By now, everyone has a more or less robust understanding of COVID-19, its symptoms, and its implications. Most people have adapted quite well to the “new normal” or the new policies in place to minimize exposure to other people and decrease the virus’ transmission.
Now, it is normal for a new parent with a newborn baby or infant to feel more vulnerable during these trying times. Being totally responsible for another life can itself be worrying, even terrifying, and the anxiety can double because of the pandemic.
However, there is no need to panic if you are raising a baby amid the pandemic. By knowing the things you need to remember and do, you can protect your child and keep the whole family safe and healthy.
1. Stay at home.
Probably one of the most crucial things you can do to minimize your family’s exposure to the virus is to stay at home as much as possible. Make someone in charge of running essential errands while one stays at home with the baby. The one in charge of going outside the home should follow important protocols like wearing face masks, not bringing their shoes inside the house, and washing their hands with soap and water.
2. Clean and disinfect your house.
Even if you stay home all the time, it remains a must to clean the house regularly. More than that, it also helps a lot to disinfect surfaces that are touched constantly, such as door knobs, keys, and remote controls. Furthermore, make sure to disinfect your baby’s room and all their favorite toys and rattles. Wash knitted toys and soak plastic toys in a bleach solution. Wash baby blankets and clothes after each use.
3. Limit visits.
If you have just given birth, it is expected that your relatives and friends may be eager to see the new baby. However, for the sake of protecting your family, especially your little one, it is best to limit interaction with other people. Even if they don’t appear to have symptoms, they can still be a carrier of the virus. Suggest, instead, to talk and let them see the baby using a video conferencing service.
4. Stay in touch with your pediatrician.
It can be frightening to imagine having to take your newborn baby to the doctor for regular newborn checkups during the pandemic, but these visits are necessary. In fact, missing these checkups could be more risky than going out of the house to see your baby’s doctor.
So what do you need to do? First of all, call your doctor’s office to know their protocols on how they keep their patients apart (such as managing sick and well visits in separate rooms). Make an appointment and, if possible, stay in your car until your doctor is ready to see you.
Upon seeing your doctor, make sure you or your baby don’t touch anything unnecessarily. Let your baby remain in their carrier for as long as possible. If you need to lift your baby from the carrier, do so only after you have washed your hands and/or disinfected with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.
Also, if possible, keep your other children at home with your partner or a trusted babysitter or relative. When you’re back from your appointment, leave your shoes outside and do not touch anyone before you wash your hands with soap and water and/or take a shower.
5. Take care of your own heath.
Finally, because the crisis can take a toll on anyone’s health, be it physical or mental, never forget to take care of your own health, too. Caring for your baby seems to be the topmost priority of any new parent, but only a healthy parent can do this effectively.
Do not skip meals and always eat a healthy and balanced diet. Drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated and get as much sleep as you can. It also helps a lot to stay active (even indoor exercise does a lot of good!) and be in touch with well-meaning friends and family.
It’s challenging to be a new parent during the crisis, but by simply following the protocols, being vigilant, and following your brand new parenting instincts, it’s not a challenge you can’t conquer.