How to cope with being stuck at home with your baby if you’re self-isolating

What can you and your baby do all day if coronavirus means you must stay home or your usual groups cancel? Here’s how to make the most of your time…

There’s no getting round it. Self-isolating at home with your baby might feel like a difficult prospect, especially if you usually have a busy schedule of activities. But self-isolation doesn’t have to be a prison sentence. You might find there are even some unexpected upsides to enforced home time.

Of course, if you’re feeling really unwell then staying at home in bed is probably all you want to do. In that case, try to get your partner, family member or a friend to help look after your baby if possible.

But if you’re not feeling too bad, or you’re fine but all outside activities are cancelled, here are some tips to help stave off cabin fever.

If you’re not sure whether you should be staying at home or not, check out the NHS guidelines on when you should self-isolate.

1. Make a photo album or memory book

That beautiful baby memory book that you were given when your baby was born but you just haven’t had time to fill in? All those photos that are piling up on your phone or computer that you keep meaning to print out? This might be the best chance you get before normal life resumes and before you know it, your baby is ten years old.

You could select photos to put into an album with an online photo printing company or stick keepsakes into a book before they get lost or forgotten. Your baby might enjoy helping you while looking at old pictures of themself. Yep, this is the rainy day.

For more ideas about activities to do indoors, read our article here.

2. Have a toy stock take

Empty out the toy box and sort toys into piles that your baby likes playing with, has grown out of or hasn’t had a chance to play with yet.

Put any toys you no longer need in a bin bag to clean and take to the charity shop or Nearly New Sale when your isolation period is over.

Let your baby loose on the toy mountain and they might rediscover some old favourites they’d forgotten about. Not to mention you’ll have a tidier toy cupboard, and you can do your bit for the environment by passing on or selling old toys. While you’re at it, you could go through old baby clothes too.

3. Enjoy (some) screen time

Don’t worry, it’s ok, we get it. If you’re going to be at home with your baby and not seeing other people, putting on the TV for short periods might be an inevitability just so you can get things done. Or even just go to the loo in peace.

Now you’ve got nowhere else to go and not much else to do, this is a great time to actually sit down and watch TV with your child. Your baby will love having you there alongside him, and you could talk about what is happening. You might find you even like it – or at least wonder when Mr Tumble actually gets any time off.

4. Keep up with the news, but don’t get obsessed by it.

With such fast-developing and unprecedented headlines, it’s easy to keep checking your news feed. But not only will your baby object if you’re staring at your phone all day, blanket coverage of coronavirus and constant sensationalist headlines won’t be good for your mental health.

Stay informed but put your phone down for periods

Stay informed but put your phone down, maybe in another room, for periods so you can focus on your baby. Resist the temptation to read shock stories on the internet at nap-time.

You could always phone a friend or relative instead, read a book or watch a TV show you’ve been meaning to. Or just get some rest yourself.

5. Stay in touch with friends

For mums who are self-isolating, you shouldn’t have visitors (sorry). But it’s important to stay in touch with the outside world, so phone, message or video call friends and family. It’ll keep you feeling more positive and they’ll be glad to know how you’re doing.

6. Remain active

Running around after your baby can feel like a work out in itself but if you want to do some more structured exercise, stick on a fitness DVD or watch a yoga tutorial on YouTube.

If you wear a fitness tracker, you can still aim for 10,000 steps a day by walking or running around the garden or climbing stairs (make sure your baby is in a safe place first).

Further information

Read the the NHS advice on what you should do when you’re self isolating to try and prevent passing on the virus to other people at home.

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

Take a look at the latest public health guidance for pregnant women and parents.