Holiday Survival Guide for New Parents - COVID EditionDec 19, 2020
Last year, I created a BLOG post about some of the obstacles that new parents and parents with young children face during the holiday season. These helpful holiday tips are all still very relevant but this year we have an entirely new task at hand— Covid-19. Many new parents may think that this season is far from the most wonderful time of year, and many are struggling with the busy, stressful, and sometimes chaotic activities that come along with the holidays. Let’s take a look at COVID-specific helpful hints to make this holly jolly time of year easier and more enjoyable.
- HOLIDAY GATHERING DECISIONS -
Considering the surge of COVID cases, it is wise to reconsider attending large gatherings, for the safety of you, your partner, and your baby. I know, I know, your family is often very excited to see your new bundle of joy, but your safety AND sanity is of the utmost importance. While it is best to only spend time with the people you quarantine with, if you must meet with others, try to have a solid plan in place. If gathering indoors, decide ahead of time if everyone will mask. Have bottles of hand sanitizer readily accessible. It is also helpful to use as many disposable items as possible.
- BABY CROWD CONTROL -
You are probably sick of hearing about social distancing, but this is a good rule in general with or without the pandemic! Discuss with your partner ahead of time who you will allow to hold or be near the baby. Under no circumstances should anyone that has been sick, even if it was just the common cold, be around you or the baby. Good handwashing (at least 30 seconds with warm water, working up a good lather with soap over the back of the hands and under the nails as well) and sanitizing with hand gel is a MUST. Period. Although everyone will want a chance to hold the baby, during these times, it is not advisable and remember that it is okay to say NO. Baby wearing is a great solution to those open arms reaching for the baby! Some babies (even moms or dads too) get very overstimulated and fussy with all the chaos at large family gatherings, so remember it is always okay to depart early.
- BREASTFEEDING & PUMPING TIPS-
With all the holiday chaos it is very easy to get distracted and forget to stay hydrated, miss a pump session or stay on track with how often your baby is breastfeeding. Staying on the same routine is so important! Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to pump or feed and drink water. The number one thing that impacts milk supply is when moms are not emptying the breast frequently enough. Stress can impact supply as well so delegate whenever possible! It is okay to ask for help! Be mindful of those yummy holiday foods that contain peppermint and sage. Both of these in large quantities may potentially decrease milk supply. Alcohol-yes, you can safely have alcohol if you are pumping or breastfeeding. A good general rule is to nurse or pump then have your drink (1 average serving). Alcohol goes into the blood stream so as long as you are feeling “buzzy” it could potentially get into your milk. When you no longer feel “buzzy” or would feel safe to drive, it is safe to nurse or pump. Usually the time frame is 1-2 hours after you have consumed an alcoholic beverage.
- COVID TESTING -
Should you get tested before you travel/attend a family gathering? As the CDC has advised, not everyone needs to take a test. It is safest to spend the holidays with the people in your household or the people that you have been quarantining with during this timeframe. If you at all feel any symptoms, have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID or believe that you may have, or have been instructed by a healthcare provider to get a test, it is recommended that you get one. However, even if the test comes back negative, it does not absolutely ensure that you will not contract it in the time it takes from the test and when you attend the gathering, all it means is that the test did not detect the virus at the time of the test. With COVID exposure, you may be contagious up to 48 hours before you start showing symptoms. If you have any inclination at all that you have been exposed or may be sick or have COVID, please do not go anywhere and stay at home so that your extended loved ones stay safe and healthy. The majority of positive COVID cases are from being directly exposed to someone who has tested positive.
- COVID HOLIDAY GATHERING ALTERNATIVES-
Get creative! Suggest doing a family Zoom/Skype/Facetime call so you can still see each other’s smiling faces. You can carry out holiday traditions by singing carols, dancing, eating together, praying, playing games and watching each other open presents all via the screen. Another fun idea is to do a holiday drive by where you stay in your car and from a distance wish your family holiday greetings. You can also make creative signs and hold those up or post those in their yard. Outdoor gatherings (weather permitting) may be another option. Attend a virtual holiday concert, church, or play to stay in the spirit. Drop off a meal or your favorite holiday cookies to family and friends. There is no sense in being “Ba Humbug”!
We can all agree that 2020 has been a wild ride and we have missed out some things. For the time being this is our “normal” so let’s make the most of it! We are all in this together so offer yourself a little grace and be flexible.
I, and everyone here at Baby’s Best Beginning, are wishing you and your family a peaceful, happy, safe, and healthy holiday!
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