Postnatal

Postnatal Lockdown: The Good, the Sad & the Prep we need to do

Being in the thick of my own postnatal period when the whole country (world!) is in lockdown, I’ve been thinking about how this rapid behaviour change is having both good and saddening side effects on families.

Emiliana Hall

The media is focusing so much on the birth right now and whether birth partners are allowed at the birth or on postnatal wards. I’ve written a post {6 Ways Mums Can Prep for Birth & The Postnatal Period During the Pandemic} which outlines some simple things you can think about and put into place when preparing for birth in a world where the maternity care guidelines are changing every day.

But again, we find ourselves coming up against the postnatal period even more unprepared than we were before, (it wasn’t exactly plain sailing when the world was freely moving around) because NHS services are being cancelled and hospitals are needing their beds. So what is the impact and what can we do to prep for bringing baby home during a lockdown?

The Good

You could say that ‘lockdown’ is the new way of saying ‘pulling up the drawbridge’. It’s a term that popped up on Instagram just after I had my first baby around 5 years ago, and has (thankfully) been the way more and more families are approaching the early days/weeks. But now it’s government enforced, which is hard for those who may not have chosen that ‘way’, but if you think about the the benefits, you may start to feel differently. Clemmie Telford wrote a brilliant post on this {Recovering After Having A Baby} which shows just how beneficial giving yourself and your baby space from the outside world can be for your physical and emotional recovery.

The Sad

That being said, seeing NOBODY isn’t the ideal scenario either. Yesterday we were told that all midwife postnatal home visits in our area have been cancelled. Even the day 1 visit. I felt overwhelmingly sad for the mums who will be getting home today, tomorrow and in the coming weeks and months who won’t be getting the hands on support they need emotionally and physically from a healthcare professional. If you’re reading this- it doesn’t need to be this way, and please read on below to see how you can get the support you may need.

Once you are ready to get out and about, you won’t be able to meet up with friends or family. This is what human nature makes us want to do- we want to introduce our beautiful babies to the world! So don’t be afraid to feel sad or down about this. Or even plain angry about it! Again, read on for some things you can do to make this harsh reality a little easier too.

How We Can Prep

  1. Make the most of the postnatal phone callYour midwife will be calling you instead of visiting you on the day after you get home from hospital. Write down a list of every little question that pops into your head once you are home so you have them all to hand. My mind goes blank especially on the phone!
  2. Contact a postnatal doula before you give birth. The reason for this is you can have them on hand to video call after the birth for any questions you may have on baby sleep, feeding… any general new baby questions and reassurance if you need it (which most of us do!). Also questions about your own healing too. They’ll be able to signpost you to the best resources if you need specialist help. I am assuming that your midwife won’t be able to video call you (but do ask), so having a postnatal doula that you can call or text at any time (which can be pre-agreed) could be a saviour. You can search for postnatal doulas on The Doula Directory.
  3. Contact a lactation consultant before the birth. If you plan to breastfeed your baby, think about finding a breastfeeding consultant who offers video calling services ahead of time. Connect with them sooner rather than later to get to know them for if/when you need them. This will help to take the stress out of this period if you do need help. I really recommend Imogen Unger who offers Skype support calls, but you can also find a list of consultants here.
  4. Download a group video calling app. I think most people have done this by now, but if you have resisted, then you might find it enjoyable download a group video calling app and schedule in some group video calls with family and friends to introduce them to baby! Screen shot their reactions, you can still make special memories and record them even during this unusual time!
  5. Check out online baby groups. So many small business’ have gone virtual. It’s amazing how quickly we have all been able to react to the lifestyle change that we’ve had to adopt! Credit to the small business’! This means that there are so many amazing services available including baby massage, baby yoga, sing along sessions… you can quite literally take your pick! Lots of them are also free to join, and you could always set up your own baby group sessions with friends too.
  6. Check out online physiotherapists. Lots of physios have also posted lots of info on social media channels to help with postnatal recovery. @clarebournephysio on Instagram is a great account to check out for up to date info on postnatal physical health

I hope these points encourage you to want to prep in a positive and proactive way, and also give you a spark of hope that actually, this lockdown period CAN still be an enjoyable time for meeting your baby. It’s all about a mindset shift and preparing in a way that puts you on the front foot. Always remember you are not alone and our world is set up to be connected, make the most of that mama! 🖤

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