We answer some of your most pressing questions on COVID-19 life with a newborn…
Your child might not be old enough for you to have to worry about home schooling or too much screen time but life with a newborn now, especially if your partner is a key-worker, has its own questions. Will you still have access to the same support? Are your appointments happening now? What about feeding?
Here, we try to answer your concerns. And reassure you as much as possible.
How do I keep my newborn safe?
The good news is that babies and children don't appear to be at high risk of becoming seriously unwell with coronavirus. But it's still really important to pay attention to hygiene, such as your washing hands regularly. This is important among all members of your household. If anyone shows any symptoms, they should be careful about contact with your baby (RCOG, 2020). Read more about how to look after yourself and your baby if you're not feeling well here.
Can family and friends come to visit us?
We know how much everyone will want to visit and have those first special cuddles. The government has published new guidance on meeting people outside your household, which is important to keep in mind (the rules are different across the UK). Anyone from outside your household who comes to visit should follow all hygiene precautions and follow social distancing guidance (RCOG, 2020).
Unfortunately, the advice is also against large family gatherings to celebrate your baby’s arrival until more is known about the spread of the virus in the community (RCOG, 2020).
What about my postnatal care?
Your postnatal care is still a priority. You should have at least three postnatal appointments with your local continuity team or community midwife. These will take place once you have been discharged from the maternity unit or the day of your homebirth: on your first full day at home, then on day 5 and day 10 (RCOG, 2020).
In June 2020, the NHS confirmed that your first postnatal appointment should be a face-to-face visit at home following birth. The next two appointments might be a mixture of face-to-face care at home or in a clinic, and by telephone where this is appropriate (RCOG, 2020).
After your postnatal appointment on day 10, your care will be transferred to your local health visiting team (RCOG, 2020).
What can I expect from my health visiting team?
You will still have support from your health visiting team during the COVID-19 pandemic but it might not be in person. For instance, you might have time with your health visitor using video, texts or phone calls (IHV, 2020).
All health visitors are following NHS and Public Health England COVID-19 guidance so any face-to face contact will depend on your family’s health needs (IHV, 2020).
Your health visitor will also let you know how to contact them. As you can imagine though, due to current pressures on the health service, there might be a delay in responding to routine enquiries (IHV, 2020).
But please do remember that you can – and should - contact your health visitor if you are concerned or worried about yourself or your child’s health and wellbeing. They’re there to help you find the support you need.
Can I go out with my baby?
Yes you can but, as mentioned above, it's important to be aware of the latest guidance around social distancing. What is not yet clear is whether babies and children are included in the group of six people that are allowed to meet outside. We are looking into this and will update this page accordingly.
When it comes to face masks, children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without help don't have to wear them when outside. Please do stick to the guidelines about face masks yourself though in public enclosed spaces (GOV.UK, 2020).
What if my baby is due for their injections?
Your baby's immunisation schedule should still run as normal, as the programme is important for the health of your baby (NHS, 2020).
To find out latest guidance on immunisations, speak to your health visitor GP to find out more.
What if my baby is unwell during the coronavirus pandemic?
If your baby’s not well during this time, please do call your GP for advice. Your baby's general health is still really important. Your GP wants to hear from you so do get in touch if you're worried about anything.
If it’s something you think your health visitor could help with, you can check in with them too (see above).
Is it safe to take my baby for routine appointments?
If you are offered routine appointments at your GP surgery or clinic for your baby, you might be worried about whether this is safe or what to expect when you get there. That's understandable but do also consider the importance of these appointments and your baby's health.
Your GP and local clinic will put in place various measures to make sure everyone is safe and protected. For example, reception staff and nurses will be wearing masks and other necessary protective clothing. There will be fewer people at the clinic with many consultations now happening by phone (Lullaby Trust, 2020).
If you have specific questions or concerns, why not ring ahead to find out more and make sure you feel comfortable and ready?
Will I still have my six week postnatal check?
Yes, but it is likely to be delayed until eight weeks (NHS, 2020).
If you have any specific concerns about your recovery or your baby in the meantime, please do speak to your health visitor or GP. The Institute of Health Visitors has also created this helpful guide about things to look out for if your baby does miss their six-week postnatal check.
Can I still co-sleep with my baby?
If you're feeling unwell, the Lullaby Trust advises that your baby should sleep in their cot or Moses basket in the same room as you. This is because when your body is fighting an infection, you might sleep more deeply and not be as responsive as when you are well (Lullaby Trust, 2020).
Read more about their safe sleep recommendations here.
Can I still get feeding support?
Yes. It’s worth finding out if your local breastfeeding support group has considered moving to video calls. Check out our feeding page here for more information or call our Feeding Support line on 0333 252 5051 to chat through any questions or concerns with one of our Breastfeeding Counsellors.
If I have symptoms of coronavirus, should I breastfeed my baby?
Yes, you can continue to breastfeed your baby but just take extra precautions. Read more in our article here.
What if I'm formula-feeding my baby?
Again, it's all just the same except you'll need to take some extra precautions with hygiene. Read more here.
Don’t forget that even in these strange, challenging times, there is always support when you need it.
Gov.UK. (2020) Public advised to cover faces in enclosed spaces. Available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-advised-to-cover-faces-in-enclosed-spaces? [Accessed 15 July 2020]
Institute of Health Visitors. (2020) **Parenting Through Coronavirus (COVID-19)**. Available here: https://ihv.org.uk/families/parenting-through-coronavirus-covid-19/ [Accessed 31 March 2020]
Lullaby Trust. (2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19) and caring for your baby. Available here: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/coronavirus-and-caring-for-your-baby/ [Accessed 15 July 2020]
NHS. (2020) COVID-19 Prioritisation within Community Health Services. Available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/COVID-19-prioritisation-within-community-health-services-19-March-2020-version-1.1.pdf [Accessed 6 April 2020]
RCOG. (2020) Coronavirus infection and pregnancy: Information for pregnant women and their families. Available here: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy [Accessed 13 July 2020]