PostPartum Depression is Common and Normal

Postpartum depression is more prevalent than we realize. Research says that one out of five new mothers deals with some degree of it. Postpartum depression is common and normal. It is very treatable. It is OK to talk about it.

Many times the birth process and then the nursing and caring for their baby is not quite what the mother imagined. Reality rarely turns out like the envisioned picture in mom’s head during pregnancy. She could be struggling with feelings of disappointment. Life changes dramatically when the new baby arrives. Caring for a baby is non-stop for 24 hours a day, every day.

Some mothers are afraid to admit they feel sad or discouraged or inadequate following the birth of their baby. They think everyone expects them to be happy. It can feel like a huge burden to deal with those feelings while presenting a happy face to others.

Following the birth of a baby, the mother’s body goes through many adjustments. The mother is tired from the birth process and the physical job to care for the baby. Changing hormone levels affect emotions also.  Add the lack of sleep at night and maybe a lack of sunshine from gloomy weather, especially during the winter months, to a new mother’s hormone changes and you have a recipe for depression.

Some, but not all of the symptoms of postpartum depression are:
feeling overwhelmed
becoming easily frustrated
low or no energy
inability to be comforted

If mom is having thoughts of hurting herself or the baby: seek help immediately.

Treatment for mild postpartum depression:
1.) Exposure to sunlight improves mild postpartum depression. A walk around the block improves the mood of a tired new mom. Exposing the eyes to daylight, even on a cloudy day, helps reset the body’s clock. It affects the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. This will help the baby and mom sleep better.

2) Newborn sleep is disorganized and changes every day during the first twelve weeks. Between the short sleep times and the frequent feedings, it is challenging for mom to get the rest she needs. Encourage family members or friends to give mom an opportunity to sleep. It is much easier for her to cope when rested.

3) Support is beneficial to new moms. There is a significant decrease in postpartum depression if the mother has at least one support person in her life on a daily or weekly basis. It is helpful to find a mother and baby support group to be able to talk about all the issues of caring for a new baby or to connect with other new mothers. Many hospitals provide mother and baby support groups.

Moms, don’t be afraid to tell your support persons what your needs are. Many people want to help you but do not know how to do that. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. You need to be cared for so you can care for your baby. If you are feeling sadness and depression, it is not your fault. Please do not blame yourself. It is treatable.

Support people, make sure you check on how mom is feeling and watch mom for signs of stress. Ask mom, “How are you doing?” “How are you really feeling?” “It is OK to feel you can’t handle everything right now.”

If the feelings of depression continue longer than two weeks or get worse, it is important to talk to your doctor. Sometimes medication is used temporarily for the treatment of postpartum depression. You can find help where you live.

I work with families to help them get the maximum amount of sleep during those early newborn days and beyond. A baby that sleeps well is a happier baby, which leads to a well-rested and happier mother.

Helping Babies Sleep 

Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

Infant Tummy Massage to Relieve Gas

To see the complete massage instructional video:


Alix Kron
Alix Kron
4 months ago
We cannot say enough positive things about our experience working with Arlene!! We were desperate for sleep, going almost 5.5 months with frequent wake ups, nursing back to sleep, nonstop crying during the day, screaming in the car and becoming more and more hopeless as time went on without having success … Arlene changed all of that within no time. She listened to exactly what was going on for us, developed a sleep plan specific to our daughter’s needs/our goals and was so supportive and answered all of our questions along the way. It was very easy to follow the plan that she developed and it included naps and weaning off of night feedings. We saw a difference in our daughter almost immediately! Arlene has absolutely transformed our lives and given us the ability to enjoy each other and feel so much better getting the sleep we all want and NEED! Our daughter is now sleeping 11-12 hours per night, eating only once overnight as opposed to every 1-2 hours, is on a great nap schedule and is so much happier!!! It’s the best money we’ve spent.
Adrienne G.
Adrienne G.
2 years ago
We worked with Arlene to sleep train our 22 month old son who had been bed sharing and nursing to sleep. She helped us develop a sleep plan that was specific to our son's needs. It addressed both his nighttime sleep and his naps. It really took the guess work out of the endeavor, because as a parent, even if you read all the sleep books, there are many different opinions and it is hard to know what is right. Arlene was attentive, flexible and available to answer all of our questions and concerns. I would highly recommend working with her! Our son now sleeps 11-12 hours a night and put himself to sleep on his own. Sleep training him has been a game changer for me (I sleep now too!) and for him. He seems well rested and his development seems to be progressing faster now too. His language skills are flourishing since he is getting better rest.
Amanda C
Amanda C
4 years ago
We just wrapped up our second time working with Arlene, and had another great experience! Arlene helped us sleep train our first baby a few years ago when she was 4 months old at the time. She was a terrible sleeper, waking up once every hour and needing to be rocked to sleep for what felt like hours and hours each day. I was a stressed, exhausted, and worried first time mom, and I was drawn to Arlene’s calm and experienced approach. She gave us an option for a gentler strategy that worked for us at the time, and was detailed and responsive in her sleep plan and attentiveness. Our daughter just turned 2.5 years old and is still a great sleeper. So once our second baby turned 4 months recently, we did not hesitate to work with Arlene again. We now have two rockstar sleepers in our household, thanks to Arlene! It means the world to us that she was there to help guide us, instill confidence, and most importantly, help teach our children such a valuable skill they will undoubtedly benefit from for the rest of their lives.
Begoña Cirera
Begoña Cirera
2 years ago
Arlene helped me first with my first son who was 2.5 year old when I hired her. He slept with me during breastfeeding. He never wanted to sleep in his crib. I was due with my second, and I needed better rest, and had no clue how to get him to sleep away from my bed. I even had to sleep w him during naps, or he wouldn’t sleep. I had to walk him for hours to fall asleep every night. It was awful. Two weeks after Arlene helped us create a program for him, he was done!!! He was sleeping in his own room, all night (12+ hours) and he was SO HAPPY during the day. We learned so much, and all made so much sense. After trying methods and books, nothing worked. My son is almost 6, and he falls asleep at 7:30pm every evening, until 7:00am. As a parent, you know how precious those hours are. With my second one, I didn’t make the mistake of waiting until he was two to train him to sleep. By 3 months, we slowly started, with Arlene’s help. I never had to walk him or be there for him to fall asleep. He’s now 3, and he is a great sleeper, much better than his big brother ever was, still takes 90-min naps, and sleeps 11 hours a night. Every penny I spent to hire Arlene’s expertise is worth it. My only regret was not to look for her sooner. Lifesaver, 100%.
Abbey Stidam
Abbey Stidam
6 years ago
Arlene Fryling at Gentle Touch Sleep Time helped our son sleep, which helped us sleep! We were having trouble transitioning our son (4 months at the time) from his rock-n-play to the crib and our amazing sleeper since birth was all of a sudden not sleeping very much. Arlene talked with us about what was going on with his sleep and why the change in his sleep pattern. She answered all our questions and calmed our worries and frustrations. She came up with a sleep plan that worked for our family. She guided us every step of the way. He is now an amazing sleeper again! He is 18 months old and sleeps 12 hours at night and takes a 1 1/2 - 2 hour nap. He loves to sleep and never fights sleeping. I am so thankful we had Arlene Fryling help us and we were able to teach our son to sleep.