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We understand that parenting in the midst of a worldwide pandemic can be pretty stressful. But try not to fret, moms & dads. Sharing responsibilities, planning well and providing both emotional & physical support can go a long way during a time such as this. In this Voice of Moms interview, we’re talking to new mom, Dr. Shraddha Kanna, about the challenges of being a new mom in this current situation and how to deal with them in the best possible way.
Meet Shraddha, mom to her beautiful baby boy, Neel, and a doctor by profession. An MD in anesthesiology and intensive care, she has spent the last few months experiencing the joys and difficulties of motherhood. An ardent reader and writer, blogging about pregnancy and motherhood from a doctor’s perspective has become her latest passion. Find her on Instagram @shraddhakanna and @empoweredmotherhood
Q. Thanks for talking to us, Shraddha. We always like to begin by asking – what’s the best thing about being Mom to your little one?
Ans. Well honestly, I still can’t believe that I made this beautiful little soul. Every day for me has been full of wonder and joy, my baby boy has taught me to live in the moment and to look at everything with excitement! It’s been an exciting and overwhelming journey all at the same time.
Q. The current situation has been challenging for everyone, in all kinds of different ways. How are you and your family coping with what’s happening in the world today and what are some ways in which it has been hard on you?
Ans. The current pandemic has been extremely difficult for almost everybody. For some more than others. I’m a doctor, but have had to stay at home during a world health crisis to care for my newborn. My husband and my family have their own businesses, all of which have come to a complete halt as of now. But we are trying to make the best out of it, my husband and parents are spending a lot more time with the baby! I get a lot of help too.
Q. Is it tough being a new mom in the current scenario? What are some ways in which you are dealing with this? Do you have any helpful tips for other new moms out there?
Ans. It’s never easy being a new mom and in the current scenario, even more so. I’m thankful every day that I delivered the baby before the start of all of this. I can’t even imagine having to deliver in the midst of all this panic. My heart goes out to all those mothers.
For me, taking care of the baby without my maid, post a cesarean section was initially difficult. With vaccinations that need to be given even 4 weeks for the baby, it’s a nightmare to travel with the baby to the hospital and back, not to mention the complete panic state you go into the moment you or your baby has the slightest cough or cold.
My advice to new moms and moms who are about to deliver would be to plan well, get a checklist of all your baby essentials and get all your baby necessities online, stock up for an entire month. Stay organized and plan your day so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Share your responsibilities with your spouse/in-laws/parents. Allot specific duties to each - cooking, cleaning, laundry and such.
Q. As a healthcare professional yourself, what are some care & safety tips that you would give other moms during this time?
Ans. Social distancing and hand hygiene are things that everyone is already aware of. It may seem too simple but it really does go a long way. Avoid touching the mucus membranes of your face, your eyes, nose and mouth.
If you have a newborn, try and limit the baby’s exposure to the bare minimum number of people. Anyone who has symptoms, even if it’s just the common flu, needs to stay far away from the baby.
If you choose to breastfeed, it will provide antibodies called immunoglobulins that will boost the immunity of your infant.
With older kids, try and have home cooked meals rather than ordering in (it’s not only healthier but will also minimize contact with infective sources), exercise and get good sleep.
Q. What are your top tips on strengthening your baby’s immunity at this time?
Ans. With infants I say, if you can, then breastfeed, breastfeed and breastfeed. Breast milk provides your baby with amino acids and immunity benefits that formula cannot.
For older children, there aren't any foods or supplements that improve immunity quickly! There’s nothing wrong in trying the age-old home remedies of turmeric, ginger and other “immunity boosting" foods, but please don’t spend your money on “immunity boosting supplements” that are being sold online, it’s all just a scam. Long term habits of eating good healthy food, regular exercise, hygiene practices and good sleep is what is responsible for good immunity.
The good news though is that reports have found that children are less prone to getting severe symptoms of coronavirus.
Q. What are some of the essential baby products that you would advise Moms to stock up on at this time?
Ans. There’s no need to panic buy, but I do advise all new and expecting moms to stock up on a month’s supply of essentials. Diapers, formula and other feeding essentials. Baby bath, lotions and newborn clothing are an absolute must, the good thing is most online stores have started shipping baby essentials, so it definitely shouldn’t be an issue.
Q. Most of us are experiencing a lot of anxiety and stress during this period. For new moms, this feeling might be even stronger as they may also be dealing with postpartum emotions and mood changes. Do you have any advice for moms dealing with this? What are some ways in which you stay calm and in control?
Ans. Postpartum is hard for every single mother without an exception, and the stress of the pandemic can easily push a new mother over the edge.
You need to accept that you can’t control everything, a newborn is erratic and unpredictable, you can’t plan everything, every new mother feels like a failure at some point. You just have to pick yourself up and take it in your stride. Don’t stress too much about insignificant things. If the house is a mess or the laundry isn’t done, it doesn’t matter. Those things can wait. Your mental wellness is important. That being said, I can’t stress enough the importance of sharing your thoughts and worries with your partner or a friend. Talk about your worries. About 50 to 75 percent of new moms experience postpartum blues and about 1 in every 7 new mothers has long term postpartum depression. You are not alone, get professional help if you need it, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I’ve been lucky to be blessed with a great support structure, but I did have my share of bad days when I’ve just broken down when nothing seemed to be going my way. I’ve learnt to cope in my own way - blogging, yoga, dance and exercise are my emotional vents. It’s easier said than done, sometimes it’s impossible to make time for yourself with a baby, sometimes I give up and sometimes I just wear the baby in a baby carrier and do what I have to do.
Q. How are you spending this time at home with your family? What are some of your favorite at-home activities to engage in with your little one?
Ans. The positive side of this lockdown for me has been that the whole family has been together with the baby, cherishing every little milestone of the baby. We sing to the baby, read books, play, try and learn new languages, make vlogs, play the piano! He absolutely loves that.
As a family we’ve all become gourmet chefs in our own way! We’ve been trying our hands at experimental recipes!
We do chores together, take turns at taking care of the baby, we’ve been having virtual get-togethers with our extended family.
Q. What’s the one piece of advice you would like to give to other Moms like yourself right now?
Ans. To all new and expecting moms, the one thing I’d like to say is - take it one day at a time. It may not go your way today but it does get better with time! You are doing your best and you’re the best mother your baby can have!
Very well said . Very practical in approach.