Crying Babies Linked to Depressed Moms

You probably don't need to tell mothers this, but colicky babies have been linked to postpartum depression.

A new study is the first to establish a link between colic and depression using a large sample of women.

"We can't say that inconsolability causes depression or that depression causes inconsolability," said study leader Pamela High, a professor of pediatrics at Brown Medical School. "However, we did find a link between the two. And this won't surprise anyone who knows a mother coping with a fussy baby."

In a survey of 2,927 new moms, 19 percent reported moderate to severe symptoms of postpartum depression, and 8 percent reported that their babies were difficult to console. The key finding: Mothers reporting depression were more than twice as likely to report infant inconsolability.

"One in three women with fussy infants acknowledged that they were depressed," High said.

The study team included researchers from the Rhode Island Department of Health. The results will be presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies' Annual Meeting in San Francisco.