Parent and Family Wellbeing

Taking care of a baby can sometimes leave you feeling frustrated and exhausted. It is important to find healthy ways to tend to these feelings. When you feel well, it’s easier to care for a baby.

Despite our best efforts to regulate ourselves, there will be overwhelming moments. Frustration with a baby’s crying is the top trigger for shaken baby syndrome, which often causes death or lasting injuries.

Staying calm helps you make the best parenting decisions and helps reassure a crying baby.

Guidance for when parenting gets tough

Perinatal Mental Health

About 1 in 7 women experiences depression during or after pregnancy. Anxiety and other mood disorders are also common during this time. These can include but are not limited to obsessive compulsive disorder, substance misuse, psychosis, and thoughts of suicide.

Screening for these issues is not always part of routine care, so make sure you share any concerns with your health care provider so they can connect you with the right treatment.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is a type of severe depression that can happen after the baby is born. It usually starts in the first few weeks after birth but can start during pregnancy or up to a year after birth. It can happen to new fathers, too. Due to hormonal changes, symptoms may also occur or worsen during weaning.

If you have any of the following signs for 2 weeks or longer, you may have postpartum depression.

  • Hopelessness
  • Frequent crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Changes in your sleep patterns
  • Restlessness
  • Panic attacks

Learn more about the symptoms and causes of postpartum depression.

Help is available. Call your provider if you have symptoms. They can connect you with supports in your community or online, such as counseling, and prescribe medication if necessary.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, reach out for help right away. In Montana, you can text the word “HOME” to 741741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate crisis response.