These are unprecedented times for having a baby and even if you planned your pregnancy during the first lockdown, I’m fairly sure that you didn’t expect to still be in lockdown when you gave birth!
That said, huge congratulations to all you new parents out there, I know it’s not easy for you but you’re doing a great job! Here are some tips and ideas to help you through…
Firstly, try not to panic, easier said than done I know. Having a baby is scary, exciting, overwhelming and joyous all at the same time… and then you throw hormones on top of that and it can all just be exhausting. It’s so important to look after yourself at this time and have things to hand that are calming for you… favourite snacks, music, body lotion, flowers, anything that can bring a bit of normality back to your day. Also, remember that baby can feel if you are worried or tense which can make them more fractious so try and keep things as calm as you can.
Remember that this will pass, and things will become a bit more normal again soon. Think of it as the best time you could have to get you know your baby and their little signs for hunger or sleeping or what songs they like you singing.
Try and tag team with your partner rather than spending the whole time together. Yes, you will both love watching your little one sleep, but if baby is fed and winded and seems settled then one of you, take the chance to have to have a shower or relaxing bath/phone a parent/go for a walk or the ultimate…Take A Nap!
Try and get out for a walk early in the day if you can. Don’t worry if you haven’t had a shower or put the laundry on, just grab a cuppa to take with you and go out. All the better if you can meet up with a friend and have a moan. This will make you feel like you’ve done something with your day and got some fresh air, especially as the days are so short at this time of year. If you wait until you’re all actually ready to go, you will never get out!
If you want to get your baby into a vague schedule, then this is easier to do at this time and if the baby is the appropriate age. I’m not endorsing clock watching but more of a ‘what comes next’ routine so you all know what happens when and gives some structure to your day. The most basic routine would be:
- a little bit of awake time
- then nap
- then a wash or bath early evening or morning if you prefer
As well as using video calls for chatting to friends and family get them to make a video you can keep playing to the baby, so the parent/friend is somewhat familiar when you are allowed to introduce bubba to them. You can also film the baby watching the video to send back to them. If baby is older, 6months + then you could make a photo album of the important people in your lives and let baby look at it, get one you don’t mind being chewed or dribbled on though.
When lockdown ends are you are allowed out, try not to introduce the baby to all your friends and family in the same week. Remember they are only used to seeing you and your partner so meeting new people will be really overwhelming.
Try and find an online group to join in with a few days per week so that you have people to talk to and you can entertain bubba and get more play ideas. This could be baby massage, sensory classes, rhyme time or just getting together with a group of friends for a chat while baby plays.
Don’t feel like you have to entertain your baby ALL of the time. If they are a few months old, it’s fine to lay them on a blanket in front of the window or closed door so that they can see the trees or shadows or whatever is happening outside.
The main thing you can do if you are struggling at all is to ASK FOR HELP. This could be asking a friend to go to the shop for you or even do some laundry (you know which friends you can ask for what help). If you feel like you’re a burden on your friends or want some more structured help then there is a lot of help out there. Call a Maternity Consultant like myself or a local Nanny agency and ask if you could talk to someone who knows about babies… We are always happy to have a chat whether it’s about babies or not so please, please do not feel like you are on your own, we are here for you.
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