In the past few years, information and attention about postpartum depression has flooded mainstream media. As more mothers have admitted to their struggles with postpartum depression, understanding of this very real disease has grown. More mothers feel comfortable discussing their emotional pain following pregnancy, and less are overcome with shame and embarrassment over postpartum depression.
Though not everyone suffers from postpartum depression, all new mothers deal with many intense and varied emotions. Lack of sleep, stress, and countless other changes altering the mother’s body and mind often lead to feeling overwhelmed or frazzled. Recent studies have shown that one of the best ways for mothers to chase away these feelings of overwhelming stress is to spend quality time in close contact with their baby.
Skin-to-skin contact is a very effective therapy that helps mother and child gain a close, personal bond. Not only have there been studies that show how skin-to-skin contact can reduce a baby’s crying, but other research has shown that mothers who have skin-to-skin contact for the first few weeks following the infant’s birth experience fewer depressive symptoms.
But, for a moment, forget those statistics. Forget the facts, the research, and the studies. Just think about your baby. Think about holding your baby close to you and feeling that little heartbeat next to yours. Think about those fragile little fingers, those tiny curled toes, and those wispy eyelashes. Think of your new daughter resting her head on your chest or your son curled against you. Doesn’t that make you smile? Isn’t that feeling perfect?
Skin-to-skin contact creates an emotional connection and bond that is so essential during those first nesting days. One of the easiest ways to promote that contact is to wear your baby, wherever you go. Many mothers have expressed feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable and tired with even the smallest tasks–and it’s no wonder, bringing babies into this world and caring for them is no small feat. And while your world now suddenly revolves around this tiny, perfect creation, things go on. Tasks need to be completed. Work needs to be done, but you can do it!