New mothers in Ireland are struggling as lockdown means little or no support 3 months ago

New mothers in Ireland are struggling as lockdown means little or no support

The lockdown restrictions mean new mothers across Ireland are struggling, a Cork GP has revealed.

With very few, if any, of the standard support systems available, new mothers are feeling more isolated than ever.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Dr Mary Favier said that while some services have continued virtually over the lockdown, new Irish mothers have been left feeling isolated, many even unable to see and seek help from their own mothers.

"New mothers are struggling and incredibly apologetic to be bothering you," Favier said. "They are really apologetic and so much of it is because the usual supports are gone."

This is a particular problem for first-time mothers, the GP explained, as they have not built up a support network of experienced mothers.

"Now, we have a situation where older parents and people with other illnesses can't do that and can't help out.  New mothers, and particularly those who might be living away from home, don't have parents or siblings living close by; women here from other countries: They are in really, really challenging circumstances."

Back when life was normal, new mothers would not be short of visitors, all eager to help, lend a hand, offer food, hold the baby, and simply be there in what is to every new mother a very overwhelming and vulnerable time.

Now, this is no more.

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"The women in the first half of their maternity leave say they feel very isolated and don’t know how to cope; they're unsure about the practicalities of feeding and changing," D. Favier explained.

For women in the second half, you do notice that the sociability is really gone, the breastfeeding support groups are gone, and all of the learning that comes from that.

The GP also said that as the cases of Covid-19 continue to rise, this situation is unlikely to change soon.

Luckily, there are still some groups who offer online support and help to new mothers.

Among the groups offering breastfeeding support via Zoom in Ireland is the network of La Leche League meetings.

"It is very hard; it is dreadful for some mothers," explained volunteer breastfeeding consultant Jane Farran, who said the Cork City groups, like everywhere else, have been on Zoom since March.

"New mothers, especially, are very isolated. We offer phone support, too; they would call looking for reassurance."

Mothers can contact local La Leche League groups across the country through their Facebook page to find out more.