Depressed Dads May Have Colicky Babies

Researchers have known for a while now that moms who suffer from depression during pregnancy are more likely to have colicky infants. But new research finds that the same is true for depressed expectant fathers.

A study of 7,003 families conducted by researchers in the Netherlands, and published in the July 2009 issue of Pediatrics magazine, finds that depressed dads are almost twice as likely to report excessive crying – or colic – in their infants at 2 months old than dads who are not depressed. These rates were similar to the rates seen with mothers. Colic is defined as infant crying for three hours a day at least three days a week, a condition that usually resolves itself by the time the baby is 3 to 5 months old.

In explaining the link to infant colic, researchers suggested that a father’s depression can result in an infant’s reduced sensitivity to the dad, increased stress on the family and even a possible genetic transmission of irritability.