Bringing your new baby home during the coronavirus pandemic

April 22, 2020

Updated November 24, 2020

Congratulations on your new baby!  Most new parents
have many questions about their newborns. These days, however, you may have questions
about keeping your baby safe. Here are answers to some concerns new parents
have about caring for a newborn during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Keeping physical distance between your newborn and others

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly:

  • From person-to-person
  • Between people who are in close contact with one
    another, within about 6 feet.
  • The contact should last for at least 15 minutes
    within a 24-hour period. This means at least 15 consecutive minutes in one day
    or 15 minutes divided throughout the day.

It’s important to remember that people who are infected but
do not show symptoms can spread the virus to others.

Visitors. While family and friends have been eagerly
waiting to meet your little one, they need to wait a little longer to protect
you and your baby from the virus. Some visits are riskier for you and your baby
than other types of visits. Meeting someone outside while you both wear masks
and stay 6 to 10 feet apart is believed to be low risk. But, eating with
someone indoors whether at a restaurant or in a home can carry a very high risk
of passing on 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.
  • Show off your baby in front of a glass window
    for germ-free, social distant “visiting hours.”
  • Take photos and videos of your baby and share
    them with friends and family through email, texting or social media.
  • Print and mail birth announcement cards to
    friends and family.

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?

Even during the COVID-19 crisis, 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 or her office and ask if there are rules you need to follow. According
to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your baby’s provider may:

  • Only
    do well-baby visits for newborns and for those babies and children who
    require vaccinations
  • Reschedule
    other well visits to a later date
  • Have
    only well visits in the morning and sick visits for later in the day
  • Have
    specific rooms for well visits and separate rooms for sick visits

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 vaccinated.
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 watching 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 other children, staying at home can be hard for
you and for them. Find ways to include them in welcoming the new baby, such as:

  •  Reading
    or telling stories to the baby
  •  Drawing a
    picture every week to show how the baby has changed. The pictures can be made
    into a baby book.
  • Writing a weekly “baby update” that you can
    share electronically with family and friends

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 can make you feel better.    

Stay connected to loved ones during this time via phone, group texts, video chats and social media. Consider joining an online 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 your 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.

If you’re not sure what to do to keep your baby safe, reach out to your health care provider for help. And remember, you’re not alone.