Letters: It takes a village to raise a child. Our village has been taken from us

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Newborn baby

Dear editor,

I have sent this letter to my MP. Several babies I know, across multiple counties, have been unable to access tongue tie clinics as they are closed. Their babies could not feed.

They paid privately for this procedure to be completed, feeding their babies had a price tag.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Sadly for me and my lockdown baby, our village has been taken from us.

Not only family help and input, which is now illegal, but also access to important, usually routine, health care.

I was understanding of these changes in the beginning, covid-19 was looking to be a global disaster and steps needed to be taken to ensure the safety of the population, however, it has since become abundantly clear that covid-19 is not as severe as first predicted, especially for healthy under 60 year olds.

My main concern is that the health of my baby, and many other babies across the borough, has been neglected.

Early into lockdown I received a generic text message cancelling all future health visits.

These routine appointments have been deemed important, vital even, at some point in time; are they now unimportant?

During these appointments my baby would be checked over, weighed, and measured and while I feel that my baby is doing well I am a first time mum and there are things that can easily be missed by me – hence why the appointments are important.

I am fully aware that I can contact my GP anytime I need to, I can access 111 services both online and by phone, and in the very worst case I can utilise A&E services.

But as I say, the worry is that something important may be easily missed by me.

Another concern throughout all of this is the mental health of new parents, which is a concern usually, never mind during these ever testing times.

I am lucky that I have been able to virtually rely on family and that my husband is amazing, but not everyone is lucky enough to be in this position.

Mental health services have been stopped/hugely scaled back and someone suffering with poor mental health is unlikely to reach out to their GP.

This is another reason why these routine health visits are so important for the health, wellbeing and safety of both new parents and their babies.

Car show rooms are opening in just less than a week and other non-essential retail in just less than three weeks, yet as far as i am aware these essential baby services are not resuming.

My baby to this day remains unregistered, but we ARE able to shop in Primark soon… Baby groups are not happening. Bonding time with babies and families is not going ahead.

Priorities seem skewed and something really needs to change.

I know that you care greatly for your constituents and I really hope that you are able to help me to gain understanding and answers or point me in the direction of someone who can help.

Danielle Palmer
Sutherland Lane
Biddenham

Editor’s note: We have raised Danielle’s concerns with Bedfordshire NHS trust and will be publishing their response shortly.

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