Many of us across the US, because of COVID-19 are under stay-at-home orders, bringing major upheaval into our daily lives. Whether it’s trying to set up your dining room as your new office, homeschooling your kids, or trying to find a store that has toilet paper in stock, we are all going through a huge time of adjustment. Now, imagine you are going through this adjustment but you also have a new baby at home. To be stuck in quarantine with no access to physical help while your body is trying to heal should be classified as cruel and unusual punishment. Navigating the waters of parenthood, being sleep deprived, and overwhelmed with your new responsibilities can be isolating even when we aren’t required to be, well, isolated. But there are things that we can do as friends, family, and neighbors to help the new parents in our lives get the support they need. Listed below are seven of them:
1. Make Food
Every new parent, whether this is their first, second, or seventh child always struggles to find time to eat. This can be especially problematic because proper nutrition is crucial for milk production and postpartum healing. Ways you can help? Coordinate a time to drop off of a ready-to-eat or freezable meal. Just make sure to follow the social distancing guidelines of remaining 6-feet apart. If you’re not a cook, order delivery or take-out from their favorite restaurant.
2. Bring Groceries
In the same vein as bringing already prepared meals, you can offer to do their grocery shopping. Not only will this help keep their food supply up, but it will also tick a to-do off of their list and protect them from having to leave the house. A second option is to put in a grocery order for delivery on their behalf.
3. Do Their Laundry
Similar to the idea of bringing groceries, laundry is another weekly chore that can build up quickly when you bring a new baby home. Even though we can’t be there in person to help with the dishes or vacuum the rug, we can help keep them in clean clothes. Schedule a weekly pick-up time to stop by and grab their laundry. Take the items to your house and wash them. When you deliver baskets of freshly cleaned and folded items you’ll be greeted with a hero’s welcome.
4. Have a Socially Distanced Visit
Isolation can have profound effects on mood and well-being for the average person. But it can be especially problematic for new parents who are severely sleep-deprived and overstressed. Ways you can help? Schedule a time (preferably a nice day) to have a conversation through the screen door or a driveway chat. Never underestimate the power of a friendly face. Even spending five minutes talking with someone face-to-face can have countless positive effects on our general outlook and disposition. Again, make sure to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
5. Set up a Weekly Video Hangout
Don’t live nearby? Schedule a weekly video chat to catch up! While this isn’t the same as being there in person you still get to look each other in the face and that is immensely helpful. These kinds of chats can be a great time to just listen to your friends. Hear their struggles, frustrations, joys, stresses. New parents need unconditional support, so try to avoid telling them what to do or solving their problems for them. Just be there as a friend and let them share their experience.
6. Virtual Babysitting
If there happens to be a new baby and an older sibling(s) in the house, reaching out to give one-on-one attention to the older child(ren) can really help with the transition. Older siblings often feel left out or envious of all the attention the new baby is receiving and sleep-deprived parents don’t always have the faculties to deal with temper-tantrums. Ways you can help? Ask to have a video chat with the older kiddo(s). If they are five years or older, you can “party” watch a movie together or play an online game with one another. Being able to give the parents a break from having to worry about both/all children, even for ten minutes, can be incredibly helpful.
7. Follow Stay-at-Home Guidelines
This may seem unrelated, but I assure you, it’s not. If the parent of a new baby has to go out of the home because they are an essential worker or have to run an errand, we want to protect them from being exposed and possibly bringing the virus back home. It is our duty to protect each other right now, but especially protect those who have weaker immune systems. And if we all follow the CDC guidelines of social distancing and staying home (and wearing masks when we go out), the faster we can all get through this.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways we can support all the families out there with new babies at home. We hope you found this helpful!
Stay home, stay safe! We’ll see you soon!