Things New Mothers Need To Prepare For Post-Pandemic
There’s one thing common between being a parent and having suffered the coronavirus outbreak: your life will never be the same again. With a young child in arms, wading through the crosswire of life is not an easy task, especially for women. Things like post-natal anxiety, breastfeeding issues, inability to bond with the baby immediately, fear of running out of supplies, and other several such uncertainties could stop you from enjoying the newfound joy of motherhood. If the impact of COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on your mental health, we suggest that you take a step back, breathe and read this list of things that will help you get going.
Missing The Grandparents
What would a mother do without her mother! For new mothers, maternal support can really help ease the burden. From understanding ways of dealing with a new baby, grandparents are the best support new parents have. However, no thanks to coronavirus, if you welcomed your firstborn without your parents by your side, we feel your pain. Be in touch with them through video or phone calls. Mother’s recipes to staying healthy are eternally effective, even if it has been passed on to you virtually.
Doctor Visits And Vaccines
This is one of the most critical things for parents. For infants till they turn six years of age, vaccinations for immunisation against diseases like pneumonia, polio, measles are a must for a healthier life ahead; likewise, for a pregnant women, regular scans are important to determine the baby’s growth and development. “When it comes to physical health, they should attend all antenatal appointments with their consultants, which are deemed necessary. That means they should attend all important scans during their 3rd, 5th month and 8th month, which are mandatory so that we could check the babies’ well-being. They can avail these services,” says Dr Madhushree Vijayakumar, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Hebbal, Bangalore.
Fear Of Running Out Of Baby Care Supplies
COVID-19 isn’t going to stop now, it might take some time. The only thing is we have to get used to this situation and constantly monitor our hygiene, social distancing, and wear masks whenever we are stepping outside, Dr Vijayakumar says. The last thing a new parent wishes is to run out of essential baby care items, especially during these times when most manufacturing units are shut and the supply chain is disrupted. But, be rest assured, every authorised agency is doing their best to make sure every essential item is available. As of May 3, the government of India has also relaxed restrictions in most areas, and slowly, but steadily things will go restore their pace. But stocking is never the solution. Meanwhile, if you feel that you do not have enough clothes for your baby (can infants ever have enough clothes), how about giving some DIY a go. We know things are tough, but try stitching clothes from your old sari in easy, breathable fabrics. Pull in your partner for help and turn this into a fun activity that will not only get your kid new goodies but also help you bond with your partner and baby as a family. However, be cautious about disinfecting and making sure that whatever you create maintains the levels of hygiene for an infant.
Will You Be Separated From Your Baby?
It is but natural to feel your maternal instincts kick in when it comes to taking care of your baby. However, the world has never witnessed anything as horrid and unpredictable as coronavirus. So what if you get the disease? “The ICMR says that you don’t have to separate the baby from the mother, but most of the world experts are saying that we need to keep the babies away until the mother is well, if the mother is clinically unwell and tested positive for COVID 19 then the baby definitely needs to be separated and be taken care by someone who has been tested negative,” says Dr Vikas Satwik, Consultant, Paediatrics and Neonatology, Motherhood Hospitals, Hebbal, Bangalore.
Can Coronavirus Affect Babies?
“Coronavirus can affect babies there have been documented cases worldwide where newborns have been affected, and to prevent it if the mother is a COVID positive mother then the delivery has to be attended in full PPE by the medical staffing who will ensure that as soon as the delivery happens whether a cesarean or a normal delivery, the baby is immediately taken slightly away from the mother and if resuscitation is to be done it should be done,” Dr Satwik explains.
Postpartum depression is the grim flip side of pregnancy for some women and it can be fatal in some cases. It is not a character flaw and should not be seen as a weakness. If you feel that you are not able to concentrate or are unable to bond with the baby, stop blaming yourself. This is your first time and you will get it right; you just need some patience and some help. Talk to your partner or friends and family members, tell them about how you feel. A baby can be a handful and there’s no shame in asking someone to share the load with you. If you are feeling baby blues, and the symptoms like irritability, crying, loss of appetite and mood swings and troubled sleep continue, it’s best to speak to a counsellor. You can book an online appointment for the purpose.
Avoid Bottle Feed
“Breast milk has nutrients that help the infant to develop good immunity too. So, we must not refrain to breastfeeding an infant even during this Covid era,” says Zamurrud Patel, Chief Dietician, Global Hospital, Mumbai. “When we bottle feed, there is more exposure to various surfaces whereas latching and feeding the infant is the most hygienic way of nourishing. The coronavirus germs are spread through cough droplets and it won’t be present in the breast milk. Even if unfortunately, the new mother is found to be positive, she can still breastfeed the newborn by taking precautions like wearing masks, hand sanitation or wearing gloves while holding the baby. If aseptic conditions are followed and the newborn of a COVID positive mother is breastfed by her then it will not be of any harm to the newborn.” It is also important for mothers who breastfeed to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
Getting overwhelmed as a mother with your first baby is not a new thing. Often times, you may feel some sort of disconnect with your past self. Several women go through this phase during their pregnancy and post-delivery. However, for a healthy child and a healthy family, you need to put yourself first. Seek help, ask your partner and other family members to pitch in for help with the chores and the baby. Dr Vijayakumar shared with us her growing concern over the rise in the emotional imbalance of pregnant women during the lockdown. “There is a range of complaints that I have received during my consultations that the new mothers aren’t comfortable with the fact that there are too many people in the house. And the second issue is their partners aren’t contributing to the household chores.” While this seems sad, it is the sad reality in several Indian households. “The best tip to give the couple is to accept the fact that COVID-19 risk is going to be around for some more time, dividing the household chores, and taking care of each other will solve the issue easily,” she added.