First, congratulations on your new baby. In times such as these, it’s important to celebrate the happy news too. That said, it’s understandable if you and your family feel a little vulnerable at this time.
Before we share any information, we should point out, this is a new virus and because of this, research is limited.
The good news is, early evidence indicates small babies rarely get seriously ill from COVID-19. In fact, many experience little or no symptoms.
That said, you may have noticed on the Australian Government’s Health Direct site that very young children and babies are listed as those potentially at risk. This is because babies are new to the world and haven’t had much time to build up their immune systems. While early research indicates babies are not at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, because so much is still unknown, it’s recommended new parents follow government guidelines to protect themselves and their children from infection. This includes strictly adhering to the advice around good hygiene and social distancing rules.
With that in mind, you may be concerned about what this means for all your postnatal check-ups and appointments.
The Australian Government recognised these concerns and recently announced special provisions for newborn parents, who can now be bulk-billed when consulting a doctor or nurse via phone or videocall rather than attending in person. If you do need to see a doctor in person with your baby, only one caregiver should attend.
If you’re a Medibank member with hospital cover^, our Health Concierge service is here to help. Whether you’re looking for breastfeeding advice, recovery tips, help with the life admin a new baby brings, or you need to talk to someone about your emotional wellbeing, our highly skilled Health Concierges can provide postpartum support and advice to new parents. Call 1800 789 414 to talk to a Health Concierge between 9am – 4pm Eastern Standard Time.
Even though it does not protect you or your baby against COVID-19, it’s recommended you keep your baby up-to-date with routine vaccinations. This will help minimise the chance they’ll need medical attention while the health system is dealing with the coronavirus. The same goes for parents and the flu shot.
Sadly, during this time of social distancing you may not be able to show your baby to the world the way you had planned. While the family gatherings may be on Skype and the celebrations postponed, it’s important for you to stay connected with family and friends.
And lastly, remember to look after your own physical and mental health during these times. Do what you can to stay active and in touch with the outside world. Becoming a new parent can be overwhelming; becoming a new parent during a pandemic brings with it a whole new set of emotions. Whether it’s joy or anxiety, it’s important to remember that all your feelings are normal. Worrying about the health and future of children is something parents have done for generations.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed however, there are people and services you can reach out to.
24/7 Medibank Mental Health Phone Support If you’re a Medibank member with hospital cover* you can call 1800 644 325 to speak to a mental health professional for confidential support, advice or information. We are increasing the number of health experts to keep up with higher demand, but please be patient if wait times are a little longer than expected.
^Excludes Overseas Visitor Health Cover, Working Visa Health Cover and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
*OSHC members should call the Student Health & Support Line on 1800 887 283.