How to Care for a Newborn during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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By WendellMorency

Even for the most experienced parents, learning the ropes can be difficult. If you have had a baby in the past few months, you will know how difficult it can be to care for them and yourself while keeping up with the latest information about the pandemic. It’s just more difficult to worry about your baby’s safety in these changing circumstances.

This unprecedented situation has made it clear that parents now face a new reality. It is normal to consult a pediatrician online, but not in person. Getting formula and wipes can also mean facing rising prices, shortages and hoarding of supplies.

Keep your Well-Baby visits in order

While things are improving, many pediatricians offer parents the option of conducting scheduled well visits at home. Matt Dougherty of Tesson Ferry Pediatrics, St. Louis, advises parents to inquire if their doctor offers virtual visits via Zoom, Skype, or any other platform. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that parents visit their baby’s doctor in person for any subsequent checkups. However, it also encourages providers to offer telehealth visits and strongly suggests that insurance companies cover them at the same rate as office visits. Most do.

Dr. Dougherty says that while it doesn’t allow us to do the exam we want, we still have the tools we need to determine if the baby is having the right muscle tone, visual appearances to be gaining weight, and not experiencing any distress such as trouble breathing.

How to handle Vaccine Appointments

Even if you make well visits online, your baby will still need to be brought to your doctor to be vaccinated. Some parents delayed vaccinations during the height of the pandemic. This was especially true if their babies were preterm or had other health problems. Dr. Dougherty says that it’s not a good idea to delay vaccines. There’s an established schedule in place to protect your child against whooping cough and meningitis. Talk to your pediatrician about the best timeframe for your child.

Stay Safe When Stepping Outside

There’s no harm in spending extra time snuggling at home, as things are still uncertain. If you do decide to go out, take your baby for a walk in the open air and be respectful of others. Dr. Dougherty states that there is no risk to your baby if they are in a stroller or not touching any surfaces. It is important to be careful when you bring babies into pharmacies and grocery stores where strangers might approach them.

You should limit the number of people who visit your home if you have a newborn. This is to prevent them from transmitting COVID-19. Consider whether your guests would prefer to use masks. Babies can’t wear them (not before age 2) and can’t get vaccinated yet so we need to be careful. Children under 1 year old and those who have recently given birth could be at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus. These odds are not to be increased.

You don’t want to be too careful and miss out on parent-to-parent communication. Check with your local parent groups to find out if they have online meetings. Parents can join Facebook groups that provide support and active forums. Online support groups may be offered by your health care provider for those who have recently given birth. It’s great to attend in-person classes, but make sure you are comfortable with the instructor.

Get the supplies you need

New parents faced shortages of diapers, wipes, formula, and other essential baby supplies throughout the pandemic. Families that can’t afford to buy many products at once and those who depend on allergy-friendly formulas have been particularly affected.

Reach out to the manufacturer or supplier if you are having trouble finding what you need online or in-store. They might have more stock available to send you. You can ask your pediatrician if they have any extra samples, or if you can find an alternative brand that works for your baby.

Even if there isn’t a pandemic, it is always smart to have a few weeks worth of all the items you need in one go. This will allow you to reduce the number of trips to the grocery store as well as lower your potential COVID-19 exposure. You can order your supplies online if you don’t have someone to watch the baby while you run a supply.

Always ask for help when needed

It can be difficult to arrange childcare, and it is more expensive than ever. There is an increased need to find the perfect person to care for your baby as people return to work. It is crucial to plan ahead in order to ensure you have everything you need, both physically and mentally.

Talk to your partner about how you can share the responsibilities. Dr. Singh says that it is important to have partners share responsibility so one parent doesn’t get overwhelmed. Make a list of what each person will do and when they can take a break. This includes overnight shifts.