How to cope with a newborn over Christmas
If you have a baby due this year, it’s likely you’ll have a newborn in your arms over the Festive season. Best Christmas present ever, right?
But while your Christmas is set to be the most special yet, it’s also a day that can end up super stressful in even the most ordinary of circumstances, let alone for a mum with a new baby. All those heightened emotions and social gatherings – not to mention those people lining up for a cuddle with your baby – can make for a slightly overwhelming time.
No sweat. Here’s how you can survive Christmas this year with less festive stress and more baby bliss:
- You decide what’s what
This Christmas, you’re the one with the newborn, so it’s up to you to decide what arrangements work best for you and your little family. If you want guests to come to you rather than going to them, say so. If Christmas breakfast works better for you than a late lunch, it’s your call. This year, you call the shots.
- Have newborn, will travel
Obligatory Christmas get-togethers can involve some travel time these days, but if you don’t think you can handle driving or flying with your new baby, don’t do it. There are lots of newborns who are happy to snooze throughout long drives, but there’s also plenty who really hate it. If you’ve never had the pleasure of driving with a hysterical newborn before, believe me when I tell you that it’s hell on wheels.
- Be ready with your rules
Being a mummy with a newborn inevitable means you’ll have relatives salivating for a cuddle on Christmas Day. It’s worthwhile considering how you’ll manage this in advance. Do you want people to wash their hands before they hold your baby? How long are you happy for your baby to be held for? Are you prepared for your newborn to be passed around from person to person? Make a plan with your partner so they can support you on the day. Don’t let others make you feel like you’re ‘fussing’: do what feels right for you and your baby, and stand your ground.
- Feeding your baby (and you)
Breastfeeding can take some getting used to in those first few weeks, so think about whether you’d be more comfortable feeding in a quiet room, away from noisy and boisterous conversation. This isn’t about ‘covering up’ or hiding away while you breastfeed, but rather giving you some sanity time while you and your baby enjoy some quiet connection on a busy day. And don’t forget that you have to eat too! Aim to feed your baby before food is served, so that you can enjoy your meal, knowing your baby is full and happy.
- Look out for the baby experts
With all those family members around, beware the baby experts who want to give you their take on raising babies! Anyone who’s ever been a parent will tell you what they reckon they know about baby settling, feeding and sleeping, and chances are, it will be totally different from what you’re planning to do. If you’re not into what’s being said, smile sweetly and change the subject. The last thing you need is a debate about controlled crying and how to get your baby to be a ‘good sleeper.’
- Give you and your baby a break
Watch your baby for cues that they’ve had enough stimulation, and make your excuses to escape somewhere quiet together. All those cuddles from different people with different smells and voices can be too much for a tiny person. Some time in a dark, quiet room where you can cuddle and feed in peace should help soothe your baby and will probably help calm your nerves a bit too. Christmas can be an emotional time, so don’t be surprised if you feel a bit teary or irritable yourself. If this means leaving the celebrations early this year, do it. Having a newborn gives you the perfect excuse to escape from social gatherings when you need to.
- Ditch the stress this year
Christmas is a brilliant time of year, but it can also be super stressful. Battling the crowds, shopping for presents, and trying to keep your family happy can really sap the joy from the festive season. When you’ve got a new baby, you’ve got enough on your plate. Make the decision to take it easy this year. Do your shopping online and opt for vouchers if you’re feeling stuck for ideas. Instead of hosting, be the guest and have people look after your needs this year. Make this one all about you and that special addition to your family.
Above all else, enjoy those cuddles!
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