During the holiday season, families gather together to reminisce, exchange gifts, eat, and socialize. When babies are a part of the family, many relatives may be excited to meet and spend time with their families’ newest additions.
Infant feeding can create some challenges for parents and caregivers, as their family members may be unfamiliar with their preferred feeding methods. There are several ways that babies are fed. Here is some information and tips on how to encourage family members to support parents and caregivers, no matter how they may feed their babies.
Breastfeeding is a common means of infant feeding for families. Breastfeeding mothers need support from family to make the process easier. During the holiday season, help breastfeeding mothers by helping provide a relaxing place for them to nurse. Bring them water and snacks to help them stay hydrated and nourished.
Mothers who pump (whether part-time or full-time) need the same support. Give them a clean and comfortable place to pump. Assist with washing and sterilizing their pump parts and baby’s bottles. And since the milk is in a bottle, help feed the baby his or her milk and give mom time to fellowship with family and friends.
Moms who formula feed can use support from their family members during the holidays as well. Help mom clean and prepare bottles. Always check instructions to make sure that the formula is being properly mixed and prepared. Give mom a comfortable place to sit and feed baby or help by feeding the baby and letting mom have an opportunity to relax.
Babies over the age of 6 months may be eating solid foods. ALWAYS check with parents and caregivers before feeding a baby anything other than his or her breast milk or formula. Babies may have food allergies or may become ill from eating a food with which their stomachs are unfamiliar.
However families feed their babies – whether it is via nursing, exclusive pumping, supplementing with formula, or complete formula feeding – provide the support that they need to make the holiday season easier.