Your mental health matters! According to the Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP), 1 in 3 women in South Africa suffers from depression and/or anxiety during and after pregnancy.
Some ways to cope with depression or anxiety while breastfeeding:
Call your doctor, nurse, midwife or paediatrician if your baby blues don’t go away after 2 weeks or these feelings intensify, if it is difficult to work or get things done at home including if you feel you cannot care for yourself or your baby, or if you have thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby. Your doctor, nurse, or midwife can refer you to a mental health professional for help and treatment. Don’t let shame prevent you from getting the help you need.
Surround yourself with support
It’s thought that breastfeeding can trigger your body’s fight-or-flight response. To help turn it off, put yourself in a situation where you feel safer and less stressed, surrounded by love and support from people you trust.
Find a de-stressing technique that works for you
Some proven methods to decrease negative thoughts and put you at ease include skin-to-skin with baby, soak your feet in warm water, practicing meditation, and mindful breathing techniques to relax your body and mind. If you can, set up a designated breastfeeding space, with a comfortable armchair, where you can watch your favourite show or scroll TikTok or listen to relaxing music with a snack and drink.
PMHP has great resources for moms who suffer from depression or anxiety. Visit their website to learn more. #worldbreastfeedingweek2022
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