First Weeks Home After Birth During a Pandemic

Walking through your door after making the drive home from the hospital is a surreal moment. You did it. You had a baby! 

Now what? 

First things first, take a breath. 

Two people are healing from birth, you and your baby. Your priorities feel like they shift from moment to moment, depending on who is awake and who is unhappy about it.

  • While you have a minute to think about it, what do you need today?
  • How is your body feeling?
  • When was the last time you ate or drank water, or went to the bathroom?

You focus on your baby’s needs, but no one benefits if you neglect your care. Ideally, someone is also focused on you. You may feel overwhelmed and unable to focus, so being able to rely on someone for help, for big or small things, is a part of healing too. 

But when you were thinking about what life would be like after you gave birth, you could imagine these sorts of needs and even the stressors. What is harder to imagine is how to heal when COVID-19 impacts everyone and everywhere. 

Tasks like going to the grocery store are no longer straightforward, quick errands. Going to the first pediatrician appointment holds new risk. Having the in-person emotional and physical support of friends and family might be impossible.

Here is what some other families in the Chicago-area have done to help new parents during COVID-19: 

Be Confined together:

Some Chicago families are choosing to be proactive and go through the stay at home order with other people. If there is space, going through two weeks of quarantine before the birth means that extra support is on hand.   And the first weeks you are a small community, instead of alone. The benefits are huge.  More hands to make light work of every task, and the ability to take all necessary precautions. 

Family and Friends take over Food Transport: 

Meal trains are nothing new in the world of caregiving.  However, with more people home and looking for activities to keep their own families connected they are taking on new importance.  Porch drop-offs and visits through windows and doors allow for connection, and again, increased safety for your family. 

And if delivering prepared meals isn’t a good option, families have taken over the shopping and transport of groceries. Removing the risk of being in high contamination locations is a tremendous gift to a new family. Grocery pick-up and drop off, and the odd run to the pharmacy for cravings or supplies is a new way to show your love. 

Working with dedicated support professionals, like doulas and newborn specialist: 

If you are not able to have the care you planned from family or friends in the first weeks, doulas are still an option for help and support during COVID-19. Doulas work with immunocompromised populations every day and are seasoned at taking necessary precautions and limiting exposure for our client’s well being. 

Having help during the day or night is not something you have to do without. 

Here are some questions you’ll want to be sure to ask if you are looking for hired help during this time:

  • What precautions does the doula take upon entering your home? 
  • How many families does the doula work with at a time?
  • What/if any training has the doula taken?
  • What safety measures does the doula use while working with your family?