Holidays with preemies The holidays can be a fun but sometimes difficult time for the parent of preemies. Smack dab in the middle of RSV season comes a holiday that usually involves celebrating with family and friends. It can be hard to spend holidays without everyone with you and if you are allowed to be in groups, you have to remain ever vigilant about hand washing and any other issues you might be facing with your preemie. Here are some tips and ideas for celebrating the holidays with your preemie and enjoying the season despite the challenges we face.
Keep it small - Even though you may normally celebrate with large family gatherings or holiday parties with friends, don't forget that this is RSV season. Try and celebrate with just your immediate family or keep the gathering very small. For parties, either find a babysitter for your little one or forgo attending parties where you can't control who is there (or how healthy they are).
Celebrate - Even if you are just celebrating with your husband/wife and kids, still create a festive environment. I've talked to several preemie parents who have said "why bother if it's just us" but trust me - you are worth the effort too! Make a special meal, follow the holiday traditions you normally have and still take the time to simply celebrate how far your family has come this year.
Let your preemie be has involved as he/she wants to be - The holidays can be overwhelming for all us but especially to preemies. The lights, the excitement, the people, the noise - it can all get to be too much. Be mindful of your preemies' cues and try to make sure they don't get too overwhelmed with all of it.
Have some fun - Even if you preemie is small and doesn't really understand what's going on - still keep him/her involved in the holidays. Keep your preemie in the room with you while you open gifts. Let your preemie play with the wrapping paper, ribbon, boxes or anything else that grabs his/her attention.
Capture Growth - The holidays are a great time to take an annual picture that shows just how much your preemie has grown. We use a stocking that in our son's first year he could fit inside of and now he just holds it up. A great reminder of how far he has come. Other great ideas are a special ornament, hat, candy cane, decoration or anything else that you have around the house.
Enjoy your little miracles!