COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – As parents welcome new life into the world, concerns arise about the implications of the pandemic on the next generation.
The era of COVID-19 is considered the “new normal,” but, for babies born during this time, the “new” way of life is all they know.
Differences for these “pandemic babies” begin in the delivery room. Before the pandemic, family members could be present at the birth and hold, take pictures of, and feed the baby. While the interaction and support from family members can be valuable to a new mother, the first hours of motherhood can be crucial.
“That first hour is so important to help baby bond and transition and to initiate breastfeeding,” Melissa Hatter, Certified Nurse Midwife with OBGYN Associates at St. Francis Emory Healthcare, said.
Due to the limit on people allowed in the delivery room, pandemic mothers have been able to have necessary one-on-one time with their newborns before sharing their children with their families and the rest of the world.
“We really have seen an actual improvement in some of our breastfeeding rates and some of the successes that we’ve seen in those first couple of days.”
Some of these babies may never have met anyone who isn’t their parent, or have only seen grandparents behind a mask. As parents limit their babies’ exposure to the world, this may inadvertently impact their ability to fight off everyday infections and viruses.
“It is important that we not try to sterilize our children’s environment too much because we do need to allow them and allow their bodies to engage with some of the bacterium in the environment, so that they can develop some immune response,” Hatter said.
These babies are entering the world at a time where phrases like “safer apart” and “Zoom” are commonplace.
“That may end up being a benefit for these newborns, they’re going to be growing up in a different world,” Hatter said. “They’re going to be growing up in a world where virtual learning is kind of a normal thing and where telemedicine is kind of going to be an option all the time so I think that’s going to be a really cool new world.”
WRBL has even had some new additions to the News 3 family during the pandemic. So far, baby Dempsey Ingram, who joined us a year ago, is growing up happy and healthy.
For mothers and fathers who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, or are struggling to deal with the isolation of this pandemic, Hatter has provided resources below:
Postpartum Support International
PSI HelpLine: 1-800-944-4773
Georgia Crisis and Access Line
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