 3-4 poops will become yellowish and potentially seedy in texture.

After that, depending on what baby is eating, their poops will differ.

Breastfed: yellowy, watery poop

Bottlefed: yellow-brownish, or green-brownish and buttery in texture.

Expect to be changing about 4 diapers per day by day 4.

SLEEP

You may have been told you won’t get any sleep once your baby arrives. This is half true!

Newborn babies actually sleep about 16-17 hours PER DAY! So that’s a lot. You will get a chance to sleep in this first brand-new-baby stage. The weird part is the schedule. Your baby might be sleeping a lot, but this means they’re waking up at random times for a feeding or in need of a changed diaper. But mostly, this stage isn’t too rough, and you should focus on your own body’s recovery while you can!

FEELINGS

Let’s talk about our feelings shall we?

Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we feel bad and sometimes we feel nothing at all. Please don’t pressure yourself to feel a certain way when you bring your baby home. It is a BIG change and can cause a lot of different emotions to be happening all at once. Expect a variety, and be open-minded to whatever may come your way!

OTHER PEOPLE

A lot of other people might be expecting to come and see your little baby since you’re home now! Remember that you should do what’s best for you. If you still need a little space, let your people know that. Maybe even leave a sign on the door for those guests who might just “pop on over for a minute”…

Hopefully you have people in your life who would love nothing more than to drop you off a meal, do your dishes, or even clean your house for you while you get settled in. But sometimes, people can be overwhelming and expect too much from new families. Listen to your mind and your body, and don’t be afraid to say no!

Overall…

Bringing baby home is a little wild, but it’s going to be great. You can do this – and if you need help, it’s there for you. Your provider, doula, partner, family and friends all want to see you succeed, and you can and should reach out for whatever you need.

Postpartum Mood Disorders

Postpartum mood disorders are more common than you may think. Although overall they probably don’t receive enough attention from the general population, postpartum depression has become the most popularly discussed. However, there are five different postpartum mood disorders people may experience after the birth of their baby. Thankfully, doctors and scientists are devoting more time and energy toward understanding mental illness more and more every day, but we still have a long way to go. Most evidence shows that postpartum mood disorders are correlated with the hormonal changes your body will endure, but sometimes life circumstances can play a role is amplifying mood disorders for people. Whatever the reasoning, if you experience any postpartum mood disorder hear me say this: You are not a bad parent, you are capable of caring for your baby, and you can get through this. 

We all need help sometimes… the key is asking for it when we need it. If you find yourself in a rut, or if you see your partner exemplifying any of these symptoms, call your doula, midwife and/or doctor. They will point you in the right direction.

BABY BLUES

Baby blues is classified as a less severe version of postpartum depression, but is still worthy of attention. Approximately 70-80% of people experience baby blues after giving birth. It typically begins within the first few days after bringing baby home, and last no longer than 14 days.

Symptoms:

  • Weepiness or crying for no apparent reason
  • Impatience
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia  (even when the baby is sleeping)
  • Sadness
  • Mood changes
  • Poor concentration

Treatment:

  • Take a break from baby – go outside for a little while 
  • Ask for help – with food, cleaning, caring for your newborn
  • Talk about how you are feeling with people you trust and will support you

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Postpartum depression is an illness similar to baby blues, but it extends past 14 days, and can begin any time within the first year of baby’s life. If you’re feeling down, blank and non-emotional about anything for longer than 2 weeks, seek professional help… you do not have to suffer alone.

Symptoms:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed consistently
  • Crying excessively and sometimes for no apparent reason
  • Feeling worried or anxious nearly all the time
  • Anger or rage, or thoughts of acting out in anger or rage
  • Persistently doubting your ability to care for your baby / family
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Treatment:

  • Talk to your doctor or midwife if these symptoms begin and last longer than 14 days
  • Depending on your scenario, your doctor will help decide why postpartum depression is affecting you the way that it is and direct you toward proper treatment.

POSTPARTUM OCD

Postpartum OCD is similar in some ways to postpartum depression, but has clear deviants. Obsessive compulsive disorder after having a baby often leads the mother to feel overly fearful and therefore making decisions based on irrational fears.

Symptoms:

  • Consistent, overwhelming fear that the baby will die in their sleep
  • Irrational fear of accidentally harming or killing the baby such as dropping the baby from a high place or accidentally putting them in the oven or microwave and therefore avoiding these things
  • “Seeing” images of the baby dead
  • Fears of the baby choking and not being able to save them
  • Over cleaning your house / not going out for fear of exposure to germs to the baby

Treatment:

  • If you are experiencing irrational fears that are scaring you, talk to someone you trust for comfort and talk to your provider
  • Your provider will be able to diagnose and give you the best treatment, so reach out to them

POSTPARTUM ANXIETY

Of course introducing a baby to your life is going to spark some level of anxiety for almost everyone… but postpartum anxiety is more extreme. 

Symptoms:

  • Trouble sleeping / eating (even when baby naps)
  • Inability to focus or sit still
  • Dizziness, hot flashes or nausea 
  • Obsessively worrying about your baby
  • Fearing you will hurt your baby, and these thoughts make you feel physically sick

Treatment:

  • Talk to the people who are close to you about how you’re feeling
  • Talk to your doula, midwife or doctor
  • Consider finding a counselor that you trust and specializes in anxiety care or postpartum mood disorder care

POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS

Postpartum psychosis is the rarest of the postpartum mood disorders affecting only about 1 in every 1000 mothers. It rarely goes unnoticed because it’s symptoms are clear.

Symptoms:

  • Sudden thoughts of throwing the baby or harming it in some way
  • Delusions (beliefs that have no basis in reality)
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • “Flat affect,” or a lack of emotional response or blank facial expression
  • Lack of emotional response to the baby
  • Difficulty sleeping beyond the normal interrupted sleep of new motherhood
  • Changes in appetite or eating
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • An inability to bond with baby
  • Thoughts of suicide, or the belief that the baby or the family would be better off without the mother

Treatment: 

  • The only treatment for postpartum psychosis is separation for a time from the baby while the mother can receive professional treatment. Call your doctor if you or someone you know is showing signs of postpartum psychosis. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. If you don’t have anyone to reach out to, reach out to me. You’re not broken, you’re not bad, you’re just going through something horrible right now — and trust me, it’s worse to do that silently.

Suicide hotline: 1 800 273 8255

My personal phone number: 1 425 478 7247

Love always,

Veronica DeGolier

Introducing Me

Photo by Sam Bryant Photography

Find me on instagram to keep up with all things birth in Bellingham.

Hi, I’m Veronica! I own Branches and Roots doula services and work locally in Bellingham, WA. I love all things pregnancy, birth and postpartum… and I love seeing families enjoy their birth experience.

Education brings POWER to people and people who are empowered do GOOD for themselves and those around them. That’s why I teach Childbirth Education courses. Taking a Bellingham birth class is so helpful. Preparation is important, and a childbirth class is the best place to start.
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I am getting so excited for this summer full of babies coming into the world and new families being formed. This is the type of work that deepens your soul and fills your heart. I love what I do and can’t wait to work with you!

Sign up today for Childbirth Classes! To do so, fill out an inquiry here.

Photo by Sam Bryant Photography.

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