May Monthly Newsletter

May 21, 2020, 7:49 a.m.


Our May newsletter is dedicated to Grandparents and extended family members during Covid-19.  OCEA would also like to remind the whole Ottawa community that we have a free virtual drop in on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons on Zoom, called Lilly’s living room from 1pm-2:30.  The log is Zoom meeting links: 


All of our summer classes are on our website, with a few more to be added! With all other prenatal and parenting classes currently put on hold in the City, we welcome any referrals you may like to share with other families who are expecting at this time.

Welcoming a grandchild into the family is a momentous occasion marked by preparation, anticipation and a whole lot of joy. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a complicated layer to this life experience given the added risks for vulnerable populations. Physical distancing makes it difficult for grandparents to safely meet their newborn grandchild, provide newborn or sibling care, and assist the family as they adjust to postpartum life.

Grandparents (and other family members such as aunties, uncles and cousins) play an integral role in a baby’s life, creating the “village” of support that many parents lack. We first want to acknowledge your anxiety as you navigate the immense challenges brought about by the coronavirus. It is normal to feel a sense of loss, grief and frustration as you attempt to find ways to support your grandchild and family members. 

It is important to remember that physical distancing keeps our families safe. We know from the research that newborns can contract the virus, and that adults over the age of 60 are particularly vulnerable to experiencing severe illness if they contract coronavirus. Physical distancing will protect our young and older generations until a vaccine or effective treatment becomes available. 

The good news is that there are many ways to support your grandchild and their family, from a distance. We’ve provided some suggestions below, and we would love to hear from families navigating this experience - what have you found helpful?

  • The gift of food: life with a newborn is hectic, and parents will be needing easy-to-prepare meals and snacks. Arrange a regular porch drop-off of home cooked meals, or consider a meal kit service such as GoodFood.
  • Gifts of service: what does the new family need? You could offer to do some gardening or landscaping (with bonus peeks at the baby from the window!), pick up/drop off laundry, or run errands.
  • Keep busy with a special project: record a video of yourself reading a book to your grandchild; knit a special blanket or clothing; work on a family tree or baby book.
  • Provide resources: as parents navigate sleep, newborn care or breastfeeding challenges, they are often looking for resources and support. Do the research for them, and send along a document with the latest online offerings - most organizations are now doing consults over Zoom and online workshops. 
  • Schedule regular virtual chats: use an online platform to be able to see your grandchild, get the latest scoop on their development and catch up on what the family might need.
  • Do in-person visits at a distance: physical distancing doesn’t mean you can’t see your grandchild in person! Arrange for a “driveway visit” so you can watch your grandchild grow.

None of these suggestions replace the real joy you will get from holding, feeding or rocking your grandchild, and we acknowledge that difficult reality. This being said, newborn babies sleep a lot and don’t yet distinguish between caregivers’ faces. By the time you’re able to hold your new grandbaby, they will be awake and alert, ready to study your face and bond with you. As they say: “the best is yet to come!”