Postpartum Depression in Dads

Dads can get the baby blues too

Although postpartum depression in new moms is well known, it’s much less acknowledged that fathers can also become depressed after their baby’s birth.

While the first few months are filled with the joy of a new baby, after that, things can get tough for some men. Studies show that depression among dads seems to peak 3-6 months after birth, a crucial time when they should be bonding with their baby.

Symptoms of paternal postnatal depression (PPND)

  • sadness lasting more than 2-3 weeks
  • loss of interest
  • sleep problems
  • low energy
  • irritability
  • changes in weight or appetite
  • headaches or stomach problems
  • anger or violence
  • withdrawal
  • disengagement from the family

Causes of PPND

Exactly why dads become depressed is not fully understood but hormonal changes due to sleep loss could be a factor, along with: stress, financial worries, a rocky relationship with his partner, anxiety over being a new parent and a colicky, constantly-crying newborn.

Getting help will benefit you, your partner and especially your baby

Research shows that a father’s postpartum depression has a negative and long-term impact on the psychological, social and behavioral development of his kids, especially boys. It affects children as young as two, all the way through adolescence and into young adulthood.

If you feel you could be experiencing paternal postpartum depression, it’s very important to get help from a mental health professional. Your baby, your partner and especially you will benefit.