Having a baby should be the most wonderful thing a parent can experience. Sharing your new baby with the world, seeing family and friends and allowing everyone to enjoy those new born cuddles. If you have had a baby in the last 12 months you will know that that has not been the case. In fact, having a baby during the Coronavirus pandemic may have been extremely scary and lonely. Attending scans alone, receiving good and bad news alone and even being in labour in the hospital alone are some of the things women may have experienced.
Once the baby is born, what can you do to help cope with adjusting to the new life of parenting during a pandemic?
#1 Positive Time With Your Newborn
Although you may have felt alone during this time at home think of it as a positive. You have been given so much extra quality time with your new baby. The bond you will have created in this time will be so strong. You will have been able to spend time creating a solid routine and seeing your baby develop through his or her milestones that you may have missed if you had been at work.
Your partner may have been at home more during this time as well. Usually a partner will only have 2 weeks leave and then be back at work. During Covid19, lots of people have been working from home so there will have been more time for both parents to bond with their new child. How to handle returning to work after lockdown.
#2 Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself
After having a new baby, we know that it is OK to not keep on top of everything. You may not have done the washing up, or put away the ironing that day. But having had a baby during a pandemic will have meant that you may have been at home for even longer, with no where even open for you to visit. Being at home you may have felt a pressure or a need to keep on top of everything. This is not the case. You should not place pressure on yourself, even if you have been at home all day. Enjoy time with your baby and bonding with them, it doesn’t matter if there are some dirty dishes in the sink!
#3 Make The Most Of Social Contact
Although there have been lots of restrictions placed on us during this time, some of those are starting to lift. We still need to be careful and follow the social distancing guidelines but if you live in an area where you are allowed to see people outside, take advantage of that in a safe and responsible way! Try to meet up with friends in a park or other outside areas. Meet up for walks with family. It is a chance for you to spend time with other people and to have some much needed adult conversation.
#4 Use Video Calls
A new born baby will not necessarily be able to understand a video call or what is happening and may not sit still or engage with the person on the other end of the screen but it is still a good idea. Your baby will be able to see their extended family and start to see their faces and get used to their voices. This will be helpful for when they start being able to see these family members in person as a small bond will have already formed.
It will also be meaningful to your family members. You may be finding it hard not seeing them, but they are also missing out on seeing you and your baby. Arrange times to catch up and try to involve your baby by singing songs together or playing games. You could also send recorded videos of the baby, or they could send videos of them for you to show the baby.
#5 Try To Stay Calm
During Covid19 we have been subjected to lockdowns and having to stay at home. This has in turn brought with it a rise in anxiety and stress. Newborn babies easily pick up on the worries and stress in a parent so it is important to try and stay as calm as possible. If your baby picks up on too much it can make them feel uncertain about where they can be safe, and they may need you more or struggle to manage any upset by themselves.
Try different ways to soothe your baby – rocking, singing, swaddling etc. If those don’t work then take a break yourself so you can keep control of your emotions. Why not even try some Mindfulness?
#6 Seek Help If You Need It
Adjusting to new life as a parent can be hard in any circumstance. But during a global pandemic can be even harder. Keep in contact with your family friends and ask them questions. Ensure you have good communication with your partner so they can understand what you need. If you need further help then reach out, at OxfordCBT we are always happy to help. Remember sometimes you need to put yourself first and relax.