One of the most frequent comments on new parent groups on social media during the Covid-19 pandemic has been from new mums who are so sad that they are unable to join in-person groups or see other people. They worry about their babies not being able to socialise with other babies and they crave the adult connections that are so powerful during this transition to parenthood.
If you are feeling as though you are missing out, we have some ideas that you will love to help you through these challenging times, so read on!
- Firstly, do not forget that while it is lovely to see babies interacting with other babies, they only really want you. You are their whole universe and they do not actually need any other socialisation.
Babies are happiest exploring their world together with you, perhaps in a sling for convenience. They do not mind and they will not notice that the world is small for now. Talk to them about what you are doing. Spend time talking to them, face to face. Pull faces. Blow raspberries. Kiss them all over. Your baby will love it and so will you!
- As new mothers, our health will really benefit from resting where possible. So often new mums want to know what they should be doing with their tiny babies. There is no right or wrong, no specific things that need to be done. Just allowing yourself to sit, binge on a box set with your baby snuggled up skin to skin with you, getting to know every inch of them really is enough. Prefer to read a book? Maybe read out loud – your baby will love to hear your voice and it doesn’t matter that they don’t understand a word.
- If you feel the need to move, there are loads of baby friendly options to consider. Dance like no one but the baby is watching – babies don’t care! Some babies will giggle away in the baby bouncer as you follow your favourite online video dance or gym routine, or pop her in a secure sling, crank up your favourite track and take her along for the ride.
If that just sounds too energetic, remember that every single thing that you do will be new to your baby. If you choose to do housework (and remember, it’s your house, your rules – and, anyway, during lockdown who’s going to just ‘pop in’?) then go ahead and do it if it makes you happy. Chat to your baby about what you are doing, or just let them see if you don’t feel like talking. It is all new to them and absolutely fascinating.
- If you have bought a baby book, this is a great opportunity to actually use it! Few parents ever complete them as life whizzes by so fast, which is a shame as they are a joy to look back over in years to come.
You may prefer to spend some time going through your phone photos, deleting ones you don’t want and creating albums. This can usually be done one handed so is a good option while breastfeeding. Take selfies of yourself feeding your baby! These are magical moments which are rarely captured - tender images that you will love to look back on.
- Becoming a mother does not mean that we have to lose our identity as an individual, although it can often feel that way when we are isolated at home with our newborns. Why not write a list of the things that you feel you can do that would bring you pleasure and joy, relieve anxiety and make you feel more like you? Then, see what options there are to actually achieve those things. For instance, if you’re missing movie night with the girls, set up a Zoom call and start the same film at the same time, a tipple of your choice and a big bowl of popcorn at the ready. Why not go for a song-fest and choose a sing-along musical for maximum hilarity!
- Getting outside lifts our spirits and is important for our health. Again, slings can be a life saver here, especially if you like to walk or hike off-road. Ask around your local baby groups on social media to see if your nearest sling library is working online or join sling groups to work out what might be best for you. If one sling doesn’t work out, do not give up on them - there are so many different types to try that most people find one that is comfortable.
Pushing a pram may feel easier for you, so go with what works. Try to get out every day if you find that it lifts your spirits. When it is allowed, a socially distanced walk could be the highlight of two people’s day. While you are outside you can let your baby see and feel a whole range of new objects such as leaves, grass, catkins and flowers – just make sure they don’t shove them in their mouth!
Living through this pandemic and lockdown is hard, and it is especially hard on new mums. Try to find what lifts you and brings you happiness and go with that – just take your baby along for the ride. They will be fine and that extra precious time they have with you when you are isolated at home is just a bonus to them!