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Navigating Seasonal Challenges

Updated: Feb 1

Connecticut Family Travel
Traveling with a Baby in Connecticut

These next few months are the busiest and most stressful time of the year for many people. If your due date falls during this time, you may have added stress. How will you handle traveling, family events, or other seasonal activities with a newborn or while heavily pregnant? Should you just stay home this year? Say no to every person who wants to visit? Or is there a way to keep yourself and your family healthy and sane while enjoying time with family and friends? With some extra planning, and a little extra help, you can get through the season without losing your mind. Here are four tips to help you navigate seasonal challenges during your final trimester or with a new baby.

Have Realistic Expectations

Travel, even just across town, can be difficult in your final trimester or with a newborn. Your body is being pushed to its limit and you are likely feeling exhausted and in pain. Before committing to any social obligations, carefully consider what you realistically can handle.

Do family or friends live far away, requiring extensive travel? Consider the risks of going into labor while traveling if you are close to your due date. Different types of travel will have different risks. Travel by air or by car will restrict your movement for extended periods of time. The risk of developing blood clots increases with air travel because of the cramped space and pressurized cabin. Generally, air travel is discouraged during the final month of pregnancy. Speak with your doctor to find out what the risks will be for you based on your pregnancy. Any high-risk factors should discourage you from flying. If you do fly, be sure to stay hydrated, consider wearing compression socks to improve circulation, and move

around as much as possible.

If you will have already given birth, you have other factors to consider. How well will you have recovered? Are you going to have the energy and strength to travel much? Are you up to having people in your home? Also think about the baby. Are there any health concerns? How badly will travel or family get-togethers disrupt their schedule? Are you comfortable leaving the baby in the care of others while you go out? The answers to these questions will help you to set realistic expectations of what you can commit to during this busy season.

Establish Good Routines

This time of year throws everyone off their schedules. This can be especially difficult for newborns. Babies thrive on routine. Travel, having company, or going out, can all disrupt their routine. It is important to maintain feeding and sleep schedules as much as possible. How easily will your baby fall asleep in a crowd? Some babies will sleep through the noise and commotion of a party. Others need a dark and quiet environment. When making plans, find out if the environment you will need is available. An overtired and cranky baby is usually accompanied by overtired and cranky parents and that won’t be enjoyable for anyone.

Having school age children home during school breaks can also disrupt your routine. Instead of getting the kids off to school, you have them home. All day. Plan your activities in such a way that you can keep the baby on their normal schedule.

Connecticut Newborn RSV
Sickness During the Fall Season

Late fall and winter are also especially bad for sickness. Cold, flu, and COVID viruses are on the rise. How can you keep yourself and your family healthy? Be proactive about your health. Don’t be afraid to decline invitations if sickness is going around your family and friend group. If you or your children are immune compromised, you may wish to stay home during cold and flu season. If you do choose to go out, take the necessary precautions to protect your health. Weather can also prove a challenge. Cold temperatures and wet or snowy weather can complicate your plans. When you go out, plan accordingly. Travel may take longer when the roads are slick, so take your time and bring extra blankets and other supplies you may need if you find yourself stranded because of the weather.

Set and Maintain Boundaries

Setting and maintaining boundaries may be the most difficult yet most important thing you can do to minimize stress this time of year. Even if this wasn’t a time that people are expected to get together, a new baby always attracts attention. It is important to have people around you during the first few weeks at home that will ease your stress, not add to it. Before the baby is born, decide what your boundaries are. Some prefer to have time alone, to bond and learn how to be parents. Others want to have trusted family and friends around. Whatever you decide, make your wishes known. Having a baby changes everything. Don’t worry about offending others when you say “no.” As much as you want to spend time with your family and friends, you may need to pass on the parties this year or accept fewer invitations. Your family and friends will understand your decisions. You need to do what is best for your family.

Remember, it is your body and your baby. If you want to establish a no touch zone, you should.

Unwanted belly pats or grabbing hands are never ok! It is your right to limit who is allowed to touch you and the baby, as well as those you feel comfortable holding the baby. If Grandma is unsteady on her feet, feel free to say she can’t carry the baby. You will minimize drama by making your boundaries known and sticking to them. Utilize humor to diffuse tense situations. For example, you could put the phrase “lovable, but not touchable” on a t-shirt or onesie to remind your friends and family to keep their hands to themselves.

Connecticut Postpartum Doula
Get Help From a Tiny Miracles Postpartum Doula

Get Help

Having the right kind of help can be the greatest aid for navigating the challenges of the season. Find allies in your family who will support your decisions. Enlist trusted family and friends to care for older children, or even for the baby, if you need a break. If you decide to attend seasonal functions without the kids, knowing your babies are in capable hands will allow you to enjoy yourself.

A good night’s sleep can mean the difference between enjoying a family function or being completely miserable. Our team of postpartum doulas is ready to help day or night. A daytime helper will be your extra set of hands, lightening the load of your daily responsibilities. A nighttime helper is there to respond to baby’s cries while you get much needed sleep. Contact us today!

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