Post-natal depression is such a huge issue, thought to affect around 20% of mothers and 10% of fathers in the UK. While the symptoms vary from person to person, they include sadness, tearfulness, feelings of isolation, anxiety, despair and even self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
While there is no exact cause, a number of factors may make it more likely for certain people to develop PND. For example, if you’ve previously suffered with depression, have experienced abuse, domestic violence or a traumatic birth, or have problems with your relationship, you may be more at risk.
Just like how the symptoms vary, so can the treatments. Often, a combination of medication and counselling is used, along with support from friends and family and being encouraged to get enough sleep and exercise. However, recent studies have shown the benefits of babywearing in helping to alleviate some of the worst symptoms.
Carrying your baby in a mei tai sling (Or your preferred sling) helps to massively strengthen the bond between you and your baby. This helps as one of the main worries with sufferers of PND is that they cannot provide the care that their baby needs. By wearing them in a sling, you know that you will always be right there for them.
Also, babies worn in a mei tai sling cry less. In fact, research shows that wearing a baby for 2 hours during the day cry up to 51% less in the evening. I’m sure that any parent would be grateful of that break, let alone someone struggling with PND! In addition, during those two hours carrying your baby in your sling, you’ll have your hands free. During this time, you can do whatever it is that makes you feel better; whether that’s taking a walk in the sun, shopping, meeting friends or working on a hobby.
Finally, skin-to-skin contact helps to boost the production of prolactin in your body, which will help to produce milk. If you’re breastfeeding, this makes the task of feeding your baby much easier (Again, a huge benefit for those with PND). As well as that, you’ll also benefit from the release of oxytocin (The ‘feel-good’ hormone) whenever you do feed them!
Of course, we should say that anyone who believes that they may be suffering from PND should speak to their GP or health visitor as soon as you can. It’s a condition that no one should go through alone and there is so much support available.
If you have any experiences of PND that you would like to share, or perhaps some useful tips and words for others in that situation, be sure to share them with us! Everyone deals with it differently, so we’d love to hear your stories. You can leave us a comment below or chat to us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.