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As many of us head to holiday family gatherings, our thoughts have been turning to the challenges of caring for a baby at this busy time.
True help - the kind that allows you to relax and enjoy the season while caring for your baby - can sometimes be a little hard to come by. Here are our suggestions for a few simple things your family and friends can do to really help this holiday season.
Feed you, so you can feed the baby. Well meaning family and friends often want to feed babies, and you can’t blame them. But if you’re breastfeeding this can be a bit complicated. Do you spend precious time pumping so your mother-in-law can get her feeding fix? And what if your baby doesn’t like bottles? The solution: Let your relatives satisfy their urge to nourish by making sure that you’re well fed. While nursing, ask people to bring you plates of whatever yummy thing is out of reach, and as well as a something good to drink.
Encourage you to respect your limits. Chances are you’re up all hours of the night with your baby, so the last thing you need is to get to bed late. And gatherings can take a lot out of you, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. So ask your family and friends to excuse you early from gatherings.
Give plenty of “late passes.” As you know, it takes at least twice as long to get somewhere when you have a baby as when you don’t (who hasn’t discovered a poopy diaper right as they were headed out the door?). Family and friends can be especially patient when moms take longer to leave and arrive. And if they’re traveling with you, they should expect many pit stops.
Give you a break from cooking and cleaning duty. This one should go without saying, but in case you have the urge to get in there and help with cooking and cleaning, your family should be prepared to steer you back to a comfortable chair. There will be plenty of other occasions in future years when you can pitch in.
Hold the baby - if you want. Some moms relish a few moments without a babe in arms, and for others this is a bit distressing. So be clear with your family about how you feel about this. There will be no shortage of volunteers to hold your baby if that’s what you want.
Take pictures and video of you with your family. This may sound silly, but chances are you’re always the one behind the camera. Family and friends can help by taking pictures with you in the frame, for a change. So hand over the camera.
We at Motherlove wish you a lovely holiday season!