Being a new parent can be alienating and overwhelming, especially during COVID-19. Here are 10 tech hacks to help new parents cope while services are closed and we’re socially distancing.
10 tech hacks to help new parents during COVID-19
1. Join an online forum
Online forums provide a space to seek parent-to-parent advice without the face-to-face contact. Whilst these spaces aren’t a substitute for the medical advice your doctor can provide, the virtual world of parenting forums can provide that essential sense of community you’re missing in isolation.
2. Take a break from your newsfeed
A constant stream of news can take a toll on the mental health of tired, stressed new parents. Check the news mindfully. Designate a specific time in the morning to catch up, then leave your evenings completely news-free to unwind and promote sleep.
3. Tap virtual support networks
While in-person mum meetups are on hold, you can find support within a virtual network. Find one that fits your specific needs and interests and discuss everything from sleep deprivation, to managing expectations vs reality, to self-care.
4. Seek professional help … virtually
Telehealth has rapidly expanded to now include doula and midwife services. Doulas (or ‘labor coaches’) are trained to provide emotional and physical support before, during and after labour.
Unlike midwives, they can’t make medical decisions for you, but can be vital in easing personal anxieties and maintaining consistent guidance, particularly valuable in a time when visitors must be limited.
5. Let technology lend a helping hand
Balancing remote work with a fussy newborn can be extremely difficult — especially when you don’t have the option of inviting over anyone to help hold and soothe the baby. When you don’t have access to a literal set of helping hands, a responsive baby cot can be like a virtual pair of hands.
6. Soothe your baby with womb-like white noise
White noise works miracles with fussy babies and is an amazingly powerful cue to boost baby sleep! The sound needed to turn on the calming reflex when a baby is crying is a rough, rumbly whooshing noise, similar to the sounds heard in the womb. Create a playlist or download a white noise app. When placing a device near your baby, be sure to always keep it on airplane mode due to microwave radiation.
7. Learn to meditate with an app
Meditation has been shown to boost mental health, help us sleep better, and make our brains sharper … and with a variety of meditation apps literally at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to start. The key to effective meditation is to let your face muscles fully relax (like a wet rag) and slow down your breathing as much as possible.
8. Try an at-home workout
During COVID-19, a variety of studios have put their classes online. With so many choices, you can find a class suiting every budget, fitness level and personal goal.
9. Mind your mental health
Three common triggers of postpartum depression are excessive crying, exhaustion, and unsupportive partners. With COVID-19 heightening stress levels in all families, it’s important to be mindful of your mental health. Most psychologists and therapists are now offering treatment through video chat and audio calls. Or you could find an app that offers CBT- based exercises and mindfulness to coach users through anxious or depressive periods.
10. Turn to virtual resources to entertain your cooped-up kids
Indulging in a little bit of screen-time doesn’t have to mean entering total couch-potato mode! There are plenty of online resources available to keep your children enriched and entertained. Storyline Online offers fun for the whole family, featuring all your favourite actors reading children books. Take your child (or just yourself) on a virtual tour to some of the world’s best zoos, providing a much-needed glimpse into the natural world.