Belinda Joyce

Belinda Joyce

Becoming a new parent during this pandemic has certainly added some challenges to a time that is already a steep learning curve.

For many new parents they have had reduced face to face antenatal visits, childbirth education classes and other health professionals after the birth such as child health nurses, lactation consultants.

This has meant less support for new families at a time that many are feeling understandably anxious. New parents need support in transitioning into a parenting role as well as learning how to care for their baby.

Thankfully at present most of Australia is not locked down and family and friends are able to visit and help. However, with high numbers of covid infections in the community, Mums tell me they are reducing the number of visitors to their young babies to reduce the risk of them acquiring covid. Many families are also reducing the risk of exposure by avoiding public places with large numbers of people.

You can stay in touch with friends and family, text messages, phone and skype, facetime and zoom are great ways to connect.

Parent Groups:

Regular support networks such as new parent groups which vary state to state and are often run through child health nurses are not able to run as usual if at all. With the recent code brown in Victoria and the stretched health network across Australia some of the core activities have had to be paused or turned to online groups, some areas, mainly regional and rural are continuing to run face to face groups.

New Mums often crave interaction with other new Mums, wanting to share ideas and issues unfortunately, due to the pandemic many of the usual supports have been reduced or cancelled which has further reduced the support to new mothers.

I have created a new online program for Mums of young babies called Survive and Enjoy Your Baby, the aim is to allow you to meet other new Mums while also learning more about babies, what they need and want and how to enjoy parenting so much more. It’s a chance to ask your questions about you and your baby.  Sign up to join the waitlist and receive a free pack of printable trackers and checklists for essential baby equipment, what to put in your hospital bag, nappy bag, travel & childcare bag and so much more. 

Meeting other Mums helps with social connection and research has shown that new parents’ mental health benefits from this. Mums tell me they feel so much better seeing and interacting with other mums who are facing similar challenges. I will be facilitating the program, as a midwife and maternal and child health nurse I will provide safe, expert advice and options for all of your questions.

Health Professionals:

Most health professionals are still available, many are limiting face to face interactions and using some telehealth alongside a short face to face appointment. This is proving helpful and technologies are rapidly improving. Do go ahead and reach out to those you need, such as child health nurses, lactation consultants, GP’s, paediatricians and they will explain their current service.

Online services in some cases, have increased the number of parents who can access services as it has been easier for those who live further away and would have had to travel longer distances. These are some of the learnings for health services to take into the future.


The pandemic has also meant that many Dads have been able to work from home when they couldn’t traditionally have done this. This has allowed more flexibility and sharing around parenting and fathers have been able to spend more time bonding with their baby’s as well. It seems that some work from home will remain an option into future.

Be Kind to Yourself:

We know that it is common for new parents to have increased anxiety but adding the pandemic to this has escalated anxiety and depression among new parents. Rates of calls to helplines such as PANDA have increase dramatically over the last 2 years.

Try to remember to include some self-care, it is important- some time to yourself, taking naps, having a bath, reading a book, enjoying a hobby, having a massage and many more.

Go for a walk with your baby in the pram. Even just walking around the block can make you feel so much better. Just being outside and getting some fresh air is great for your mood.

Accept all offers of help – dropping off a meal or running errands for you.


Helplines and Websites:


Most importantly be kind to yourself, no one has been through a pandemic before, we are all learning how to manage and cope with this. You are not expected to know what to do, please ask for the help and support you need and know that you are not alone.

Visit for more support and advice.


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