Paternal Postpartum Depression: Info & Tips


Current research says that about 10% of new Fathers will experience paternal postpartum depression. Just like with Moms, Dads may feel overwhelmed and inadequate when baby comes into the picture. Past history of depression, having other children to care for, and financial stressors all increase the likelihood of postpartum depression for Moms and Dads. Plus, both types of PPD negatively effect childhood development.

Studies have also shown that maternal postpartum depression drastically increases the likelihood of PPD in Fathers. Sure, that’s logical: Dads feel sad when Mom is sad, when baby cries all night, or when thoughts like college tuition come to mind. But how is Dad’s experience different from Mom’s? Paternal postpartum depression departs from maternal PPD in two key areas: 1) Dad’s early bonding with baby, and 2) How Dad copes with PPD.

In spite of the gender-balancing that has occurred over the last few decades, everyone from doctors to second-cousins still tend to focus primarily on Mother and baby right after childbirth. This may leave Fathers feeling excluded from early bonding experiences with baby.

Mom is sitting in a dark room and doesn’t want to talk to anyone: meet the classic example of a woman with PPD who feels apathetic and withdrawn.  In contrast, studies show that Dads tend to cope with paternal postpartum depression via hostility, anger, alcohol abuse, infidelity, recklessness, and escapist behaviors.

Tips to Naturally Prevent Paternal Postpartum Depression

1) Do not ignore Dad when baby is born. From the hospital stay to the first few days at home with baby and beyond, attention and focus needs to be given to Dad’s bond with baby. Even in situations where baby lives with Mom, the importance of the Baby-Daddy bond should receive positive affirmation.

2) From cooing to changing diapers, encourage Dad’s involvement with baby. This will increase Dad’s bonding with baby and decrease paternal postpartum depression factors. Whenever possible, Dad should also opt to take paternity leave when baby is born.

3) Preventing Mom’s PPD can go a long way toward preventing paternal postpartum depression. Early detection of depressive symptoms is key, but there are natural, alternative options that can be practiced too. Several studies have shown a high correlation between diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and preventing PPD. Get the family eating plenty of fish, nuts, flax and other foods high in Omega-3! Mom should also stay active during and after pregnancy. If she’s been working regularly, taking sick leave during pregnancy may increase depression. Staying active and socially engaged inside and outside of the home can do wonders for both parents!

4) It’s essential for new Dads to find ways to cope with new emotions so that they are not transferred into negative thoughts and actions. Try breathing and relaxation techniques to reduce anger buildup and herbal remedies such as ashwagandha for natural stress relief.



Jennifer Hollie Bowles
Jennifer Hollie Bowles is a blissed-out Momma and Wife. She offers natural beauty, holistic health, and metaphysical products at Bliss Emporium. Jennifer is also a widely published writer of many genres.