Holidays are a stimulating, even over-stimulating, time for a baby. Especially if this is your baby’s first holiday season, there is likely to be a lot more going on than usual. Between parties and family, shopping and looking at lights, and other situations full of crowds of strangers, your baby may need a break. Here are a few tips to avoid an over-stimulated baby.
1. Keep Up the Routine
As much as you can, keep the same general structure that your baby is accustomed to. Don’t skip feeding and sleeping times.
2. Carry Familiar Items
If your child has a toy animal or doll that seems to spread calm, bring it. The more unfamiliar the surroundings, the more comforting familiar items and faces will be.
3. Explain What Is Happening
If your child is beginning to talk, the content of what you say might actually be helpful. For a baby who doesn’t yet understand your words, just the periodic sound of your voice will be reassuring.
4. Take Breaks
Before your baby gets anxious, take a break. Sing, talk, sway, or do whatever your baby finds soothing. If you will be in a noisy environment—a New Year’s Eve celebration, for example—build a relatively quiet break time into your plans.
5. Follow Your Baby’s Cues
Follow your baby’s lead. When your child starts pushing and getting restless, it’s time for a break. If you wait, you risk a meltdown, which could be far more uncomfortable for all involved. Just excuse yourself briefly for some rest time, to breastfeed, or just to go into a quiet place and talk face to face.
6. Wear Your Baby
When you wear your baby facing you, it is easy for you to face out talking while the baby turns in when she wants to. She isn’t stuck facing the unfamiliar with no way to make it stop. If she can nuzzle in your neck, she has a positive choice to make when facing out it too much.
Friends meeting your baby for the first time will want to hold and talk, but that during that phase at about 4 to 24 months old, most babies will not want to be passed around. Let this first introduction be at a distance if that is what your baby needs.
Give your child the best chance to be at his best when he meets friends and family for the first time. He won’t care about making an impression, but a lot of eager people really do have a genuine desire to get to know him. Help them both by bridging their expectations and being your baby’s refuge when holiday parties get to be just too much.