A lot of changes were brought by the global Pandemic. It changed how we live, work, and socialize. It made us realize that our lives can change in a blink of an eye. It made us see that life is unpredictable. One day you are healthy, the next day you are not. Some folks lost their jobs or worse, the loved ones they know. Despite these uncertainties, we can only move forward, adapt, and be optimistic through these difficult times. But how do you cope if you're having a baby during a pandemic?
As a new mom, you may be worried about how to take care of your newborn amidst the pandemic. You are not alone mama. All parents are worrying about their kids in these trying times. You want to give them the utmost protection to keep them safe. You want them to stay indoors most times but, you also want them to explore the outdoors and live normally. Will the new normal affect you and your family while raising a newborn?
We want to share some useful tips on how you can cope with a newborn during this pandemic.
Learn how to soothe your little one
Dealing with the pandemic can be too much. Having a newborn at home can also be overwhelming especially for new parents. You may not expect your baby to cry a lot in the first few months. Be patient, mama, this is their only way of communicating. Learn the most effective way to soothe your baby. The most effective way depends on what works for them. When your baby cries, address first their basic needs. Are they hungry? Is their diaper full? Are they cold? If you met their basic needs and your baby still wails, try to rock them gently, sing them a lullaby, or swaddle them.
If these things don't work, and your baby is still cries for several hours, it can be gas or colic. You can try belly banding to give warmth and gentle pressure to their tummy to ease out gas. To know when is the best time to use a belly band and for some examples, click here. You can also try safe massages with a baby massage oil for comfort. For some, a pacifier helps calm and soothe their little one.
Talk to your baby's pediatrician
If you feel that there is something wrong with your little one, (feeling hotter than usual, in pain, etc.) call her pediatrician. Do not administer medicines without your doctor's advice. Your baby's body is not fully developed yet and treating them on your own can be harmful. Doctors prescribe the appropriate dosages that are safe for your baby which is why it's best to seek consultation. Try not stress out and think of remedies on your own, call her doctor to help.
Limit Baby Visits
Having a new baby often brings family and friends together. It's best to celebrate this virtually rather than in person. Visitors might be carriers of the virus so it is best to do video calls instead of visits for everyone's safety. We are sure your family will understand. In the case of a family member who will babysit, you can ask them to always wash their hands before holding the baby.
Take a break
What if you have tried all the soothing techniques and none of it worked for your baby? We hope it's not always like that mama! You may be tired from hearing your baby's cries, that's normal, it's hard to hear. We suggest placing her back in the crib and lay her on her back. Take a break and ask your partner to take over while you get some time out. It's important to look after yourself and it will be safer for the baby. Moms sometimes lose their patience and may trigger them to do some things like shake their baby which can cause head trauma. In the U.S. there are an estimated 1000 to 3000 cases a year of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
There is nothing wrong with taking a break, you'll need it to so you can give the best care for your baby. Relax and sleep when you can. Talk to your friends to lighten up your mood, eat your favorite food, or watch your favorite show to relieve some stress.
Take care of yourself
Too much caffeine is not a good substitute for sleep. Eat nutritious foods especially if you are breastfeeding. You want to be healthy as you will be sharing those nutrients with your baby. Sleep when you can. Take warm showers to help you relax. Get some fresh air. Sleepless nights can be stressful so take care of yourself. Your baby needs a calm and healthy momma.
Don't forget to socialize
Social Distancing may be the new normal but you do not have to go somewhere to meet your friends and family. You can socialize through video chats or talk to them through the phone. A simple chat can make a big difference in your mental health. It removes the feeling of loneliness, isolation, and stress. It uplifts your self-esteem and confidence. It makes you feel that you belong and that someone is there to listen. Talk to your mom friends for some tips or join different mom groups to learn more from other mommas.
Ask for a Professional Help
We know that giving birth is not always a walk in the park and it really can be hard for moms. Mothers can have a surge of mixed feelings like joy, excitement, fear, and anxiety. Hormones are raging. After giving birth, some moms may experience baby blues. It's a feeling of being sad or moody that lasts for several days to two weeks. Being emotional is normal throughout this time but if it lasts more than 2 weeks, it could be something more serious which can lead to postpartum depression. We have listed the signs and symptoms for awareness.
Signs of Baby Blues:
Cries a lot
Eating problems (too much appetite or no appetite)
Unable to focus
Signs of Postpartum Depression:
Isolation/disconnected from friends and family
Extreme mood swings
Lost of interest in anything
Unable to connect with her baby
Feeling of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
Highly anxious or panic attacks
Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Restlessness, over fatigue
Unable to focus and make decisions
If you feel you have these signs, do not feel embarrassed. Seeking professional help is the best thing to do. Remember that you are doing it not only for yourself but also for your family. Schedule an appointment and talk to your doctor.
Keeping your baby safe
Here are some safety tips for your newborns during this pandemic:
Wearing masks for children under 2 is not advisable as per CDC. Young children move a lot and this can be a safety hazard for them.
Attend baby checkups and follow vaccine schedule. Maintain social distancing when going out.