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Archive for January 2014

Postpartum Depression and Depression During Pregnancy

Postpartum DepressionPostpartum depression is more common than you might think. The depression can onset before the baby is even born. This can manifest as crying without reason, depression or extreme low feeling, guilty thoughts or thoughts of worthlessness or hopelessness, restlessness, lack of control or energy, difficulty concentrating or disorganized thoughts, feelings of inadequacy, changes in sleep or appetite, withdrawing from people around you, thoughts of suicide or of hurting others.

According to the Canadian Public Health Agency these feelings are most common in the first trimester and third trimester. This is when your body is doing the most changing hormonally and physically. The reason the second trimester is usually more easy is that your body has adjusted to all the changes and the baby’s movement. However, women who talk about having these feelings during this stage are more likely to get treatment and be diagnosed quickly because depression is rare during the second trimester.

There are a few factors at play in the depression and those are genetic predisposition, were depressed during their teen years, or if the pregnancy is unwanted. Isolation and lack of support can also cause a pregnant woman to feel depressed, as well as spousal abuse and drug or alcohol abuse. Sometimes the pregnancy itself can cause a depressive episode.

If a woman does not seek help for her pregnancy depression she is more likely to suffer from severe postpartum depression. In order to maintain your mental well being during pregnancy the Public Health of Canada suggests that you eat well and balanced meals and snacks, maintain a regular sleep/wake pattern, get plenty of exercise, avoid alcohol and drugs, and use stress management exercises such as yoga, relaxation exercises and time management skills training.

If you find you have these feelings during your pregnancy you should be discussing them with your physician. Tell your doctor how strong the feelings are, how often you feel this way, if your depressed thoughts are interfering in your life, and if you’ve had any suicidal thoughts or feelings of hopelessness.

Women who do seek treatment for depression during pregnancy do improve. They are better able to care for themselves and their babies. Opening up about depression can empower the woman and help her find meaningful relationships in her life.

Women who suffer from postpartum depression are different from women who experience the baby blues. Baby blues are usually mood swings that go between joyful one minute and crying the next. These feelings are due to hormones and usually disappear within 10 days of delivery. Postpartum depression can act out the symptoms above, but also include: loss of pleasure in life and/or the baby, scary thoughts about harming your baby, anxiety or panic attacks, and excessive worry about your baby’s health.

Postpartum depression is an individual disease in that the symptoms can be more severe in some women and less severe in others. Postpartum depression can affect 10-15% of mothers and begin anywhere between the second week after the child’s birth to the sixth month afterward. This condition is experienced more often by women who have a history of depression, but can be effectively treated by doctors, medication and support groups.

Women who experienced postpartum depression are more likely to experience it again during their next pregnancy. In order to get well you must tell your doctor how your feeling and your mental state. Once you are placed on a treatment course do not alter it without consent from your treatment provider. Get involved in a support group and don’t add to your stress level, only take on tasks you know you can do.

Pay attention to the warning signs and seek help, don’t wait for it to get better on its own. Women are more likely to seek help when they know there is support in their community, so if you know someone who’s suffering from this disease help them connect with the help they need. Get them educated so they can become empowered.

Here are some links for help in Canada:

Canadian Mental Health Association
Go Green Baby in Kingston Ontario
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark County District Health Unit
Kingston Ontario Mental Health Professionals

Washable Diapers 101

DiapersHaving a baby can make you more environmentally conscious. Your new consciousness might even start with a decision to use washable diapers. Here are some tips to help you keep that environmentally friendly spirit alive.

The Parenting By Nature site suggests that you begin your washable diaper journey by deciding what you want from your cloth diaper experience and then go from there. There are many places to buy washable diapers from, but to buy the amount of diapers you will need to cloth your baby from infant to toddlerhood can be expensive depending on the frequency you plan on using a cloth diaper system.

For families who want to use cloth diapers only part of the time you may only need to buy as many as 10 cloth diapers. If you want to go whole hog and only use cloth diapers you will need to by upwards of 30. These numbers are rough estimates and not exact, some people can do with less and some people may find they need more.

In any case you need to have a system in place for washing the dirty diapers. you should have a diaper pail ready to receive the soiled diapers, a wet pail is not recommended as the mess that could potentially happen. An open air pail is best for diapers to stop odours and allow diapers to breathe. Always separate the insert from the liners, but you can place them in the same pail.

Once a load of soiled diapers are ready to be washed, start off by doing a cold pre-wash without any detergent. Once that has been completed now do a hot regular wash with the highest amount of water and agitation your machine allows with a couple of tablespoons of detergent. Afterward do a cold rinse cycle, a second one may be necessary. Then lastly you can do a medium dry cycle or hang to dry. You should wash the diapers every other day or when you have a load of 20 diapers to do.

When washing these diapers don’t use a lot of detergent and never use bleach. Additionally don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets with cloth diapers, and only use creams on your baby when you are using a liner.

Here are some websites that have additional information and sell cloth diapers as well.

Cotton Babies
Kid A Log

Lactation Consultation

Breast feedingAfter you’ve given birth to your baby the nurse will give you your new born so you can try to nurse the little bundle of joy right away. This is true for women who have a natural birthing experience, but for those who may encounter complications and have their baby by  Cesarian Section this will not be your experience.

After you’ve recovered in the recovery room you will be wheeled to your room and meet up with your baby and family members there. Your baby will most likely be sleeping and when the first feeding time comes your frustration and anxiety may be brought out by this first time experience.

The drugs that were administered to you during your operation actually inhibit your ability to produce milk, which means you will need the help of a mechanical pump to help stimulate your breast milk production. And once the milk is there, you may have the added disadvantage of well-meaning nurses or family members instruct you on the proper way to breast feed your baby.

Ask if the hospital you’re in has a lactation consultant. If the hospital does not, get information on where you can get in contact with one. Lactation consultants will guide you through holding the baby, where to place the baby’s mouth, and the signs that the baby is ready to feed. They can also give you tips on nipple care, sleep times for you and your infant, and answer many other questions you may have.

There is no need to feel stressed about breast feeding, that will only hurt your ability to produce milk. And if you find that breast feeding is not for you, don’t feel bad. Your mothering instincts are there, you will always know what is right for your child.