Ready Steady Baby


New babies and relationships


Relationships with those around you will change as you adjust to your new role. It won’t happen overnight.

Newborn babies are particularly demanding of your time and energy. Many parents find it tricky to balance everyone’s needs and deal with their own feelings as well.

When your baby arrives

Although the arrival of a baby can be wonderful, many parents don’t realise how tiring or confusing it can be. You might have negative feelings you don’t feel you should have.

If this isn’t your first child, it’s easy to forget how things were the last time.

Getting to know this little person and doing all the things to meet your baby’s needs might seem a huge task. Be kind to yourself and take it slowly. 

Managing your time

When you’re tired in the early days you can end up spending all your time looking after your baby and spend time with no one else. Be careful this doesn’t develop into your pattern.

It’s healthy to make time to take care of yourself and spend quality time with other adults too. It’s not something to feel guilty about

Your other children

If you already have children, caring for them and your baby can take up all your energy.

It’s important to:

  • give your older children quality time with you too
  • take time to introduce them to their new sibling

Help from friends and family

It’s okay to ask for help from people you trust and know would be happy to help. Think about what would help you most. Maybe some shopping for you or looking after your baby while you have a bath.

When people offer help, say yes.

Parenting on your own

If you’re parenting on your own, getting time with other adults can be challenging.

It’s okay to ask for help so you can see your friends or family. Sometimes people are just waiting to be asked.

Local parent groups

A local parent group is a good way for you to take your baby and meet other people. Some may even have crèche facilities.

Find a local parent group in Scotland

Getting help and support

If things are difficult and it all seems too much to cope with, talk to your midwife, health visitor or family nurse. They can:

  • listen and support you
  • find groups or organisations to help

You can also contact One Parent Families Scotland for more information and support.

If you have a partner

Having a baby’s usually a happy time which brings you and your partner closer. Sometimes, though, it can put a real strain on relationships. It’s not unusual for partners to sometimes feel ‘shut out’ by your baby’s arrival.

How you might be feeling

Being tired can make you feel irritable. You may feel your world has been turned upside down.

Changes to your hormones and tiredness for both of you can lead to high emotions. This can sometimes make you snappy and critical.

It can be easy to blame each other when things aren’t going well. Try to:

  • be patient
  • listen to each other’s point of view
  • look for ways to help each other feel included, less overwhelmed and more confident

If you have someone who can look after the baby for you, try to spend some time alone as a couple – even if it’s just taking a walk together, or having a quiet cup of tea or an undisturbed meal.

Sex after birth

You may not feel like being intimate so give yourself time to recover. The most important thing is to keep talking to each other and only have sex when both of you feel ready and comfortable.

More about sex after giving birth

Parents but not partners

If you’re living apart from your baby, you may want to bring them to your home too. 

Try to:

  • make it feel like your baby’s other home, and not somewhere they stay every now and again
  • make space for your baby
  • make sure you have everything they need when they’re with you
  • talk about how you can support each other to do the best for your baby

Working things out

If you’re in an abusive or violent relationship, working things out may not be possible or what you want. You may feel you’re not able to end the relationship or change the situation.

A first step could be to talk to someone you trust who won’t judge you. If you have a good relationship with your health professional then talk to them – they can listen and help you to find the support you need.

If you find it difficult to work things out together, you can get help from Relationships Scotland.

Find out more about your rights and responsibilities as a parent.

Making friends

Having a baby can be a happy and exciting time, but it can also leave you feeling isolated and lonely. You probably have lots of questions and concerns about being a parent, especially if it’s your first baby.

It can sometimes affect your relationships with friends, who may have a different lifestyle, no children or older children. Relationships change all the time as people’s lives change and that’s OK. Having a baby can be a great way to make new friends too.

Support groups

It’s good to find other people and places for support and friendship. 

Most areas have groups for new parents. There are also groups for young parents.

Some have:

  • coffee mornings
  • drop-in centres
  • feeding support groups
  • baby and toddler clubs

Libraries have free activities including Bookbug sessions for stories, songs and rhymes.

You could ask someone you know to go along with you for the first few times until you feel more comfortable. You’ll probably find people in the group remember the first time they came and reach out to welcome someone new.

Ask your health visitor or family nurse for more information.

Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.

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Last updated:
19 December 2023