The holiday season is full on year after year (despite how much we tell ourselves that ‘next year will be different’) but when you add a new baby into the mix it can be completely overwhelming. The idea of a beautiful fourth trimester can be shaken up with Christmas chaos, and while it would be nice to just hide out in the bedroom with you and your new babe, I promise you can survive Christmas with a newborn and have an amazing time too.
Both Caitlin and were still in our fourth trimesters over the Christmas period, my little girl was born in October and Caitlin had her baby boy at the start of December, which means our babies had their first Christmas when they were too small to grasp what was happening. But that didn’t stop me from feeling like I had to make it amazing.
Having ‘been there and done that’ here are some things I want to pass on to other Mama’s so they can not only survive Christmas with a newborn, but have an amazing and not so stressful time too.
1 – Create New Expectations For Yourself
Let me be straight with you, you’re not going to be able to do all the things you would normally do sans newborn. It’s just not possible. That is no reflection on you, Mama. It doesn’t mean you’re not organised enough or that you’re not doing this motherhood thing properly.
It’s because you just gave birth and it takes time to recover – oh and because you have a tiny human that relies on you for every aspect of their lives.
It’s time to create some new expectations for yourself, because if you expect to be able to do all the things you usually do, then you’re going to either be disappointed or run yourself into the ground. Neither of these being good options.
You don’t have to give up all the things you love, you may just have to tweak things a little. Instead of cooking up a storm for everyone, perhaps you just do your signature dish and ask others to bring a dish too. Instead of travelling to family, perhaps they come to you.
2 – Set Clear Boundaries
Whenever there’s large groups involved, or anything outside of your day to day norm, it’s always a good idea to set clear boundaries and let people know in advance so everyone is on the same page on the day.
We often talk about boundaries around visitors after baby is born, but with a newborn, the same can be said for Christmas day.
Things to consider adding are 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 if they are going to nurse babe, or even boundaries around what time the festivities will finish allowing for your baby to return to normal rest routines.
Letting people know in advance with a simple email or text can save a whole lot of fussiness on the day (that would be from Aunt Maude, not necessarily from the baby).
3 – Put You And Your Baby First
Remember, you and your baby’s needs come first. If you are running late for lunch, so be it, if you need to take time out to settle your baby, then go for it. Whatever your baby needs come first, everyone else can wait.
It can be easy to want to cater to everyone else, especially if you’re hosting Christmas, or if that’s the normal role you take. But make a conscious choice to sit back a little more, ask people to help you, ask someone to get you a drink instead of being the one handing them out.
You are both still deep in the fourth trimester, learning about each other, recovering from birth and the weeks after, take a step back and remember the two of you come first.
4 – Don’t Fall Into The Trap Of Trying Not To Offend People
When you’re a brand new Mama, and even for some of us seasoned Mama’s, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not trying to offend anyone. Perhaps you’re worried about feeding your baby when they start fussing because you’re worried that someone is still living in the 1950’s and is somehow offended by the food source for your baby. Or maybe you’re worried someone will be offended if you’re a little late, or if you say no to baby cuddles, or if you need to leave the room to allow babe (and you) some time out.
To put it bluntly – screw them.
If someone is offended by you doing what you need to do for your baby, then they aren’t exactly the kind of people you want around.
I know the feeling, because I still do it, but I keep reminding myself that my job is to provide for my baby, everyone else is grown up and can do what they need to do. And if they get their panties in a bunch then that’s their issue, not mine. (Rant Over)
5 – Write Lists… Lots Of Them
If you’re feeling like there are a million things to do, lists are seriously a saviour. I’m so obsessed with lists that I have a list of lists to write.
But really, however you need to write lists, whether it’s classic pen and paper or with an app like Evernote on your phone, then do it.
Baby brain is real, it’s easy to get distracted and forget little things which only leads to more frustration. Whenever you think of something, get into the habit of writing it down somewhere so you don’t have to stress about forgetting it.
6 – Shop Online
There are so many things I am grateful for when it comes to the internet and online shopping is definitely one of them.
Not only are the shops absolute chaos this time of year (trust me, you don’t want to be in a car with me trying to get a park anytime near Christmas) but having to take a little newborn baby out with you can just add to the overwhelm. Not to mention to incredible overstimulation it can cause for babe.
Online shopping doesn’t have to be restricted to gifts though. Do all the grocery shopping online and use either the click and collect or pay the few dollars extra to have it delivered. You’ll love yourself for it.
Oh and clicking ‘please gift wrap this item’ will save you so much time later on when you do purchase gifts online.
7 – Delegate As Much As You Can
If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s telling people what to do.
Delegating can be a little uncomfortable for some people, but think of it as a form of self-care at this time of year. The more you delegate, the less you have to do.
I’m sure you’ll also have a whole bunch of people offering to help you at this time of year too, so be sure to say yes!! You may be the kind of person who wants to / needs to do everything yourself but saying yes to help will save you a lot of stress and time. Plus, it means you get to spend more time cuddling that new babe of yours!
So while it might be a little overwhelming heading into the silly season with a new family member, there are ways you can survive Christmas with a newborn, and still have an amazing and exciting time with your family and their newest addition.