There used to be a time when Mums and their newborn babies stayed in hospital for at least a week, which young parents of today find horrifying or amusing, while they compare notes with their friends about how quickly they got home after giving birth. There is no doubt that the less time spent in hospital the better to avoid infection. The benefits of being in hospital for longer were the support around you from staff and from other mothers, only being responsible for yourself and the baby and, what a thought, not having to answer the phone, texts and emails!
But that was back in the day and this is now, and we are in the midst of a pandemic. Not the best time to have a baby we might think. Interestingly, there have been positives that might change our minds. A breast-feeding counsellor working with a group of young Mums has found that, because of lockdown, they cannot go anywhere and, with time and support, they are having more success with establishing breastfeeding. This might be just because of being restricted to staying home and keeping safe, but restrictions are two-way and visitors to welcome the baby are limited. On the one hand , not having visitors to show off the baby is a nuisance, but on the other hand, the new Mum doesn’t need to worry if she hasn’t got the baby in the outfit the visitor sent the week before! So, the restrictions have had a beneficial effect on the Mum and consequently on the baby – both are relaxed, both are sleeping well, and both have time to get to know each other.
Talking to a young Mum with a nine-month-old, she spoke of her enjoyment at watching her boy learn something new each day, because they had time together and nothing needed to be rushed. Although she is looking forward to meeting with other Mums and going back to classes, she has been amazed at how having time has allowed her to get him into a routine with no pressure.
Of course, we all want a vaccine to be found so that we can stop worrying about Covid 19. We all want to go back to normal, but in these times when we are in a different ‘normal’ , perhaps we should take a moment to reflect that, just occasionally, life at a different pace can have benefits. Young parents should be kinder to themselves, slow down just for a while, and enjoy the moment – your babies will appreciate it as well.