• Leanne Ammon

Keep Your Baby Safe at Christmas

Ah, Christmas. Time for cheer, merriment and indulgence. It can be easy to forget that your tiny bundle of joy doesn’t really know it’s Christmas and might be wondering what on earth is going on. All babies are different, we know. They are little people with their own personalities and sensitivities. Just like some of us thrive in party situations, there are those that cannot stand it and prefer the cosy quiet of home. Babies are exactly the same and Christmas, with all the lights, music and people, can be a stressful and confusing time for them. Here are some things to keep in mind before the festivities are truly under way.

Your baby’s temperament: All babies love to be snuggled up with mummy or daddy. In fact, this is most likely the only place they want to be for at least the first six months of their life. Well, it’s warm, it smells and feels familiar, and it feels great to be held close. Who wouldn’t love that! Throw in the chaos that is Christmas, and baby might just be left feeling a little overwhelmed. The sudden onslaught of bright lights, the music that is suddenly on all the time, the relatives who all want a cuddle and a kiss. It can get too much for a tiny person! It can get too much for us!

To be honest, the lights are probably a really fun thing for your baby to look at. New and developing eye sight is still a novelty and soft, twinkly lights can be something to practise their focus as well as giving them something quite nice to look at. Babies in general are fascinated by lights.

Music can also be a lovely sensory experience for babies, as long as isn’t too loud. Loud music might be overwhelming for them, but again, all babies are different. A baby with a more sensitive temperament might not be able to cope with too much noise. Other babies might really enjoy it! Watch your baby for signs that they are either enjoying it or struggling with it and adjust the volume accordingly.

The relatives. It’s a time to see friends and loved ones you haven’t perhaps seen for a year or longer. For very new babies, even grandparents may probably still feel like strangers until they get to know them properly, so to be faced with relatives they’ve never seen before might be confusing and stressful. Newborns still only want their mummy or daddy, and toddlers who may be feeling a little insecure with all the noise and fuss of Christmas definitely only want mummy or daddy! So bearing this mind, even when you know your friends or relatives are itching for a cuddle, will help keep your little one feeling safe and secure enough to start enjoying the social side of Christmas.

Oh, the food. Wherever you look, food is usually the main event with every Christmas gathering. Tiny tummies are still adjusting to this new world of digesting solids, and while you might want your toddler to have a bit of everything, its worth bearing in mind that they’re digestive systems might not be able to cope as well as ours. Mind you, I don’t think we fair much better, if all the indigestion remedy adverts are anything to go by! So, by all means allow your child to taste things they seem interested in (providing you know it is safe and a non allergen for them) but don’t let them indulge too much. It wouldn’t be fair for them to feel ill or get a tummy upset just because of too many rich foods.

Quiet time. I know when I need a break from the general busy-ness of Christmas. I can sense myself getting mentally fatigued and I can take myself off to the bedroom for a five minute re-coop, or for a quick ten minute walk to clear my head. Babies don’t have the luxury of emotional self regulation or the means by which to communicate how they feel. The only way you’ll know if they need a break from it all is if they are crying or, in toddlers, if they are unusually clingy. Allow them some space too then if they need it. Chances are, you know exactly how they feel!

Have a safe and happy Christmas!

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