The arrival of a new baby is a joyful time, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. Similar to mothers, new fathers or non-birthing partners face their own unique challenges when a baby arrives.
Can men get postnatal depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a form of depression that occurs after the baby is born. Usually, it’s characterised by the “baby blues” within the first weeks, but if it continues for more than a month and starts interfering with one’s ability to perform daily tasks, it is classed as a PPD.
Nevertheless, non-birthing partners are usually not screened for PPD, meaning that there may be more people underreporting symptoms. According to psychiatrist Saqib Bajwa, within the first three-six months of birth, 8%–10% of non-birthing partners tend to suffer from an undefined range of overwhelming emotions, out of which depression is a top one.
Symptoms of PPD can include feelings of sadness, anxiety, and fatigue, as well as a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. If a new dad is struggling with postnatal depression, it's important for him to reach out for help and know that he is not alone.
The reason many men experience PPD is often due to the fact their life has dramatically changed, and this affects their daily routine as well as their emotions. They can also experience intense feelings which are triggered by watching their partner undergo a traumatic birth or by the change in the family dynamic. Other reasons can include hormonal imbalances, a history of mental illnesses, or lack of sleep.
What to expect as a new dad
Being a new dad can be a challenging and exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming. The arrival of a new baby can bring a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what to expect in order to be better equipped to support your mental health.
- Feeling left out: You may feel like you're on the side-lines while your partner focuses on the baby, especially if she is breastfeeding. Understand that this is normal and make sure you surround yourself with the rest of your family and friends to avoid loneliness.
- Sleep deprivation: It’s no secret that new parents can struggle with sleep deprivation, which can lead to fatigue and irritability. The good news is that it’s only temporary, and you’ll eventually adjust to your new routine. Try to get as much rest as possible during the day, divide the night shift with your partner, and invest in bedtime sleep aids that will promote your baby’s restful sleep, including teethers for when they start growing their teeth.
- Daily routine changes: As a new dad, your life will be turned upside down. You’ll need to be ready to adjust to a new schedule, including nighttime feedings and diaper changes. You may also have to alter your work schedule to accommodate your new responsibilities as a parent. Your partner will also go through physical changes during pregnancy and postpartum recovery. It’s important to be understanding and supportive of their needs.
- Financial pressure: Babies come with a lot of expenses, from diapers and formula to baby gear and clothes. You may need to adjust your budget and prioritise spending. Make sure you buy all your newborn essentials and consider what other items will support your baby.
- Limited free time: As a new dad, you may find that your free time is limited. You’ll need to balance work and family time, which can be challenging. Try to make the most of your time with your partner and baby, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What men need to understand about pregnancy
Pregnancy is a physically and emotionally demanding period, during which the mother will need all your love and support. Make sure you nurture her and take care of the chores whenever you can. A pregnant woman goes through a lot of hormonal changes, so make sure to understand that process and respect it.
Once the baby is born, everything will change. Be prepared for the challenges and enjoy the beautiful moments. It takes time to adjust, so practice patience with yourself and your partner as you both adjust to your new roles.
Being a new dad can be challenging, and finding the right support and understanding is key to growing a healthy family.
At Nuby, we have a range of baby products designed to help new parents manage their routines better and support the growth of their babies, so check them out.