Mum says her pandemic baby's first word was "mask" 2 months ago

Mum says her pandemic baby's first word was "mask"

The impact of the pandemic on infants is starting to show as they become toddlers.

A mum whose baby was born in late 2019 and spent her early months in lockdown has said her child's first word was "mask."

Leanne Howlett's daughter Miley was five months old when the UK entered its first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

With nurseries closed, family not allowed to visit and her dad being at work, the baby spent much of her first year with just her mum and older brother.

Miley didn't see anyone but very close family members until she was nearly one.

In the summer of 2020, childcare bubbles were allowed and Leanne's husband took some time off work.

Leanne finally got to bring Miley to her first baby group, where all the mothers wore masks.

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She says the impact the pandemic has had on her daughter is now clear at age two.

"She is not at all sociable - she didn't see anyone but us until she was nearly one," Leanne told BBC News.

"All those missed activities, photos, and all those firsts. My baby's first word was mask."

The mum also had a rough time during lockdown as she faced postnatal depression without the same amount of support available pre-Covid.

"I dipped to rock-bottom," she said. "You cannot bring yourself out of it - you think everyone is better off without you."

She has since quit her job as a solicitor and is retraining as a mental-health nurse "to help other mums face-to-face".