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For Parents and Parents-to-be During COVID-19

Raising children can be challenging under normal circumstances. We understand that you may have more questions and worries about COVID-19 related to your family, your children of any age, or if you’re expecting a new baby. Although much is still unknown about COVID-19 we do know that parents are doing the best they can and we are here to support you. Please see our Support For You section for a full list of mental health supports for children, youth and adults, as well as financial and economic supports.

Pregnant individuals who have COVID-19 are more likely to get sick, be admitted to hospital and need treatment in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) than individuals who aren't pregnant. Pregnant individuals with COVID-19 are more likely to have a premature birth and caesarean delivery, and their babies are more likely to be admitted to hospital.

If you are pregnant, we recommend that you follow the same precautions as the general public to protect yourself. Because every pregnancy is different, we also recommend that you consult your health care provider for advice as needed. Click here for more information if you do develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Whether you plan to deliver in the hospital or at home, we recommend that you speak with your health care provider about your birth plan. This is especially important if you develop symptoms or test positive for the virus. It is possible that you will need to adjust parts of your birth plan, due to the measures put in place to address COVID-19.

Immunization: All pregnant individuals in Ontario are encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Pregnant individuals are recommended to receive the two dose COVID-19 vaccine series as well as a booster dose to prevent risk of severe outcomes. Pregnant individuals in Ontario are eligible to receive their booster dose at three months after their last dose.

To facilitate timely receipt of their booster vaccine, pregnant individuals are being prioritized for booked appointments in Simcoe Muskoka as well as walk-in opportunities. To view how to book your appointment or available walk-in options click here

Deciding about a COVID-19 vaccination while you are pregnant can be challenging. Talk with your health care provider about the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine and the potential risks of a COVID-19 infection during your pregnancy.

Review the information below to help you make a decision.

  • Review: “I am pregnant or breastfeeding. Should I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?” (available in French and English)
  • Download: the OMama App or visit the OMama website to access up to date, trusted, evidence-informed information for pregnant Ontarians and their families, including information about COVID-19 and pregnancy. 
  • Visit: PregnancyInfo.ca – Includes facts on pregnancy and childbirth from Canada’s experts including information about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy.
  • Watch a short video: Ontario Health Care Providers sharing updated messages about the vaccine

For more Information and to book your vaccine at a clinic click here.

Additional resources 

  • Pregnancy, Childbirth and Caring for Newborns English/Francais - Public Health Agency of Canada

 

There is very little information at this time about how COVID-19 affects babies. We recommend that all new parents take precautions to reduce the risk of infection to themselves and their newborn:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean away germs before touching and feeding your baby . 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting your home can also help to reduce the spread of illness.
  • Avoid unnecessary visitors in your home whenever possible.
  • When you are out in public or visiting with people, particularly those who are not fully vaccinated, stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart and wear a mask when distancing is not possible.
  • Masks are not recommended for babies and young children.

 

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have been identified as a high risk contact, seek assessment and testing. During the time period that a parent has been asked to isolate due to a positive test or as a high-risk contact, the parent should:

  • Always wear a mask. 
  • Keep 2 metres (6 feet) distance from the baby unless providing direct baby care or breastfeeding 
  • Have someone else feed expressed breastmilk or formula to your baby if not feeling well
  • Wash their hands before direct baby care or breastfeeding 
  • Wash their chest with soap and water before each breastfeeding if they have coughed or sneezed without a mask 
  • Consider loosely covering the baby with a blanket while feeding

These practices should continue until the parent is no longer required to isolate. 

Breastfeeding:

Practice the following actions when feeding your baby:

  • If expressing breastmilk, wash your hands before touching pump or bottle parts and clean all parts after each use.
  • If using a breastfeeding pillow, put a clean towel on the pillow each time you are feeding baby.

 

Immunization for breastfeeding families:
The COVID-19 vaccines currently offered in Canada are not live vaccines. These vaccines are not believed to be a risk to babies who are breastfeeding. Speak to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of the vaccine and the potential risks of a COVID infection for your family.

Review: “I am pregnant or breastfeeding. Should I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?” (available in French and English)

For families who are currently using formula:

  • Follow guidelines for safe preparation. Wash your hands before you prepare formula and before offering it to your baby. 
  • If your baby’s usual brand is not available in the grocery store, purchase another brand that is similar to the formula your infant currently drinks e.g. a cow milk based formula. Most babies will adjust to a different formula quickly. 
  • Homemade infant formulas are not recommended for use. 

 

For more information:

  • Pregnancy, Childbirth and Caring for Newborns English/Francais - Public Health Agency of Canada

 

 

 

 

Current evidence suggests that children do not appear to be at a higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. The Caring for Kids: COVID-19 and Your Child page offers regularly updated information for parents from Canada’s pediatricians.

The pandemic has been stressful for many children and parents. Balancing protecting our physical health and our mental well-being is important. Caring for ourselves also helps us to provide care and support for our children.

For more information: 

Parents and caregivers have an important role in helping their children make sense of what they see and hear around them and how they are feeling. A calm, informed and loving parent provides the best support for a child.

Sometimes it can be helpful for children to have other trusted adults to talk to. Please see our Support For You section for a full list of mental health supports for children and youth.

For more information:

 

How you shop for and prepare food, and what and where you eat has likely changed. In a time of self-isolation and physical distancing here are some tips to help you feed your family,

Grocery shopping: 

  • Buy enough food and household supplies for your family to limit outings. 
  • When you need to go to stores, go during off hours when they might be less crowded. Leave your kids at home if possible. Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub before and after going out. 
  • If you are in self-isolation, ask a friend or family member to drop off supplies. Try online grocery ordering and delivery. 
  • Consider helping someone in your community or making a monetary donation to your local food bank if you are able.
  • If you (or someone you know) need help accessing groceries or pharmacy, contact 211 or visit www.211ontario.ca.

 

Preparing food: 

 

Meal and snack times: 

Page last updated: January 7, 2022

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