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Parent Infant Relationship Service (PAIRS)

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Children and Younger People (under 18)
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Parent Infant Relationship Service (PAIRS) is a small multidisciplinary team including Infant Mental Health Practitioners, psychologists, psychotherapists and a Specialist Emotional Health & Wellbeing Practitioner. Their aim is to support parents, carers and professionals to make sure that every baby in Sheffield has the best possible start in life.

Early relationships influence the way that a baby’s brain develops. When parents and carers are able to tune-in and respond to their babies’ needs sensitively, in an appropriate and timely way, it lays the foundations for lifelong mental and physical health and helps them to:

  • Grow up feeling safe, secure and ready to play, explore and learn
  • Have skills to understand and manage their emotions and behaviour
  • Feel confident in themselves and develop trusting relationships with others

However, not all parents and carers find this easy. Lots of things can affect how you feel about your baby and yourself as a parent. This can get in the way of developing a positive relationship with your baby.

Although having a baby can be a special and joyous time, it can also be challenging. Sometimes it can feel hard to cope with your baby’s feeding, sleeping or crying, or you might have worries about how they are developing. Sometimes other things can affect how you feel about your baby, such as a traumatic pregnancy or birth, mental health problems (such as depression or anxiety), loss and bereavement, or events from the past or present.

These problems can affect anyone. The PAIRS team provide support so that you can build a strong and nurturing relationship with your baby or young child. They work with parents and carers and their babies from conception to age 3.

There are different ways that they can help you and your baby to strengthen your relationship and help you make sense of your baby’s emotional responses and communications:

  • They may encourage you to play with and talk to your baby.
  • Sometimes it’s helpful to try to think about how your baby is feeling and what your baby might be trying to tell you through his or her sounds and body movements.
  • Filming the positive parts of these sessions for you to watch later is also an option and can be helpful.
  • They can also help you with any difficult feelings arising from becoming a parent or carer.
  • Alternatively, if they think another service will be better able to support you, they will support you in accessing this.


Anyone can refer to Parent Infant Relationship Service (PAIRS) (inc parents/carers themselves). The easiest way to do this is to email E: to arrange a consultation to discuss the referral. They work with parents/carers (any main caregiver) and their babies from conception to age 3 where there is some concern about the relationship between the parent/carer and their baby and how they respond to each other.

Once they receive a referral, one of their practitioners will get in touch with you to arrange an initial meeting, either in your home, at a nearby children’s centre or at their base. At this meeting, you will think together about the relationship you have with your baby and discuss any worries or difficulties you may be having. After this, you will think about your goals and how the team can support you in working towards these.


Alongside their therapeutic work with families, they also offer teaching and consultation to professionals working with parents and carers who are pregnant or have a child under the age of 3. If you are a professional working with families that are struggling with their parent-infant relationships, please get in touch via telephone or email to discuss the support they can provide.

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