The Best Podcasts for New Parents Stuck at Home During the Pandemic

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If you’re on parental leave at the same time as many people are still staying at home due to the spread of coronavirus, you might have a lot of time on your hands. Or if you feel like all you do is nurse or rock your baby, you might be desperate to have the time pass faster. Podcasts—streaming audio programming that’s available, usually for free, all the time—are a great option for listening, no matter what camp you fall into. Plus, there’s nothing like having other adults to listen to while you’re stuck at home taking care of a newborn whose main modes of communication are crying and grunting.

In this blog post, I’ll recommend some of my favorite podcasts to keep you company in the early, bleary days of parenting. All of these shows are available via most pod catcher apps, no matter what kind of device you’re using to listen. You might find one you like here, but, if not, just search for your favorite topic online. There are so many podcasts in the world, there’s something for everyone.

The Longest Shortest Time, originally hosted by Hillary Frank, is a podcast specifically about early parenthood. As you experience your own longest shortest time, the stories about breastfeeding, baby sleep, and birth will help you feel less alone. Some of the episodes are touching and sad, while some will make you laugh. While there are no longer new episodes of this show coming out, there are nine years of archives to check out, so if you like it, you’ll have plenty of hours of listening ahead of you.

Death, Sex & Money with Anna Sale might not sound like a pandemic or postpartum appropriate show, but the stories the show shares are compelling enough to get you through any number of late-night baby hang-out sessions. Anna Sale is an artful interviewer and focuses on the questions and topics that she says people need to talk about more. She converses with both celebrities and normal people in the show, and those conversations are almost always interesting. There are several episodes that specifically focus on COVID-19, as well as plenty that discuss parenthood. This is another show with a long history and big archive of options.

There are so many podcasts in the world, there’s something for everyone.

Not By Accident by Sophie Harper is a podcast documentary told memoir-style about Sophie, a single woman, who chooses to become pregnant via artificial insemination. She incorporates audio recorded throughout the experience of her pregnancy, birth, and parenting: her audio journals, conversations she has with family and friends, and sounds from her life. Her story is fascinating and incredibly relatable. While she’s no longer releasing new episodes, the available archives would make a very good companion for early postpartum.

One Bad Mother, co-hosted by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn, is a comedy podcast about parenthood. The hosts are friends who converse about any number of parenting and non-parenting issues and also feature guests and voicemails from listeners. They’ve been making the show since 2013, so there are years of episodes to pick from. Plus, the show comes out weekly, so they’ve already talked quite a bit about coronavirus-related lockdowns and being home all day with your family. The language in this podcast is not always appropriate for kids, so keep that in mind if you have older children who are home from school during the pandemic.

Home Cooking with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway is a mini podcast series (there are only four episodes) that focuses on cooking with what you have during the pandemic. Samin is a chef and Hrishi is a podcaster, but they’re friends, so they have a great dynamic full of banter. It’s comforting to listen to and will likely make you want to join the conversation. The show also shares voicemails and emails with questions from regular folks about cooking and food in the time of coronavirus. As the hosts answer these questions, I get great ideas about things I might want to cook. While this is not strictly parenting related, it’s so delightful that it’s worth a try. My only advice is to have a snack nearby while you’re listening because it might make you hungry.

Abby Olena
Dr. Abby Olena has a PhD in Biological Sciences from Vanderbilt University. She lives with her husband and children in North Carolina, where she writes about science and parenting, produces a conversational podcast, and teaches prenatal yoga.

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