Updated: Mar 13, 2021
Parents of infants and young children sometimes feel guilty for taking time for themselves to enjoy nonparental events. However, research illustrates that parental mood and affect directly impact parental engagement (Vaheshta et al., 2015); low parental engagement during parent-infant interactions is associated with poor infant outcomes (Vaheshta et al., 2015). Fathers who present with symptoms of depression have been observed to have decreased verbal communication when interacting with their infants. This lowered output of expressive language provide infants with fewer opportunities of language exposure. Similarly, infants of depressed mother are at a greater risk for poor developmental outcomes when compared to infants of mothers with no depressive symptoms (Lefkovics, Baji, & Rigo, 2014). Women who have untreated depression during the prenatal period tend to have infants with low birth weight, other potential harmful fetal conditions and may have pregnancy complications (Lefkovics, Baji, & Rigo, 2014). In general, it is important for parents, especially new parents, to take time to focus on their own health and well-being.
Cockshaw, W. D., Muscat, T., Obst, P. L., & Thorpe, K. (2014). Paternal postnatal depressive symptoms, infant sleeping and feeding behaviors, and rigid parental regulation: A correlational study. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 35(4), 124. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25268282
Lefkovics, E., Baji, I., & Rigó, J. (2014). Impact of maternal depresion on pregnancies and on early attachment. Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(4), 354-365. doi:10.1002/imhj.21450 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25798487
Miklush, L., & Connelly, C. D. (2013). Maternal depression and infant development: Theory and current evidence. MCN. the American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 38(6), 369. Retrieved from https://www.nursingcenter.com/cearticle?an=00005721-201311000-00009&Journal_ID=54021&Issue_ID=1614307
Sethna, V., Murray, L., Netsi, E., Psychogiou, L., & Ramchandani, P. G. (2015). Paternal Depression in the Postnatal Period and Early Father–Infant Interactions. Parenting: Science & Practice, 15(1), 1-8. doi:10.1080/15295192.2015.992732 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25745364