Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Infants' Inconsolable Crying Increases Postpartum Depression Risk

The inability to console a crying infant “is a stronger indicator of postpartum depressed mood” than a baby’s overall time crying or fussing, according to a study of newborns and their mothers in Washington state.

Prolonged inconsolable crying—more than 20 minutes a day—raised the risk of depression symptoms fourfold, wrote Jenny Radesky, M.D., of the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center and Boston University, and colleagues, online in the journal Pediatrics May 8.

The study highlights the interaction between mother and baby. Inconsolable crying may contribute to maternal stress, fatigue, and a sense of helplessness. Together this interaction “may have important and lasting effects on the parent-child relationship,” wrote the authors.

“By providing anticipatory guidance to parents about the expected feelings of helplessness when their attempts to soothe their infant fail, we may be able to help them tolerate this common early difficulty in the parent-child relationship, bring about greater parental self-understanding, and provide an opportunity to offer help,” they concluded.

For more in Psychiatric News about postpartum depression, click here.
(Image: Patricia Chumillas/


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