Parents whose baby has left the neonatal unit

Here is the latest guidance on COVID-19 for parents with a baby who has been discharged from the neonatal unit or who is now older.

Last updated: 26th May 2020

Will our follow-up appointments change?

Telephone follow-up appointments will be used wherever possible as an alternative to visiting a clinic.

The team looking after you and your baby will decide how your appointments will be changed, and will let you know. The neonatal team will be in close contact with your health visitor and GP during this time.

Will the care we receive in the community change?

NHS services in the community are being affected by COVID-19. This includes services such as visits made by community nursing teams and health visitors.

Telephone follow-up appointments will be used wherever possible as an alternative to visiting a clinic. This may also apply to some home visits.

Decisions on any changes will be made by healthcare teams who will consider the needs of individual babies and families, with higher-risk babies, mothers and families being prioritised. If you have any concerns, contact your GP or the neonatal unit for advice.

Please be aware that information about changes to healthcare services may change quickly. We will monitor and make changes to this information as soon as we can if they are needed.

If you are unsure of what to do, visit the website of your local neonatal unit. If you are still unsure, speak to a relevant healthcare professional.

My child has ongoing paediatric appointments. Are these likely to be affected?

NHS paediatric services are being affected by COVID-19. Telephone or video calls are being used as an alternative to clinic appointments wherever possible.

Decisions on any changes will be made by healthcare teams who will consider the needs of individual babies, children and families. If you are unsure, call your clinic for advice.

Please be aware that guidance relating to all healthcare may change quickly. We will monitor and make changes to this information as soon as we can if they are needed.

If you are unsure of what to do, visit the website of your local neonatal unit. If you are still unsure, speak to a relevant healthcare professional.

I have been recently discharged from the neonatal unit and am finding social distancing with a new baby difficult. Where can I get support?

If you have just gone home from the neonatal unit with your baby, you may be feeling more isolated, and you may have some uncertainty of not having the support of unit staff at home. During the COVID-19 outbreak, these feelings and emotions may be heightened, particularly as friends and family won’t be allowed to visit, and face-to-face appointments are likely to be cancelled.

If you need someone to talk to, Bliss Champions are offering 1:1 video chats through Zoom to offer vital support to parents who are on the neonatal unit or who have recently been discharged. For more information, visit this page. You can also email hello@bliss.org.uk for emotional support and find more information about supporting your mental health on our website here.

If your baby has been discharged earlier from hospital, you may be able to call your neonatal unit for further guidance and support in the first few weeks after arriving home. You should check with your neonatal unit to see if this is possible.

Tommy’s have some useful tips on how to stay connected with family and friends while social distancing.

When will schools reopen?

Schools and nurseries across the UK have been closed since 23 March.

In England, it is expected that nursery and primary school children in reception, year 1 and year 6 will return to school from the week beginning the 1st June.

In Scotland, there are plans for schools to reopen for pupils on a part time basis from the week beginning the 11th August.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, it is not known when schools will reopen for pupils.

Schools will be allowed to open to pupils if they are organised in a way that is compatible with reducing the spread of the virus. This is likely to include things such as smaller class sizes and increased cleaning and hygiene measures. It is possible that some schools will make changes to their start and finish times or introduce different drop-off and collection times.

I am worried about my child going back to school. What should I do?

We understand that you may have some concerns about your child returning to school when they reopen. You should notify your child’s school as normal if your child is unable to attend, or you are uncomfortable with your child attending school, so that staff are aware and can discuss with you. You will not be fined if your child does not attend school at this time.

Children who are considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should continue to shield and should not be expected to attend.

Children who live with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding should only attend if they are able to comply with strict social distancing measures and the child is able to understand and follow those instructions.

More information about the closure of schools and nurseries, including how this affects vulnerable children and the children of key workers can be found here.

The Department for Education (DfE) has a helpline for queries about education for parents and anyone who works in education. You can call 0800 046 8687, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. You can also email coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

This guidance is subject to change and we will update this page with any new information that becomes available.

Other useful organisations

Wellchild has specific information about coronavirus (COVID-19) for parents and carers of sick children.

Twins Trust have published a Q&A about COVID-19 for anyone who is pregnant with, or who has, twins or multiples. They also have some advice about home isolation when you have multiples, and have some other useful links and information that you may find useful.

SANDS have produced a guide for parents about COVID-19 and changes that will impact parents and family members who have been affected by the death of a baby.

Mind has lots of information if you are feeling anxious or worried about COVID-19, and has guidance on how to take care of your mental wellbeing.

YoungMinds has more information about how to talk to your children about COVID-19.

Tommy’s have information and guidance about coming home with a newborn baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are updating this page as more information becomes available. For more support, get in touch at hello@bliss.org.uk