NCT and the Breastfeeding Network, in collaboration with an alliance of supporting organisations and in consultation with Public Health England, have today released a new guide to re-starting support services for expectant and new parents during Covid-19.
The guide provides a set of principles and considerations for organisations to work through so that they can restart their face-to-face support services safely and with confidence. Covid-19 and the prolonged period of social restrictions have had a huge impact on the lives of pregnant women, their partners and families with new babies.
Reduced access to pre and postnatal community support, restrictions in access to maternity care for partners, limited face-to-face support with breastfeeding, fewer possibilities for practical and emotional support from friends and family, financial insecurity – combined with high levels of misinformation about the virus and vaccine programme – have left many families struggling to cope. Some groups have been disproportionately affected, widening inequalities that already exist.
The role of third sector organisations, charities and academics supporting early parenting has been crucial in adapting and strengthening support in a socially distanced time alongside building up evidence. The sector is also fulfilling a powerful role in providing a ‘voice’ for parental experience to ensure attention on these issues and that critical resources are applied in the short and longer term.
As restrictions ease, our sector has the commitment and capability to ensure community support thrives. Collaboration and shared learning will be more important than ever, and we are grateful to all of the individuals and organisations who have contributed to the principles set out in this guide.