I waited to become a mother until I was 37, and I felt totally ready and excited. That’s why I was so disappointed in myself when, a few weeks after my beautiful baby was born, I felt more fear and agitation than excitement. I felt inadequate, like an imposter.” —Loretta, on postpartum depression

Studies show that 1 in 7 new moms develop postpartum depression, which makes PPD a national epidemic!

Postpartum Depression: Surprising Facts

Some aspects of the condition may surprise you:

  • There’s no conclusion that all cases of PPD is caused by hormonal shifts.
  • PPD can start right after birth or come on months later.
  • The main feelings are often anxiety, fear and intrusive thoughts.
  • Roughly 50% of men whose partners get PPD experience depression, too.

Most new parents get just a mild case of the “baby blues,” but others become deeply depressed (and a few even develop psychosis). Being exhausted and hearing your baby’s screams may trigger a flood of painful memories, like being yelled at in anger or ridiculed. And it’s not uncommon for old feelings of shame and rage to burst back to the surface during this time. If you are feeling overwhelmed and think you might be depressed, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.

PPD Triggers and How to Prevent Them

The best ways to keep PPD at bay? Address the three biggest postpartum depression triggers:

  • Persistent crying
  • Exhaustion
  • Unsupportive partners

A cool thing? The 5 S’s work on all three triggers: The 5 S's—swaddling, shushing swinging, and sucking, and holding baby in the side-stomach position— calm a baby’s cries, help parents get more sleep, and can be just the thing to engage an unsupportive partner.

Never forget that you need help—and deserve it! Ask a neighbor or friend to pick up dry-cleaning or walk the dog so you have less on your plate. Hire a nanny, doula, or night nurse for support around the house. Bottom line: Do what feels right to you, but don’t brave it alone. You need it—and deserve it!

About Dr. Harvey Karp

Dr. Harvey Karp, one of America’s most trusted pediatricians, is the founder of Happiest Baby and the inventor of the groundbreaking SNOO Smart Sleeper. After years of treating patients in Los Angeles, Dr. Karp vaulted to global prominence with the release of the bestselling Happiest Baby on the Block and Happiest Toddler on the Block. His celebrated books and videos have since become standard pediatric practice, translated into more than 20 languages and have helped millions of parents. Dr. Karp’s landmark methods, including the 5 S’s for soothing babies, guide parents to understand and nurture their children and relieve stressful issues, like new-parent exhaustion, infant crying, and toddler tantrums.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.