Our last post focused on how to keep the holidays an enjoyable time for the family when popping out to parties and activities, or hosting guests in your home. In this post, we’re sharing tips for staying with families over the Holidays for breastfed babies, and their parents.
This time of year can be a very magical one, or it can be hectic and stressful. When you add a breastfed baby into the mix, schedules become important. Downtime transforms from a nice to have into a must.
Babies are very sensitive to their environment. When you travel and stay in a new place for any length of time, it can be exhausting for your little one. New or unfamiliar people will be asking to hold the baby, and even watching them for stretches of time. There might be other kids and loud noises. Then you have the general lights and decorations for the holidays.
Tip: Be sure to schedule in down time before naps. Pay attention to your baby’s cues. If they’ve recently gone down to one nap, maybe adding that second one in while traveling can help minimize tears and keep these days magical.
Generally people will want to hold and snuggle your baby. Speak with your nuclear family ahead of time and decide what your boundaries are: Who can and cannot hold your baby? What are the deciding factors?
The holidays and cold and flu season overlap. Some families will decide that they are the only ones to hold infants in order to protect them. For others, vaccinations are the deciding factor. And other families use trust and gut instinct when deciding who to allow to hold their baby. Find what works for your family and decide this ahead of time. This will allow you to communicate this to friends and family and have any necessary conversations around your boundaries. When communicating, it can help to have the partner who is the direct relation to the friends or family explain the boundary.
New Sleeping Situations
There’s a good chance if your little one is sleeping like a rockstar at home, you have a pretty set bedtime routine. Sound machine, perfect temperature, and a cozy crib all combine for the perfect sleeping tonic. In a new house though, you might be working with a playpen instead of a crib, rooms might not be so dark. Things can just be different. And it’s tough for your baby to cope.
Tip: Try to control your environment the best that you can. Popup sleep tents are great ways to make sure you have a dark and cozy place for your little one to sleep. Figure out the noise situation ahead of time, either using your phone, borrowing an Alexa from your hosts, etc. Being prepared can help minimize stress.
While you might think that your baby’s food situation won’t change while traveling, think again. You are likely to be eating and drinking different foods while you are away from home. This can change the taste of your breast milk.
Tip: Watch strong flavors and pay attention to what you are eating. If your baby reacts strongly, it might be because you have tried something new or eaten something that they are not used to.
Remember to Hydrate
You aren’t Rumpelstiltskin. While you can make liquid gold, you can’t make it from straw. While you are watching what you eat and making sure that you are eating enough (and enough of the good stuff), you also have to remember to drink enough water.
If you plan to drink this holiday season as a breastfeeding mama, keeping your feeding schedule is important. We love to hand express or pump milk ahead of time and have a bottle that we know our baby will take on hand. This takes the guesswork and the stress out of having a drink with friends and family and keeps your baby safe and happy as well. If you don’t typically give your baby a bottle, try a few practice runs ahead of the big event.
Tip: If your baby is fighting the bottle, try a calmer and quieter place to feed them. Babies can get distracted and overwhelmed.