Charities raise concerns for well being of babies born during lockdown

  • Video report by Jon Hill


Charities are warning that babies born during lockdown are being exposed to stress and potential harm because of the pandemic.

It is feared that a lack of social interaction for newborns and their mothers could impact the development of babies in the long term.

The NHS  has promised more mental health help with pilot schemes for North and South Yorkshire, but there are fears that more of the so-called covid generation of babies may face long term mental health problems.

Deborah Gibb, who had her second child four months ago, said: "She hasn't met another baby yet so she's not been face to face with another child of her own age and that perhaps seems a bit of a strange thing to say but babies learn from their peers.

"It's really important for them to learn how to interact with others and they're not getting that."

There are also fears about parents mental health during lockdown, a survey by the NSPCC found that there had been an increase in mental health call-outs by parents in the last year and that only 1 in 10 parents had seen a health worker in person.

44%

increase in mental health calls

60%

new parents have "significant concerns" about mental health

Vicky Nevin, from the NSPCC, said that they are concerned that parents have been "cut off" from support networks and want the government to act "urgently" to re-building the health visiting workforce.

Dr Danielle Matthew, a psychologist from the University of Sheffield, said that she would like to see more focus on parents well being rather than babies.

She said: "I wouldn't be unduly concerned. I think the stress is probably falling on the parents rather than on the babies themselves so I'd really encourage parents to look after their own mental health - that would probably have a better effect for the whole family in the long run."

The Government says that throughout the past months it's prioritised vulnerable children and families and provided support to protect babies.

It insists it's maintained vital services and invested thousands with charities that work with children and families.