Moms Of Fussy Babies Are More Likely To Suffer From Depression
It’s no surprise to note that mothers experience a wide range of emotions and hormonal shifts when caring for their newborn. Adding a fussy or collicy baby into the equation, those symptoms are often elevated and depressive symptoms, such as feeling sad, anxious, chronic fatigue, or irritable, can come into play.
A study from the University of Michigan found that mothers of highly irritable infants experience greater depressive symptoms. The national study, published in American Pediatrics, included data from more than 8,200 children and their parents.
The study is also believed to be the first to explore the degree to which a baby’s prematurity and infant fussiness may influence the severity of maternal depressive symptoms. “We found that maternal depression risk varied by gestational age and infant fussiness,” says Prachi Shah, M.D. “Mothers of fussy infants born late preterm and full term are more likely to experience more severe levels of maternal depression, than mothers of fussy infants who were born more preterm.”
In addition, the study found that maternal characteristics associated with prenatal stress and socioeconomic disadvantages, such as lower income, unmarried status and smoking, impacted the severity of maternal depressive symptoms.
“Pediatricians and providers should pay close attention to mothers who describe difficulty soothing their babies,” Shah says. “Early interventions may help reduce the risk of maternal depression that negatively impacts a child-parent relationship and that may be harmful to both the health of a mother and child.”