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Aberdeen mum of baby born days into lockdown reveals struggle of looking after newborn during pandemic

Lockdown baby, Patrick Brodie
Lockdown baby, Patrick Brodie

An Aberdeen mum whose baby was born days into lockdown has described her struggle as a new report highlights the impact Covid-19 has had on new mothers.

Heather Brodie, who lives in the Cornhill area with shopworker husband John, gave birth to little Patrick on March 27.

She says the birth at the hospital was fine, with “great” staff helping out.

But going home with her baby to her two other children, two-year-old Emily and Karley, 10, during the pandemic was the scariest part.

Ms Brodie relived those early days with Patrick as the Home-Start UK, Best Beginnings and Parent-Infant Foundation groups revealed the findings from an online survey of 5,474 parents.

The survey detailed the struggles of pregnant women, new parents and those with toddlers during lockdown.

Ms Brodie said: “It was difficult for me to leave Patrick and the kids to get to a shop and those first few weeks were really challenging, they still are.

“My two-year-old, Emily, has loads of energy and the impact on her routine and behaviour has been tough.”

Baby Patrick has a number of health issues and was diagnosed with Plagiocephaly, also known as flat head syndrome, neck problems and Talipes which is also known as club foot.

He was due to undergo physio but, when lockdown restrictions tightened, his treatment was postponed.

Ms Brodie added: “We’ve had to get the kids to various hospital appointments and obviously with restrictions I couldn’t take all the kids with me.

“I would have to try and choose the most appropriate person to babysit and help me, with minimal risk of contracting the virus.”

As living costs increased with the family being at home, relying on one income has been a “real stretch” and Ms Brodie feels she would have “broken down by now” without support from the local Home-Start branch.

The three charities behind the survey said that many families with lower incomes, young parents and those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, will have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Nearly seven in 10 felt the changes brought on by coronavirus were affecting their unborn baby, baby or young child – with an increase in crying, tantrums and becoming more clingy.

This was felt most sharply among parents under 25 years old, and those on the lowest incomes.

Only one third of parents who took part in the report felt they could access mental health support if required, as almost seven in 10 found their ability to cope impacted by Covid-19.

The three charities are urging the government to provide a “baby boost” to enable local services to better support families who have had a baby during lockdown.

A fundraising page has been set up to help cover the cost of a specially made helmet for little Patrick, click here to find out more.

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