Having a baby is stressful enough, but throw in the Covid-19 pandemic in the mix and it can get a little crazy. A doula shares how to deal and keep your cool during this especially stressful time
Congratulations, you’re almost there, mum-to-be! We know this isn’t the ideal time to be having a baby – it can be hard enough being pregnant, so having this crazy Covid-19 madness going on too doesn’t help. Which is why it’s important, after sorting out all the nitty gritty about giving birth during Covid-19, to get your postpartum care sorted. We spoke to Athina of Caring Hands Doulas to get the lowdown on how we can prep for that special time after giving birth – the postpartum period – and how to care for newborns during Covid-19.
What is the postpartum period?
Also known as the fourth trimester, it is usually the first six weeks after childbirth. It’s an especially important time for mum to get lots of care: having a baby can take a toll on your body – mentally and physically. And at a time where a new mum needs the most care, she needs to figure out to care for her new bub too. Tough work, right?
1. Having a strong support system is important for postpartum care during Covid-19
Whether it’s your partner, a doula, a confinement nanny or a combination of all three, having a strong support system could make all the difference in your postpartum recovery. You need to be around people whom you can trust and will support you, especially during times like this. And just because you’re social distancing because of Covid-19, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with others postpartum. There are lots of Facebook support groups and other mum groups who connect virtually. It’s always nice to know that there’s someone you can reach out to, especially when you aren’t feeling 100%.
Having a strong support system helps a lot when or if you experience postpartum depression (PPD), or postpartum rage. You might not know this but one out of five women experience PPD. By having people you can trust, especially during this stressful time, it will be easier to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
2. Visiting your paediatrician is a must, even during Covid-19!
After you give birth, bub will need to see their doctor by week 1 and week 6. The paedia will check your bub’s weight, for important milestones and administer any vaccines that are needed. If you’re worried about Covid-19, keep your visits to a minimum and only visit the paed when you have an appointment. Hospitals have extra precautions for visitors, and only healthy newborns are allowed to get their checkups. Keep visits as short and efficient as possible, if possible!
3. Set yourself up for Covid-19 postpartum success
Athina recommends designating a small corner in your bedroom or living room as your baby/nursing space. You should have everything you need in this area – from nappies to nappy cream, swaddles, nipple cream if you’re nursing; you get the drill. You should prepare for bub the way you prepared for your wedding – get into the nitty gritty and be as detail-oriented as possible. The more prepared you are, the easier it will all be!
4. Get all the information you need beforehand
Ideally, getting lactation support and newborn care support should be done way before the postpartum stage. If you’re working with a doula, she will usually give a breastfeeding and postpartum class before you deliver. This way, you won’t have to stress about it when the time comes.
5. Get outside
Getting fresh air and sunshine will do wonders for both you and your new bundle of joy. And luckily, going for a solo walk, just you and bub, is A-OK during Covid-19 – it’s just what postpartum you needs (don’t forget your mask!). Just 10 minutes of sunlight will help you reset and get perspective when times get difficult. Take advantage of every free moment you have and listen to your body. As much as you want to dedicate all of your time and energy to your new baby, you need to put some time in for some self-care too.
Mum, you’ve got this. Please reach out for help when you need it and be kind to yourself; you’ve got a little bub relying on you now!