The challenges facing new parents and babies born during lockdown

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper

Becoming a parent in lockdown has in many cases been a much harder experience than usual. Pregnant mums have had to go to scans alone and go through labour without their partners, and after the birth, new parents have had fewer home visits.

There have been moments of joy too. Millie Best has just celebrated her first birthday in Corby in Northamptonshire. She was born just one hour after the Prime Minister announced lockdown last year, it's almost all she's ever known.

Millie Best was born on the day England went into lockdown on 23 March 2020 Credit: ITV News Anglia

Millie's mum Chelsea Best recalls: "I was about 9cm dilated when the midwife came in and said, just to let you know Boris has just announced you are now in a lockdown.

"When we went in we packed a bag with Matt's stuff to stay over thinking it would be normal, and they said 'no', it means unfortunately he will go home.

"So about an hour after she arrived he was sent home and we were on our own until about 6 o'clock the next day until you were allowed to come. He was allowed for an hour. It was worth it in the end." For Chloe Griffin in Bedford, the birth of her daughter Willow in lockdown was a deeply traumatic experience.

Chloe Griffin and her daughter Willow who was born during lockdown Credit: ITV News Anglia

Chloe was told to wait at home by her local hospital when her waters broke, hours later when she was in agony, she was told the maternity unit was full. Chloe was diverted to Milton Keynes hospital and had a forceps delivery. Both she and Willow developed sepsis and Willow spent time in the neonatal unit. She said: "Willow hasn't been seen since she was three weeks old by a visitor.

"I mean she's a healthy baby she has got back up to her birth weight while we were still in hospital on day 5 when we left but they don't know me as a person and she's my first child so I just feel a bit let down really." Chloe worries her daughter has hardly met anyone this year, but psychologists say babies are resilient.

Chelsea and Matt best with their lockdown baby Millie who was born the day lockdown was announced Credit: ITV News Anglia

For Millie Best's parents, the enforced time together has had some benefits. Her father Matt said: "Us three as a three, okay it's been at home, but we have managed to do way more things together and the bond between us two and and Millie is something we could never had wished for." For all parents' the first year of a child's life is a milestone - but this year perhaps more than most.