Tips on Surviving the Holiday Season with a Newborn
Unfortunately, holidays aren't like Hallmark movies and while Santa won't being riding in on his sleigh to save you, there are tools you can use to help minimize the stress so that you can actually enjoy this magical time of the year. Here are just a few ways to manage the demands of the holidays while dealing with the demands of a newborn.
Be Realistic: You have a baby - you need to give yourself a break, and maybe examine if your holiday expectations are realistic or not. Give yourself permission to say that the holidays don’t need t be perfect or look exactly how they looked last year.
Learn to Say No/ Set Limits: Things that you may have enjoyed last year might be too stressful this year. You may need to pass on going to your best friend’s holiday party because you know doing so will make you exhausted the next day, and even though they said to bring the baby, you know it will just make her over-stimulated and miserable. You need to be mama bear and put your baby and your needs first even though you may temporarily disappoint some people. Decide upon what your holiday priorities are and then stick to them.
Shop online: On-line shopping with gift-wrapping can save a lot of valuable time and energy when you’re taking care of a baby.
Buy some prepared foods: Many supermarkets offer prepared holiday meals that you can purchase ahead of time and then pick up. If you don’t want to buy the whole meal, you can buy some prepared foods to give you less work. There are also some fantastic baby food delivery services you can take advantage of that can save you time and stress when it comes to feeding your baby. One of our favorites is Yumi.
Plan ahead: Holiday time takes us away from our normal routine, and when you have a new baby, having a routine can be both comforting and helpful for you and your little one. Therefore, try to really plan ahead and not be thrown by holiday chores. If you would like to go shopping, to a party, etc., then sit down with your partner and the calendar and plan a strategy ahead of time. Maybe you will go shopping while your partner is watching the baby, or you will pick a time to go together where you know the baby will be well napped and fed, and you will pick a store that is conveniently located and parking isn’t a nightmare. Going during the week instead of on the weekend, and avoiding last-minute shopping helps. Have a specific shopping list so you can be efficient.
Hire Some Help: This is often a time when college students are home on break and looking to make extra money. If you want to bake holiday cookies, a mother’s helper can be in the next room watching the baby, or can clean up for you. A helper can go to the post office or run holiday errands for you. We love our friends over at Educated Nannies, they are happy to pair you with skilled Nanny to assist you with short or long term needs. If you just had a baby or are expecting a new baby before the holidays, you may also consider hiring a Postpartum Doula to help you into the new year.
Mini visits: If you’re used to going to several friends and families homes and staying a for long time, you may need to limit visits by saying ahead of time that you are just stopping by for dessert, or to open gifts, etc.
Ask for gifts you need: Instead of items, maybe ask for services—A gift card for baby necessities or even a gift certificate for a cleaning service to come clean the house, home food delivery, babysitting services, a massage, etc.
Holidays are not a cure to postpartum depression and anxiety: Some people mistakenly feel that if they really enjoyed the holidays in the past, then whatever symptoms they are feeling, the holidays will wipe them out. This is not usually the case, and often the stress of the holidays can make things feel even more overwhelming.
If you are used to going all out for your friends and family during the holiday season, then setting limits and managing expectations this year might prove to be a bit challenging. Try to remember that a little self-care can go a long way in enjoying the holidays with your little one. Season’s Greetings!