Although all the world is talking about is the Coronavirus, other aspects of life are still going on. Babies are being born every day. Now that everyone is either social distancing or self-isolating first time mums will not have the level of visitors they might normally have had. Looking back, I wish I had thrown out the books that told me what to expect. Not all babies conform to expectations and that doesn’t mean he/she is a ‘naughty’ baby. When my son was born there was a snow storm some days later. I didn’t see my health visitor until two weeks later, by then I was severely sleep deprived. All day long I heard white noise. Thinking of first time mums (especially expat new mums), here are a few tips that might help during this time of isolation and social distancing, as the world deals with the Coronavirus.
Mental Health and Self-Care
No matter how you may have prepared, taking your baby home is still a shock for first time mums. You may feel overwhelmed thinking of the years of parenting ahead. You may be afraid to sleep because you need the reassurance of seeing baby breathing. Normally, family and friends would visit new mums and assist around the house or hold baby while mum bathed and had a nap. However, with the Coronavirus wreaking havoc all over the world we are required to socially distance ourselves from each other. The mission is to prevent the virus from spreading through different households. Try to stay calm and positive by chatting to family and friends on Skype and WhatsApp or whatever means at your disposal.
If you have any concerns speak to your health visitor or GP. They say it’s normal to feel a bit blue for a few days after baby is born. Are you a family member or friend of a first time mum and have concerns? You can help by being supportive. Make mum feel safe speak and share her feelings. Perhaps drop-off or post a self-care package. An expat mum may appreciate treats from her homeland. Ask mum what she needs. If you are a new mum, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance.
Mum, while your baby is sleeping you can sleep. House work will always be there. Now, that you are self distancing, you can spread out your chores through the day. Grab 10 minutes for yourself to paint your toe nails in a cheerful colour or make your skincare regime a wellness experience.
Breastfeeding is a safe option to avoid the queues for milk, even though it doesn’t hurt to have some on hand. Remember to keep hydrated during the day. Additionally, when baby is feeding keep a drink nearby. If you are struggling to get the hang of things there’s the La Leche League. They provide breastfeeding support. Their website is a good source of info and of course theirs the NHS Start4Life.
I combination fed both my children. Though, Ang weaned at 5 months. Miss V preferred breastfeeding. She never fed well on formula and wasn’t very interested in solids. In the end, she breastfeed up to 14 months it’s your decision how long to breastfeed your baby.
Keep cosy and calm by making your your bedroom decor practical BUT comfortable. Colourful cushions, pillows and throws in shades you find uplifting may be soothing.
Routines and Exercise
You may want to get baby into a routine. Some babies settle and adjust well to being outside of mum and in the big world. Others may experience colic and cry (or have a health concern) often at first. Be kind to yourself and don’t stress about ‘getting it right’. Take it a day at a time, minutes at a time even.
We are all on lockdown now. Unessential shopping trips are discouraged. You can go outside for one form of exercise but we are not allowed to meet with friends our family who don’t share the same household. Hence, mum and baby can go for a stroll, walk or run if your health visitor and/or GP have given the all clear. There are also many videos on various social media channels that share home workout regimes.
You may be using your devices more regularly. Don’t forget to clean devices often. Wash you hand regularly with soap, especially if you have been to shops, ATM etc.
I hope you found this helpful. Feel free comment and add any tips that may be helpful to first mums. Are you an expat mum? How are you coping with social distancing?