The relationship with your baby starts right at the beginning when they are in the womb. Once your baby is born this relationship continues to grow and the first few months are focused on learning about and meeting the needs of your baby.
Babies are born seeking relationships and closeness with their parents or carers. Loving, safe and responsive relationships act as the basis for a sense of self-worth, confidence and trust in the world. So when things are tough, as they inevitably will be sometimes, remember how much you’re doing every time you simply cuddle, smile at or talk to your baby.
Babies can have very different needs, and sometimes these can make parenting more challenging. For all sorts of reasons, some babies will struggle with things like sleep and feeding and may cry more than you expected.
It’s hard being a parent and the experience can be unfamiliar, scary or leave you feeling guilty or stressed, but all parents feel the same way.
How you’re feeling as a parent can also affect how you feel about your relationship with your baby, particularly if you’re struggling with your own mental health. This is something lots of parents go through during pregnancy, after their baby is born or later in their child’s life. When this is happening, things can feel incredibly difficult or overwhelming – and it’s important to reach out for help using the links at the bottom of this page.
Every family does things differently. Trust your feelings about your baby and what they like. Don’t worry, you are still learning about each other. It takes time!
Things to do to support your baby’s emotional wellbeing:
TALK · Read to me regularly, even when I’m very young, and use as many rhymes, poems or songs as you can. Simple rhymes hold my attention. · Provide me with a running commentary on your own life. Tell me about colours, count the steps you climb or the socks and towels as you do the washing.
PLAY · Being outside is great and I love to watch the world go by, especially when you talk to me about what I can see ·
RELAX · After busy interaction I need to wind-down and enjoy a few moments of calm with you. · Try to have some time when you are just focused on the experience of being with me not on things you need to get done, or on people or events that have made you upset or angry.
CUDDLE · Cuddle me as often as you like – babies can’t have too much contact and I love our time together.
RESPOND · Work out what my crying means and meet my needs – warmth and comfort, food, a clean nappy, sleep.
Building a Happy Baby leaflet
If you are struggling with your mental health don’t suffer alone, there are lots of services available. Visit https://www.totalwellbeingluton.org/ for free services to support you.