Navigating the Holidays with a Newborn
Written & contributed by: Clara Carlson
The holidays can be a challenging time for new parents. The long nights you spent partying are gone now that you have a newborn. Instead, you’ll likely spend the holidays visiting different relatives and friends who are eager to see you and your baby.
To ensure that you have a wonderful time during the holidays, you should know how to navigate this busy part of the year with a newborn.
Keep It Simple
Are people coming over to your house over the holidays? If so, this is the one year when you shouldn’t overburden yourself with creating the perfect celebration. Cut yourself some slack and instead keep it simple.
Since both you and your partner will have way more responsibilities than usual, it’s okay if you don’t focus on decorating or preparing food too much. Thankfully, there are simple ways to make sure that your guests have a great time without you having to put a lot of effort into hosting a perfect celebration.
Remember that your newborn should be your priority and number-one concern. If you don’t have the time to prepare food for your guests, ask each of them to bring something or simply eat take-out. You can also buy ready-made desserts at a local confectionery shop.
Set Healthy Boundaries
In case you plan on inviting friends over for the holidays, you should talk to them beforehand and establish some healthy boundaries. Depending on whether or not they have any kids of their own, your friends may not understand how much your life has changed since you had a baby.
Explain to your friends that you’re going to have a more relaxed celebration this year and that you don’t want too many people coming over to your house. This is the year where you can call the shots since you have a lot on your plate.
The most important thing is to clearly communicate with your partner, friends, and family what you want to do. It’s understandable that you may not have the energy to stay up late or talk with a lot of people. If that’s the case, organize a more intimate get-together and call it a night early.
Start Preparing Early
There are some responsibilities that come during the holidays that you can never avoid, like buying presents for relatives and friends. Even if you decide not to go to any celebrations, you will surely either make a few visits or get some visitors during this time of year.
Exchanging gifts has always been an exciting and fun tradition that guarantees to bring smiles to people’s faces. If you start preparing for this early, you won’t have to deal with the stress of last-minute shopping and figuring out what to buy for which person.
Take some time to brainstorm gift ideas with your partner and determine what to buy. If you already know what you’re going to get, then purchasing it will be the least of your worries. After all, you can even order gifts online and have them arrive at your doorstep if you don’t feel like going outside and shopping.
In case you plan to have guests over at your home, you can also get a head start on preparing food. Cakes and other sweets can stay in the fridge for days and perfectly maintain their quality, so you can prepare them well in advance.
You should also prepare a strategy for soothing your newborn’s nerves in case they go into overdrive from the people and noise at your house during the holidays. There are some products like swaddles made by The Ollie World that can effectively calm your baby. They are very comfortable and can enhance your newborn’s sleep quality.
Take Care of Yourself
Holidays and tradition are always important but they shouldn’t be your priority this year, especially if you recently gave birth. What’s more essential than tradition is taking care of you and your baby. Lower your expectations to ensure that you have a good time during the holidays.
Take the time to ensure that you do all of your responsibilities as a mother before you move onto your holiday to-do list. Everything you read about caring for a newborn is imperative regardless of what part of the year it is. Don’t sacrifice essential activities like tummy time so that you can focus on buying gifts or preparing food for your guests.
To deal with the various responsibilities you have, ask your partner to help you as much as possible. Keep in mind that caring for a baby should be a team sport. Whenever you want to take a break and do a bit of shopping or set up some decorations, ask your partner to take over baby duties.
Pack Properly for Visits
If you’re visiting friends or relatives during the holidays, you will need to pack stuff that you might need. You should bring extra clothing for your newborn, yourself, and your partner. It’s normal for newborns to go through a whole lot of laundry. For instance, you can never know when a baby might throw up on your sweater, which is why it’s always good to bring a change of clothes.
Another thing that you should consider packing is a large nursing cover. It’s worth noting that newborns shouldn’t go more than four hours without being breastfed. So, unless you plan on making a very short visit, you’ll probably need a nursing cover.
Ask for Help
If you’re tired, sometimes all it takes is for you to take a nap for a few hours in order to get your energy back. Know that your family and friends will surely be happy to help you navigate the holidays with a newborn. In case you need a break, make sure that you ask someone to help you.
It’ll be much easier for you and your partner to survive the holidays with a baby if you can rely on other people. Even if you don’t want to sleep, but would like to take a walk, go shopping, or cook, you should enlist a family member to watch your baby for a while.