Babywearing can be beneficial to women suffering from or at risk of Post Natal Depression (PND). Babywearing can assist in reducing some of the risk factors for PND, can mitigate some of its effects on the maternal-child bond and can be used as part of a range of alternative therapies for treatment.
PND is a common experience. Almost 16% of women are affected by it. For those suffering from this form of depression, the experience can be debilitating. Babywearing is not a substitute for medical treatment for this serious condition. If you believe you or someone you know may have PND, seek help. A good resource is Beyond Blue.
Some of the risk factors for PND include an unsettled baby, difficulty establishing breastfeeding and a lack of practical support. Babywearing can assist with these problems by helping settle a distressed baby, promoting the establishment of breastfeeding and offering a parent a hands-free way of caring for their baby. Babywearing cannot remove these risk factors altogether and it certainly cannot decrease the effect of other risk factors such as a previous history of depression. For a full list of risk factors for PND, see here.
Some women find that one of the effects of PND is a difficulty bonding with their child. Babywearing can assist a mother to bond with their child in a gentle way during everyday tasks. Babywearing also offers a woman’s partner a practical way to give the mother a break while also bonding with the baby. Rest and sleep are important for treating depression.
Babywearing can also be used as part of alternative therapies for treating depression such as exercise and light therapy. A walk outside with the baby each day is not only a valuable way to settle the baby, but it may also positively impact on the mother’s mental health. Babywearing is obviously not a replacement for medication where it is necessary.
In conclusion, babywearing can reduce some (but not all) of the risk factors for PND. It can reduce some of the impact of the depression itself and form a part of the treatment plan for PND.
In the following weeks, we’ll be bringing you the personal stories of women who have suffered from PND and the effect that babywearing has had on them and their babies.
What’s your experience with PND? What bought you out of the black hole? Leave a comment and share with those still searching for an answer.