When my son was born, four-and-a-half years ago, I did not know what to expect in the first few weeks. I had read a lot of articles online and heard from mom friends, but no one could answer my question – how do I get through the first few weeks while trying to understand my baby and his needs. I was lucky to have my mom with me during my childbirth and up to eight weeks postpartum. However, COVID-19 has taken away the privileges of additional support in this socially and physically distanced new world. Adjusting to this new change as adults are hard enough and that too with a newborn could be scary and overwhelming.
The pandemic has made it challenging for the new parents. Even though I delivered my son in the pre-COVID era, my hubby and I tried to make our lives easy by doing some cool things! I am excited to share those tips with you for two reasons: (1) You are about to or have just delivered your baby, and (2) You need support, a helping hand – which is hard to get in this new world due to COVID-19.
- Subscriptions of Most Used Product – This is first and foremost. It is a good idea to subscribe everyday items such as diapers, wipes, rash cream, body care products (lotion, body wash, oil, etc.), formula, etc for your baby and sanitary napkins, breast pads for moms. An emergency run to the grocery store for grab a pack of diapers at mid-night is not fun! I subscribed all these on Amazon.ca and the best part is you can choose the frequency of the delivery with an option to cancel the upcoming delivery in case you have enough!
- Use Slow Cooker/Instant Pot for Meals – Trying to get sleep and keeping yourself well-fed with a newborn could be challenging. I was a biggie on using the slow cooker (Crock Pot) for our daily meals. My hubby made fresh soup for me every day in the slow cooker. He put it on slow cook at night and I would get fresh home-made soup every morning. We used it for curry, vegetables, etc. Just add the ingredients and set the timer. Great to store cooked food too!
- Sleep When the Baby Sleeps – Getting full night sleep is the last thing you will get in the first few weeks/months after your baby is born. You and your baby will both be adjusting to new life. The baby will be feeding every 2-3 hours round-the-clock making it impossible for you to have the night sleep. So, the best advice is to sleep when the baby sleeps. Even if it is for an hour or so, take the opportunity. The laundry can certainly wait!
- Establish a Routine – This sounds difficult but not impossible. Setting and following a routine for bath, playtime, nap time, walking the baby outdoors, etc. will help you and baby both in many ways. It helps you relax a little bit and the baby to relate and learn the routines early on. Here are some tips on establishing a routine:
- Differentiate Day & Night – During the day, let the baby sleep in the light (i.e. do not pull the curtains to make the place dark). At night, even if your Owlet is awake with eyes wide open do not turn on the lights (use the night lamp). This will help them understand day & night better. This can come in handy if you are outdoor during their nap time, day light wouldn’t bother the little one. I used this night light projector.
- Lay baby down half asleep – Do not put the baby to sleep in your arms. Try to put the baby down in the basinet/crib when drowsy, this way he will learn to fall asleep on his own and associate the basinet/crib with nap or sleep time. Check with your health care provider if it is okay to swaddle your baby. You can use sleeping bag once he starts to roll over.
- Diaper changes – Always change your child every 2-3 hours irrespective of whether your child has peed or not. Change immediately after poop but if the baby hasn’t pooped for 2-3 hours, do change the pee-diaper. Hygiene is very important to keep your baby clean and infections/rash free.
- Feeding routine – Do not feed to sleep; instead feed the baby once awake. That way, he is well fed and doesn’t sleep mid-way through the feed. The baby must feed enough to gain weight in the early weeks.
- Baby Monitor – I would 100% vouch for this product. I would say rather than purchasing an expensive “Baby Monitor”, you can buy a security camera. I recommend the Blink Mini. It is compact and easy to install. You do not need additional devices for video display. You can download an app on your phone. How cool is that?! This is a great investment. If your little one is asleep in his crib, you can run to the kitchen to cook or finish a load or two of the laundry without running to the room every five minutes. Keep an eye on the phone and you know when your munchkin is awake.
- Diaper Caddy – This product makes diaper changes easy. I recommend setting up at least two multiple diaper caddies around the house and in the car. It can save you multiple trips to the bedroom every time your baby needs a diaper change. Fill your caddy with a few diapers, wipes, rash cream, washcloths, bibs and a changing mat. You can also purchase this portable changing pad. It is a small pouch and holds 2-3 diapers, wipes and rash cream. Great to carry while on walks or travelling.
- Order Groceries Online – With pandemic, many retailers are offering online orders and purchases of groceries. I have personally tried these online services and it is worth getting the groceries delivered to your doorsteps without having to rush to the store. I would recommend these services provides Instacart, Voila, Corner Shop. Online order for curbside pickup is offered by Walmart, Sobeys, Loblaws, Costco, etc. Be advised that pricing is slightly higher for online groceries, but it would be how much you would spend for gas on your trip to the store!
- Stock up on Healthy Snacks – As a new mom, if you are breast-feeding you will feel hungry as much as your baby. Stocking up on healthy snacks such as chewy bars, cereals, crackers, dry fruits and nuts, etc. could come in handy especially when you haven’t slept all night and had no time to cook and are starving.
- Take Baby Out for Walk – This is a personal preference and certainly weather permitting. It is nice to get out of the house for an early morning or evening walk. This helps you get some exercise (very helpful as you will probably want to shed those extra pounds) and the baby can look around and get fresh air. Make sure the baby is dressed for the weather. You may walk your baby in the stroller or wear him in a baby carrier/sling.
- Connect with Family & Friends – This is important for you! Since we are physically-distancing, socializing over a phone call or video call serves as the oxygen we need to live. Connecting with your loved ones will help you share your feelings and anxieties and get advice if needed. It will also help the baby to bond with relatives.
I hope these tips will help you get through the first few weeks with the baby when you settle down at home. My personal belief that I always share with all my family, friends and readers which I also want to share with you is, “There is no right or wrong in parenting, it is what comes from the heart and the feeling you feel inside your heart is what matters”.