When you imagined introducing your newborn to the world, you probably imagined family gatherings and visitors, not lockdown and social bubbles.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t proudly share the joy of your newborn baby with your friends and loved ones.
Find out how to create positive memories, while keeping everyone safe as things slowly turn to a new normal.
Are you due to give birth soon? Find out all you need to know about postnatal appointments
Video call meeting
While not the same as an actual family reunion, video calling is the new way to come together and share precious first moments.
There are different apps and devices you can use for video calling including FaceTime, Google Duo, and WhatsApp depending on whether or not you are using a smartphone, Tablet, portable or other smart technology to keep in touch.
Find out more in: 5 ways technology can help you stay in touch with friends and family.
Concerns have been raised about the safety of two group video calling apps – Houseparty and Zoom (Video calls: are Houseparty and Zoom safe to use) – so if you are anxious you can use one of the other group video apps.
For security reasons when using a web video conferencing service or video calling application, if possible:
Whatever app or service you use, make sure you have downloaded the latest security updates for the technology device you are using.
Get the most out of video calls with baby and loved ones
Tanith Carey, co-author of ‘What’s My Child Thinking: Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents’ (DK), said:’ While your family will miss your baby’s smell and touch, modern technology means you can still help them develop a strong bond with family members while you are apart.
Pay attention to signs that your baby is listening and communicating, such as waving his arms or gurgling. Even if they do not yet recognize those close to them, emotional bonds between babies and those close to them will continue to form.
Here are Tanith’s five tips for getting the most out of your video calls:
- Little and often it is better. “If a baby only sees another family member once a week, it can take between six and nine months to recognize them,” says Tanith. “But the process will be faster if they see them every day.” Give loved ones a regular time slot, even if it’s just five minutes a day to read baby the same baby book you have at home.
- Record some of what is happening. Now is the perfect time to collect “oral history” stories from loved ones that even you have never heard before!
- Don’t be embarrassed. “Babies love to communicate with anyone who cares,” says Tanith, “so tell family members not to feel embarrassed about talking or singing songs, even when a baby is not yet responding. . ”
- Manage the expectations of relatives and friends. Loved ones may be in a hurry for your baby to be looking at them or smiling on the screen, but it will be a few months before babies start to recognize someone online. Tanith says, “This is because babies take a long time to develop eyesight and they have to learn to focus their eyes and interact with the world.”
- Don’t expect much at first. Babies don’t start following moving objects on a screen or picking up objects until they are around three months old. Tanith says, “What’s more, it is only after six months that they are able to tell when a person on a screen is interacting directly with them in real time rather than just passive screen images that they would see. on the television.”
Meeting “in person”
As the lockdown restrictions begin to loosen, you may find yourself outside with up to six people from different households – and children count as the party of six, as the Cabinet Office has confirmed to us.
This is as long as you stay outside (including in a private garden, as long as you don’t then go inside except to use the restroom if necessary) and follow social distancing guidelines.
You can also create a “social bubble” with another household, but you cannot “cut and switch” between different households).
Five things to check before face-to-face interaction
- Public transport is always to be avoided whenever possible, so if you are going in your car you will need one or a combo from our choices of best travel system strollers, best infant car seats Where best slings and baby carriers.
- Newborns shouldn’t spend more than 20 minutes in a car seat, while for babies over six months it increases slightly to 30 minutes.
- If you are taking your baby for a walk, you will need a stroller from birth or a travel system suitable for newborns or a sling or baby carrier.
- Newborns should ideally be in a carrycot if you plan to push them for long periods of time, as they are more comfortable and secure for your baby.
- Remember to bring something for taking photos instead of a professional newborn photoshoot. See our selection of best cameras, smartphone cameras and printers to help you capture those precious moments.
Learn to become a new parent
You may want to have your “dream team” of close friends and family by your side as you start parenting.
But experts say focused time with your baby can pay off in the long run.
A 2020 study * found that babies are more relaxed when cuddled by a parent and have a slower heart rate when cuddled by parents compared to cuddles from a stranger, even at four months.
Tanith says, “Being cocooned at home with your baby during the lockdown, perhaps with less pressure to be somewhere or do anything other than take care of your child, means you’ve probably had a one-on-one.” very special with your baby which is exactly what babies need to attach themselves to you.
Need more help?
The NCT (National Childbirth Trust) runs Early Days postnatal classes online, and Which? has a lot of information about feed your baby if that’s one of your concerns.
Even in times of coronavirus, systems are in place to make sure you get the help you need.
Read our advice on:
* Yoshida et al., Infants show specific physiological responses to parental cuddles, iScience (2020).