A New Mom’s Survival Guide to the Holidays

A New Mom’s Survival Guide to the HolidaysThe holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone.  What with all the family gatherings, presents to buy, traveling and straying from your typical schedule.  For expectant and new moms, the holiday season can be especially trying.  It’s not that you’re in a bad mood or don’t want to celebrate.  There’s just a lot to accomplish and a lot of activity when you are already juggling the anticipation of a new baby or your newborn.

If you are feeling a little scroogey this holiday season, you are not alone.  Many new moms and moms-to-be feel this way.  We’re here to help with our New Mom’s Survival Guide to the Holidays:

Be Prepared:  You may still be figuring out your registry and making lists of items for your nursery, or you may just be getting into the swing of things with your new baby.  All of that preparation really paid off so attack the holiday season the same way.  Discuss you holiday schedule, menus and gift lists with your partner to create a plan for the next few months.  Since you may not be the same size as previous holiday seasons, think about what you’re going to wear to various holiday gatherings too.  Don’t leave shopping for gifts, food or clothes to the last minute.  That will contribute to stress and make you feel overwhelmed.  With a plan in mind, you and your partner can get everything done with enough time to enjoy the season leisurely.

Travel Smart:  This may be the first time you are traveling with your baby.  Make a checklist of what you need to ensure you are both comfortable on your journey and at your destination.  Be sure to bring the items you’ll need for breastfeeding, which may include your breast pump, plenty of extra bottles, breast milk storage, a nursing cover and burp clothes.  Try to leave larger items like your nursing pillow at home and make due to with regular pillows or blankets if you need some help propping your baby.  As you are traveling with baby, try to keep things as calm and routine as possible.  Babies thrive on habitual activities.  Keep feedings and sleep hours as close to normal as you can.  And remember, with a baby, everything takes longer than you think so build in extra time as you travel.  If you are pregnant, be sure to get up and move around regularly on flights or car trips to keep your blood circulating and prevent swelling.  Always have your doctor’s number on hand and know where the closest hospital is in case you need urgent care.

Watch What you Eat and Drink:  With all the deliciousness that may surround you this holiday season, it’s hard not to over-indulge.  During pregnancy, be sure to avoid the foods that are unsafe, such as certain types of fish, alcohol and soft cheeses.  And you’ll probably want to avoid foods that give you indigestion or heartburn.  While breastfeeding, be aware of how new foods may affect your baby and limit alcohol.  You should certainly partake in the tastes of the season, but make sure you are still eating well-balanced meals with plenty of protein and vegetables that good for your baby, whether she’s on the inside or outside.  A stable blood sugar level is good for you, your baby and your breast milk.  If you are longing for cocktail, try a mocktail instead, such as virgin egg nog or sparkling juice.

Avoid Conflict:  When a baby is on the way or already on board, everyone has an opinion.  Between views on breastfeeding and sleep training, to what you are eating and how you are coping with pregnancy and motherhood, someone is bound to say something that irks you.  Adopt the attitude that everyone is entitled to their opinion just as you are entitled to yours.  However, now that you are in charge of this new tiny life, your opinion and your partner’s opinion counts the most.  Avoid conflict when possible, but if someone questions your parenting, simply explain that you are grateful for them respecting your decisions.  End of discussion.  Pass the peas please!

Breathe and Relax:  While you’re trying to please everyone else, gift yourself a little something too.  Chill!  The holidays are supposed to be a fun and festive time with friends and family.  Don’t let a few blips in the road wreck your entire holiday season.  It’s really not good for you or your baby.  In the womb, babies can sense distress and may be affected by elevated cortisone levels released by moms experiencing anxiety.  This hormone can also transfer to newborns and infants through breast milk.  If you’re feeling uptight, step back and take a deep breath. Ask for help; chances are there are tons of family members around who would love to lend a hand, especially if it means they can care for your baby.  Try not to sweat the small stuff.  The bigger things – your health and your baby’s health – are most important.  Use this time to unwind yourself so you are refreshed and ready to tackle a new year.

 

We hope you enjoy your holiday season as a new mom or mom-to-be.  We’re delighted to join you in celebrating this wonderful time in your life!