NSPCC: New mothers struggling

Two in five new mothers have struggled to cope with the demands of parenting during the first few weeks after birth, with a similar amount admitting getting "angry" with their baby, according to an NSPCC poll.

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Government plans to launch information pack for new parents

The Government plans to launch an information programme to support new parents. They say they've also produced a resource pack to help midwives and health visitors run community groups. The NSPCC has called for vital support for mothers struggling to cope after childbirth.

"We want to make sure that new mothers get the support they need. That's why we are increasing the number of health visitors by 4,200 in the coming years and doubling the places on the Family Nurse Partnership programme, so we can work with the most vulnerable young families."

– Anne Milton MP, Health Minister

New mothers struggle in first few weeks

Responding to the NSPCC survey, parenting groups say the first few weeks of a baby's life "can turn a mother's life upside down". One mother, Sophie Prosser, has spoken about the depression and stress she suffered when her daughter Florence was born.

Sophie Prosser and daughter Florence. Credit: NSPCC/PA Wire

The 22 year old mother says it took her months to come to terms with the guilt at feeling hate towards her own child. She said she'd never been around a baby before and just couldn't cope.

"I wouldn't pick Florence up. I wouldn't go near her. I spent a lot of time in the bedroom and left my partner to deal with everything.

"I ignored her screams and I yelled at her. I was hateful towards her and said quite openly how much I hated her."

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Government must provide more resources to help new mothers cope

The Government should make resources available to give all babies and their families the services they need, according to the NSPCC. They found a marked difference in the numbers of well-off parents attending ante-natal classes, compared with those from poorer backgrounds.

"...we want both mothers and fathers to have access to high-quality antenatal education on the practicalities of caring for a baby that prepares parents for the emotional challenges they will face."

"This will help them cope with the impact it will have on their life, their relationships and their own well-being and assist them in being the best parents they can be."

"Babies who are not well cared for are more likely to struggle at school and to have behavioural and relationship problems in later life."

– Chris Cuthbert, NSPCC

New mothers need more professional advice

The NSPCC survey of new mothers found that the majority wanted more help and advice on dealing with anxiety, fear and depression. Almost three quarters of women polled said they needed guidance on how to cope when their baby cried or wouldn't sleep.

  • Two in five (40%) find it difficult to cope with the demands of caring for their baby
  • One in five (20%) admitted getting very upset at the baby crying
  • Three in five (57%) felt isolated with no one to turn to
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