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Under normal circumstances, they may have seen your parents and in laws once a week, gone to mom and baby groups and got used to the smiles and coos of strangers as you took them out shopping or walked round your local park. These social interactions are a really important part of a baby’s development, so many new Moms are understandably concerned about the impact this will have on their families.
From a baby’s perspective, spending lots of time in the four walls of their home with their immediate family can be wonderful – after all, they know no different and feel safe, warm and secure. As a parent you may start to worry about how they can form relationships with loved ones and learn to socialise more widely.
Here are some hints and tips for helping your baby bond with your friends and family during COVID times.
- Make the most of technology – With the absence of any physical contact, video calling your family members regularly is not only great for your own mental health and wellbeing, but is an ideal way to introduce your baby to your parents, in laws or friends. Whilst the virtual world is no replacement for physical contact, it does allow your baby to get used to their faces, become familiar with / respond to their voices and learn to recognise them when they do finally get to meet in person. It’s important to note that in the very early newborn days they’re pretty likely to just stare into the screen, largely due to the fact their vision takes a while to fully develop – don’t expect too much too soon!
- Take loads of photos and videos – As grandparents, it can be a real wrench to be apart from the grandchild they’ve waited so long to meet and they can start to feel like they are missing out on those crucial milestones – babies change so quickly in these early weeks and months. Take regular photos and videos, recording the everyday moments that your family would love to see. You may want to consider setting up a private shared album or WhatsApp group so you can forward on regular updates. This works both ways – your family could even read short stories or lullabies to play to your child before bed.
- Meet up outside – If your location’s COVID restrictions allow, go for walks outside with a friend or family member so you can catch up, get some gentle exercise and socialise in a safer setting. The very act of seeing other people is beneficial for your child, whilst allowing them to hear conversations between you and another person.
- Remember you’re never alone – Finally, remember you are never alone. Now more than ever this support network is really important, and chances are during those days where you’re feeling lonely or sad, someone else is too. Reach out to your loved ones, have a chat on and turn on the camera – the sight of your baby beaming back at them might just make someone’s day, boosting your own mood in the process.