One in four babies born in Ireland during the first lockdown had not met another child their age before their first birthday.

A new study of 354 infants born between March and May 2020 examined the parenting of infants who arrived in the world at the start of the pandemic.

At 6 months of age, the average number of people who kissed a baby, including the parents, was 3.

Lead author Susan Byrne, PhD, said she was particularly impressed with the statistic that a quarter of the infants surveyed had not met a child their own age until they were one year old.

The study, conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons and Children’s Health Ireland, asked parents to write down words describing how they raised their babies during the pandemic.

Nearly half of the parents, or 44pc, used the word ‘lonely’ and about a third used the word ‘lonely’. Other notable negative words reported included ‘worried’ reported by 15% of parents and ‘challenging’ used by 14%.

On a more positive note, ‘strong ties’ were used by 15pc, while other common positive words used by parents to describe baby care in the early months of the pandemic were ‘strong bonds with family’. time” and “calm/peaceful”.

The study reported that 12 of the babies had Covid-19 in their first year of life, but compared to the parents of babies who were not infected with Covid-19, the number of There were no significant differences in negative or positive words. Parents or people who already have children.

Dr Byrne, senior lecturer at the FutureNeuro Center in the Department of Pediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons, said the study was part of the CORAL study led by Professor Jonathan Hourihane.

“This study looks at allergies, immune function and child development in over 350 babies born during the pandemic.

“As part of the 12-month assessment, we wanted to understand how the parents participating in the study felt about parenting during the pandemic.

“Overall, the reports were about loneliness and isolation.

“But many parents also report strong bonds and positive experiences of family time.”

A consultant pediatric neurologist said it’s interesting that families really have a small social circle when a baby is born.

“(They) were seeing only one person outside the house on average at that time.

“We didn’t have a pre-pandemic group of children to compare this to, but pre-pandemic it was very common for parents to meet other parents with children of the same age through social groups, grandparents and friends. We all know it was a target and a neighbor.”

A study just published in BMJ Pediatric Open Journalconcluded that lockdowns and social restrictions have made raising an infant difficult for all Irish parents.

“I think it helps parents understand that the feelings they’ve been having are shared with other parents,” Dr. Byrne said.

She said the overall aim of the research she conducted with Professor Horihane and medical student Hayley Sledge was to examine allergies in infants.

“So far, CORAL studies have shown low infection rates at 6 months of age, high rates of breastfeeding and high rates of babies born during lockdown. atopic dermatitis at age.

“As a neurologist, I am particularly interested in seeing whether the developmental milestones of this group of babies differ from babies born before the pandemic.

“We are currently analyzing this data,” she said.

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