Lockdown restrictions are ending and the country is reopening, so what does that mean for you and your baby? At stage three of the end of lockdown roadmap, you can meet friends, invite people into your home, take your children to soft play and meet indoors in small groups. As a pandemic new parent, you might be feeling more anxious than most about reentering the world and how much your life has changed. To help ease your mind, we’ve put together some of our favourite ways to reintroduce yourself and your little one to the world, one baby step at a time.
In fact, join as many baby groups as you have time to attend. To find out what’s on in your area, contact your local NCT service or check out the notice boards at your nearest town or village hall. Popular options include music, sign language, sensory development, buggy running and even baby yoga. If you are worried that your little one might have missed out during all that time spent at home, now is the time to explore all of your options and immerse them in everything that the outside world has to offer their tiny brains.
Whether you remember their face from your online antenatal class, have noticed their name pop up in a birth month facebook group or have just smiled reassuringly to each other in your local cafe, lockdown mums are out there and they want your friendship! Early parenthood can feel very isolating, especially during a global pandemic. No matter how exhausted you are, it’s important to make friends with people who you can talk to about your experience as a pandemic parent and share advice, ideas and even a glass of wine. At every baby class, take the time to introduce yourself to the other parents and invite them for coffee – you might find out that you have more in common than just the birth months of your babies.
As lockdown restrictions ease and freedoms increase, there will be more and more opportunities to get out and about. If you welcomed your first baby during lockdown, you might be feeling a bit strange about reentering the world with a new identity: parent. As intimidating as it might seem, this change in your life doesn’t mean that you have to stop doing all the things that used to make you happy, such as going out for meals with your friends, spending sunny afternoons in pub gardens or exploring your favourite galleries and museums. While you might need a slightly bigger bag, what your baby wants the most is to learn: to meet new people, see new places and experience the world around them that they have never seen before. So strap them into their baby-carrier or settle them to sleep in their pram and bring them along for the ride. After all, children add to your life – they don’t dominate it.
Your baby’s early life will have been spent almost entirely with their parents, so it’s time to get their social life started. The more the world begins to open up, the more time you will naturally want to spend with other people. The best thing about babies (especially newborns) is that they are incredibly portable, so why not bring them along? You can carry them around, put them to sleep in their pushchair and quickly nip to the nearest bathroom to change a nappy. After all, everyone knows that you’ve had a baby and they most likely would love a little cuddle. The more that babies experience the outside world, the more sights, sounds and sensations their little brains will absorb, which is essential for their early development.