Babies In Lockdown
Published on: 14/08/2020
Following weeks of collaborative work with parents, and with support from lots of other charities, Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and the Parent-Infant Foundation have launched their Babies in Lockdown report, which you can read in full here . Babies in Lockdown includes findings from our joint UK-wide survey completed by over 5,000 mothers, fathers and other co-parents. The report highlights the lack of support for families and the inequalities in babies’ early experiences.
Over 200,000 babies were born when lockdown was at its most restrictive, between 23rd March and 4th July. For generations, no other group of parents has had to navigate pregnancy, birth and beyond under such extraordinary circumstances. The survey suggests that the impact of COVID-19 on these babies could be severe and may be long-lasting.
What are the key findings?
COVID-19 has affected parents, babies and the services that support them in diverse ways: Differences in the experiences of lockdown, of care and support received and in accessing information and support were diverse. Some parents struggled enormously and described feeling abandoned and lost in the system, while others flourished. Some services were badly affected, others stepped up and did more than ever.
Families already at risk of poorer outcomes have suffered more than others: Many families with lower incomes, from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and young parents have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is likely to have widened the already deep inequalities in the early experiences and opportunities of children across the UK. It is to be expected that a survey of this type is unlikely to have reached the families with the very highest levels of need, for whom the impacts are likely to be deeply felt.
The effects of the pandemic will last longer than first expected: The survey reflects the adversity already experienced by many families and this is only the beginning. The pandemic will cast a long shadow, both in the increased stressors on caregiving relationships and in the secondary impacts on parents and babies themselves.
The report goes on to highlight the impact that Covid-19 has had on babies, on parents, and on care services and support. It gives many examples of experiences during the Antenatal and Postnatal periods of parenting, including the views of frontline key working parents. Many organisations have welcomed the report and the results being shared, allowing outside charities and agencies to adapt future plans to best support these families and their children.
“We welcome this insight into how the pandemic is affecting families and their babies. MAMA Academy fully supports the call for investment for Covid-19 generation babies to secure these families physical and mental wellbeing. As a national charity, we continue to encourage expectant parents to attend their antenatal appointments and seek advice if they experience any problematic symptoms during their pregnancy.”