August 14, 2020

Navigating new parenthood in a pandemic

Madison, Wis. — Bringing home a new baby is exciting, and a little scary, even in the best of times. Due to COVID-19, new parents have a lot of questions about how to keep the whole family safe, healthy and happy.

"We hear from a lot of parents that they are feeling lost and uncertain when it comes to taking their baby home in the midst of a pandemic," said Elizabeth Goetz, MD, MPH, newborn nursery hospitalist at UnityPoint Health – Meriter and associate professor of pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "We want to offer the best guidance and support to families as they navigate this very unique challenge."

Top tips for parents of infants:

  • Find ways to socialize.

  • Parents are reporting increased feelings of isolation, anxiety and depression as COVID-19 continues to keep people apart. Reach out to family and friends to stay connected virtually.

  • New parents are invited to join Mother Baby Hour, a free virtual support group that offers an opportunity for mothers to connect with each other, ask questions, express concerns, receive infant feeding support, learn about resources and share stories. To join, call (608) 417-8446.

  • Take caution when introducing visitors to your new baby:

  • Consider virtual meeting options when possible.

  • It is safer to meet outdoors while physically distanced.

  • Ideally, parents, baby and any visitor should self-isolate for 10-14 days before an in-person meeting.

  • Use COVID-19 best practices; no large groups, physically distance, wear a mask, and wash hands frequently.

  • Be mindful of your mental health:

  • With so much uncertainty right now, focus on what you can control; how much news you consume, scheduling time for your own self-care and how you spend time with baby.

  • Postpartum depression is a serious condition. If you are experiencing depression after giving birth, talk to your doctor.

  • Continue with scheduled healthcare appointments.

  • UW Health and UnityPoint Health – Meriter have numerous measures in place to ensure everyone is safe during visits to the hospital and clinics. Keeping up on your prenatal, postnatal, and pediatric appointments, as well as all vaccinations, is essential to long-term health.

UW Health and UnityPoint Health - Meriter have a strong partnership that includes a longstanding shared destination mother-baby care program, giving patients full access to a world-class team of maternal, neonatal and pediatric specialists and advanced facilities.