These are strange times, the fear and uncertainty of it all makes it all the more scary. Scary for all of us, in all aspects. But specially for couples bringing in new lives during lockdown. I can’t imagine the plight of all would be parents, specially first timers, who are in their final weeks of pregnancy.
A lot of your plans might have already gone haywire, bringing family for delivery, or travelling to parents place, having a maternity shoot, eating your heart out, hiring a helper or helpers, buying all the baby essentials, last few scans etc etc. There might be sudden change of doctors, hospitals and all the logistics you never gave a second thought to. I sincerely wish all the pregnant mommies reading this, you have the needed support and strength to bring your baby to this world with love <3.
As someone being connected to new mothers and pregnant women on daily basis, owing to my nature of work, I think I might have few useful suggestions I can pass it on, things I have already shared to few pregnant mommies who reached out, just thought this topic needs a detailed post in itself.
FIND YOUR SUPPORT
A go to person over call – Its natural to feel anxious for the times ahead, all of us have gone through this in one way or the other, and its important to have a confidant who can boost you, make you smile, support you, most importantly understands you and what you might be going through. Even better if that someone has been a parent herself/himself in last few years but definitely not limited to it.
Find a Local Trusted Mommy Support Group – Local, because they might know doctors available, where to source essentials from, and basic things you need as a new parent. That can be your go to support for any new mommy questions.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help – From partner, neighbor, a local friend, relative, I am sure a lot of closed ones would be willing to go that extra mile to someone they love in special circumstances.
Acknowledge your feelings – Don’t feel guilty of feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, but have a support to take you through this. Even the best of us go through same even in regular circumstances.
Few things you can LEARN BEFOREHAND on YOUTUBE or before getting discharged from Hospital
Take support from your doctor/ friendly hospital staff, and take some practical learning on
Breastfeeding – can’t emphasis enough, gear up for this. Find someone who can guide you through this, keep numbers handy of a Lactation counselor available for telephonic consultation, or video call. You would want to save hassle of bottles, finding right formula, sterilization and the likes, when already resources as well as support is minimal.
Burping the child – because i know a lot of new parents are scared of holding the baby in the right way or disturbing sleep.
Bathing the Baby – By all means you don’t need a specific bather or being dependent on malish wali/ japa maid etc etc, just take it slow, initial few days you can gently wipe the baby with wet cloth and pat dry there after. Post first couple of weeks, go the traditional way and wash the baby on lap/ legs.
Wrapping the Baby – Just gently wrapping in a big soft cotton cloth.
Gentle Massage – Trust me you don’t need expertise of traditional Indian malish walis, infact a lot of doctors suggest against them these days. Massaging is suppose to be bonding time between a newborn and caregivers, so its your chance to give your baby a soothing soft hand massage.
Infact for all the above YOUTUBE can also be a great source to learn these, apart from the abo
ve list, can’t emphasize enough on babywearing in a cotton saree (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFs40JgrL94) or whatever available at home, look for FWCC or rebozo carry in slip knot on You Tube. If its just, two of you handling the baby with no outside help and support, being able to carry the child and roam a bit in house, might come handy.
Bath Products – The less the better, for first year of baby’s life, unless specially needed owing to certain skin type, you don’t need anything. Just a luke warm water bath is sufficient to keep baby clean and coconut oil for massage/ moisturizing. So don’t worry if you couldn’t stock on all the baby products, at least avoid for first few weeks.
Nappies – A lot of baby essentials are getting delivered, ask for right sources, but if it is turning out to be difficult and you would want to avoid outside exposure, take hold of couple of old soft cotton saris, bed sheets and youtube ways to turn them into nappies – functional, eco friendly, as well as reusable. Plus soft old tshirts cut into squares, work perfect as burp cloths, napkins, wipes. Go old school.
Clothes – Again ask for help, may be someone in neighborhood can share preloved clothing, or an old aunty looking to engage herself can probably stitch some full of love. Again a lot of baby essentials are getting delivered, try to find through your network.
Dry Sheets – Makeshift sheets with old big packing bags and cotton layer on top, or multiple layer of cotton clothing made from bedsheets etc.
