Welcome to the December Carnival of Breastfeeding. After reading my post make sure to check out the other participants’ posts linked to at the bottom of this one.
My first daughter was three months old when she had her first Christmas. She was already a little person who was easily overstimulated, cried lots and needed to be close to her mommy at all times. Needless to say, on her first Christmas we breastfed a lot!
I read back on her first Christmas experiences in her baby book to bring that day back to life. Here’s how the day went:
Everyone came to our house to celebrate. With a new baby and all, it only made perfect sense that we shouldn’t have to travel. All in all there were eight of us. Not too bad, but about six more than my daughter could handle.
Luckily, even though I was officially the host, no one thought I should cook. My mom, step-mom and sister-in-law did all the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day cooking, which left me to tend to my daughter.
Her favorite things about Christmas were the lights on the tree. I lay her underneath the tree on her blanket so she could look up into the branches just like I used to as a child. She stared at whichever ornament was closest to her and batted her little arms around in excitement when I swung it around. She reminded me of a partially paralyzed cat, stalking her prey with her eyes but being unable to pounce.
My dad is a boisterous person. He loves to play and be silly. I certainly get my wacky side from him, but early on realized I needed to tone it waaaay down around my daughter. We played Cranium Christmas Eve night and no one could guess the Pictionary drawing my dad was trying to do. As the timer ran out, in frustration he poured a whole glass of water over his head. We still didn’t get it. “Shower! He was taking a shower!” he shouted, standing up and roaring with laughter. We all laughed back, scolding and shouting for a towel. The baby of course had no idea what was happening and burst into tears. To soothe her? We breastfed.
Her favorite gift was a froggie toy. It was soft, eye catching and didn’t make any sudden moves. Her least favorite gift was a life jacket. Probably because we put it on her and it was four times too big. Of course, we all laughed, which didn’t help but hurt her baby feelings. Now at age five she loves it because she loves going boating with her daddy, but back then it was just another scary, confusing event.
After Christmas dinner at end of Christmas Day everyone left, and she threw up. A lot. It’s not like I was feeding her any of my rock star Vegan Pumpkin Pie or anything. I think it was a delayed reaction to all the stress. That maybe coupled with the fact that she needed to nurse so often during the two-day family visit her tummy had more milk in it than it could hold.
I birthed a high needs baby. If you have one or end up celebrating Christmas with one, here are a few tips:
- Breastfeed often.
- Do your shopping when baby is asleep. As soon as mine noticed we were in a crowded place she zonked off anyway.
- Have someone else host dinner. You don’t need to be running around tending to the stove and guests when your baby needs you.
- Respect your baby’s cues. If your baby is unhappy being passed around, don’t pass him or her around.
- As much as possible, breastfeed away from the group. Your baby will benefit from the stillness and quiet. He or she just may fall asleep too, thus giving you more time to socialize.
- Wear your baby. Your baby needs to stay close to you, feel you, smell you and be comforted by you. By wearing your baby you can also keep your arms free to open gifts or pass the butter.
- Go for a walk. Bundle your baby warmly and ask for company. Fresh air calms and refreshes everyone.
- Enjoy the day. Your baby can pick up on maternal stress so keeping mom happy will help keep baby happy.
Check out these posts by the other carnival participants:
Taking care of yourself and your baby during the holidays at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog
Looking after yourself during the holidays: 7 tips for the breastfeeding mom at Breastfeeding Mums
How to take care of ourselves during the holidays at Happy Bambino
Breastfeeding and holidays at The adventures of Lactating Girl
The holidays and being a breastfeeding mom at Mommy News and Views
Motherhood statement at Accidental Pharmicist
Breastfeeding and dehydration at Breastfeeding 1-2-3
Don’t forget to pump at Chronicles of a Nursing Mother
A breastfeeding holiday poem at Mama Knows Breast
Mother’s Christmas at Cave Mother
Breastfeeding Advice For The Holidays at Blacktating