Dec 11, 2020

How to Introduce Your Newborn to Friends and Family During a Pandemic

 A pandemic pregnancy has some unique challenges, as moms due in 2020 and 2021 realized soon after getting that first Big Fat Positive. And they definitely don't stop when the pregnancy is over.

Babies are special. A baby's birth is often an occasion that brings family and friends together, both to celebrate the baby and to support the new parents through the challenging fourth trimester.

After a year that was full of hardships for many, people are looking for something positive to focus on more than ever. A new baby's birth can be just that!


There's always a but, isn't there?

But a newborn baby has a very weak immune system and is incredibly vulnerable. 

pandemic pregnancy

Even in normal times, those who are around the baby should have up-to-date flu and TDAP (tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis) vaccines, because a newborn is too young to get those vaccines him-/herself and catching the flu or the whooping cough can be life-threatening for an infant.

This year and into at least early 2021 new parents must insist on those precautions against the usual threats to newborns in addition to protecting our babies from a new threat, covid-19. 

In the United States we're now up to over 3,000 deaths a day on some days and in New York City alone we've had days with over 4,000 new infections - in just one day. Irrespective of a new parent's political bent, this is undeniably serious.

So how do we do it? How do we balance our needs to protect our babies with the expectations of our loved ones? 

New grandparents, especially first time grandparents, aren't always thrilled to hear that they'll have to wait months or longer to meet their grandchildren for the first time. In (virtual) mother's group, the most common concern that comes up is how to keep the little ones safe without disappointing friends and family.

This may not be a popular opinion, but I stand by it: our duty is to our babies first and foremost. They're too little to protect themselves, so they're depending on us to protect them. 

Does disappointing friends and family suck? Of course. We'd love to have our babies meet our social circles soon, too! We'd love to have support getting through those trying newborn days, too! 

But our babies' health and wellbeing comes first. If loved ones don't understand why they have to wait for in-person baby viewings, frame it in terms of baby's safety. They'll come around eventually (even if it takes a while).

In the interim, there are ways to introduce your newborn to friends and family without putting the baby at risk. 

Video Calls

Introducing newborn to family

Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts - whatever your platform of choice, we've all become experts at video calls over the past year. 

Video calls are a great way to safely introduce a new baby to friends and family! No one can touch the baby and no one is breathing on the baby, so it's perfectly safe. 

At the same time, it's a lot more personal and interactive an introduction than simply sending a birth announcement with a photo of the newborn.

Grandparents can talk to the baby and s/he can learn their voices, friends can make faces at the baby, and everyone can delight in hearing the baby's first coos.

Video calls are also super convenient for new parents (as long as there's some scheduling flexibility). 

You don't have to go anywhere and you don't have to host. There's no need to worry about tidying up for guests or making sure the diaper bag is packed. And when the baby gest fussy, you can just sign off until next time!

Socially distant outdoor walks

If you do want to meet up in person and your loved ones live in the same area as you, socially distant outdoor walks are a good way to reduce risk compared to indoor visits.

Protecting your newborn from covid-19

Make sure to discuss comfort levels and ground rules ahead of time. Let friends and family know that you'll expect them to wear masks at all times and stay 6 feet away from the baby.

Waiting to hold the baby might be a bit of a letdown for some, but they'll still be able to see the little one and the little one will be safe, so it's a good compromise. 

Another bonus of this way of introducing the baby to loved ones is that it gets you out of the house! Between locking down in preparation for childbirth and quarantining after baby's arrival, it's quite likely that it's been a while since you've been out in the fresh air. Soak up that vitamin D and safe socializing!

How are you handling introducing your baby to family and friends?

What covid-19 precautions are you insisting on?

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