Over the past months, crucial bonding and socialising time - vital for a baby’s development - has been lost, due to tight restrictions facing parent and baby groups.

But restrictions were today relaxed by the Scottish Government after public backlash, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announcing the number of adults allowed to attend such groups, with children under the age of 12 months, would double to 10.

For Jenni McShannon, who runs the group Baby Sensory Glasgow, the news came as a "great relief". 

And as a mother who suffered from postnatal depression herself, she understands the importance of parent and baby groups such as these.

She said: "The support network than can be created from classes are unbelievable.

"Mums get to meet and talk to other adults who are in the same situation as their own.

"Classes can have such an impact on mothers mental health as you realise you are not alone. This was the case for me after having my first daughter 11 years ago."

HeraldScotland: Jenni McShannon with her daughters Amie, 11 and Maiya, 6Jenni McShannon with her daughters Amie, 11 and Maiya, 6

As part of the updated guidance, physical distancing should be adhered to while face coverings are to be worn at all times by anyone in the room over five years old.

Meanwhile, if babies in the group are over 12 months old, the maximum number of adults remains at five.

With this in mind, Ms McShannon, 34, is unconvinced that the u-turn has gone far enough.

She said: "Lots of these now toddlers have never been to a class due to the length of the restrictions that were previously in place.

"Their development is just as important as those newborn babies and the parents mental health is just as important too.

"It seems unfair that children are able to attend shops, restaurants etc where there are multiple people but cannot attend an activity that would have a positive impact on their development and allow that special time between parent and child."

HeraldScotland: Jenni McShannon runs baby sensory classes in Cambuslang, Cathcart and PollokshieldsJenni McShannon runs baby sensory classes in Cambuslang, Cathcart and Pollokshields

Speaking today, the First Minister said: “We know that parent and baby groups are vital in supporting health and wellbeing, particularly at the moment, but we also know that any setting where groups of adults come together poses a risk of transmission.

“So what we hope is that this change, while I’m sure not satisfying everybody, will strike a better balance between supporting the wellbeing of new parents and in particularly support perinatal mental health while also making sure we are taking appropriate steps to stop the virus spreading.”

Opposition parties have welcomed the shift in guidance, with Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon describing the move as a “positive development” adding that work should now be done on supporting classes for older children.

However, Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton also urged the First Minister to go further, saying: “The pandemic is likely to be a feature of our everyday lives for many more months. We need to find safe workable ways of enabling essential health services to operate.

“These groups are important for children’s development and provide new parents with a valuable source of support.”

Donald Cameron, the Scottish Tory health spokesman, said: “Baby groups are hugely important for the health and wellbeing of both parents and children, so this is a very welcome U-turn after another week of mixed messages.

“But as usual with the SNP, questions remain unanswered, and in particular we need to hear more about the rationale behind the one-year-old limit.”