New Dads Can Get the Baby Blues Too

by Armin Brott,
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Most of us have heard of new moms experiencing the "baby blues," or actual postpartum depression, but few acknowledge that paternal postpartum depression is just as real.

According to Will Courtenay, a psychotherapist specializing in male postpartum depression, as many as one in four new dads experience symptoms such as stress, irritability and anger in the days, weeks and even months after the birth of a child.

Unfortunately, men rarely discuss their feelings or ask for help, especially during a time when they're supposed to "be there" for the new mom.

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Understanding ‘Ba Ba Ba’ as a Key to Development

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As a pediatrician, I always ask about babble. “Is the baby making sounds?” I ask the parent of a 4-month-old, a 6-month-old, a 9-month-old. The answer is rarely no. But if it is, it’s important to try to find out what’s going on.

If a baby isn’t babbling normally, something may be interrupting what should be a critical chain: not enough words being said to the baby, a problem preventing the baby from hearing what’s said, or from processing those words. Something wrong in the home, in the hearing or perhaps in the brain.

Babble is increasingly being understood as an essential precursor to speech, and as a key predictor of both cognitive and social emotional development. And research is teasing apart the phonetic components of babble, along with the interplay of neurologic, cognitive and social factors.

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Surprise mom and dad, your parenting differences can actually be your strength

by Sandi Kahn Shelton
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First, we have a little bit of bad news. Studies show that married people start getting unhappy in their marriages when they have kids. And more bad news: This dissatisfaction continues for the next 14 years.

That’s a long time to be miserable, we know. But don’t despair. Now two esteemed parenting professionals — who happen to be married to each other, and raising two young children together — are saying it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. They agree that parenting is difficult, but they claim that with some planning and careful discussions, couples can remain happy and strong throughout those tumultuous years.

Kyle Pruett, a nationally renowned author and an eminent child psychiatrist at the Yale Child Study Center, and his wife, Marsha Kline Pruett, a professor at Smith College of Social Work, who has done landmark research on co-parenting, have together written “Partnership Parenting: How Men and Women Parent Differently — Why It Helps Your Kids and Can Strengthen Your Marriage,” Da Capo Lifelong Books, $15.95.

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Of Human Bonding

by David Brooks
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If I had $37 billion to give to charity, I'd give some of it to a foundation that would invent an Oxytocin Meter. That way we could predict who is headed for success and who for failure. We could figure out which organizations are thriving and which are sick.

Oxytocin is a hormone that helps mammals bond. Female rats injected with oxytocin nurture newborns placed in their cages, which they would otherwise attack. Prairie voles with oxytocin receptors form lifelong monogamous bonds, whereas other varieties of voles without the receptors mate promiscuously.

In humans, oxytocin levels rise during childbirth, breast feeding and sex. Humans with higher oxytocin levels are more likely to trust other people. They are more resistant to stress and social phobias. Humans seem to experience delicious oxytocin floods in the brain after being with someone they love. It's no wonder neuroscientists — displaying the branding genius for which they are famous — have nicknamed oxytocin "the affiliative neuropeptide."

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Dads' hormones change, too, during pregnancy

by Liz Szabo
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As Lance Somerfeld learned, babies are excellent teachers. His son provided round-the-clock on-the-job training, free of charge.

Within days of becoming a father, the 36-year-old New York City resident learned how to soothe a fussy baby. How to burp him, feed him and swaddle him.

Yet in some ways, Somerfeld's son began shaping him into a father even before delivery.

Although men may not be aware of it, they actually undergo hormonal changes as they prepare for fatherhood, says neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, author of The Male Brain (Broadway Books, $24.99), released in March.

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