How to be a new mum in lockdown
The emotions and loneliness surrounding new motherhood can be a lot to deal with - and that's without a pandemic. These tips can help...
Most crucially, motherhood should not be a solitary experience - even though, all too often, loneliness and isolation are part and parcel of having a baby. Especially when you're having a baby in a pandemic or a lockdown, and simple, life-affirming interactions, like meeting up with your NCT group or having your parents round for tea, become tricky or impossible.
We fervently believe pregnant women and new mothers should get all of the support possible (it's why the #butnotmaternity campaign deserves the utmost attention; it's scandalous that mothers-to-be have been abandoned in their greatest time of need), and there are lots of conveniences mums can make use of to ease their way into parenthood, enjoy those early bonding months with baby and (hopefully) help their mental health. We've rounded up some of our favourites.
Photo: Steven Abraham/Unsplash
Leave the house
It sounds ridiculous, but leaving the house, in a pandemic, with a baby or toddler in tow, is a major task in and of itself and it's not always the easiest thing to manage when you're exhausted, anxious or already feeling a bit isolated. Getting into the habit of building up a routine, especially when you don't have one, and enjoying some time outdoors, can be hugely beneficial for you and your little one and can add a sense of structure and purpose to each day.
The good news is that young children are exempt from the current restrictions, which allow for meeting up with only one other person outside, so parents can head to the playground or go for a walk with friends or family members (you can also form a childcare bubble with another family to help each other out).
Playgrounds are open - and crowded! - and you can check out a load of free, nature-inspired activities from the Natural History Museum, like identifying different bird calls or building a bug hotel, to do with your toddler when out and about.
Photo: Thinx Postpartum pants
Comfort is key
It won't come as a huge shock for anyone to realise that the physical marathon of pregnancy, labour and childbirth is not an easy ride for a body. The right clothes can really make a difference. We were delighted that period panty brand Thinx - which also has specialist ranges for bladder leaks and teens - has recently launched a postpartum underwear set with a range of absorbencies, that are comfy and look appealing.
Thinx Postpartum set, £124.59 at Thinx
Photo: Omami baby food delivery
Don't stress about cooking
Baby food delivery services are a new parent's dream come true, with healthy, gorgeous, organic options the kids will love, that are also super-convenient. Two new options have recently launched in this space in London: Omami, started by a husband-and-wife team, will kit your little one out with nutritional pots filled with organic goodness to get through all of the stages of weaning (the brand is also committed to sustainability, using a cold-water pressure system to pasteurise food and recyclable packaging).
Piccolo has been around for a while as a go-to baby food brand and has just launched a 'Just-For-You' personalised baby food subscription service, starting at £25 per cooking box.
Photo: Piccolo's new subscription box
Meanwhile, for parents, there has never been a better wealth of options for healthy, easy meals. Choose from gorgeous meal kits from London's top restaurants and food delivery boxes from the likes of COOK, Mindful Chef and Gousto.
We've also recently discovered PACK'D frozen fruit and smoothie packs - a far healthier and equally delicious snack to the chocolate bars we normally reach for. Bon appétit.
Photo: Peanut Bump Buddies
Try to connect
There's no denying that pregnant women and new mums are more isolated as a result of this pandemic, but even if your pregnancy groups have moved online and your fitness classes are remote, you can still find ways to connect with others in a similar situation.
Peanut, the popular pregnancy friendship app, recently launched Bump Buddies, which brings women with close due dates together, sort of like a Bumps and Babies group in an app. It provides mums with with a community of parents sharing similar anxieties and concerns, that you can hopefully get together with in person very soon.
Photo: Charles Deluvio/Unsplash
Childcare to the rescue
Good news for parents: childcare is allowed at the moment, whether you're looking for a night nurse or someone to help out after school. Getting some childcare established is the first step in self care - trust us - whether you're planning to work or not, and the flex working of the pandemic has shed a light on how important co-working childcare spaces are for working parents (and getting kids socialising from a young age). Zoom nannies have been another lockdown success story for toddlers and up, providing ad-hoc entertainment and activities for kids when you need them to.
Photo: Rock + Raw
Treat yourself - or a new mum friend
In the words of the inimitable Tom and Donna from Parks & Rec: "Treat yo' self" - especially if you've got a new(ish) human in the house. There's nothing like a piece of jewellery for a new mum, and this is definitely a lockdown treat you should feel able to happily indulge in.
Photo: Peloton Bike +
Turn your home into a workout zone
There are some incredible home workout tools to invest in these days, from Lululemon's Mirror to the expensive-but-life-changing (trust us, we got one) Peloton bike. Working out post-pregnancy is about much more than weight loss. Getting strong, being energised and, most crucially, feeling sane are all benefits of taking some time in the day to work out. Considering the hassle of leaving the house to get to the gym even when gyms are open, there is a real case to be made for investing in some home workout equipment in the early days. Many online app-gyms give you access to a range of activities, from cardio to dance to yoga and meditation, so there really is something for everyone.
Photo: Bambino Mio reusable nappies
One bonus to lockdown for parents keen to take the sustainable route? You can comfortably try out all the green parenting stuff you've read so much about... but never thought would be possible in normal, leaving-the-house-on-a-regular-basis, circumstances. Reusable nappies and wipes are one way to protect the environment (cloth nappies are 40% less harmful to the planet than disposable ones). You can even try renting your baby's clothes... or stocking up on preloved designer items for your little one.
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