Coping with COVID-19
Let’s just cut to the chase, these are unusual times so of course I've been fielding scores of texts and emails from confused and concerned clients. Globally, babies are needing to feed constantly, being unusually fussy and clingy, seeming to require additional comforting for longer periods than usual. It is such a recurring topic that I posted what’s become a really popular video about it earlier this month on Social Media. Here however, I want to explore this issue in a bit more depth.
Babies and adults all over the world are feeling anxious due to the current global health crisis; the specter of COVID-19 looms over all our lives in the media we consciously consume, and for many of us unconsciously when we dream at night or daytime because really, is anyone sleeping as well at night?
Breast fed babies react to adult stress levels by wanting to nurse more frequently and exhibiting the need to be held even more than usual. Reasssuring Families to whom I provide continuous care, that this behavior is completely normal, particularly given the current environment is key. This is the natural way for babies to cope with the stress surrounding them. Research into how human babies handle stress shows how hormones released while breastfeeding, like oxytocin, lead to stress and anxiety reduction for both mum and nursling, so it’s an actual win-win for everyone.
For adults however, it may not always be so straight forward. It was helpful to reach out to a couple of New York based psychotherapists and ask them to share some wisdom and general coping strategies. Both Diane Barnes LCSW-R MBA and John P. Pasagiannis Phd recommend limiting our news and social media intake, checking in with accurate fact based sources of information, and limiting these checks to once or twice at the same time of day. To that end, Diane had a simple suggestion that I immediately followed and have found to be extremely helpful. A wall calendar for noting important events and appointments has helped me dramatically reduce the amount of times I’ve had to look at my phone to keep up with my work schedule. I'm already so much less stressed as I'm less tempted to get sucked into the sad rabbit hole of social media or news updates and stories from well meaning friends and family. Accepting that it is indeed normal to 'feel' anxious is a step in the right direction of stress reduction. Both Diane and John suggested incorporating meditation and mindfulness practice into our daily routines. Because this may be new to many, John recommended using a meditation app like Calm or Headspace to get started and Diane suggested a guided meditation.
Guided Compassion Meditation for Anxiety: https://www.ethannichtern.com/guided-compassion-meditation-for-anxiety/
Meditation and mindfulness practices or just taking the time each day to focus on our breathing should help to calm us, keeping us all in good stead even after the current crisis has abated. Ultimately they suggested that we do our best to treat ourselves with as much kindness and patience as possible. By doing so we make it easier to project that kindness and patience toward our babies and others around us.
Kindness and patience, we will all need a lot of both as we forge ahead and create the new normal.
MAY WORKSHOPS ARE ALL VIRTUAL
Wednesday May 20th 530pm-7pm:Caring for a Newborn Baby
Thursday May 21st 630pm -8pm: Caring for a Newborn Baby
Wednesday May 27th 530pm-7pm: The Ancient Art of Breastfeeding: How to Breastfeed Naturally (Breastfeeding Prep)
FREE BREASTFEEDING* LIME
The Manny Cantor Breastfeeding Support Circle meets 2 Wednesday afternoons monthly: 3pm-5pm on Zoom
May 20 & 27
Summer Dates TBA
Join me to have your breastfeeding questions answered from the comfort of your own home!
*LIME. Verb/Noun - Trinidadian slang for hanging out, socializing, usually including eating and drinking with like minded folks.
Stream Baby in the Family Caring for a Newborn Baby workshop here!
Baby in the Family has you covered! Based on our popular workshop this streaming film features real newborn babies being bathed, dressed etc.
Contact us to gift it to your expectant friends- it's the Essential baby shower gift!
BitFam Collaboration with Bodily
A comfortable bra paired with healthy nipples is imperative while nursing. Try The Insider Bra, it's buttery soft and loved by so many nursing (and non-nursing) mums! The nipple protection and recovery system is100% organic, plant-based and literally yummy!!
What to do? First, go through the stages of grief for the sleep routine you once loved and have now lost; move from denial to acceptance as soon as you possibly can, that acceptance will come in many forms and is key to moving forward. Once you’re there, accept help from those on your team, the people you trust to be with your baby so that you can have the peace of mind needed to get some rest. Understand and accept that you may not always fall asleep when the opportunity arises, but at least you’ll rest.
When your baby is sleeping try to put your feet up and relax. The adrenaline and discomfort from birthing may still be with you and you may also have a personality that demands puttingthings in order around your home. Do your best to resist this feeling- really! This is where your team comes in. Partners, parents, close friends, postpartum doulas are the folks you may rely on to do chores or cuddle baby while you recover, rest, and maybe even actually nap.
Consider bed-sharing, the evidence shows that babies can safely sleep with parents so this may be an option that works for your family.
Thank goodness babies grow up and your old friend sleep will become a more regular companion. Sleeping 4-6 hours in a row at night is considered sleeping through the night for younger babies. There will be progressions and regressions in your child’s sleep patterns due to growth and developmental leaps like teething, but things will become far easier and even more fun, no worries you too will survive!
Then one day......they’ll get their drivers license!