Coronavirus and your newborn baby: your questions answered

We answer some of your most pressing questions on COVID-19 life with a newborn…

Your child might not be old enough for you to have to worry about home schooling or too much screen time but life with a newborn now, especially if your partner is a key-worker, has its own questions. Will you still have access to the same support? Are your appointments happening now? What about when it comes to feeding?

Here, we try to answer your concerns. And reassure you as much as possible.

How do I keep my newborn safe?

The good news is that babies and children don’t appear to be at high risk of becoming seriously unwell with coronavirus. But it’s still really important to pay attention to hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly. This is important among all members of your household. If anyone shows any symptoms, they should be careful about contact with your baby. Read more about how to look after yourself and your baby if you’re not feeling well here.

Can family and friends come to visit us?

Unfortunately, the advice is also against large family gatherings to celebrate your baby’s arrival until more is known about the spread of the virus in the community.

We know how much everyone will want to visit and have those first special cuddles. The government has published new guidance on meeting people outside your household, which is important to keep in mind (the rules are different across the UK).

Anyone from outside your household who comes to visit should follow all hygiene precautions and follow social distancing guidance.

What about my postnatal care?

Your postnatal care is still a priority. You should have at least three postnatal appointments with your local continuity team or community midwife.

Your first postnatal appointment should be a face-to-face visit at home following birth.

These will take place once you have been discharged from the maternity unit or the day of your homebirth: on your first full day at home, then on day 5 and day 10.

In June 2020, the NHS confirmed that your first postnatal appointment should be a face-to-face visit at home following birth.

The next two appointments might be a mixture of face-to-face care at home or in a clinic, and by telephone where this is appropriate.

After your postnatal appointment on day 10, your care will be transferred to your local health visiting team.

What can I expect from my health visiting team?

You will still have support from your health visiting team during the COVID-19 pandemic but it might not be in person.

You will still have support from your health visiting team during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, you might have time with your health visitor using video, texts or phone calls.

All health visitors are following NHS and Public Health England COVID-19 guidance so any face-to face contact will depend on your family’s health needs.

Your health visitor will also let you know how to contact them. As you can imagine though, due to current pressures on the health service, there might be a delay in responding to routine enquiries.

But please do remember that you can – and should – contact your health visitor if you are concerned or worried about yourself or your child’s health and wellbeing. They’re there to help you find the support you need.

Can I go out with my baby?

Yes you can but, as mentioned above, it’s important to be aware of the latest guidance around social distancing.

What is not yet clear is whether babies and children are included in the group of six people that are allowed to meet outside. We are looking into this and will update this page accordingly.

When it comes to face masks, children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without help don’t have to wear them when outside. Please do stick to the guidelines about face masks yourself though in public enclosed spaces.

What if my baby is unwell during the coronavirus pandemic?

If your baby’s not well while the coronavirus keeps us indoors, you can still call your GP for advice.

If it’s something you think your health visitor could help with, you can check in with them too (see below).

What if my baby is due for their injections?

Your baby’s immunisation schedule should still run as normal, as the programme is important for the health of your baby.

To find out latest guidance on immunisations, speak to your health visitor or GP to find out more.

Is it safe to take my baby for routine appointments?

If you are offered routine appointments at your GP surgery or clinic for your baby, you might be worried about whether this is safe or what to expect when you get there. That’s understandable but do also consider the importance of these appointments and your baby’s health.

Ring ahead to find out more and make sure you feel comfortable and ready.

Your GP and local clinic will put in place various measures to make sure everyone is safe and protected. For example, reception staff and nurses will be wearing masks and other necessary protective clothing.

There will be fewer people at the clinic with many consultations now happening by phone.

If you have specific questions or concerns, why not ring ahead to find out more and make sure you feel comfortable and ready?

Can I still co-sleep with my baby?

If you’re feeling unwell, the Lullaby Trust advises that your baby should sleep in their cot or Moses basket in the same room as you. This is because when your body is fighting an infection, you might sleep more deeply and not be as responsive as when you are well.

Read more about their safe sleep recommendations here.

Will I still have my six week postnatal check?

Yes, but it is likely to be delayed until eight weeks.

If you have any specific concerns about your recovery or your baby in the meantime, please do speak to your health visitor or GP.

If I have symptoms of coronavirus, should I breastfeed my baby?

Call our Feeding Support line on 0300 330 0700 to chat through any questions or concerns with one of our Breastfeeding Counsellors.

Current guidance is that you can continue to breastfeed your baby but just take precautions. Read more in our article here.

It’s also worth finding out if your local breastfeeding support group has considered moving to video calls.

Check out our feeding page here for more information.

What if I'm formula-feeding my baby?

Again, it’s all just the same except you’ll need to take some extra precautions with hygiene. Read more here.

Don’t forget that even in these strange, challenging times, there is always support and kindness when you need it.

Support and information

Coronavirus has thrown up so many questions for pregnant women and new parents. We’ve compiled this FAQ so you have reliable information and support when you need it

Interactive, engaging and social, our live online antenatal course is a great way for you to meet other local parents, and get essential unbiased information and knowledge about pregnancy, birth and early days with your baby.

Our branch volunteers are running online groups and activities, if you need some company or a chat. Visit our local events page and enter your postcode to find out what’s happening in your area.

Read the NHS advice on what you should do when you’re self isolating to try and prevent passing on the virus to other people at home.

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.