The Parent-Infant Foundation and partners publish ‘No one wants to see my baby’ report

09 November 2021

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Today, we publish a new report exploring the continued impact of COVID-19 on babies, just over a year after our initial Babies in Lockdown report.

‘No one wants to see my baby’ is a survey of professionals, in-depth studies with 11 families and a review of the literature, conducted with our partners Home-Start and Best Beginnings. It shows that many services across the UK are not operating as they were before the pandemic, and babies and their families are missing out as a result.

In a new survey of UK-wide professionals and volunteers:

  • 30% say health visitor drop-in clinics are no longer operating in their area.
  • 28% say health visitor appointments are still remote via telephone or online in their area.
  • 12% say baby and toddler groups are no longer running in their area.

The report provides direct accounts from parents about the continued impact of COVID-19 on services, and how this is impacting on them and their babies.

“…feel very, very like left out and left behind. And I literally saw them. Like, they weighed him at a couple of weeks old, they said he was fine. And then they said, if you’ve got any other issues, then give us a ring. But as a first-time mom in a pandemic with no other support, how would I know if something was going wrong? Do you know what I mean? I just felt massively let down”

“And if you can access a service, it is harder to get into it because it’s first come first serve or it takes three or four days to get onto a waiting list and then everything is so much harder. A lot of times it’s just easier not to do it: not to go to a playgroup, not go to soft play, because you’ve got to book 24 hours in advance and you don’t know what you’re gonna do tomorrow so you end up sitting by the TV or just going to a walk in the park or something instead.”

In the report we raise particular concerns about the impact of remote service delivery which limits the ability of professionals to assess babies’ development and wellbeing, and to form the relationships required to support families affectively.

In the report, we call on the UK Government to take three actions to build back better for babies:

  • Invest in health visiting services.
  • Take a cautious, evidence-based approach to remote service delivery.
  • Ensure babies, and services supporting them, are at the heart of COVID-19 recovery policy and investment.

Sally Hogg, Head of Policy and Communications of Parent Infant Foundation, said:

“We remain very concerned about the development of young children exposed to the greatest adversity during the pandemic. In the 15 months since our initial research was published, we have seen increasing evidence of the concerning impact of COVID 19 on the most vulnerable children. If services remain remote, many of these babies are invisible and their needs go unaddressed.”

Read the full report here.

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