Dads and Postpartum Depression: Breaking the Silence

When we think of postpartum depression (PPD), images of new mothers grappling with mood swings and anxiety may come to mind. However, this mental health challenge does not discriminate by gender—dads can and do suffer from postpartum depression too. In this blog, we are going to shed light on the overlooked struggle of dads facing PPD, offering support and understanding to help break the harmful stigmas associated with men’s mental health. 

Understanding Postpartum Depression in Dads 

Postpartum depression in dads, often referred to as paternal PPD, can occur due to hormonal changes, psychological stress, and lifestyle adjustments following the arrival of a new baby. Unlike mothers, whose PPD is often connected to hormonal shifts during and after pregnancy, fathers’ depression is more likely linked to external stress factors such as changes in their relationship, financial pressures, and lack of sleep. 

Why Dads’ Postpartum Depression Often Goes Unrecognized 

Cultural stereotypes about masculinity play a significant role in the under-recognition of paternal PPD. Many societies expect men to be stoic and strong, viewing any admission of emotional struggle as a sign of weakness. This cultural norm can discourage dads from seeking the help they need.  

But another major factor is the lack of awareness even among healthcare providers, who may not recognize the signs of PPD in new fathers. Because men are not necessarily going through the major hormonal shift of giving birth it’s assumed that while the new life with baby might be a big change, they aren’t going through as many difficulties mentally or physically. However, studies suggest that as many as 1 in 10 new fathers experience some form of PPD, yet these cases frequently remain underdiagnosed. 

Signs and Symptoms of PPD in Dads 

The signs of paternal postpartum depression can vary but often include: 

– Persistent Sadness or Emotional Numbness: Dads may feel constantly down or emotionally flat. 

– Withdrawal from Family and Friends: A lack of interest in social activities or family life is common. 

– Changes in Sleeping or Eating Habits: This might include insomnia or excessive sleeping, and changes in appetite. 

– Increased Irritability or Anger: New dads might experience uncharacteristic outbursts or frustration. 

– Feelings of Worthlessness or Inadequacy: Worries about not being a good father or partner can dominate their thoughts. 

Impact of Paternal PPD on Families 

Paternal PPD can have profound effects on the entire family. It can strain the co-parenting relationship, reduce emotional and physical intimacy, and impact the overall mental health of the partner. Children are sensitive to parental moods, and a depressed father can affect their emotional and cognitive development in the same ways that a mother dealing with PPD can. The mental health of both parents is incredibly important.  

Support and Resources for Dads 

Here at Ergobaby, we understand that becoming a parent is one of the most beautiful and challenging adventures life can bring your way. There are so many ups and downs and we are all about breaking stigmas that hold people back from living their most full life possible. If you are, or you know, a dad that is dealing with postpartum depression, there are several resources available: 

– Professional Therapy: Seeking help from a psychologist or psychiatrist can provide tailored treatment, which may include therapy or medication. 

– Support Groups: Many communities and online platforms offer support groups specifically for new fathers. 

– Educational Resources: Learning about PPD can help dads understand their feelings and reduce stigma. 

How Partners and Loved Ones Can Help 

Support from loved ones can make a significant difference in recovery from PPD. Partners can: 

– Encourage Open Communication: Create a non-judgmental space for expressing feelings. 

– Help with Baby Duties: Share childcare responsibilities to reduce stress. 

– Support Medical Intervention: Encourage and support visits to healthcare providers for early diagnosis and treatment. 

Communication, first and foremost, is key. You might be in a scenario where both parents are experiencing PPD or both are just too overwhelmed and exhausted and don’t have the capacity to help one another and care for a newborn. Reach out to family and friends for help. Whether it’s watching the baby so you can nap, taking care of laundry, or setting up a meal train so you don’t have to worry about meals, a little help can go a long way. 

Does babywearing help postpartum depression? 

In a recent interview with Emily Little, founder of the nonprofit organization Nurturely, we explored the profound impact that babywearing can have on reducing postpartum depression. Emily’s extensive research in developmental psychology and perinatal health has led her to develop a unique approach to addressing the challenges faced by new parents, especially in underserved communities.   

Why Babywearing Reduces Postpartum Depression  

Emily shared that several hypotheses exist regarding why babywearing has a positive impact on postpartum depression:  

  1. Physiological Factors: Increased physical contact through babywearing may reduce stress hormones (such as cortisol) and enhance bonding hormones (like oxytocin), improving mood. 
  2. Reduced Crying: Babies held close in carriers tend to cry less, resulting in lower parental stress levels. 
  3. Bonding: Babywearing facilitates a strong parent-child bond, promoting secure attachment, and healthier interactions. 
  4. Parental Responsiveness: The practice may make parents more responsive to their baby’s needs, enhancing overall parent-child interaction. 
  5. Read more about how babywearing can reduce symptoms of postpartum depression. 

Isn’t babywearing mostly for moms? NO! Babywearing is for EVERYONE! 


Scientific research tells us that early bonding between fathers and their babies has a profound impact on a child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development. Babywearing provides a unique opportunity for dads to forge a deep and secure attachment with their little ones. When you wear your baby, they feel the warmth of your body, hear the familiar sound of your heartbeat, and experience your gentle movements, all of which create a sense of security and comfort.  

Read more about the incredible benefits of babywearing for dads.  

Recognizing and addressing paternal postpartum depression is crucial for the health of not just new fathers but their entire families. By bringing this topic into the open and discussing it freely, we can support dads in need and contribute to breaking the cycle of silence that keeps men from seeking help. 

Help us spread awareness by sharing this post. If you or someone you know is struggling with paternal PPD, reach out for support. Together, we can change the narrative and ensure that all parents have the support they need to thrive. 

Vittoria Allen

Vittoria is a writer based in San Diego. A lover of good food, slow living, and a good novel, she shares her life with her husband and two daughters trying to squeeze out the beauty in every moment.