Staying connected | Possums for Mothers and Babies

Staying connected

Gemma Ossolinski - General Practitioner, Perth WA

Stepping into parenthood is full of uncertainties. In the past couple of months COVID-19 has introduced a new level of uncertainty into our lives. And the challenges of parenthood continue on.

 

The Possums approach draws on the knowledge that infants and children are hungry for sensory experiences. We know that getting out of the house to find that rich sensory & social nourishment is a wonderful way to keep our little ones dialled down.

Yet it seems that every day now we are being advised to distance ourselves from each other more and more. Social distancing and self-isolation have been introduced into our everyday vocabulary. New parents often already feel isolated and anxious, especially in the first few weeks and months after bringing their bub into the world.

 

What is a parent to do?!  

 

My little one is now almost two. He goes stir-crazy after more than a few hours stuck inside. He is developing into a beautifully social little boy and will excitedly take the hand of anyone willing to show them the game of the day- be it building sandcastles or jumping into a puddle. He loves playing with his grandparents.  

I am loathed to prevent him enjoying life to the full, but I feel deeply and critically the urge to protect him and my family, particularly his grandparents. There are two positive messages about COVID-19 that I try to remember when I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed.  

 

First of all, very few cases of COVID-19 are in children, and in those cases the illness is generally mild. The WHO-China Joint Mission statement reports on the role of children in the transmission of COVID-19 within families. Where transmission did occur, it’s felt that it was from an adult to the child, rather than the other way around.  

 

Second of all, in Australia we are blessed with beautiful wide-open spaces to connect with nature. The great outdoors provides wonderful opportunities to sensory nourishment- think walks in parks & gardens, picnics, or driving out to that quiet beach spot you’ve heard about. All of these can be done while respecting social distancing.  

 

There will be times over the coming months when parents and children will be more isolated than usual. Tiny acts of courtesy & kindness are now more critical than ever. We may need to keep our bodies distanced but we can keep our hearts and minds connected.

 

The PIPPS program is one way to keep connected with other parents. PIPPS is an online community of parents in the first year of parenthood. It’s a non-judgemental support base as you explore the choices that work best for you and baby. There’s also a wonderful range of Possum’s resources covering feeding, sleep, baby development and your emotional wellbeing.  

 

Dr Gemma Ossolinski, Perth WA

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