Skip to main content

Visit our coronavirus hub for information and advice.

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

Tip #1: Talk about your feelings

Speak to your partner or talk to your friends and family about how you feel. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Talking through your worries can help a great deal.

Tip #2: Sing along

Your baby loves music and singing can help lift your mood too. The Scottish Book Trust have a series of online Book Bug sessions running at the moment. The online sessions have songs, rhymes and dances to get you and your baby moving. There are also calming soothing songs too so you can choose what best suits the mood of you and your baby. Finish off with Storytime and snuggle up to a book.

Tip #3: Rest

Getting enough rest whilst looking after a new baby is so important but it can be really hard to do. If you are ready to accept help from others this can make help. So does eating well and trying to sleep when your baby sleeps. These can all make a huge difference to your energy levels.

Tip #4: Take it a day at a time

At the moment it might feel like life is changing rapidly. Try not to spend too much time looking at the news and social media as this can feel overwhelming. Try making a time limit for how much time you spend online and stick to trusted news sources. The Scottish Government and NHS Inform provides the latest advice and information about coronavirus. 

Tip #5: Understanding your relationship with your baby

Being a new mum is a journey and life with a new baby changes every day. Your baby is constantly watching and listening to the world around them. Every day they learn something new from you and you will find you learn from them too. As your relationship grows you will find it easier to pick up on your baby's cues. Talk and touch help your baby feel warm, secure and loved.  Ready Steady Baby has lots of advice for getting to know your new baby.

Tip #6: Don’t worry about being a supermum

Mums often put extra pressure on themselves. Try to cut yourself some slack and accept that looking after your baby is a full time job! Everyone in the household may not manage to get all the housework done all the time. As long as your baby is happy and healthy, you are doing a great job.

Look for support

These last few months have 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. It can help to know that others feel the same as you, help you find ways of coping, and remind you that you are not alone.  Although face to face groups have not started back, there are ones which are running online including peer support groups. Remember, when looking for support online it is 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.

It's important to remember you can still access support during this time.

Remember that you’re not alone – all of us struggle from time to time. Talk to your midwife, Health Visitor, Family Nurse or GP if you’re finding it all a bit much.