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: 20th August

This page provides more information about follow-up appointments, paediatric appointments, and community care. There is also some information about schools.

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.

Will our follow-up appointments change?

In some situations, telephone follow-up appointments may be used as an alternative to visiting a clinic. The team looking after you and your baby will decide if your appointments will be changed, and keep you informed. The neonatal team will be in close contact with your health visitor and GP during this time.

If you need to attend appointments at hospital, you may be advised to wear a face covering at all times when in the hospital. In some parts of the UK it is also mandatory to wear a face covering when using public transport.

There is different guidance regarding the age that children should wear face coverings in different parts of the UK. In England, the guidance suggests that face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 and in Scotland, by children under the age of 5. This means that babies should not wear face coverings, as there is a potential risk of suffocation and other hazards if they do. There is more information about how to make a face covering here.

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.

In some situations, telephone follow-up appointments may be used as an alternative to visiting a clinic. This may also apply to some home visits.

Decisions on any changes to appointments 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.

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. It can be difficult to know what to do at the moment, and you may be feeling worried or isolated. If you need any additional help or support at this time, look at our support pages to see how we can help.

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 may be used as an alternative to clinic appointments.

Decisions on any changes to appointments 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 or speak to a relevant healthcare professional.

If you need to go to appointments at hospital, you are advised to wear a face covering at all times when in the hospital. Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. More information about face coverings can be found on the government website.

If you need to attend appointments at hospital, you may be advised to wear a face covering at all times when in the hospital. In some parts of the UK it is also mandatory to wear a face covering when using public transport.

There is different guidance regarding the age that children should wear face coverings in different parts of the UK. In England, the guidance suggests that face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3 and in Scotland, for children under the age of 5. This means that babies should not wear face coverings, as there is a potential risk of suffocation and other hazards if they do. There is information about how to make a face covering here.

It can be difficult to know what to do at the moment, and you may be feeling worried or isolated. If you need any additional help or support at this time, look at our support pages to see how we can help.

I have recently been 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 some friends and family won’t be allowed to visit, and face-to-face appointments may be changed.

If you need someone to talk to, Bliss Champions are avaliable for one-to-one video chats to offer vital support to parents who are on the neonatal unit or who have recently been discharged. To arrange a call, simply fill out the short form here or email hello@bliss.org.uk

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 very recently, 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.

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. You should tell 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 this with you.

Children who have been considered extremely clinically vulnerable and shielding, or who live with someone who is, should continue return to school when schools reopen. This is because shielding has recently been paused in the UK. Visit this page for more information about shielding.

If you live in England, 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