Bringing home your newborn (aka "The Child) in the age of COVID-19
I've been getting a lot of questions about what we recommend with visitors with a newborn during the pandemic. I tried to find some good official guidelines but as we've discovered during this pandemic, those have been a bit lacking. After discussing with my partners, we came up with some recommendations.
#1 Check with your pediatrician on their specific recommendations
#2 Limit visitors to essential family only. I would say only very close family and friends, night nurses, and doulas who can help you recover and have been careful during this time about socializing and wearing a mask. Make sure they don't have any potential exposures, especially without a mask and indoors. Lots of people are doing viewing from windows for family which is a very safe way to make them feel involved and to show off your cute new addition!
#3 Have essential visitors be very strict for about 2 weeks ( this means no unnecessary activities and only going go for brief shopping visits) before they are anticipated to come see the baby. When they arrive make sure they wear a mask around the baby. I think the scariest part of this particular virus is that so many people are asymptomatic or "pre-symptomatic" and can expose others unintentionally.
#4 If you have family who will be traveling on a plane, we recommend they isolate for 5 days and then get a rapid Covid test which are widely available now. If they test negative then they should still wear a mask for the next 5-6 days. If they are positive they should not be within 6 feet of the baby for at least 10 days of the positive test and longer if they have any symptoms. (see article #2 below) Definitely have them wear a mask around everyone, including you.
#5 Pre-Covid I would have said to be very careful for the first 2 months around visitors because that is when the baby will get their own vaccinations. With Covid we don't know when the period of risk is over so I would follow your pediatricians' advice.
#6 Make sure your essential visitors have gotten their TDAP and flu vaccines and are good with hand washing and hand sanitizer as well. It's always tricky when they refuse to get these recommended safety precautions, but use your best judgement as a parent. I trust you!
I thought these articles from the American Academy of Pediatrics were great as well and so important! I agree whole-heartedly that we know enough now about COVID-19 that should enable people to regain at least some of their normal support system. As a society, we weren't doing a great of job helping new mothers ( and fathers!) adjust in the postpartum period prior to COVID-19 and now more that ever it is very important to build a support system and not isolate yourself from others. Great tips in the articles below.