How to Sail Through Baby’s First Holiday Season

Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump Photo: Thinkstock / The Bump

A few of you ladies may know me from The Bump message boards, where I post under my TB login, PeonyPumps. Frequently, during this time of year, many boards see posts about navigating the holiday season with a new baby. Here are a few questions I’ve seen recently:

Baby is only X days/weeks/months old.  Do we even go see family?

How do I make sure baby isn’t passed from person to person all night? (Due to germs, baby’s discomfort, etc.)

How the heck do we get out of the house in one piece?

Should we plan on staying the whole time?

How are we supposed to eat?  In shifts? While feeding/holding/rocking/shushing baby?

Many of these questions are quite common — and questions I  had during my son’s first holiday season. While these concerns subside somewhat as you figure out what works for you, your baby, and your family as they grow and age through multiple holiday seasons, here are a few tips that helped me out during our first holiday seasons.

Watch your time. If you’re out visiting family, you may plan on spending less time at their home than you usually do. In my experience, it was easier for our family to plan gatherings around our son’s sleep and nap times. Yes, we pushed him a bit out of his normal range due to the holidays, but not so much that he was a huge mess the following days. If you have a very small child, stopping by somewhere for an hour or two without planning on staying for a meal can sometimes be the best option.

Wear your baby. I’m a huge fan of wearing your child in a carrier for many other reasons, but around the holidays, it can 100 percent eliminate the feeling that your child is just being handed from person to person around the room. Not many family members will try to take a sleeping baby out of a wrap or carrier on your body.

Always pack extra clothing. No matter how cute an outfit you buy for your child, it always seems they either spit up or have a diaper explosion on it just before a big event. I always keep an extra pair of khakis and either a polo or button down shirt ready for my son in case he soils his outfit prior to an event. I also always try to have a backup for myself as well, because what he gets into typically was also all over me.

Watch for overstimulation. This was a huge one for my son. We’re fairly quiet people at home, so the noise and business is kept to a minimum. However, at holiday gatherings, there are often many people, much noise and lots of commotion. Keeping an eye on your child and quietly pulling them into another room to “change a diaper” — or any other excuse — can give baby a few moments without having to process everything at once and may prevent melt-downs.

What are your favorite holiday tips with children?