Infants of emotionally dysregulated or borderline personality disordered mothers: Issues and management in primary care

Aust J Gen Pract. 2018 Apr;47(4):200-203. doi: 10.31128/AFP-07-17-4272.


Background: Knowledge has increased regarding the developmental needs and capabilities of infants, and parental behaviours that support optimum infant development. Despite a better understanding of the emotional dysregulation in borderline personality disorder (BPD) and its effects on infants, general practitioners have had few guidelines for how to recognise and help emotionally dysregulated mother-infant dyads.

Objective: This article focuses on the behaviours and needs of infants whose mothers have BPD, including knowledge and skills for primary care practitioners to help these troubled families.

Discussion: Understanding the adequacy of parenting and troubling infant signs, such as hypervigilance, can potentially lead to either more intervention in primary care, including support, reassurance, guidance regarding development and interaction, and enhanced family support or else specialist referral for enhanced infant care. Infants’ needs are urgent, and timely intervention can begin a better life trajectory for infant and mother.

MeSH terms

  • Borderline Personality Disorder / complications*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Child Development
  • Child Health Services / standards
  • Child Health Services / trends
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Mother-Child Relations / psychology
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Primary Health Care / methods