Dr. Sanford Swidler, Stamford Health Medical Group Pediatric Center
Congratulations—you have a healthy new baby! Now you are going home to care for a newborn during an incredibly unique time.
There is no denying that currently there is a lot more stress and uncertainty in all our lives. Whether these concerns are directly related to the COVID-19 virus, to your family’s well being, to your financial health or to your mental health, these are real concerns and are often magnified by the stress of taking care of a newborn.
What should you know about taking care of a newborn during a pandemic?
General Rules for the First Few Months
At least for the first few months, new parents during COVID-19 will be acting a lot like new parents before COVID-19.
- As pediatricians, we usually recommend relative self-isolation and social distancing under normal circumstances. This is because newborns' immune systems are still developing and they can catch contagious illnesses more easily than older children or adults.
- If you are practicing distancing, taking a newborn for a walk on a beautiful day can be therapeutic for the baby and for parents
Find Your Support System When Home with Baby
- Take advantage of the fact that you and your birthing partner, if you have one, are home full time to care for and bond with your baby. Keep an open line of communication about sharing the work load.
- Keep in close, frequent touch with grandparents, relatives and close friends by phone or video chat. While their advice may seem overwhelming at first, you’ll likely thank them later.
- Consider sheltering in place with a grandparent or relative for the extra help and support. Only do this if you are particularly careful about your isolation rules, and please speak to your doctor before making this decision
Take Care of Yourself
Although this is usually an exciting, happy time, it can also be overwhelming, with or without a pandemic in the mix.
- Note your mental and emotional well being. New moms sometimes feel depressed. If these feelings are more than you expect or are affecting the way you are caring for your new baby, you need to speak to someone and ask for help. Your spouse, your family, your obstetrician, and your pediatrician are good places to start. You don’t have to manage these feelings by yourself.
- Find time for yourself. Self-care has never been more important. Exercise and long baths can help relieve tension. Limiting the amount of news you watch can help calm your anxiety about raising a newborn during COVID-19.
- Find time for others as well. Video chatting with friends and family can help eliminate feelings of loneliness.
Trust Your Pediatrician
Visits to the pediatrician are still important, especially during your baby’s first two years of life. Here are a few reminders:
- Newborn visits: We still need to see your baby, as we normally would, after coming home from the hospital.
- Immunizations and well visits: These are still crucial to your baby’s development and well being.
- Sick visits: At the moment, we are happy to schedule a sick visit for non-contagious conditions such as headache, abdominal pain, mental health issues and more.
Stamford Health Medical Group Pediatric Visits are Safe
All of Stamford Health’s pediatricians and staff have been taking every precaution to ensure the safety of all children and their parents.
- Patients and their caregivers are screened by phone before the appointment.
- All staff, patients and caregivers have their temperature taken before they are allowed in the office.
- No staff, patients, or caregivers with suspected infectious illness are permitted in the office
- When appropriate, telemedicine visits are conducted for certain sicknesses. Our pediatricians are always available by phone or video to discuss any concerns you may have.
We are all in this together and we are making progress towards returning to a more normal situation. And what a story you will have to tell your new baby when he or she is older!
Featured Expert/ Author