Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), excessive crying, and constipation are frequent gastrointestinal symptoms in infancy that are complex in nature, with psychological stress factors playing a significant role. The researchers’ goal for this observational study was to look at the occurrence of gastrointestinal problems in infants born to mothers with or without a history of mental disease, their relationship with maternal depressive symptoms, and the possible mediating function of bonding. 

One hundred and one mothers having a history of a psychiatric disorder, as well as 60 control mothers, were included in the study. At 1.5 months postpartum, validated questionnaires and diagnostic criteria were used to assess newborn gastrointestinal problems, maternal depression symptoms, and mother-infant attachment. The mean total score on the Infant Gastroesophageal Reflux Questionnaire-Revised was considerably greater in newborns of mothers with psychiatric disorders (13.4 standard deviations 5.4)  than in infants of control mothers (10.8 standard deviations 5.4; P = .003). There were no significant differences in the presence of excessive weeping or constipation between the two groups. Infant GER was linked to maternal depression symptoms (P = 0.027) as well as bonding issues (P = <0.001). Constipation (P = 0.045) was linked to depressed feelings in mothers, while excessive weeping (Wessel and subjective criteria) was linked to bonding issues (P = 0.022 and P = 0.002, respectively). Bonding issues influenced the effect of mother depressed symptomatology on newborn GER symptoms and excessive crying.


Maternal psychiatric history is linked to newborn gastrointestinal symptoms, with mother-infant attachment acting as a moderator.