Is my baby all of a sudden waking up several times a night because she feels the (my) coronavirus stress?
First make sure your baby is otherwise well (no fever, change in feeding, decrease in wet diapers, etc.). If you are concerned, talk with your child’s health professional. Check their weight if you can, to make sure their weight is following their weight percentile – some babies might wake overnight because they are hungry.
If you are happy that your baby is well and growing well, then yes, they may be feeling some of the stress that we are all feeling at this time. In which case, it’s time to look after you! Just as airlines tell us to put on our own oxygen mask before we put them on kids, so you must look after yourself before you can look after your baby. The following may help reduce stress:
• Remember that most babies and children will not get coronavirus. In the rare event that they do, they will usually recover in full.
• Make time to get outside and do some exercise every day – fresh air and sunshine are good for all of us. Just remember to follow your local physical distancing and quarantine rules.
• Avoid the news and social media platforms where coronavirus is the only topic – try to check your phone only once a day.
• Play music that makes you feel good – dance with your baby! Have fun together.
• Connect with friends and family – often doing this so you can see them (not just hear them) makes you feel more connected.
• Speak with your partner or a good friend about your worries – look after each other. If you live with your partner, think about how you might share the load of looking after your baby, together.
• When your baby does wake overnight, try to ignore them if they are just grizzling (whining, complaining a bit, but not distressed). If they are crying, go in, give them a brief cuddle or kiss and then try to re-settle them in their crib.
This post was written in the Spring of 2020. Please follow your local guidelines and advice from family health care providers for appropriate, current coronavirus safety measures.