At this difficult time, new and expectant parents may have concerns about caring for themselves and their babies. As part of our Baby Safe initiative, we will be sharing the latest advice and resources available from trusted sources such as the NHS and the Lullaby Trust.
Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families for Sheffield City Council, and one of Sheffield’s Baby Safe Champions, Councillor Jackie Drayton said:
“Expecting and having a baby can be a joyous occasion but sometimes it can be daunting too. These are challenging times for us all but for new and expectant parents who might be concerned about the support available to them it could be even more worrying. I want to reassure new and expectant mums – and dads, that there is help available for them.
“Please continue following the government guidelines on social distancing and be sure to attend any NHS or GP appointments scheduled for you, or your baby. These are crucial to yours and your baby’s health and wellbeing. Our fantastic staff are doing everything they can to continue supporting families and improving the health and lives of babies and children across Sheffield.”
To help you and your baby stay safe and healthy, here are some steps you can take:
- Get help to quit smoking
Smokers are at a higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19. Smoking during pregnancy or after birth also puts your baby at risk, and is linked to 60% of sudden infant deaths. You can help protect yourself and those around you against coronavirus by quitting smoking. Get support to #QuitforCovid from your own home, at Smokefree Sheffield.
- Make sure your baby is sleeping safely
If you are not feeling well, make sure your baby sleeps in their own separate sleep place, such as a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you. Even if you are well, there are some circumstances in which co-sleeping with your baby can be very dangerous:
- Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
- Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy)
- You are extremely tired
- Your baby was born premature or at a low weight
Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby, as this can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by 50 times.
- Continue breastfeeding if you are doing so
Breastfeeding helps protect you and your baby. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of passing on coronavirus through breastmilk, and there is no evidence of this happening. If you have concerns, make sure to discuss these with your midwifery team and follow the latest advice available.
- Keep in touch with family and friends
Stay at home and stay safe. You may want to see family members who do not live with you, but it is very important that you continue to follow the government guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. Keep in touch with family at this time by sending pictures or talking on the phone/online instead.
Pregnant women have been advised to limit all social contact for 12 weeks. Continue to keep all your antenatal appointments while you are well, however some of these are likely to be by phone.
- Keep your baby close
It is recommended that you continue with skin-to-skin contact and keep your baby close.
If you are unwell, it is always safer for your baby to sleep in the same room as you. When your body is fighting an infection, you may sleep more deeply and not be as responsive as when you are well. You may also be taking medication that could make you drowsy.
- Stay up to date with immunisations
Vaccines help protect you and your baby. They are the most effective way to prevent serious infectious diseases. It is important that you stay up to date and keep your baby’s appointments.
If you or a member of your family shows the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) make sure you follow NHS advice: www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19
You can also find further help and advice here:
- Baby Safe: sheffield.gov.uk/babysafe
- Smoke Free Sheffield: smokefreesheffield.org/support
- Breastfeeding in Sheffield: breastfeedinginsheffield.co.uk
- NHS: nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Lullaby Trust: lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/coronavirus-and-caring-for-your-baby/
- Vaccinations: nhs.uk/start4life/baby/vaccinations-and-immunisations-baby/