Having a baby during a pandemic is not easy, but I got you, mama. We welcomed our baby boy on March 12th, one day after Covid-19 was characterized as a pandemic and just a few days before the emergency state was activated in our country, Portugal. We left the hospital to this quarantined world where we all still are now. But we got through it and you will too. Here are our top tips and things you need to get through postpartum during this coronavirus pandemic:
The first time I talked with my gramma, just a few days after we came home, she asked: “how are you getting through this without any help? You two seem to be dealing so well! How do you do it?”
Well, we have three secrets:
– we were very chill parents during our pregnancy and still are now
– we learned all we could in the hospital with the best staff we could ask for
– and we have the two best books in the world to help us
That easy? Well, yes and no. The fact we were chill to be parents helped us a lot when we got through all the reality of having a baby during a pandemic. We had to change our expectations more than once and that is the reality of living in this quarantined world. Your postpartum will be different. And you need to accept it. Morn it. Cry it. I know I did.
So this is the first tip: mourn your ideal postpartum. Let it go. Embrace the uncertainty and create a new postpartum plan. A quarantined postpartum plan.
These are the things that helped us aka that you really need:
A very good hands-on book
We had the luck of meeting nurse Carmen Ferreira during a breastfeeding workshop (the only one we went to). Not only she was an angel from the heavens in teaching us all about this topic, but I also found during her presentation that she had a blog. Being a blogger as I am I saved its name so I could search it after. Fate made me find her in my Instagram explorer a few days after and with that finding out that she had a book with all things pregnancy and baby’s first year related. And I can’t say how much this book helped us this past month. This book is only in Portuguese for now, but I totally recommend you to get a similar one if PT isn’t your thing. The important thing is that is a book with hands-on tips: what it’s normal to happen in those first few weeks, what to do in case X happens, postpartum tips for mom, etc. The real stuff.
All the medical tips you can
Before you leave the hospital, get all the medical staff tips in. Hear every tip, get all in. This was one of the most important things we did. We learned how to calm baby T, how to make the Heimlich maneuver, giving him a bath, changing his diaper (without getting pied on), and much more. Take it all in. In a postpartum where you will not have your parents or someone with the expertise there with you, this is crucial to know. You will not have time to search Google what to do in some cases, so it’s important you take all in.
Yes, I could have a small share of UberEats now for the times we order food this past month, but the truth is, with lockdown, you will thank having this available, so if you can afford it, appreciate this help and order in. This includes groceries or whatever else you may need. Although our family had brought us food and groceries a few times this month, the unfortunate truth is that they are not permitted to do it as often, so having some delivery menus available will be a mind saver.
Videocalls with friends and family
Since day 1, this has been a must for staying connected to our family, but it’s been especially important to see baby T meet our best friends, his cousins, grandparents, and grand grandparents. We even had a birthday celebrated through it. We are at a point were T already recognizes his grandparents’ voices and sees something on the phone, which makes video calls even more special. So, get everyone a phone or tablet and get the videocall visits a habit. But not such that you feel overwhelmed. Put a limit, as you would with real visits.
A breast pump
This one is for mom’s breastfeeding. Make yourself a favor and get a breast pump. There are so many days that you can go in a row sleeping 2/3 hours a time. You need sleep, girl. And yes, I had to discover my limit and it wasn’t pretty. Since you will not have your family visiting and available to take care of your baby, you two parents will have to rely on yourselves (if you are a single mom, even more!). Get the pump and express some milk for one of the nightly feeding sessions. That way your partner can give the bottle and let you sleep through a few more hours or you can give it yourself. If your kid is like mine, he’s way quicker to drink from the bottle, so it will be way more of a breeze for that middle night session. You can thank me later!
And that is it. I hope this has helped you. I know that I should have been missing something, but will update this post as I remember more.
Above all, please, look up for your mental health during this time, take time for yourself, prioritize sleep, ask for help. Even if we are in lockdown, our health is first.
A huge hug,
This is the last article from the series Birth story: having a baby during a pandemic. You can find the whole series here:
- Birth story: having a baby during a pandemic
- Birth story: bringing our baby home in the middle of a pandemic
- Birth story: what you really need in postpartum during a pandemic