By moms. For moms.

5 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays When You Have a New Baby

5 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays When You Have a New Baby

tips for enjoying the holidays when you have a new baby

5 tips for enjoying the holidays when you have a new baby

The holidays bring merriment and memory-making but also a glut of events, expenses, and demands on your resources, which can be especially challenging with a new baby. Your baby doesn’t care if you have cookies to bake, lights to string, or presents to wrap. With disturbances to the predictable routine and overstimulating visits with the extended family, babies rely on you for physical and spiritual nourishment even more now. We’ve collected our best tips for reducing stress and ensuring an enjoyable holiday season!

1. Strategize your partygoing.

holidays with babies

During the holidays, you’ll probably receive invitations to parties and other gatherings. These can be difficult to attend with a little one, but with some careful planning, you can still be part of the fun. Before you make plans, consider what your baby’s temperament and routine are during that time of day. If you have a partner or other family members and friends joining you, discuss an exit strategy and let the hosts know how long you’ll be able to stay so no one is caught off guard. Sometimes it may make more sense to divide and conquer—with one partner attending the party with the older children, while the other stays home with the baby. It may not be the ideal scenario, but it prioritizes your baby’s needs.

2. Make travel easier.

tips for surviving the holidays, babywearing

Traveling during the holidays can be fun, but it comes with its own set of challenges. With the right preparation, you can ensure a smoother trip. If you plan to fly, give yourself an extra hour or two at the airport to allow time for nursing or unexpected delays. While on the plane, swaddle your infant, wear easy nursing clothing, and time your feedings to help alleviate the cabin pressure of takeoff and landing. Make sure to bring your pump and pump parts, cleaning wipes, storage containers, plastic bags, coolers, and other necessary items in your carry-on luggage.

If you’re driving long distances, plan to pull over at rest stops often for feeding sessions and snuggle time. Many mothers find it helpful to travel at night when the baby would be sleeping anyway. Make sure you have a stash of extra clothing for you and your baby, plastic or Ziploc bags for soiled items or trash, changing pads, diapers, wipes, and other essentials. If possible, sit in the back with your baby so you can soothe him or her as needed.

If you’re staying in a hotel, look for rooms with a mini-fridge so you can store your breast milk. Bring along your baby’s comfort items and plenty of extras, like a white noise machine or music soother to help your baby sleep in an unfamiliar space.

3. Do what makes you comfortable.

comfort while nursing, nursing in front of family

New moms vary in how comfortable they are with breastfeeding in front of relatives. If you're uncomfortable, that’s okay. You can use a nursing cover or go somewhere more private. Slipping away to nurse gives you and your baby an excuse to have some quiet time. Try not to worry about missing out on the action. Family and friends will probably jump at the chance to help you, whether you need a glass of water or a comfortable place to nurse.

For some new moms, having company in their own home actually works best, in spite of having to play host. You’ll have plenty of private space to nurse and pump, and you won’t have to lug all your supplies with you. When your baby is tired, you can make the transition to the swing or crib of choice, tucked away from the main festivities. Entertaining with a baby may seem difficult, but don’t hesitate to divvy up the responsibilities and ask others to contribute a dish or help with cleanup.

4. Make smart food and drink choices.

food when nursing, snacks for nursing

Most babies do not suffer from indigestion caused by foods their mother eats. However, if you have a little one who seems to be uncomfortable after every meal, you may want to limit certain foods that increase gas: cruciferous vegetables, beans, onions, bran, peaches, prunes, and dairy. Having traces of these foods in your breast milk can cause trouble within two hours of a feeding and can take up to three days to completely leave your system.

Eating an abundant, varied diet with sufficient calories is the best way to maintain your milk supply and feel good all around. There’s not a lot of great research into foods that impact milk supply, but mothers with concerns about their supply may want to skip foods seasoned with a large amount of sage or parsley; they may also want to avoid mint-flavored teas and sweets. But don’t forget to have an oatmeal cookie for dessert!

5. Don’t worry about what others think.

Tips for surviving the holidays

No matter your situation, it’s common to encounter family and friends with strong opinions about how others parent. Breastfeeding around family and friends can sometimes invite unsolicited questions or comments regarding your personal choices. It can seem like everyone has an opinion about when to feed, how much or how often a baby is eating, when to introduce table foods, and when a child should be weaned. Devising a brief response and a way of changing the subject can cut through family tension without too many hard feelings. And remember that you have the right to remove yourself from any situation that’s uncomfortable, family or not.

You are all your child needs for a happy holiday.

enjoying holidays with newborn

When you have young children, the holidays can be especially exciting but equally challenging and stressful. It’s okay to limit your activities and commitments and to scale back the celebrations. It’s more important that everyone has an enjoyable time rather than fitting in every activity. Choose the holiday schedule and traditions that create unity, fun, and enjoyment for your family for years to come. Being with the ones you love is truly the best holiday activity, and these moments are ones you’ll cherish.

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