. Baby's First Holidays - Manitoba Parent Zone

Baby's First Holidays

Your baby’s first holiday season can be both an exciting and overwhelming time for both parents and baby. Depending on when your baby arrived, the holidays might be her first appearance at a family gathering – or she might be close to her first birthday! There are several things you can do to have fun, and help lessen the stress of the holiday season for both your little one and for you.

One thing you can count on – this holiday will be different than last year! Some basics to start with:

  • Bring a favourite blanket or toy and know ahead of time where a comfy and safe place to nap is, in case visits run long.
  • Recognize that visits might have to be cut short if baby gets tired or over–stimulated. It helps to know your baby’s cues–does she fuss, look away, or get sleepy when she’s had enough?
  • Some babies love to socialize and visit, and some aren’t interested or plain don’t like it. Go with your baby’s lead.
  • If you are visiting at someone else’s home, unless they have children, the home may not be childproofed. You can consider asking ahead of time and see if there is anything you can bring, such as a portable baby gate, to make things safer and easier for everyone.

If you have a partner, check in with him or her around her expectations for visits and family. Some of us are social butterflies, and some are more introverted. Communication is key! When visiting with family, there are things you can do to make the visit go smoothly.

  • Enlist the help of family members for baby care tasks – chances are good that you will have some eager helpers. It’s great if you know in advance who can help with a feeding or diaper change, and it will allow you some time to relax and socialize.
  • For some parents, it feels fine for baby to be passed around to every auntie and uncle in the room, but for other parents, it feels overwhelming. Whichever option feels better for you, tell a trusted family member and have them help relay the message.
  • Consider that the holidays provide a great socialization opportunity for your baby. Meeting new people can contribute to your baby’s overall development.

Bring lots of supplies! It is smart to always have more than you need, in case of the unexpected – cars don’t start and snow storms happen, so better to be prepared!

  • Make a list in case you end up running late – which is normal with a new baby.
  • Tuck some hand sanitizer into your bag, to prevent the spread of germs in the cold and flu season.
  • Extra changes of clothes are always a good thing.
  • If your baby has a comfort item, consider bringing this, too. Blankies or familiar toys can help soothe a fussy baby.

That holiday outfit is adorable...but is it comfortable?

  • Consider how your little one will handle an evening in crinkly lace or a high, buttoned collar.
  • Once you get those pictures in, consider an outfit change - he might be happier in a festive sleeper or romper.
  • Bring several extra comfy outfits – it never hurts.

If you have a busy crawler, keep an eye for safety hazards. One way that babies explore their world is through their mouths, so be mindful that some items might look delicious to your little one, even if they’re not. You might consider getting on your hands and knees, and taking a view from your baby’s perspective.

  • Mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are poisonous and might look tasty to your little one.
  • As well, be aware of lit candles, breakable ornaments, or any decoration small enough to be a choking hazard.
  • Adults often love the rich and sugary treats that come along with the holiday season, but for babies new to solids, new foods can cause stomach upset or even trigger an allergy.
  • With foods, stick to what you know, or bring your own meals for baby.

If travelling is part of your holiday plans, the Government of Canada also offers great tips and precautions when travelling with children.

The holidays are a great time to make memories and start new traditions with your family. Consider starting a collection or scrapbook for your baby, or get a picture in the same spot each year to show how your little one has grown. And don’t forget to have fun! Your little one will grow fast, so enjoy each moment with them.

Here are some other great links to help keep the holiday season fun and safe:

Health Canada: Tips for holiday safety

Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner: Holiday Fire Safety

KidsHealth: Making the Holidays Safe