The colorful lights, gathering with family, and the excitement of spending your first holiday season with baby. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? And then the crying starts, again.
The reality of baby’s first holiday season can be a lot less rosy than you thought. Schedules are a mess and so is your little one. But it can be as merry and bright as you make it, with a few tricks and tips to help fill this season with good cheer.
Rein it All In
It’s true that having a baby changes your perception of everything. Suddenly, you’re reconsidering those beautiful decorations you’ve lovingly placed each year. Each ornament, tabletop centerpiece, and strand of garland is viewed from the standpoint of: Can they fit this in their mouth? And, what happens if they do? Simplify your safety concerns by scaling back, placing heavy items on high shelves or tables, and keep the questionable or dangerous items tucked away; we’re looking at you, glitter. You may not be able to deck the halls as heartily this year but that just means it’s less to clean up.
The holidays are synonymous with lots of family and framily gatherings, and for many years, you may have bounced around from place to place. This year, though, things are different, and it’s okay to put your foot down. While you may be up to all the festivities (or not, you’re exhausted), baby is definitely not ready. Let your loved ones know early on that you may not be present for as long or at all this year. Your family matters, but this new family you’ve made should come first.
The same approach as mentioned above should apply to your day-to-day schedules. It might be tempting to take baby on a quick gift run but let’s be honest, no place is fast during the holidays. Not to mention all of the germs flying around wherever you go. While you don’t need to barricade yourself indoors, just keep in mind that baby tires much faster than you, and schedule accordingly.
Make a Plan and Check it Twice
Don’t just survive the holidays; enjoy them! The best way to do that is to create a schedule plan and stick to it – and do your best to vary it as little as possible from baby’s day-to-day. One trick to remember is that if baby has to miss a nap, try to make it the later-day nap. Missing a morning snooze will be sure to set the mood for the rest of the day, and it won’t be a good one. Let them make up for it by going to bed earlier, too.
Things You’ll Need
When you’ll be gone for hours, it’s tempting to stuff the diaper bag full to cover all the what-ifs. You don’t have to lug around a Santa-sized bag, though. Think of this like a scaled-down overnight bag. Here are a few pointers:
- One diaper for every 2-3 hours plus extras
- Two empty bottles
- Breastmilk or Formula
- One change of clothes
- One blanket
- One pacifier
- One bib and burp cloth
- Sleep sack or swaddle
- Two toys
- Pack of wipes
For more tips on packing the diaper bag, check out The Diaper Bag Checklist now. Some products to consider throwing in to make you a much merrier parent are:
- Formula dispenser: Fit several feeds into one convenient storage container.
- Pacifier wipes: You already know why you need these
- Lovey Pacifier and Teether Holder: Not only will this help prevent the need of the former item, but it will help baby self soothe during all the fuss.
- Travel Caps: For Dr. Brown’s bottles, make sure to remove the vents and pop on the Travel Cap to ensure your breastmilk or formula gets from place to place.
Traveling out of town or overnight with baby is another story, entirely. Actually, it’s another two stories. Check out our articles on Feeding on the Go and Sleeping on the Go for a full list of tips.
Know When Baby’s Cup of Cheer is Overflowing
Getting passed around from person to person is a great way to introduce baby to their big family, but it’s also overwhelming and exhausting for your little one. New sights, sounds, and smells can all be too much to take in. When you arrive at each family get-together, give baby some time in your arms to get used to the hustle and bustle of this new place and when she seems alert and curious, feel free to hand her off.
How do you know when baby is about to go from merry to meltdown? By knowing his cues. Stay close and watch out for signs that he is becoming overstimulated, such as:
- His skin turns pale or bright red
- His breathing quickens
- His movements become jerky or shaky
- He begins to “space out” and doesn’t look at anyone
- He turns away from faces
- He shows signs of drowsiness
Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – your holiday schedules are going to be much simpler and shorter this year with a baby in tow. Keeping it all simple, planning for schedules, diaper bags and traveling, and most importantly, knowing your baby’s cues for being overstimulated will all help you make the holidays easier for both you and baby. For information on the Dr. Brown’s products mentioned in this article, feel free to contact our customer service team. From our family to yours, have a happy holiday season!