The “Baby Blues” vs. Postpartum Depression: Understanding Postnatal Emotions

By Kerry Weiss
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
January 06, 2023

The postpartum period can be an emotionally fraught time. It can come with a flood of intense feelings: good, bad, and mixed. If you’re feeling sad, angry, stressed, or have other negative emotions, you may start to wonder whether you're dealing with what’s referred to as the baby blues or whether you could be experiencing postpartum depression.

Keeping a close eye on your emotions can help you find ways to manage them—and get help when you need it—so you can be the parent you want to be. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression and how to handle your postnatal emotions.

What Are the Baby Blues?

The baby blues are feelings of intense emotional highs and lows that commonly are experienced in the days and weeks after having a baby. You may go from crying tears of joy and happiness to tears of fear and uncertainty at the drop of a hat.