It can certainly be difficult to find silver linings surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, but for most, a little more time spent at home is a welcomed change. For expecting mothers, or families caring for a newborn, this could mean more time to be a parent. Unfortunately, the blunt truth is that there are a lot more negatives that positives regarding the coronavirus, including financial burdens, closed stores and daycares, overpopulated hospitals, and more.
This article will provide some tips on overcoming the burdens so you can focus on preparing for your wee one’s arrival and/or enjoying the extra time you get to share with your newborn baby.
Though the CDC does not believe pregnancy increases the likelihood of contracting COVID-19, they have stated that pregnancy can cause women to have severe reactions to similar viruses if, indeed, they are contracted. They don’t have enough of a test pool to say COVID-19 surely will do the same, but the CDC encourages pregnant women to take social distancing and other precautions to their extremes.
Access to prenatal healthcare certainly hasn’t gotten any easier, but luckily there are some from-home resources to help expecting mothers who are now forced to limit their doctor visits. 1-800-311-BABY is a toll-free phone number that helps mothers find prenatal caretakers in their area (some free!), websites like Mother to Baby offer resources and even live chats regarding prenatal health, and even phone apps like “What to Expect” or “Pregnancy Countdown” can make you feel like you have a friend at your side even during this unprecedented time where we have to distance ourselves from loved ones in order to stay safe.
For Moms and Dads who have already taken their babies home, newborn healthcare recommendations are aplenty, but a bit across the map as far as what is essential. With hospitals being forced to pull resources from other wards to deal with coronavirus issues, doctors (and the CDC) are encouraging parents to telecommute non-pressing issues with their infants, for which they may have previously been encouraged to bring in. This is two-fold, as it keeps the newborn away from possible carriers, and allows hospitals to utilize their resources in the ERs. Not surprisingly, vaccinations are still being encouraged at the normal intervals.
The CDC also states that, though limited, testing has shown that breastmilk is believed to not be a carrier and they advise mothers to continue breastfeeding, as breastmilk is known to “provide protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.”
The CDC also notes that while they don’t believe mother-to-child transmission of the disease occurs during pregnancy, a very small number of infants have, indeed, tested positive shortly after birth. The belief is that the children contracted the disease at or in transit from the hospital, so constant awareness of your newborn’s surroundings is paramount for protecting against coronavirus. Because of this, breastfeeding adds another layer of protection for your child, as store-bought formulas have had a lot of hands on them.
The big picture in caring for your little ones during this unfortunately unique time in healthcare is to take everything you’ve heard into account regarding COVID-19 avoidance, and double it. Caring for a human being who can’t convey his or her own thoughts is always going to be a challenge, but conversing with your doctor and family and drawing a hard line between the new necessity and the old necessity will keep your baby out of harms way, and also help flatten the societal curve, as the more we avoid each other, the better for all of us.
Utilize any and all online resources to ensure the health of you and your baby (or baby-on-the-way), and enjoy the silver lining that is extra time with your family.