This may not have been what you were imagining your first year with your baby to be like, quarantined in your home for weeks at a time and no end in sight. Your once support system may look a whole lot different. There isn’t grandma there too watch after your little one and give you a break. Or the playdates that you held so dear now just to speak to another adult have been put on hold. You may be feeling you are on the brink of losing your sanity. So, take a deep breath. Here are some tips to help you stay sane if you are quarantined with your baby.
Give yourself some grace. You may be watching your other friends on their social media wondering how they have time to look presentable, have a clean home, happy baby and still, find time to talk about all the online yoga and art classes they took. Don’t feel like you should be doing it all. If anything, it's okay to do nothing at all but take care of your baby. People handle stress differently. While there may be some who look like they have gotten in tune with their Martha Stewart side, there are many of us out there that are just getting by. And that is okay too.
Reach out virtually. Having a baby can already feel isolating. Your own world has stopped and is now revolved around this little child. But having another adult interaction is so valuable and it's good for the soul. Reach out to your friends virtually via Zoom, Skype or Facetime. What is so great about meeting up with your friends face to face virtually is that you don’t have to worry about getting a sitter for your child or having to feel like your packing for a weekend away for a two-hour day trip.
Get some fresh air. Getting outside in the sunshine and some fresh air can feel like a total mood changer. Take a moment to take your little one for a walk while still practicing social distancing of course. If it’s a bit crispy cold outside, don’t let that stop you, just bundle yourself and your little one up. Walking encourages your brain to release endorphins allowing some of the stress you have been holding on to level out. It truly will help your mental well-being.
Turn up the happy music. There is something so powerful about music. Put some happy jams on in the background and watch some of the stress melt away. Music is a great way to relax yourself and your baby. Play soft lullaby tunes will help your little one sleep. You can make it part of their bedtime routine. This will que their brains that it’s time to transition to sleep. Put some fun tunes on just to dance. Not only does music may you feel good but it helps promote brain development in your baby. It helps their body and mind work together. Singing to your baby is helpful as well. It is a great tool for language development.
It is okay to step away. If your little one is crying and you are getting frustrated, it is okay to step away for a bit. Stepping away means putting your baby in a safe environment such as their cot, away from blankets and stuffed animals, closing the door for a moment and stepping away. Getting frustrated is completely normal for new parents and with the heightened stress of being quarantined, you may find yourself not as easy to keep yourself calm as you once used to. It is okay to take a moment, step away, breathe and give yourself some grace to compose yourself and try again.
If you are feeling like you are losing control and find yourself falling into depression, reach out to a professional. Check out your local resources for mental health services. Some places can connect you with someone virtually. Don’t wait until you feel really bad before reaching out.