Singing with your baby can help ease postnatal depression

The power of song.
The power of song. Photo: Shutterstock

Mums and bubs singing groups can help reduce the severity of postnatal depression, a recent study suggests.

According to research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, when mums get together and sing to their babies, it helps speed-up the recovery process.

"Post-natal depression is debilitating for mothers and their families, yet our research indicates that, for some women, something as accessible as singing with their baby could help to speed up recovery at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives," principal researcher Dr Rosie Perkins, a research fellow at the Centre for Performance Science, told UK Sky News.

Researchers divided 134 women with postnatal depression into three groups. They participated in different activities over a 10 week period – one sung to their babies, one had creative play sessions and one received the regular treatment including antidepressants, mindfulness and increased family support.

All the mums who took part in the study experienced gradual improvements, but the ones who sang together as a group had a faster recovery, so much so that just six weeks into the study 35 per cent of the mums reported a decrease in postnatal symptoms.

Gail Barnes said joining a mum and bub singing group really helped her.

"To say it saved me may be dramatic but it made a massive difference," Ms Barnes told Sky News.

"Before, it had felt like I was just getting through each day with him, it was monotonous and lonely.

"But here there were other mums, screaming babies, and we were all in it together."

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According to Beyond Blue, postnatal depression is when a woman experiences depression that develops between one month and up to one year after the birth of a baby.

Symptoms can include excessive crying, anger, thoughts of self harm or of harming your baby, anxiety, feelings of disconnect with the world around you and with your baby, and withdrawing from family and friends.

"Postnatal depression affects up to one in seven women (almost 16 per cent) giving birth in Australia," it says on its website.

"Up to 80 per cent of women experience the baby blues in the early days after the birth due to changes in hormone levels. Women can feel tearful or overwhelmed but this usually passes within a few days and without specific care apart from support and understanding.

"However, if you experience symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, and/or these feelings are affecting your life, it's time to get help."

If you think you, or someone you know, might be experiencing postnatal depression please seek help from a medical professional or call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.