Isolation associated with the COVID-19 crisis has led to a 50% increase in new mothers seeking help from the Illawarra Early Parenting Centre.
The Illawarra Early Parenting Centre’s popular early intervention program, has helped hundreds of families to establish effective infant sleep, settling and feeding routines.
The Centre takes babies from six weeks to two years of age for issues with sleep and settling, feeding support and adjustment to parenting for new mothers.
Located at Figtree Private Hospital, it is the Illawarra’s only residential postnatal support service for babies from six week to 2 years of age.
Nurse Unit Manager Claire Jauncey said along with hospital enquiries doubling, they have seen a week long waiting list, which they’ve never experienced before.
“The main reason for the increase in mothers needing our help is their other supports have either changed or are not running at the moment. They’re missing out on experiencing those ‘firsts’ like going to mothers group, and that vital connection with others.” Ms Jauncey said.
“Problems with settling and feeding are only made worse by being at home all the time. I think the hardest thing has been the isolation of people’s villages. They couldn’t have even their own parents in the labour ward or to help at home, which while necessary was very hard.”
Patients are reporting suffering depression and anxiety at a much higher rate, up from 15% to 41%. The higher rates of depression are attributed to physical isolation, increased household and child care as well as the state of the world.
New Mum Kelly Mitchell sought help for her then four month old baby Taylor, who was waking every two hours and only napping in the car during the day.
“It was a really difficult time. I felt like I was ‘on’ 24/7, which made it even harder. I wasn’t able to get anyone to babysit, go to the gym or go anywhere to take some time out,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Being in isolation definitely made it harder. We couldn’t see my parents, and they missed out on a few months of Taylor’s life, which was sad.”
Since visiting Figtree, Taylor sleeps in his cot and is only waking at night for feeds.
The Illawarra Early Parenting Centre is part of Ramsay Health Care’s Figtree Private Hospital. The service is the first of its kind in the Illawarra, offering an inpatient program.
The unit provides personalised assistance for a range of needs including:
- Feeding difficulties
- Infant sleep disorders
- Reflux and colic
- Maternal exhaustion
- Maternal anxiety
- Adjusting to parenting
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