Baby’s First Christmas: Celebrate without Losing Your Sanity
Christmas is a wonderful but hectic time of the year. Caring for a baby is full time job without the extra stressors of the season. Life with a newborn is a blur of activity: frequent feeds, short bursts of sleep, diaper changes and multiple loads of laundry! This leaves little time or energy for celebrating with family.
To save your sanity, you and your loved ones will need to adjust expectations to your new reality. Families have told us that it helps to make a plan.
Give yourself permission for Christmas to be less than “perfect.”
The media is filled with images of the “perfect” Christmas: beautiful decorations, elaborate meals, carefully wrapped gifts. Give yourself permission for this Christmas to be less than “perfect.”
Choose one thing that would make this season special for you and focus on a plan to make that happen. Let the rest of your to-do list go. There will be other Christmases for handmade gifts and beautiful decor.
Think through what you can reasonably accomplish and say no to the rest. Your time and energy are limited.
Feel free to keep the decorations in your storage boxes this year or choose just one or two special decorations to put out.
It is okay to say “no.”
It is okay to say no to holiday invitations. Think carefully before you make travel plans. Travel time eats up valuable sleep and feeding time.
Your house or theirs?
There are pros and cons to playing host vs. going to someone else’s house this year. If you choose to celebrate at your home, appoint someone other than your husband to act as the host/hostess. They will be responsible to cook, clean and receive visitors. Forewarn visitors that you and the baby may make limited appearances.
If you choose to go to a relative’s house, tell them that you may not be able to stay long (or, if you have had a rough night, you may not make it at all.) Ask where you can lay down when you need to rest.
Whether you choose to be the host or the visitor, you and your partner should be off duty for dishes! (And you can quote us on that!)
Everyone loves to hold a newborn; you will find no shortage of willing arms. Babies that are handled a lot by visitors tend to sleep long periods in the day but then are awake often at night to feed. Don’t be afraid to limit the amount others hold your baby. Some moms have chosen to wear their baby, to keep her close so they can respond easily to cues.
Keep it simple.
This is not the year to cook from scratch. Buy pre-made foods such a frozen casseroles and frozen desserts. Rather than bake, purchase from a local bakery or let others bake for you.
Paring down the shopping
Taking a baby to the shopping mall can be stressful and eat up your limited energy. Shop online or make this the “year of the gift card.”
Use present bags to save time wrapping gifts.
Schedule an entire day during the holidays to simply stay in your pyjamas, watch movies or catch up on sleep.
More than ever, it is important to sleep when the baby does! Excuse yourself from company and lay down for a nap.
Alcohol and Breastfeeding
While there has not been a documented safe level of alcohol while breastfeeding, most experts agree that a glass of wine or beer is fine. You can learn more in this excellent La Leche League post.
If you are concerned about consuming alcohol while breastfeeding, Pinterest has great ideas for great holiday mocktails.
Now is a great time to make a plan for how you will handle the holidays. Focus on rest and let go of the non-essentials. We wish you much relaxation and enjoyment this Christmas!
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About the authors:
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.