You have a new baby! It’s an exciting time in your life! There is much reason to celebrate, even in the midst of a pandemic. Bringing your little one home from the hospital can feel overwhelming even under normal circumstances and bringing your baby home right now may feel more so. It is understandable if you feel emotional or unsettled that this will not be the “new baby” experience you had expected. However, this time in your life is precious and can still be joyful.
You may be wondering if there is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 for yourself or your baby. Please be assured that there is no evidence that women who have recently had a baby and are otherwise healthy are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. A recently pregnant woman’s immune system is considered normal unless she suffers from other health challenges or infections. Newborns and children, in general, do not appear to be at high risk of becoming seriously ill from the COVID-19 virus. However, do not wait to call our office if your baby has any symptoms about which you are concerned.
The three most important precautions you can take to keep yourself and your family healthy are:
- wearing a mask
- maintaining social distance
- washing/sanitizing your hands frequently
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend not putting masks on babies or children younger than two years. Older siblings, however, should wear a mask when holding or playing with their new sibling. Any visiting adults should do so as well.
Practicing good hygiene during a pandemic is crucial to stop the spread. Anyone coming into your home should wash their hands thoroughly and follow social distancing guidelines. Before holding the baby for feeding or changing a diaper, always make sure that whoever is handling your baby has clean hands. Remind your children that handwashing should be done frequently, especially if they are re-entering the home after having been at school or outside playing with other children, etc.
Although you may long to get out of the house, avoid visiting locations with large numbers of people. It’s a good idea to avoid unnecessary possible exposure to COVID-19 as well as other germs. Using a grocery delivery service or asking a family member or friend to assist with errands will allow you to stay home as much as possible. While it may be wonderful to have visitors, you’ll be recovering from childbirth, feeding the baby frequently, and getting little sleep, so take advantage of any support you have.
However, it’s also important to limit contact with a large number of visitors. Thanks to current technology, there are now other great options available to introduce your friends and family to your new arrival. Virtual meet-and-greets via online platforms are recommended for showing off your precious little one. And the benefit of having minimal visitors to your home is extended time to bond with your new baby.
It’s important to remember that you’re not required to see anyone you’re not comfortable seeing and you may need time to settle in as a family before much outside contact takes place. When you are ready to see more visitors, it is perfectly acceptable to let friends or family know that their visit will need to be brief. You can also alert them to the possibility that you may need to cut a visit short if you or the baby start feeling tired or overwhelmed. Whether you will be outside or inside your home, it is fine to ask visitors to wear a mask if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Be sure to practice good self-care while in recovery from the birth of your child. Don’t neglect to keep your scheduled doctor appointments post-delivery. It’s possible you may experience the “baby blues” due to hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and the stress of having a newborn.
Baby Blues Symptoms often include:
- feeling emotional and irrational
- weeping for no apparent reason
- feeling irritable or grouchy
- feeling depressed or anxious
In addition to anxiety related to the baby blues, you may feel a heightened sense of anxiety because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The baby blues are not the same as postpartum depression. If these symptoms do not improve after a couple of weeks, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. You may need more support or be experiencing postpartum depression.
Be sure to keep your newborn’s well-baby appointments, as knowing your baby is healthy will add to your peace of mind! Entirely Kids Pediatrics has strict cleaning and sanitization protocols as well as specific office times for our well-baby checks. In order to better accommodate our patients during these times, we also offer telemedicine visits for your little ones. Some concerns are still better evaluated with an in-office visit and we may need you to bring your child into the office if necessary. We’re here to help, so if you have any concerns at all, please give us a call today.