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As stressful as it may have been, getting through the experience of giving birth during a global pandemic is definitely something to be celebrated. Now back home however, the postnatal experiences you may have been looking forward to are off the table. There’s no play dates or baby classes, no popping round to see the grandparents and that first family holiday to the beach has not surprisingly had to be put on hold. You may have older siblings at home scrabbling for your attention, be trying to balance home schooling and breastfeeding and you may also be anxious about your finances or long term job security. It’s far from easy.
Looking after your postnatal care is always important, but now even more so, it’s crucial you are kind to yourself and give yourself time to adjust to being a new mum during an unprecedented time of social distancing.
Here are some tips to look after your postnatal care during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Follow medical advice – In most circumstances, your postnatal medical care will continue as it would have prior to lockdown, and therefore the health of both you and your baby should be checked in the weeks following the birth. As tempting as it may be to try and avoid a hospital or doctors’ surgery at the moment – don’t ignore any medical concerns, particularly those relating to your health post c-section or after an episiotomy. Any strange symptoms could be a sign of infection, so it’s important you are upfront and get these checked if you have any concerns.
Make the most of Online Support – from online breastfeeding classes to virtual Mom and baby classes, make the most of the online support available to you, as well as checking in regularly with friends and family. Whilst it won’t be the perfect substitute for face to face interaction, creating a connection with other Moms in the same situation who are also trying to find their way through this new normal, can be really helpful and form a much-needed support network.
Daily Exercise – Whilst you may be limited to staying mostly at home, make the most of your daily exercise where and when you are allowed to do so. A short walk round the block with your stroller can do wonders for your mental and physical health and allow you to experience a change of surroundings from the four walls of your child’s nursery. If you have an outdoor space such as a garden or yard – get outside in the fresh air as much as you can to boost your vitamin D levels and provide an extra dose or serotonin – the sleep inducing hormone that’ll help you get a better night’s sleep.
Limit Screentime – As important as it is for your mental health to stay connected with friends and family, try and limit the amount of screen time you have – in particular you may want to consider ‘muting’ certain apps or websites, particularly if they are likely to heighten your anxiety. In particular, try and limit your blue screen before bed. As tempting as it may be to browse through your phone during night feeds, the glare from the screen can actually make it harder for you to get back to sleep once your baby has settled. Limit your corona related news updates to reliable sources – the level of scaremongering and false news on social media is currently very high and will only heighten your anxiety levels!
Be kind to yourself – If some days you want to stay in your pajamas all day or another you want to binge watch Netflix in bed whilst your baby sleeps – then do it. This is not a normal time and you aren’t a superhero. Welcoming a new baby to the world is exhausting at the best of times; so add in a global pandemic and factors such as older siblings being at home and homeschooling, this period in your life is going to have many challenges.
Don’t expect miracles and celebrate the small victories. You’re doing a great job!