Your relationship with your baby
We have specialist parent infant therapists and parent infant practitioners within the team who can support you with your relationship with your baby.
Having a baby is a huge emotional transition for all parents. It can bring feelings of joy, excitement, and love but also feelings of anxiety, sadness, loss, resentment, guilt, and shame. Sometimes difficult past experiences can re-surface, or traumatic experiences related to the pregnancy and birth are present and get entangled in your relationships with your baby. Parent infant therapy provides a space to think about this and how to develop a strong, loving relationship with your baby. Parent-Infant Therapists offer psychological support where the relationship between you and your baby is the main focus of therapy. Parent Infant Practitioners offer emotional support and practical advice to build on your existing strengths and support you to provide sensitive, responsive care for your baby.
We can offer support when you:
- Are struggling with the transition to becoming a parent or adjusting to having a growing family.
-Are finding aspects of baby care difficult such as feeding, sleeping or supporting your baby’s learning and development.
-Are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and lacking in confidence as a parent
-Are not enjoying your baby and do not feel the bond you had hoped for
-Feel rejected by your baby or that your baby is indifferent to you
-Are finding it hard to read your baby’s communication and knowing how to respond to him/her.
-Feel anxious and overprotective- finding it hard to ‘let go’ .
-Feel triggered and overwhelmed by your baby’s crying or the level of care they need.
-Have had a difficult / traumatic childhood and want a space to think about how to give your baby a better experience
Our initial appointment with you will offer a safe and non- judgemental space to explore and understand you and your baby’s needs. We usually offer a face-to-face assessment to think with you about your situation and what we can offer to support you and your baby. Following this you may be offered one to one or a group intervention or combination of both. One to one interventions can include:
Support visits for Parental Confidence building. Time to discuss what you feel is going well for you and your baby and what you may be finding more difficult. We can look at the appropriate expectations of your child and offer advice and strategies to support your difficulties and concerns. Taking the time to work to support you to overcome some of your challenges and build your confidence as a parent.
Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO). The Newborn Behavioural Observation is designed to strengthen the relationship between you and your new baby by supporting you to read your baby's cues. It is offered for babies from birth to 3 months of age. The observations are done with you, to support you to understand your baby’s individual strengths and areas where he /she needs support. This can increase confidence in getting to know your unique baby and feeling closer to him/ her.
Baby Massage – Baby massage will offer the opportunity to learn different massage strokes that will encourage nurturing touch between yourself and baby. During the massage sessions we will also have time to discuss issues such as crying and understanding baby cues.
Reflective Parenting- This is where we think together about episodes of interaction between you and your baby from both your perspective and your baby’s – supporting you to mentalise both yourself and your baby. This can lead to a better understanding of yourself and your baby.
Watch, Wait, and Wonder – Where we work with your relationship with your baby live in the room by spending some time letting your baby take the lead -watching and responding to your baby’s communications. We then spend time thinking about how that was for you and your baby. For more information click here.
Video Feedback approaches- Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) or Parental Embodied Mentalising (PEM). These approaches involve taking a short film of you with your baby and then meeting to look at the film together.
VIG- We focus on looking at short clips that show moments of attunement in your interactions and think about what makes these moments work and how to make them happen more. For more information see:
PEM- We look at the film with volume off and focus on the non verbal communication between you and your baby and think about how your baby communicates and how you respond.
Circle of Security Parenting- This is a structured eight week parenting programme aiming to support parents to develop a secure relationship with their babies, particularly if they have not experienced this themselves as children. This is offered as both a group and as a one to one intervention. For more information click here.
Parent Infant Psychotherapy - sessions with you and your baby where you explore current feelings as well as influences of the past on your relationship with your baby. The purpose of parent – infant psychotherapy is that you are supported in changing unhelpful ways of being together. This approach can take time. Talking about what bothers you with someone, will help you to think about yourself and your baby in a new light.
Links to useful websites to support your relationship with your baby
Information on being pregnant/ birth and postnatal care
Bonding with your unborn baby
Interactions that support brain development and a healthy relationship with your baby
Support for coping with your baby's crying and sleeping
Information on child development and activities to try with you baby
Learning how to understand your baby’s communication
Information on Infant feeding