Teething and postnatal depression
This blog post talks about postnatal depression. If you’d like more information about the condition, you’ll find a list of links at the bottom of the page or speak to your GP.
Postnatal depression (PND) is more common than you might think. While figures vary, partly down to PND still being something of a ‘hidden’ condition – or women feeling they shouldn’t admit to having it and suffering in silence – it’s estimated more than one in ten women can be affected within the first year of giving birth.1
Postnatal depression usually occurs 2 to 8 weeks after the birth, though sometimes it can happen up to a year after the baby is born. While its causes haven’t been established, some of the factors with which it’s been associated include a history of mental health problems earlier in life or during pregnancy, having no close family or friends to support you, a poor relationship with your partner (or a stressful life event). Of course, living with a teething baby can make even the smallest of events harder to deal with.
Whether it’s through a lack of sleep (on top of the lack of sleep you’ll be already be suffering) or the added stress of dealing with a baby who’s previously been a happy, smiley little thing – or balancing a new baby with the demands of bringing up other children. And of course, that’s only going to be amplified if you’re a single parent or your partner’s away from home. You also won’t be surprised to know that having twins or triplets can leave you more likely to develop PND.2
What are the symptoms?
If you’re suffering from postnatal depression, you may find looking after your baby becomes increasingly challenging. Emotional symptoms can include:
- Feeling excessively anxious about your baby and their health
- Feeling hopeless or not able to cope
- Being unable to concentrate or becoming forgetful
- Losing interest in your baby (which can then lead to feelings of guilt or failure)
How to cope with postnatal depression and a teething baby
If you think that you, your partner or someone else you know is suffering from PND, the most important thing is not to suffer in silence. Help is out there, so make sure you talk to your GP or a health visitor. They’ll be able to talk to you about the different types of treatment available.
In addition, there are also several simpler ways you can help cope if you’re struggling with a teething baby and PND.
First of all, communicate with those around you. Whether it’s with your partner, a nearby relative or a good friend, keep the lines of communication open and let them know how you’re feeling – and if you need help. Sometimes all it takes is to ask – and with the great work being done by mental health advocates and pressure groups, PND is no longer the ‘guilty unspoken secret’ it once was. Taking time off for yourself – or sharing the load with your partner overnight – will give you a bit of space, perspective or just time to get a bit of extra sleep.
Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Easier said than done, we know – but trying to get out and about during the day won’t just give you a bit of an energy kick and add some variety to your day, babies love the stimulation of new sights, sounds and smells – all of which can act as a distraction and help them forget their sore gums for a while. Take a look at our blog about the benefits of getting out and about with a teething baby to read more. Maintaining a healthy diet’s important too – as is trying to keep alcohol out of your diet, no matter how tempting that second glass of pinot might seem…3
Finally, try some of the mindfulness techniques discussed in this blog. Many new parents have found they can help reduce the stress that comes with a teething baby – and life in general. See how many work for you.
Remember, post-natal depression isn’t something to be suffered in silence. If you’re a new parent, you’re already doing an AMAZING job. And feeling like you’re struggling and need to reach out for help is nothing to be ashamed of.
Good luck and we’ll be thinking of you.