Take it in baby steps, gently as you go
A guest post from Michelle of Mamogs
It’s so exciting as and from June the 8th we can visit some families. Family we haven’t seen in months. Families that just want to see us and our little ones in person, not through a screen. But wait! Stop! Think about this for a moment. Think about your baby or child’s thoughts and feelings. Slow!
The last number of months have been challenging for most. Having huge restrictions put on us all has led to heightened anxiety in many. You have stayed home, only going out when needed to shop or work. You kept your children safe and didn’t allow them to play with others, visit family and they couldn’t do their usual activities. You tried to explain to your children what was happening, that there was a virus that could make people sick. They might not get very sick with it but others they may play with, visit or hug might get it. You talked about keeping grandparents safe by staying away. Loving them from a distance. All of this has been a lot for them to take in. Many babies have been born over the past number of months that we have been in lock down. They too have been kept away from family and friends to keep all safe.
As we enter into the next phase of the government’s road map to come out of lock down things are easing a little. You will be allowed to travel up to 20 km from your home. You will also be allowed to visit family in small numbers. This is exciting. We have been living for this day. For the past number of months you have been telling children of all ages in age appropriate language that staying apart was best. You told them they could carry the germ or virus on their hands or pass it on in a cough or sneeze. Now your saying let’s go see family. You may be getting your child all psyched up. Getting them excited about this fantastic event.
Let’s stop for a moment and take this slow. Your child may be feeling anxious about all this. Building them up to an event like seeing family or friends can heighten this. They still may be thinking what if I make grandma sick or someone else. Take your time again to explain how you are going to do this. Talk again about the hand washing, that hugging won’t happen and that you will do this when they are ready. Don’t put pressure on them. Don’t ask them to talk with others or play with those you visit. This is huge to them and it needs to be on their terms.
They may start having sleepless nights, eating less, not wanting to leave your side. For those breastfeeding they may feed more often, just wanting to be close. Your little one may be like your shadow.
For babies who have not met family, or for those who haven’t seen them since lock down, be gentle. Take things very slow. They are picking up on your feelings and emotions too and may not want to leave your arms.
Let’s all take a breath and take this next phase slow. No pressure to perform, to look good, to perform. Your little ones don’t need to show off how tall they got or how long their hair has grown. How they can crawl, walk or say words. They are not on show, so take it slow. Take it in baby steps, gently as you go.