It’s that time of year… I don’t have a new post for you, but want to share this info again and hope it’s useful.
Please refer to my first post on this topic: Holiday Overstimulation: Let Baby Turn Away
The holidays and family gatherings seem to present decision-making opportunities to parents like no other time. How do you protect Baby’s space, needs, and your ways of relating while you’re around family members who may not understand or may feel differently?
Two examples: crying-in-arms and not prop-sitting. Both of these provide ample territory for potential ridicule. Think ahead about what choices you’ll be confronted with so you’re not caught off-guard. Protect Baby’s needs as much as you’re able to; and when you’re not, plan on some recuperation time with Baby later when you’re alone. Find fun ways to explain what’s happening, like, if Baby turns away from someone, “Oh look, isn’t that cool, he knows when he’s taken in as much as his brain can process, smart kiddo! He’ll look back at you in a minute.”
Another thing you may deal with is family members wanting to touch the baby (poke, prod, tickle, kiss, stroke, bounce, hold, etc.). Of course some of these will be comfortable for Baby. But some will not. Baby might need your help in this area because many grown ups–while their intention is loving–don’t realize they’re invading a person’s space by doing this. Here are a few ideas:
- When you see someone coming, ask the baby–in hearing range of the approaching person–here comes So-and-so, are you feeling ready to be touched/held or not?
- Turn Baby facing toward you before the approacher arrives
- If baby pulls away from someone’s touch, deflect it somehow according to your comfort level setting boundaries and your relationship with the person. Could you say “oh, she’s not ready to be touched!” or an honest “oh, Friend, I’d love for you to connect with her. She likes to just take you in visually first, but tickling isn’t comfortable for her.” I have one mama friend who, when an approaching grown-up starts sticking out a finger to poke or tickle her baby, she does the same thing to the person, and he/she gets the message nonverbally!
Have wonderful holidays enjoying Baby AND family!