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Mental health support for new mums

Being a new mum is an exciting time, but it certainly isn’t easy. All new mums experience a mix of emotions and changes as they get used to life with a new baby. Even at the best of times it isn’t unusual to feel low in mood, more anxious or both. Coronavirus has added a whole new thing to deal with. But there are lots of things you can do and support available to help you look after yourself. Remember, looking after your mental health is important for both you and your baby.

Understanding your mental health

It can be normal to experience lots of ups and downs when you have a new baby. There’s a lot to get used to – physically, socially and emotionally. This can all affect your mood. On top of this, due to coronavirus you will have had less contact with your normal support networks, such as family, friends and baby groups.  

Your wellbeing is important to both you and your baby.  Although their emotions are just developing they can pick up on feelings of stress. But, chatting and singing to your baby can help them feel safe and secure and can help you form a loving relationship.

Remember to take time for yourself too, chat and spend time with family or friends (following the latest guidance on meeting up) or get some ‘me time’ when possible.

Remember that your midwife, health visitor, family nurse or GP are there to talk if you have any worries about how you’re feeling. Managing your wellbeing whilst looking after a new baby can be tough, so here are some simple tips to help.

Tips for your mental health

Look for support

This last year has been difficult for everyone, especially for new mums. Lots of mums will be feeling the same as you, so it can be helpful to talk to other new mums. This can help you find ways of coping, and remind you that you're not alone. Although face to face groups have not started back, many groups are running online, including peer support groups.

Remember, when looking for support online it's important to stay safe. Here are some questions to ask when looking at a peer support group:

  • Who is running the support group? 
  • Can I find out if they have mental health first aid training?
  • Do they have knowledge of signposting routes for further support?
  • Does the group have guidelines? What are they?

Peer support groups should be clear about what they offer and should be happy to spend time discussing any questions you may have. The charity Mind has helpful pages about what peer support is and how to access it. If in doubt ask your midwife, health visitor, family nurse or GP.

You may also be able to form an extended household with one other household, which could be a great source of support for you. You can find out more information on extended households here

There are lot of other ways to find support for your mental health. A directory of third sector services supporting mental health for women, babies and their families can be found here.

Remember that you’re not alone – all of us struggle from time to time. And it's also important to remember you can still access support during this time. Talk to your midwife, health visitor, family nurse or GP if you’re finding it all a bit much.