While giving birth is as momentous an occasion as any, safe distancing measures still apply – and this can be hard for a mother (especially a new one) to wrap her head around. In the “before times”, there would be a lot to look forward to: visitors at the hospital, a live-in Confinement Nanny, the traditional Chinese man yue or baby’s first month celebrations or the cukur rambut (baby’s first hair trim) family ceremony for Malays.
The good news is, pre-COVID hospital practices such as having Dad in the delivery room — even for a C-section — are unchanged. However, with the safe distancing restrictions in place and limitations on group gatherings, the entire post-partum period will look rather different for second-time Mums and might mean less support for new mothers who are inexperienced.
As we try our best to make do with the current situation until such a time when we can all be together again, the Hegen team would like to offer what we hope are a few helpful suggestions for preggy Mums who will be popping during this period.
Save money, book a shared room
As of now, hospitals only allow a small number of visitors, and if another Circuit Breaker were to occur, the figure may be curtailed again. Do let friends and relatives know in advance so as not to offend anyone. You may also choose a shared ward over a single room to save on costs since you will not be hosting visitors after delivery.
Bring your own breast pump
Most hospitals do offer a communal electric pump for loan, but many recommend that mummies bring their own hardware for hygiene purposes. For the first few days in the hospital, you are encouraged to direct latch to stimulate colostrum and breastmilk production, unless due to birth complications. Bringing along a manual pump like Hegen’s Manual Pump is good enough, as it’s lightweight, portable and very effective in drawing out breastmilk from deep ducts as your fingers do the controlling. Do check with your hospital if you need to bring your own cleaning equipment.
Identify the services that provide virtual consultations
Even though we’re currently in Phase 2, it may still be preferable to stay put at home and get help via virtual means. Doctors provide e-consultations to diagnose medical concerns, as do lactation specialists who can help to check your baby’s latch or adjust your breastfeeding position over Zoom or FaceTime. For urgent paediatric care, you can also contact KK Women’s and Children’s hospital online for advice and to check if there is a need for a trip to the emergency room.
Round up your “quaran-team”
Most live-in confinement nannies tend to originate from across the Causeway and with border measures in place, it’s unlikely to be able to count on their support. If you have a domestic helper, now is the time to brief her on the specific type of help and tasks needed. Attending Parentcraft classes will also equip you with basic know-how of bathing baby and breastfeeding. Leave the confinement cuisine to the expertise of the caterers, and the massage to the post-partum specialists. For night duty, try to get your husband to work out a schedule with you or approach the grandparents for assistance.
If you prefer a one-stop facility that will care for mum and baby, Singapore has just opened its first confinement centre, Kai Suites. The 18-suite centre offers luxurious accommodations coupled with skin-hair-body treatments, haute TCM cuisine, and round-the-clock baby care to give mum ample rest for recovery.
Take note of heightened measures at clinics
Do call to check with the polyclinics and paediatricians if your newborn can be accompanied by both parents for check-ups, as restrictions tend to change very quickly. Last April, it was one parent to a child at polyclinics. If that’s the case, it’s probably easier to push baby in stroller so you can stowaway the diaper bag and other essentials in the storage compartment.
Conduct small group house parties
As Asian parents, we know full well the importance of baby’s first month or 100-day celebrations. Luckily, you can still host them but please adhere to the 5-people visitor rule. There are plenty of other ways you can commemorate your baby’s milestones creatively and memorably. Instead of a party, you could organise an at-home photoshoot with a professional photographer. And you could also send “Baby’s First Month” cakes directly to well-wishers!
PHOTO: Unsplash/Christian Bowen