The holidays are a time of excitement, bright lights, holiday cheer, carols and a whole lot of go, go, go. If it’s your little one’s first or second Christmas, it’s an even more exciting time because you are in memory making mode and want to do all of the things that make the holidays magical. While this is great, you might want to consider taking a couple of extra steps to make the most of this wonderful time of the year with your baby or toddler.
The excitement, noise, and constant go can easily over stimulate your little one to the point of melt down, which makes things a little more stressful and less jolly. What can you do to prepare and make your gatherings more enjoyable? If you aren't traveling this year, these tips are also great to use at home.
1. Have a quiet place prepared
Ensure you have a quiet area that you can sneak away to when you notice your little one getting overwhelmed. If you are traveling somewhere, talk about this in advance with your host. You will not be off putting and they will be more than glad to prepare a “safe” space. Giving a couple days notice will allow them plenty of time to prepare a guest room or available space so your little one can calm down and potentially nap before rejoining the fun.
2. Simplify the number of traditions
The first Christmas for our daughter was an absolute whirlwind and I remember stressing to get every little bit of magic out of it. Hindsight, my stress and determination to fit everything in actually made it more stressful for her. We had to work so hard to get smiles and ensure she napped (Surprise, stressed babies don’t nap well). The second year we vowed to be better. We chose three traditions that were a must and didn’t stray from that list. We ended up adding a fourth, but things were so much more relaxed and we enjoyed the moments that much more.
3. Take a baby carrier
Everyone wants to hold the new little one, but there comes a point where littles tend to not want to be held. There will also be a point where your little might keep going after the lights or that beautiful train on the floor. The easy solution for this, a baby carrier! You get to keep your hands, your little won’t be passed back and forth and they stay safe from those pretty, pretty things.
4. Maintain a schedule
It’s very easy to throw a baby's schedule out the window in lieu of family time, events, and everything else that comes along with the holidays. Try to maintain their schedule, as much as possible, by coordinating family events around nap times or removing yourself to stick to that schedule. Your baby will be happier and you won’t have to manage a fussy, worked up baby who missed nap time.
5. Accept Help
Your family and friends are more than happy to help with holiday prep or feeding and taking care of the baby. There are no holiday trophies for doing everything on your own, so sit back and accept the offers of help. My mind tends to go a mile a minute during the holidays and I always felt like an imposition when someone asked to help me. How silly is that? They were offering help without me asking and I felt bad. So momma, I am here to say.. Take the help! Take a minute to slow down and take in the room and the atmosphere. Enjoy a conversation that doesn’t revolve around baby and have a very happy holiday.
Bonus Tip: Take Care of Yourself
If you are breastfeeding, keep your schedule. Whether that means pumping or maintaining the feeding schedule you have, do what you need to prevent discomfort and the potential of mastitis. This will also help prevent a decrease in supply.
Nap when your baby naps. Yes, that is the age old advice, but during the holidays a 20 minute power nap can be extremely refreshing.
Eat, drink and be merry. It’s easy to set your needs aside when baby needs something. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, eating and setting yourself up for success so you can enjoy those special holiday firsts.
What holiday tips do you live by? We’re making a list, not necessarily checking it twice, but we’d love to share with all of our nice customers.