This year, many of our holiday celebrations will be smaller than usual. Although this isn’t ideal, it does happen to create a healthier environment for your newborn—fewer people means less exposure to germs. However, even the smallest of gatherings can be a challenge for new parents and their babies, making the holidays seem less jolly and more stressful.
Here are some ways you can keep your little one healthy and happy during the busy holiday season:
Keep a Sleep Schedule
Infants need a lot of sleep—it helps them with brain development and physical growth. Although it is tempting to forgo their nap schedule in lieu of holiday festivities, try to keep everyone on a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. Besides keeping a sleep schedule, it is also important to keep your baby on a regular feeding schedule. This will ensure your baby is getting everything he needs to feel his best.
Babies cannot regulate their body temperature, and they can’t tell you if they are too hot or too cold. When staying indoors, cover their heads and feet to keep heat from escaping and then start with thin layers such as a long t-shirt over an onesie. More clothes can be added if they are still too cold. Are you headed outdoors? Layer your baby up in a winter coat or snowsuit.
Limit Your Travel
If there was ever a time to embrace virtual celebrations, it is now. But, if you must travel this holiday season, limit your trips to short driving distances so your baby isn’t in a car for long periods. Although car seats are necessary, babies are not meant to be in them for long periods of time—it is hard on their necks and heads.
BYOS—Bring Your Own Stuff
If you find yourself visiting other homes, bring your own baby supplies with you—such as an extra set of clothing, diapers, blankets, and a pop-up sleep area. Keep in mind that not all homes are built for babies, and bringing your own stuff will ensure your child will have everything she needs.
For parents, holiday expectations—such as buying presents and putting up lights—are high. When you couple those high expectations with the need to care for a new baby, stress can take its toll on you physically and emotionally. Say no to those activities that zap your energy and keep you from getting the rest you need. This may include opting out of a family gathering or even gently saying “no” to unsolicited parenting advice from well-meaning relatives.
Avoid Public Places
While I encourage new moms and babies to get out and soak up as much vitamin D as possible, try and keep your outings to the backyard or walks around the neighborhood. If you do go out in public—with or without baby—be sure to wash your hands as soon as you get in the car.
Wash Your Hands
If there is anything positive that has come out of this pandemic, it is the importance of washing your hands. Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease. Continue to ask visitors to wash their hands before visiting and holding your baby. I suggest keeping alcohol-based hand sanitizer in convenient locations throughout your home.
Get Your Vaccinations
While children younger than six months are still too young to get some vaccinations, they are still at risk for some serious illnesses, including the flu and whooping cough. Make sure you—as well as family, friends, and other caretakers–are up to date with vaccinations before gathering to celebrate.
This truly is the most wonderful time of the year—especially when you get to celebrate with your new baby. Be flexible with your plans keeping the needs of you and your baby at the forefront of all decision-making.
Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussions about health and medical issues and is provided as an entertainment and informational resource only. It is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. This blog is opinion based and these opinions do not reflect the ideas, ideologies, or points of view of any potentially affiliated organization. The information on this blog may be revised and/or otherwise managed.