Abstract Background Congenital heart disease can have a negative impact on both infant development and maternal adjustment. This study considered the impact of a new programme of early psychosocial interventions on such outcomes, following the birth of a child with severe congenital heart disease. Methods Seventy infants and their mothers were assigned to an intervention or control group based on order of presentation to the unit. Interventions aimed at bolstering mother-infant transactions, through psychoeducation, parent skills training and narrative therapy techniques were implemented. Results Clinically and statistically significant gains were observed at 6-month follow-up on the mental (but not the psychomotor) scale of the Bayleys-II. Positive gains were also manifested on feeding practices, maternal anxiety, worry and appraisal of their situation. Conclusions A programme of generalizable psychosocial interventions is shown to have a positive impact on the infant with severe congenital heart disease and the mother.