Baby safety during Covid-19
Dr. Amy Hammers welcomed her second child, Elijah, in May. Parenting a newborn always comes with its ups and downs, but being a mom of a newborn during a pandemic entails even more challenges. September is Baby Safety Month, the perfect time to focus on caring for babies and keeping baby safety top of mind during these unusual times.
“With my first baby, I would take him out and about in the community more to get out of the house – places like the mall or Target to walk around during the winter. This time, I was grateful it was summer so we could go for walks in our neighborhood and avoid public places,” she said. “I also spent time with my parents who live up north – only after being home from the hospital for 14 days – which was a big help with a newborn and 3-year-old! Before that, we hadn’t seen my parents since Covid started in March – I think my toddler was the most excited to reunite with Grandmama!”
Dr. Hammers encourages her patients to avoid crowded places, continue to physically distance from anyone outside of their circle (and don’t let friends and strangers touch and kiss babies), keep baby’s car seat covered in public, regularly wash hands and wear masks in public when you do need to go out. In addition, any fever within the first six weeks warrants a hospital evaluation. Families can also talk with their OB-GYN and pediatrician about any specific concerns.
She also cautions that normal concerns about baby’s health and safety can more easily transition into postpartum anxiety or depression during a health crisis. Families should never hesitate to ask for and accept help, when needed. “Having a newborn is hard work and every parent needs help at some point. Identify an individual or small group of people who you feel comfortable allowing into your home,” such as family, friends or a postpartum doula, Dr. Hammers suggests.
Even with a few restrictions, Dr. Hammers enjoyed every day of her maternity leave: “I was nervous about having a newborn again – the sleep deprivation and stress of a feeding plan for him as I struggled at breastfeeding with my first. I was also nervous about how my toddler would handle the transition. I’m so thankful my baby is easygoing and is great at eating and sleeping – and my toddler has transitioned well into the role of big brother and continues to love on the baby and help his momma every day! I will always treasure the memories my family made being together over the summer.”