Many new parents experience feelings of frustration, isolation, and exhaustion during the first few months of an infant’s life. The additional stress and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming. Usually, new mothers can seek out social supports and outside help from family and friends, but social distancing recommendations have greatly reduced the amount of contact that may be available at this time.
Here are a few suggestions to help parents cope with stress with a newborn at home:
- Try all the soothing tricks. Usually crying babies want to be soothed. You may need to try a few things, over and over before they stop crying. Try holding them, feeding them, swaddling them, gently rocking them or singing to them. If these suggestions don’t work, put the baby down and take a break. Be sure your baby is in a safe sleep environment (on their back on a firm sleep surface with a tight-fitting sheet, away from soft blankets, toys, pillows, etc.).
- Pay attention to your own needs. Rest as much as you can; try sleeping when the baby does.
- Seek help. Call your pediatrician and share how you are feeling. Depression and anxiety are common for new moms; Postpartum Support International is one resource you can contact for help. They will listen, answer questions, and offer encouragement and local resources as needed. Postpartum Support International Call: 1-800-944-4773 (English and Spanish) or Text: 503-894-9453
- Connect with others. Social distancing can be isolating. Try video chats, phone calls and online gatherings to stay in touch. You can also attend one of Children’s Council’s virtual support groups for new and expecting moms- check out our calendar of family workshops here.