Your mental health as a parent

It's normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Many parents feel stressanxietylow mood and depression. Feeling intensely distressed at times doesn't make you a bad parent.

Taking care of a baby is physically and emotionally tiring, especially soothing a distressed baby. It's important that you ask for help when you need it and get to take a break. You need a chance to rest or a break.

Things to try doing:

  • Take time out for yourself – go for a walk, meet friends or have a bath while someone else looks after your baby.
  • Meet other parents – for example, at mother and baby groups.
  • Accept offers of help from friends and family.
  • Rest when your baby sleeps or whenever you can.
  • Be kind to yourself and remember that you are doing the best you can.

Talk to your GP if you are having difficulty managing your distress or any other concerns.

Baby blues

Postnatal depression

Interacting with your baby

There may be times where you find it difficult to feel connected to your baby. There are many reasons why this could happen. For example, anxietybereavementstress or depression.

Interacting with your baby helps to build your relationship with them. Even though this may be a difficult time, you are still very important to your baby. Your baby wants to be with you, even when you are feeling sad or anxious.

If you find it hard to interact with your baby, there is help available. Talk to someone you trust. This could be your GP or public health nurse. Early parenthood is a time when many people have these difficulties. Your GP and public health nurse are experienced at helping people to get the best support.

Visit for information and advice.

When to get urgent help

Immediate action required: Contact your GP or go to your local hospital emergency department immediately

if you ever have very strong feelings about harming your child

This is a sign you need urgent help. Although this might be very distressing and difficult to talk about, this will help to keep both of you safe.

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 5 July 2019
Next review due: 5 July 2022