'Tis the season! Preparing for the holidays with baby.

The holidays are approaching and it is a time when we prepare to share space, food and love with those we care for.  If you have a new baby it is always exciting to be able to show off your new little one with family and friends.   But before this Thursday, it may be a good idea to take some time with your partner and talk about schedules, traditions, and expectations for the day so you know you are on the same page to support each other, avoid family drama and gear up for the first special holiday gathering with you and your newborn.  By knowing what your boundaries are and making sure you and your partner have a plan can help set up the day for success and ensure a happy Thanksgiving!    

Below are a few things you may want to ask yourself and discuss with your partner prior to the big day!

·         How is the care for your little one going to be divided? If you are a new parent, this just may be the time you feel like you want to cut loose back to the days before a baby, as it is easy to assume with all the family around you that you will have a break. While that may be an option for some, it is not always the case.  Remember to stay responsive and attentive to your partner and baby’s needs during this time.  Perhaps create a catch phrase or word that will signal your partner that you need some help without them having to ask for it in front of the entire group.

·         If your baby is brand new, are you comfortable with baby being passed around to different family or guests? If you are not, make sure you and your partner have each other’s back when enforcing it.  ***This really applies to any parenting decision you have made that may raise a family member’s opinion/advice.  Stick together and be confident in the decisions you have made for your family, and remember, you know what’s best for your baby.   

·         Be clear on your expectations of the day with your family prior to the holiday.  For some, family traditions run deep and having a change in a tradition may throw family members for a loop.  Skip the intensity of dealing with it on Thanksgiving Day and give extended family a head’s up if needed.

·         Discuss arrival and departure times that work for you, your partner and baby.  If you would prefer to see how the day goes instead, discuss and devise a signal to let each other know when it is time to go and stick to it!  If you do plan a times in advance, let your host know if you can before Thursday what time you will not only be arriving but also departing.

·         Though there is nothing controversial about breastfeeding, you may or may not be comfortable breastfeeding in front of certain family members.  If you are a new mom and still working on establishing breastfeeding or would perhaps prefer a quiet private place without the commotion of the festivities around you, talk in advance with your host so you and baby can feel relaxed and comfortable.  Partners make sure you support mom during this time.  

·         Be respectful of your partner’s thoughts and feelings, becoming a parent can give you a whole new set of emotions and insecurities that may feel intensified when at large gatherings like holidays.  

If you have already been through a holiday with a new baby was there anything you weren’t prepared for during your first holiday/family gathering, or was better than you imagined?  What are your suggestions for new parents?  


Something New

Starting something new, no matter how much you prepare, can bring a variety of emotions.   Pride & Joy Doula Services started with just an idea in my head 3 years ago, pregnant with my third child.  Beyond my formal college education of Family Social Science I have put in much preparation, education and work for today, the day I launch my business.  The thoughts, worries, excitement and anticipation are all creating a rollercoaster of feelings inside of me.  Am I ready?  Did I prepare enough?  What if I make a mistake?  What if I forget something important? I hope my clients will like me!  I know what I want to achieve but will I have the willpower to push through when times get tough?

I sat down and closed my eyes, took a deep breath in and reassured myself, “This is what I am passionate about, and this is what I want to do. This works for my family.”  As my heart rate began to slow, I remembered that I have support. I felt comforted in the thought that I do indeed have backup and I have surrounded myself with not only friends and family that are supportive of my venture but I  enlisted the support of few key others that are professionals in the community of helping new families that I can call on if I need them.   I have exercised my insecurities with this lucky group of individuals before and have always felt more at ease, determined and supported in a way that was different than what family and friends could provide.  They helped me ask myself the right questions for my desired outcomes, they gave me their educated support, guided me when I had questions and have been in similar situations as I had been in so I know they can empathize with me if I fall.   

When I thought of this I couldn’t help but smile to myself as really it is not that much different than hiring a doula. When we learn we are pregnant we often prepare and educate to the best of our ability. Yet it is hard to not feel some emotions of uncertainty that can cloud the excitement and happiness that you are feeling for your new arrival.  It makes sense to surround yourself with support for a successful outcome no matter what the venture and having a baby is no different.   

Starting something new whether a new business, career or having a child is a big deal.  It is going to impact your life and lives of the people around you.  You are going to have great triumphs and small setbacks and finding the right support can be your first step to success.  If you are thinking of hiring and antepartum or postpartum doula I would be so honored to be able to a part of your support system.

When you have started something new, what has helped you keep your confidence and guide you toward success?