I’m back at it!
It’s been well over six months since I have found myself able to contribute to the blog world. So many topics to choose from but I decided that with the holiday season creeping up on us it was time to give some Good to Know info.
Holidays bring out the cheer and excitement that no other time of year can compare too. But it also brings out the chaos, manic schedules and sometimes those dreaded visitors. Whether those visitors are relatives, friends or casual acquaintances it can add to the anxiety for any new parent. Now don’t get me wrong, we all love and appreciate visitors who come to help celebrate the holidays, it’s just we would rather some of them keep their opinions to themselves.
Here is a short list of opinions that those sometimes “well meaning” people freely state and some ways to combat them.
Lets start at the beginning of parenthood in pregnancy. When ladies find themselves due around the holidays it can add a new dynamic with visitors either patiently, or not so patiently, waiting for the big day of arrival. Giving a helpful reminder, to all who are questioning, that a “due date” is simply a “guess date” and that as the mother to be you have limited control on when the newest family member decides to make their arrival can sometimes end any further remarks. However, we can’t all be lucky enough to have understanding and patient visitors so here is a wonderful article (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595289/) that lays out the truth behind the risks of induction and more importantly the reason a baby needs to decide on their day of arrival. Those last weeks and days are extremely important with development for baby and also the progress of labor when it does begin. It’s not about others having the opportunity to meet the baby at their convenience, in this scenario it’s most important for mom to be, baby and their bodies to be ready.
Next area of input from visitors tends to be whenever they decide that your breastfeeding journey should be over. Whether they believe that should be at 3 months, 6 months, a year or older doesn’t truly matter since the whole decision is not of their concern. Of course politely responding with “we will decide the best time to end our breastfeeding journey” can usually deter any more input. However, for those strong willed family and friends try referring them to the American Academy of Pediatrics statement which “recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.”* With that strongly worded statement it can leave little to discuss, but if they choose to continue to push their agenda on how you should feed your child you can easily decide its feeding time and give them a cue with a swift release of your breast. Ironically in this day, pulling a breast out to feed your child can still clear a room of visitors.
Lastly another big topic for visiting family and friends over the holidays is when solid food should be given. This topic can be for breastfed or formula fed and usually plays into the topic of weaning. Some first time parents find it hard to say “no, please don’t feed our baby any solids, their digestive system isn’t ready” or “please respect that we will decide when our baby is prepared to eat that”. Especially when it happens to be an older family member or close friend who desperately wants to see the cute, disgusted or excited fast of a babies first taste of food. Try letting them know that every baby develops differently and there are signs to wait for to know your baby is ready to start solids. Those signs are holding their head up on their own with good control, sitting up on their own without any props, opening their mouth when food comes their way, being able to move food from the spoon to their mouth instead of pushing it back out and also their overall age is a big indicator. The AAP recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire. Check with your child’s doctor about the recommendations for vitamin D and iron supplements during the first year.** With that statement you can reassure the “well meaning” loved ones that your child is receiving the exact nutrients they need during these early years.
With these articles to refer too, some strong willed insistence and maybe a sprinkle of ignoring here’s to hoping your holiday season can be opinionated free!