When you become a parent, your life changes in lots of ways. Getting to know your baby and having a new routine will take time. So be kind to yourself and take things at your and your baby’s own pace.
You’ll probably find you have mixed feelings about it – perhaps joy, pride and love mixed with anxiety, tearfulness and stress. These feelings are normal, and you can expect to feel up and down as you get used to your new role.
By giving you love and understanding and practical help, the people around you can play a huge role in supporting you once your baby arrives.
If you’ve got a partner, they’ll be able to play a key role because sometimes they’re the only person you can be yourself with.
If you’re a single parent, having family and friends you can rely on and talk to will be just as important.
When your baby arrives, one of the best things you can do to help yourself is to keep talking and let someone know how you’re doing.
If you think you need support, ask for it. Although this can be hard, it’s a positive step towards looking after yourself and your new baby.
Your midwife and health visitor or family nurse will ask how you’re feeling when you have check-ups with your baby.
Be as open and honest as you can if you’re:
There will be lots of support available to you, and the sooner you get it the better.
Parenthood can be a wonderful, joyous experience and an emotional rollercoaster.
One minute you’re up and the next you’re down. It can feel tough going, exhausting and relentless. These are some of the common feelings that many parents have.
It’s normal to feel a bit emotional after the birth – a lot of women do.
These feelings can happen at any time, but they normally begin 2 or 3 days after the birth and can last for a few days. It’s sometimes called the baby blues.
As a new parent you may:
Before your baby arrives, try and arrange some support and adult company. See if you can find a local baby group which can also provide social contact with other parents.
You might feel like there’s a lot of pressure to be perfect. It might make you feel guilty about what you’re doing, or not doing.
The truth is, no one’s a perfect parent. Be kind to yourself and accept that you’ll do the best you can.
Some people expect new parents to fall naturally into the role of mum or dad. Often, this just isn’t the case.
Bonding with your new baby will be a journey and it will take time to get to know one another.
Sometimes mental wellbeing can be affected by other problems in your life, including money worries.
Some women find their low mood doesn’t lift after birth and they become anxious or depressed.
Around 1 in 5 women will develop mental health issues when they’re pregnant or in the first year after their baby’s born.
Take care of yourself, and have some ‘me’ time to do the things that you enjoy. If you feel good, you’ll feel more able to manage and care for your baby.
This is a new experience for everyone and dads and partners have a big part to play.
If you’re the dad or partner, try to:
Don’t be tempted to take on more work. Extra money might sound good but extra help at home’s even better.
Being thoughtful in small ways can have a huge impact – run mum a bath or make dinner, or just put a towel in easy reach while she’s feeding the baby.
Talk to your partner about how to share feeding, nappy changing, bathing and playtime so you both get time with your baby and time to do other things too.
The feelings tend to go away on their own but it’s important to get extra support if they last.
If they don’t go within 10 days and you’re feeling worse not better, tell your health visitor, GP or family nurse.
If you haven’t got family support, there are often services that can help.
Ask your midwife or health visitor any questions you have about your baby. The more information you have the more confident you’ll be as a parent.
Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.
If you need a different language or format, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 November 2023