While colicky babies have been known to make grown men (and moms) cry, a new study published today in Pediatrics says that babies are more likely to be colicky if the fathers are depressed. Colic is defined as three hours of crying at least three hours per day. Previous studies have shown a link between depression in women and colic in babies. The study looked at 7600 babies and parents during pregnancy through two months after birth.
Colic usually goes away by three to four months old, but can be so frustrating that parents shake their babies, sometimes resulting in irreversible brain damage or death. The results of the study suggest that doctors should integrate colic awareness into pregnancy planning tips. Couples need to be aware of both dad and mom’s mental condition before birth to predict colic, but also to identify parents who may need help.
Unfortunately, the study was not able to correct for under-reporting of depression by people who did not fill out the surveys, or who underestimated the crying, so it likely underestimates the link between depression and colic.