The advice of a Warwickshire-based child development expert for parents of lockdown babies.
A local Occupational Therapist is sharing her expert knowledge in a bid to help parents worried about their baby missing out because of lockdowns and social distancing.
Over 3700 babies have been born in Warwickshire since the first national lockdown due to COVID-19.
With marked changes to maternity and follow-up care, many baby support groups (such as sensory play and baby massage) have temporarily closed. A recent study revealed 51% of UK mums feel their mental health has been negatively affected (Maternal Mental Health, 2020.
Rebecca Johnson has over 13 years’ experience working with families to promote play, bonding and the development of infants. She said, “There are thousands of parents across Warwickshire who are worried they have not been able to provide the enriching opportunities they planned for their newborns.”
B-independent will be offering a range of COVID-secure face to face, online and one to one baby groups in 2021. However for those wanting more general advice, here are six tips to make the most of your time at home:
1. Be in the moment. Take 5-10 minutes when your baby is calm and attentive to play. It doesn’t have to be scheduled, instead, do it when both of you are relaxed and happy.
2. Let your baby lead. Pay attention to what captures your baby’s interest. Look for small opportunities throughout the day: like while you’re getting them dressed. By doing this, you will learn about your baby’s ability and interests and can present similar activities to them at other times. Pick up objects of interest to bring them closer or to allow baby to explore the feel of items.
3. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Support and encourage your baby to interact by making sounds or facial expressions or body actions and repeat them. Babies love repetition.
4. Find your voice. Your voice is captivating for your baby. Use different tonesthroughout playtime, sing to them, read poems or stories. The thing you read don’t have to be specifically for babies, why not read the morning paper out loud?
5. Explore the outdoors. See new environments together, visit reservoirs, woodlands, lakes and rivers sit on a bench and watch the world go by together listening to the sounds of nature. It will do you both the world of good.
6. Last but not least, look after yourself. Parental self-care is a must; don’t forget to care for your own physical and mental wellbeing, as you and your baby co-regulate each other.
Read more about our baby groups at www.b-independent.org