Colic, Sleep Deprivation, Inadequate Support as Risk Factors for PPD

Just a quick post about colic, sleep deprivation, and inadequate support for the new mom as key risk factors for postpartum depression (PPD). There are many topics I want to blog about, but it’s another case of too many ideas, not enough time.  Since these risk factors make up some of the crucial pieces of the puzzle of my PPD experience, and since the Babble post titled “DR. HARVEY KARP ON WHY HE BELIEVES PPD IS MORE COMMON THAN EVER BEFORE” by Wendy Wisner showed up on my Facebook feed today, I decided to do a quick blog post about it. This blog post joins my previous post about Dr. Karp and his 5S technique “Baby Fussy or Colicky? Try the Amazing 5 S’s!“, a technique that helps babies sleep and parents cope with colic.  Colic causes sleep deprivation and feelings of incompetence from not being able to calm your crying baby (due to lack of prior baby care experience and lack of adequate support/guidance provided by someone with experience).  I basically said the same things in my book.

Dr. Karp also believes the following, which are also points that I mention throughout my book:

  1. Sleep deprivation can change brain physiology in the amygdala by causing it to become more hypervigilant and a triggering of the body’s fight or flight mechanism.  This state can cause a new mother to feel anxious and remain in a constant state of alertness, fearful that something bad may happen to her baby.
  2. Self care is as important as caring for the baby…it takes a village….a health mom means a healthy baby
  3. A mother’s getting enough sleep and support = key to reducing the occurrence of postpartum mood disorders

The bottom line is new mothers MUST get adequate support.  But with many parents struggling financially and not being able to afford help (via resources like doulas) and family members experienced with baby care not living close by and/or are too busy to help, it’s no wonder there are so many cases of PPD.  Please see my past posts about the critical role social support plays in minimizing the occurrence of PPD here and here.

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Parenting…..It Takes A Village

Here’s my second quick blog post for today.  This one was inspired by a good article titled “My Parenting Village” that I stumbled across that was posted last June by Ann Douglas on The Life Channel Network.  Ann writes about her experience as a mother for the first time and how she found that the secret to parenting success is accepting help and advice from other parents/friends/neighbors.  She participated in parenting support groups, used daycare services, looked to her neighbor for help/advice, and formed friendships with other new parents. 

I love the following:

After all, it’s not enough to care for the child: the village needs to care for the parents as well, by creating a place where support can be offered and information can be shared. It’s such a simple idea: investing in parents and children. And the dividends are incredible: brighter futures, happier families, stronger and more stable communities.

The article doesn’t touch on what happens when the stress of being a first-time mother, as well as inadequate social support, can be a major factor in postpartum depression (PPD). I devote a whole chapter in my book on the topic of social support–including what it entails and the history of it in this country (including the whole “village” approach of older generations) versus other countries–and many other relevant details including biopsychosocial risk factors of PPD, and advice–all of which I wish I had known about BEFORE I had my baby.  Having that knowledge might have prevented me from succumbing to PPD.  Consider buying a copy (soft cover, e-book and hard cover versions available for purchase via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers).  Thank you!  🙂