Christmas is so exciting particularly if you have just had a new baby, or is it? Surviving Christmas with a baby can be really challenging.
The excitement of your new baby combined with the sentiment of Christmas often brings huge stress!!! Everyone wants some time with your baby including you!! Your parents invite you to stay over at their house, don’t worry about packing they’ve set up a nursery; your husbands family want to see baby too so you compromise and say you will spend Boxing day with them, they live a 100 miles away!! And if it’s Hanukkah you’re celebrating well that’s eight days of family sharing! Help! This sort of family scenario is so common and can really be stressful for new parents who just want to spend some time alone as a new family…..
So what’s the solution?
It’s all in the planning.
Lose the guilt:
You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but its okay to give yourselves priority. So make a plan with your spouse so you are both on the same page. Be open and honest, what’s important to you? Will you be creating new traditions? How much time do you want to spend with the extended family and how can you make it fair?
New parents are exhausted and do you really want to drive for hours in the car Christmas Eve to be with family?
Once you have decided on your Christmas plan try to stick to it, you might have to make a few compromises along the way; it’s a time for celebrating after all! Preserve your sanity and still have a festive holiday to remember.
Here are some ways to help you survive Christmas with your newborn:
Simplify present buying:
Young children probably don’t need as many presents as you think. In fact I have often found little ones get bored after opening just a few gifts. Buy online, the prices are often as good or better and you will save yourself the stress of hitting a packed shopping centre with your baby in tow, plus you wont spend hours queuing at the tills and struggling to carry everything home.
Stick to baby’s routine:
Sticking to normal routine over the festive season is not always easy. Whether its sleeping, eating or behaviour, its easy to let routines slide but strive to keep things as normal for baby in terms of their routine. One new mum shared a good tip, instead of inviting everyone to you go to their houses instead, then you can leave when it all gets too much!
Over the festive period a few late nights are inevitable. If you are planning to stay away from home, take your child’s comforters, a travel cot and follow the same sequence of bedtime events as best as you can; bath, story, feed and bed as these are your baby’s cues for sleep. Their surroundings maybe unfamiliar but their routine should remain the same.
If you are going to be travelling home late with your baby then try to coincide arriving home with the last feed of the night; they then should go down happily after the feed.
Your baby/child will not be able to party every night of the festive season so after a late night keep the next day low key and relaxed. Although you feel like enjoying a lie in the morning young babies/children rarely lie in after a late night. So again try to stick to the usual routine, longer nap times can affect bedtime and lead to another late night.
Christmas is so exciting for young children, it can affect bedtime and settling down to sleep, especially on Christmas Eve. Christmas and excitement are not conducive to sleep. However, keep bedtime routines at the same time allowing some extra time to wind down.
Plan meals around your baby’s feed times, if you have weaned your baby make sure you have already prepared food for your little one, pop a few homemade meals in the freezer.
Although eating chocolates, sweets and party food are part of the festive joy, don’t let your children eat too many or you’ll pay for it later, as they will be high as kites after eating to many E numbers!!! It’s important for your little one to get some nutritious food too; make nutritious food fun and festive.
The festive period is really exciting for children so expect over-excitement, but this is not an excuse for bad behaviour. Making excuses for undesirable behaviour because it’s Christmas or because your child is tired will lead to a child’s behaviour worsening. Children thrive on routine and will feel safe and more secure when they have consistent firm rules and boundaries; it makes life predictable and less confusing, so sticking as best as you can to your rules and boundaries during the festive period will help you and your child.
Christmas brings out the inner child in us all. Opening presents around the tree, eating too much, watching Grandad doze off in front of the telly & playing mindless party games!
Christmas is a time for family and don’t expect your child to be perfect; it will only lead to disappointment! No one expects children to be ‘good’ all the time.
I do hope you have a very Happy Christmas!