Worried about all the fancy baby gears you were unable to buy/order, here’s my take
Bather/ Bath Tub – Not essential
Rocker – Not essential
Swing – Avoidable
Carrier – Can use a makeshift one for home use
Stroller – You would need it a a much later stage if at all
That’s the key, if you are in your last few weeks and know the situation might not completely change in coming few months, and normal would forever have a new definition, you might need to plan ahead.
Clean & Organised House – Make sure you are able to clean the house before baby arrives, with your partner. Keep places for baby laundry and other baby stuff. Space for handy medical records, space for medicines, water, snacks around bedside.
Make sure to bring husband on board with all the basic stuff kept at home, make lists if needed. What is kept where, like extra bedding, napkins, towels, kitchen stuff, whatever you might need as a new parent.
Stock Essentials – Medicines and Food tops the list. Find ways of ordering them, proper process of cleaning/ sanitizing them and fixed places to keep them.
If your partner isn’t too handy or new to house hold related stuff, please try to take out some time to teach basics to husband about washing cloths, utensils, kitchen stuff, home stuff, about few things you would want him to take care of, as basic as making tea in a particular way. He would be overwhelmed as well, as new father, try to stay calm and patient.
SORT FOOD – Can be very important if you have no outside help
Pre Cook Meals – Look for ways to make and store (you will find numerous options on YouTube)
Gravies can be made and stored
Frozen Dals is a thing.
Prepared Tadka, keep a common tadka handy in a bottle to be added in dals/ veggies.
Teach partner basics of cooking like dal – rice, some basic sabzi, khichdi.
Additionally, keep a peppy – happy playlist ready, that can be instant mood lifter. It can also be mantras, or bhajans you like. Anything that makes you feel happy and light.
Work on your feelings and emotions, I am a firm believer that babies catch the feelings and anxiety and might behave extra fussy, so as a new parent, we can work on creating a happy environment around.
Find a place that you like to sit, may be near a window or balcony or any favorite corner of your house. Try to arrange furniture in a way that you have some moments in a day to sit there with or without the baby to find your calm.
And also be prepared for emotional turmoil. Even in normal circumstances a new mother goes through a lot, the transition from a pampered pregnant women to a tired new mommy is not an easy one. Needless to say in times like this, it might be more overwhelming, but imagine how this is normal in so many families across the world, imagine when you can’t control a lot of other things, you can still bring the child with love and care.
Find strength within each other and work as a team. Communicate clearly, and be there for each other as well as the baby. Remember you can do this, and we are in this together.
Lastly as a flip side to all of this I would also say, use this time as an everlasting bonding and building a strong foundation with your child. It can be ~ your baby, your rules from the word GO. A lot of times well meaning relatives and family around end up overwhelming new parents, and also the flow of visitors gives us no privacy. This period can be beautifully used in exploring parenting, your baby, working on breastfeedfing relationship. It would be tough to say the least, but you will sail through.
WHO QnA – https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding
You can also reach reach out to me for your breastfeeding queries.
If you are in Indore – Our whatsapp support group The Moms Connect, can be a good starting point for your basic queries. It’s an evidence based group and totally non commerical. Reach out if you would like to be added.
For learning to carry newborn/Babywearing, again I might help as needed through call, video assistance or sharing right resources.
Lastly and most importantly, if you are in Indore or around, looking for medical providers, doctors and setups, here’s is a list of trusted network of doctors working in women and child care in such difficult times.
Dr Nikita Rawal (Obstetric & Gynaecology) | 8223000076
Dr Namita Shukla (Obstetric & Gynaecology) | 9826275622
Dr Ashish Jaiswal (Child Specialist) | 9893599941
Dr Raksha Shinde (Child Specialist) | 9425647742
A practical chit chat with your mommy or granny or someone in family who managed alone with less, can also be an eye opener.
All the very best to all the would be parents and new parents. You can always reach out if you need any particular information/ right source or guidance. When everything seems difficult, we can always count on hope and prayers ❣️.
P.S – Will keep editing it with insights and inputs from new Mommies who have gone through this.
Pleasef free to share your inputs, any particular information and share with someone who might find this useful.