There is nothing like experiencing holidays with baby. So many firsts. First turkey, first Christmas lights, first presents, first holiday photos. But what about the other firsts? What about the first overnight visits, first plane rides, and first long car trips? Let’s talk tips and tricks for doing the holidays with baby.
Eating – Own It!
Bottles, boobs or formula, you have the right to feed the way you feed. Babies can respond differently to eating in a new place. Adding a feeding cover or changing to a bottle can add a challenge to an already distracting situation. It’s OK to only go the places that support what you are doing to feed your baby. Your shouldn’t be sitting by yourself in a room so you can have your boobs out to feed baby.
Flying – Know the rules and have a plan
TSA is a great place to start. This site can tell you how much you can bring and what TSA will do as you go through.
For formula eaters, water is available on the other side of the checkpoint. Ready to eat formula is a great option if you don’t want to use regular bottled water. Single serve formula packets are available for some brands. Have double the amount needed in your carry-on in case of delays.
Having a plan is key. Know what your comfortable with in publicly breastfeeding and plan accordingly. If you anticipate pumping and traveling the extra money for a cordless breast pump might be worth it. If planning on pumping, make sure your pump is fully charged before leaving the house. You don’t want to have to compete for a plug with everyone’s phones and computers at the airport. Some pumps have car charger options. Car changing USB adapters can be found on Amazon. Pump compatible nursing bra’s as well as nursing covers work well if you want to pump discreetly. Certain breast pumps, like the Willow, fit inside a bra cup. Wearing baby not only gives you free use of both hands, its a good way for baby to eat from the breast on the go.
While its nice not to have to pay for babies ticket, riding in your lap can mean sore arms for you and can be hazardous in an emergency. Check here to see if you infant/child seat is FAA compatible. Gate check your baby gear. Babywear to free up your hands for that coffee and to comfort baby in the new environment. Pre-board if you can. Babies will need to eat or suckle during take off and during descent to release pressure in their ear drums.
Holidays with Baby – Car rides
This is another area to plan ahead. You’ll need to stop to do feeds. Both because its the safest way to feed and to give baby a break from the car seat. A car seat is a reclined, semi-upright position, not recommended for newborn napping. It’s important that baby is positioned in the car seat correctly so that they are not folded down with their chin on their chest. If possible, put an adult in the backseat with baby to monitor their positioning and breathing.
– Sleeping –
Babies sleep patterns may seem random. They are complex and governed by developmental patterns that are hard to predict or interpret. What we can do is give baby as much predictability as possible in a new sleeping situation. Recreating a sleep environment with sights, sounds, and smells that are familiar encourages a feeling of safety. As a result, baby feels more secure sleeping in the new environment. In addition, you could use a pack and play sheet that smells like you, portable sound machine, the same bath gel, and play/sing the same songs.
It’s OK to say NO. It’s OK to do what works for your new family.
Own your needs. Play the baby card to stay home or request people contribute to dinner by bringing sides. Cater that meal. Ask people to contribute to a charity instead of giving you one more rattle or onesie. Hire a postpartum doula holiday help to give you a chance to do the things that are important to you during the holidays. Set aside expectations, your own or others, to enjoy the firsts. Your family is worth it.