Isolation associated with the COVID-19 crisis has led to about a 50 per cent increase in new mothers seeking help from the Illawarra Early Parenting Centre.
The centre takes babies from six weeks to two years of age for issues with sleep and settling, feeding support and adjustment to parenting for new mothers.
About a month ago, first time Mum, Flinders' Kelly Mitchell sought help for her then four-month-old baby Taylor, who was waking every two hours and only napping in the car during the day.
"It was a really difficult time," Ms Mitchell, 32, said.
"I felt like I was 'on' 24/7, which made it even harder. I wasn't able to get anyone to babysit, go to the gym or go anywhere to take some time out.
"Being in isolation definitely made it harder. We couldn't see my parents, and they missed out on a few months of Taylor's life, which was sad."
Therefore, Ms Mitchell enrolled in the Illawarra Early Parenting Centre's five-night residential program, to help with her child's sleep and settling.
Since visiting the Illawarra Early Parenting Centre, Taylor sleeps in his cot and is only waking at night for feeds.
The Illawarra Early Parenting Centre is part of Figtree Private Hospital, which is owned and operated by Ramsay Health Care.
The unit provides personalised assistance for a range of needs including feeding difficulties, infant sleep disorders, irritability, reflux and colic, maternal exhaustion, maternal anxiety and adjusting to parenting.
Illawarra Early Parenting Centre nurse unit manager Claire Jauncey said they averaged 50 to 60 inquiries a month before the pandemic.
She said a few weeks into the pandemic, that number increased to about 130 calls in a month.
Ms Jauncey said along with hospital Inquiries doubling, they have seen a week-long waiting list, which they've never experienced before.
"The main reason for the increase in mothers needing our help is their other supports have either changed or are not running at the moment," Ms Jauncey said.
"They're missing out on experiencing those 'firsts' like going to mothers' group, and that vital connection with others.
"Problems with settling and feeding are only made worse by being at home all the time. I think the hardest thing has been the isolation of people's villages.
"They couldn't have even their own parents in the labour ward or to help at home, which while necessary was very hard."
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