Getting through the holidays with. your sanity intact is already a challenge. But it can be especially difficult if you have just had a baby. We don't want you to just get through the holidays, though, we want you to enjoy them. After all, this is a special time with you and your little one. Here are 16 tips to help you do just that.
1. Make tentative plans, but always be open to canceling them. You don’t know what to expect, even if this isn’t your first baby. Self-care and baby-care are the most important right now.
2. Give yourself permission to let go of a few things this year. That can be the usual decorating, gift buying, or holiday parties. There will be plenty of time for family traditions later. You will make extra special memories this year no matter what you do.
3. Keep things simple. Buy ready-made desserts, send gift cards, eat take-out, rest, and enjoy your newborn.
4. Make a plan for how you will handle family gatherings. Keep in mind that you will not have the same energy and you may need a nap or two. See #1.
5. If you decide to have people over, let someone else do all the hosting for you. This includes cleaning and getting the house ready, taking care of the food, running activities, and cleaning up afterward. That way, you can excuse yourself anytime and go to bed or feed your baby when needed. Your baby will also be less stressed in a familiar environment.
6. Keep your baby close. Holding your baby will help them to sleep better at night. You may also consider wearing your baby, as this prevents them from getting overstimulated. It is also a great way to keep germ-covered hands away from baby’s face.
7. Plan ahead. Are there some holiday preparations too important not to keep? Line someone up to help or take care of them ahead of time. Bake and freeze holiday treats or freezer meals.
8. Ignore all unsolicited or unwanted advice with a smile and a “Thank you,” before changing the subject.
9. Take breaks whenever you need. Your emotions may be difficult to manage right now, making things more stressful than usual. It’s okay if you feel like crying for no reason. That’s when you know you need some extra time and space for yourself.
10. Ask for help. The people in your life want to support you. Delegate as much as you can. If someone asks how they can help, ask them to bring you a meal, pick up your groceries, tidy up your kitchen, do some laundry, run errands, put up your Christmas lights, or wrap some presents. You could even ask them to clean your house.
11. Focus on self-care. This means taking your vitamins, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, eating healthy foods, minimizing sweets, taking lots of quiet time with your baby, and reducing stress.
12. Set clear boundaries with visitors, letting them know in advance what they are. Sending out a simple text or email will alert them whether or not you’re going to allow family to hold your newborn (remembering that too many new people, smells, and feels can be overwhelming for your baby), whether you want to request family to not wear perfumes or even boundaries around what time the festivities will finish allowing for your baby to return to their normal rest routines.
13. Don’t worry about other people being offended. Your job is to look out for your baby. Everyone else is grown up and can do what they need to do.
14. Make lots of lists. Baby brain is real, and can be stressful if you feel like you have a million things to do and you keep getting distracted. One of the lists can be of things you are NOT going to do, haha.
15. Choose online shopping, and not just for gifts. Grocery stores offer online shopping and they will even deliver. Choose gift-wrapping options whenever available.
16. Take whatever you need with you when you travel, even if it seems silly. Better yet, ask your host to have those things for you when you get there. Most family members won’t mind borrowing a pack-and-play or a bouncy seat from someone they know so that you and your baby will be comfortable during your visit.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season!