Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
You know that new moms often experience depression and severe mood swings, but now new research confirms new dads feel the baby blues, too — and it may change how they parent.
Authors of a new study published in the April issue of Pediatrics interviewed more than 1,700 dads of 1-year-olds and found that 7 percent of those dads experienced depression. That said, depressed moms outnumber depressed dads…by a lot. About 80 percent of new moms experience the baby blues, and 10 percent suffer from full-blown postpartum depression (PPD) in the first year.
The interesting aspect of this study is that the University of Michigan researchers found that in some instances, depressed dads treated their kids differently. While all of the dads, regardless of their mood, were equally likely to engage in interactive play, singing, and rhymes with their kids, depressed dads were nearly 4 times as likely to spank their kids and 62 percent less likely to read to their kids. Previous research has shown that depressed moms are more likely to spank their kids, too, but in both cases many other factors may be involved in the increase of spanking.
So, whether you’re feeling the blues yourself, or if you partner is, be sure to talk to your doctor, or even your child’s pediatrician about your feelings. PPD and the baby blues are treatable.