Skip to Main Content

New Baby During COVID-19? Social and Mental Health Support for Parents

Welcoming home a new baby means a lifetime of priceless memories, but it also brings big changes to everyday life. As your family adjusts to new routines – and less sleep – you may experience very normal feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. While everyone has a unique experience with their newborn, there are some very normal and common emotional changes during this time as the body juggles hormone fluctuations, sleep deprivation and increased responsibilities. It’s important to be aware of the changes your body and psyche experience during this transition from pregnancy to parenthood.

Learn more: What you need to know about postpartum depression

We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village.” Seeking out the support of friends and family during this postpartum period is so important. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional challenges for families with new babies. With physical distancing and quarantine requirements, friends and neighbors are less likely to check-in, and your parents are less likely to visit, putting families of newborns – like yours – at greater risk of isolation and loneliness. Let’s talk about that. Recently, UVM Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC) hosted a live Q&A on Facebook with CVMC’s Women’s Health Team and Good Beginnings of Central Vermont to talk about these issues and provide you with guidance and resources to support your fourth trimester.

If you’re juggling a baby and need the cliff notes, we get it. Here are the highlights from our discussion:

Five things to know about perinatal mental health

  1. It’s normal to have feelings of stress, anxiety or depression when adjusting to all the changes that come with taking care of a new baby. A certain level of anxiety is part of the natural impulse to protect your newborn.
  2. These feelings can become overwhelming to the point where they negatively affect your ability to function, such as being too scared to go places or constantly worrying you will drop your baby.
  3. Anxiety and depression can start at any time. Some people start having these feelings while pregnant, and they can last up to a year after giving birth.
  4. The stress of COVID-19 can exacerbate these feelings, especially with all of the safety precautions to wear a mask, physically distance and clean your hands.
  5. We all need social support and connections with other humans for our emotional health. Social support helps newborn parents stay strong.

Your job is to take care of your newborn, but who is taking care of you? Below are resources we encourage you to explore to gain the support, insight and services you may need at this time.

Health and Wellness Resources

UVM Medical Center Breastfeeding: https://www.uvmhealth.org/medcenter/conditions-and-treatments/breast-feeding

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) Lactation Program: https://www.cvph.org/Departments-and-Programs/Maternity/Lactation-Program

Hello Babe Birth and Beginnings Education (New York): https://www.cvph.org/Departments-and-Programs/Maternity/Classes

Beginnings Vermont: Provides women and families with quality, current and unbiased childbirth and parenting education: https://www.facebook.com/Beginnings-Childbirth-155729714451506

Postpartum Doulas: https://vermontbirthnetwork.wordpress.com/postpartum-doulas/

Postpartum Yoga in-person and online classes: https://www.evolutionprenatalandfamily.com/

Postpartum Support International (PSI) Warmline: For encouragement, information, tips and referrals, call 802-276-0383

Postpartum Support International (Vermont Chapter): https://psichapters.com/vt/#toggle-id-2

Child Developmental Guidance

Vermont Family Network for parents of children with special needs: https://www.facebook.com/VermontFamilyNetwork

Help Me Grow Vermont: To speak with child developmental specialist, call 2-1-1 ext. 6 or text HMGVT to 898211.

Emotional and Mental Health Support

Mental Health: The 4th Trimester: https://newmomhealth.com

Strong Families Vermont Home Visiting Program (virtual): https://cispartners.vermont.gov/roles/strong-families

Citizen Advocates New York: Develop treatment plans around each person’s individual mental healthcare needs https://citizenadvocates.net/

Community Resources

Baby CIRCLE Time, a free online group for pregnant or postpartum parents and caregivers. To register, call CVMC Women’s Health at 802-371-5961 or email Angela.Shea@cvmc.org.

Postpartum Support International (Vermont Chapter): https://psichapters.com/vt/#toggle-id-2

Building Strong Families, New American Clinic (Vermont): https://www.onecarevt.org/building-strong-families-continues-to-serve-families-during-covid-19/

Franklin County WIC (Community Health Center of the North Country) https://www.wicstrong.com/agency/213676/

Monty reading a book in a chair.

Subscribe to Monty’s Digest