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The Postpartum Period & Overstimulation

Have you ever experienced snapping at your partner for something very small? Have you ever noticed yourself going from level 0 to 100 when it comes to your emotions? Do you ever feel "touched out" from all the physical contact involved in caring for a baby? If you answered "yes" to any of these, you may be experiencing overstimulation. Overstimulation can affect both moms and dads during the postpartum phase. Due to the demands of caring for a newborn, parents may experience feelings of overwhelm, physical and mental exhaustion, and an inability to cope with emotions. Here are some of the reasons why overstimulation can show up:

  1. Not enough self-care: Parents put the needs of their babies' first and tend to neglect their own needs.

  2. Sensory overload: Loud cries from a newborn can be overstimulating for a parent. In addition to feeds and diaper changes, babies may also experience colic which can be extremely difficult to soothe. Babies may also need a good amount of physical contact such as being carried or breastfed.

  3. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders: PMADs such as postpartum depression or anxiety can also lead to overstimulation.

  4. Keeping mental tabs: Parents often find that once they have a baby, there are so many details to keep track of such as doctor's appointments, number of diapers changed, amount of milk drank, sleep schedule information, etc.

  5. Not enough help: Some parents may find that they have little to no support during the postpartum period. Parents who rarely get a break are more likely to experience overstimulation.

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