Bringing your new baby home during the coronavirus pandemic

Congratulations on your new baby!  Most new parents have many questions about their newborns. Now the questions are different. Here are some concerns new parents have related to having a newborn during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Keeping physical distance between your newborn and others

  • Visitors.  While family and friends have been eagerly waiting to meet your little one, they need to wait a little longer in order to protect you and your baby from the virus.  This can be disappointing for everyone, but there are things you can do. Make video-calls to introduce your baby to the world.  Perhaps your home has a glass window that can be used for germ-free, social distancing “visiting hours”! 
  • Getting help.  You may have planned to have grandparents, family members or other people you trust in your home to help you with your baby’s arrival. Now that you must limit physical contact between your baby and others, you can find other ways to get help.  Helpers can go shopping for you, run errands and prepare meals (that they leave on your doorstep).  If friends ask how they can help you, don’t be shy to make suggestions!      

Visiting your baby’s health care provider

Even when everything is going well, your baby needs regular medical checkups (also called well-baby visits) to keep him healthy. During well-baby visits, your baby’s provider checks your baby’s overall health, growth and development. Your baby also gets vaccinations to help protect her from harmful infections.    

Office visits or telehealth visits?

During this pandemic, your baby’s first medical checkup is still very important and if possible, it should be an in-office visit. Call your baby’s health care provider to confirm it’s ok to take your newborn to his office and if there are rules you need to follow. The American Academy of Pediatrics (also called AAP) says pediatricians can follow the following guidelines during COVID-19:

  • Providers may choose to only do well-baby visits for newborns and for those babies and children who require vaccinations. They may choose to reschedule other well visits to a later date.
  • Providers may choose to have only well visits in the morning and sick visits for later in the day. They can also have specific rooms for well visits and sick visits in separate rooms.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations help protect your baby from harmful diseases. It’s always best to keep your baby’s vaccines up-to-date. Your provider can weigh the risks and benefits of bringing your newborn to his office to get his vaccines. Ask your provider how you can minimize the risk of exposing your newborn to infections, like COVID-19, when leaving your home.

Is my baby sick?

You may be paying close attention to your baby to make sure he’s healthy. One thing to keep in mind is that newborns breathe much faster than adults, this is normal. If your baby feels warm, make sure he’s not bundled up too much. Dress your baby in light sleep clothes. However, if you are concerned that your baby may be sick, call her provider right away. 

Your other children and the new baby

If you have more children, staying at home can be hard for you and for them.  Find ways to include them in welcoming the new baby.  They can read or tell stories to the baby.  They can draw a picture every week to show changes in baby and then turn it into a baby book.  Older kids can write a weekly “baby update” which you can share electronically with family and friends—or post on the front door! 

Self-care

Life with a newborn brings many changes and can be stressful, especially now.  Getting a nap, taking a “me-break” or getting outdoors could make you feel better than having a newly swept floor.    

Stay connected to loved ones during this time via phone, group texts, video chats and social media.  Consider joining an on-line moms group.  Share your struggles and joys with others.  Even though they are not with you in person, they can still support you and stay up-to-date with you and baby. 

If you have intense feeling of sadness or worry that lasts more than two weeks, your provider may want to check you for postpartum depression (also called PPD). PPD is a medical condition that many women get after having a baby. It needs treatment to get better.

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