Do babies have depression? How to know?

Many parents wonder “do babies have depression?”. In fact, depression can affect anyone. Therefore, parents need to pay close attention to the behavior of their children. Early detection and intervention will help limit bad consequences.

infant depression
Parents need to be careful with infant depression

Do babies have depression?

When thinking of babies, many people immediately think of joy. We often picture the teenage years as a time marked by joy and wonder. But experts in infant and young child mental health say that, from birth to age 3, children can have many deep and intense emotions.

Many people view depression as a problem that affects only adults. However, according to a 2006 study, one in 40 children will experience depression. Newborns are also likely to experience depression. They often experience two main symptoms. The first is that the child does not show emotions, the second is that the child may have difficulty eating, sleeping, or irritable.

For a long time, people did not believe that depression was capable of affecting babies. However, in recent times, doctors and scientists have begun to study this issue more seriously.

The 21st century shows a rapid increase in clinical concern with mood disorders in children. Each study confirmed different aspects of depression in children in general and in infants in particular. Research has gradually revealed its causes, symptoms as well as methods to treat it.

Scientists agree that, although infants have immature and underdeveloped cognitive-emotional skills, depression is something they can all go through. Children have mood swings, are likely to think negatively, and also tend to exhibit depressive symptoms by behavior.

Infants with depression may have unhappy facial reactions, irritability, unresponsive gaze, or slowed bodily reactions. Breastfeeding or sleeping habits may also be altered. Parents will easily recognize the expressions of their children when paying more attention to their children.

Many studies not only confirm the existence of depression in infants but also highlight the distinctive symptoms of this period. These studies have broadened the understanding of infant depression. This has helped the situation to receive more and more attention.

Signs of infant depression

Children with depression can experience the same symptoms as adults. However, the symptoms of depression in children can vary with age. Infants and toddlers may experience the following symptoms:

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signs of infant depression
Infants with depression may have some problems with breastfeeding or sleeping
  • Cry more, sometimes cry for no reason
  • Increase clinging to mother
  • Increased feeding problems (anorexia)
  • Underdeveloped
  • Limit interaction
  • Limited learning
  • Increased sleep problems
  • Frequent irritability, irritability
  • There are spontaneous actions
  • Not recognizing the person taking care of you

Newborns need physical development and emotional connection. As they get older there will be 4 important milestones including expressive language (speech development), receptive language (understanding what a person is saying), gross motor (sitting up) and fine motor (sitting up) pick up something).

If you’re wondering if your child is capable of meeting these milestones but online resources aren’t helping, take your child to see a pediatrician.

The most important thing that experts recommend for mothers to watch out for is changes in the child’s behavior. The mother is the one who takes care of and understands the baby most thoroughly. A mother needs to know the foods her baby likes, how she sleeps, the sounds her baby makes, the different cries her baby makes and what they mean.

When an infant is harmed mentally and physically, parents need to pay attention to signs and understand their child’s behavior. At the same time, you should take your child to regular health check-ups to detect abnormalities and intervene in time.

Causes of depression in babies

According to research, experts say, a number of factors can increase the risk of depression in babies. Such as:

Causes of depression in babies
Maternal depression may affect and increase the risk of depression in the infant
  • Genetic factors: According to a study from British scientists, up to 40% of people with depression are likely related to genes. This suggests that genetic factors play an important role in the pathogenesis. And this is a common reason why babies are affected by depression.
  • Living with someone with depression: If children grow up with people with depression, the risk of developing this disorder also increases. Because children are very vulnerable to the development of personality, thinking as well as behavior. For example, if caregivers are less communicative, quiet, and inactive, children will tend to do the same.
  • Away from familiar mothers and caregivers: In many cases, children are separated from their mothers or familiar caregivers for long periods of time. At this point, a substitute carer is needed. However, the surrogate often does not understand the psychology of the child. This can cause the child to react poorly and increase the risk of emotional disturbances.

What should parents do when their infant is depressed?

It is not the right way to dodge the problem of infant depression and assume that children are not mature enough to talk about depression and hope it will go away. Just like adults, most babies and children need professional care to overcome depression.

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For babies, parents need to pay attention to some of the following issues:

1. Medical examination and treatment

As mentioned, because parents or caregivers don’t think infants can have depression, the illness is often detected and diagnosed late. This makes treatment difficult, time consuming and expensive.

Some people also believe that as long as relatives are willing to play and talk with children, depression will be improved. However, depression is a disease that cannot be cured by itself and requires intensive intervention. Therefore, you should take your child to see a psychologist or psychiatrist for help.

Treatment of depression in infants
Depression in babies needs professional care to get better soon

Psychologist will help parents better understand the problem that their child is facing. From there, provide solutions to connect the interaction between parents and children. At the same time, teach parents how to help their children overcome depression.

In some cases, the infant may be prescribed medication. Medications for depression should be prescribed and administered by a psychiatrist. Children need to use the right dose and frequency to ensure effectiveness.

Medicines for depression can cause children to experience some side effects such as dizziness, headache, constipation, dry mouth, nausea, etc. Therefore, parents need to closely monitor their child’s medication process. Absolutely do not arbitrarily buy medicine for children to use, use the wrong dose or stop the medicine suddenly.

2. Take proper care of your child

In addition to medical examination and treatment, parents also need to pay attention to the daily care of their children. Some issues to keep in mind include:

  • Pay more attention to your child’s symptoms to understand the disease control process. In case of any abnormalities, it is necessary to immediately notify the doctor to have a plan to adjust the treatment regimen accordingly.
  • Parents and loved ones need to spend more time with their children. Playing and interacting with children regularly can have many benefits for their emotional well-being and mental health.
  • The mother should pay attention to eating to improve the quality of milk. Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals that are good for your mood. Breastfed babies will benefit a lot if they have a good milk supply.

The article has provided information you need to know about infant depression. Hopefully, parents will pay more attention to taking care of their children in the first years of life. From there early detection of abnormalities, timely intervention to help children overcome depression and develop more comprehensively.

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