Inside: 11 tips to help you survive Christmas with a newborn!
It’s your first holiday season with a newborn. Time’s passing so fast you’re losing track of what day it is.
As exhausting and overwhelming as having a new baby can be, it’s ten times as crazy when you have a newborn during the Christmas season!
My first baby was 2 months old during her first Christmas season and it was really chaotic.
I wanted to have my house decked out in all the Christmas decor, I had to buy gifts for people, and then I had to decide what we were gonna do for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Were we going to travel to someone else’s house? Should we host Christmas? How would I handle all the grabby people wanting to hold my baby, and the relatives who smoked??
Yes, Christmas with a newborn is chaotic and it can most definitely be overwhelming.
These tips can help you survive Christmas with a newborn!
This is an amazing item to use with your baby for several reasons. Besides all of the other benefits of babywearing, your baby can feel safe and snuggly against you, while simultaneously keeping your relatives grabby hands off of your new baby. People can, (and will) try to snatch your baby out of your arms, but nobody can snatch them out of a carrier!
Also, if you’re comfortable breastfeeding in a carrier, you can nurse your baby discreetly in the carrier.
Cover Your Bases When Your Breastfeeding
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Breastfeeding a newborn is very much trial and error! You’re dealing with the teeniest, tiniest mouth, figuring out how to latch during breastfeeding, and getting comfortable with how to nurse.
If you’re breastfeeding and you’re still learning the ropes, (i.e. you’re not trying to nurse in a carrier) bring a nursing blanket. This way you can nurse discreetly with your relatives around and you don’t have to miss any of the festivities.
Now if you want to have some quiet time or you’re not comfortable nursing in public, make sure you have a quiet room you can use for nursing.
Check ahead of time with the host of the party to double check they’ll have a room available for you to use.
Consider Hosting At Your House
So at first glance I realize this sounds crazy…with all the prep work, why on earth would you ever want to host a holiday party??
But if you can get help from your partner and your close family with the set up and cooking, it may be worthwhile.
You’ll be in your own home so you don’t have to bring half your house with you when you travel, (think diaper bag, millions of diapers, several changes of clothes, your own postpartum needs-cause you may still be bleeding a lot and you may be leaking milk- just sayin’)
Then consider if your baby hates the car.
Mine HATED car rides and screamed pretty much the whole time any time we drove anywhere. I had horrible anxiety every time we had to take her in the car.
Also consider that you may be driving in snowy weather.
And when you host at your house, you can go take time away wherever you want!
You Don’t Have To Go All Out With Decorations
Whether you host or not, don’t worry about setting up all the Christmas decor.
I know I had visions of my Christmas tree a la Macy’s, with garland, lights, and other decorations that the holiday aisles in Target lured me into buy.
While I did do some decorating, it was only because I had a few people help me.
If you don’t have people to help you, or you don’t feel up to it, don’t do it.
All people will remember is that was your baby’s first Christmas anyway.
Set Rules Ahead Of Time
You already know people will want to hold your baby. They may also offer to feed your baby, (if you use bottles), diaper them, or try to soothe them when they’re crying.
You need to consider ahead of time what you’re comfortable with.
Do you want everyone to wash their hands before they hold your baby? (I bought a gigantic tub of hand sanitizer so people could use that too).
Do you have a relative that smokes? Would you be comfortable with them washing their hands and face and then holding your baby? Would you want to bring an extra shirt with you, (like an old t-shirt or sweatshirt) so they can throw it over theirs? (This might be helpful for heavy smokers).
Do you have a time limit for how long your baby cries before you will take them back? (For example, if your gramma is holding your baby and they start to cry are you willing to give gramma 5 minutes to try to soothe the baby and then you’ll take them back?).
Whatever your time limit is be sure people know ahead of time.
As far as diapering or feeding your baby, are you comfortable with anyone else doing that? If not, just tell your relative you’ve got it, (if they try to be helpful and offer).
You can also have your partner run some interference especially if it’s his family.
Prepare For The Advice
You’ll probably get loads of advice most of it probably with good intent, but it may not mesh with your parenting style and that’s ok! You don’t have to take the advice you get.
I found it easiest to smile and nod, then forget it.
I was constantly told I was spoiling my baby because I held her too much or she needed to get used to being held by other people.
I most definitely nodded, perhaps half smiled, and let it go.
My baby was 2 months old! Of course she wanted to be held all the time, and also she didn’t know most of the people there.
You can also try telling your relative, “well this is what’s been working for us” and excusing yourself from the conversation.
Don’t Worry About The Time
Don’t feel bad if you arrive late or you have to leave early. People will understand.
Newborns are a great excuse for late arrivals and early departures!
Have Extra Space For Gifts
You’ll want to have extra room in whatever vehicle you’re driving because people LOVE to buy babies and kids lots of gifts!
There was one Christmas that when I left the party, my car was stuffed with the gifts people gave my kid.
I had to put extra presents in my sisters car, it was nuts!
Do Your Shopping Online
This saved SO MUCH stress not having to lug a newborn around to all the stores!
Not only do you not have to worry about driving in horrendous snow, taking your baby out in the arctic cold, traveling with a diaper bag that’s so packed it could double as a suitcase, lugging them to 5 different stores, and then they hate the car too?? Oh no…I’ll do my shopping online thanks!
Check Your Budget
Speaking of shopping, you have a new baby now so you don’t need to buy all of your friends and family gifts.
This was hard for me because I was always the person who bought my family, friends, and coworkers gifts.
When I thought about all the gifts I’d need to buy, it was a big fat check from reality that I couldn’t afford all of them.
I had to scale way back on who I was giving gifts to.
If you also love giving gifts, then you probably want to shower your baby with lots of presents as well.
There’s a trick I learned to getting your baby gifts cheap!
For a lot of places, when you sign up to do a baby registry with them, they’ll offer you a coupon for a period of time after your due date for the remaining items on your registry list.
There were several items that I asked for on my baby registry that weren’t bought, so I used that coupon to buy some of those items and saved money on some gifts for my baby!
Do This For Your Holiday Cards
If you want to do holiday cards, take the pressure off by taking them yourself and send them via online.
The pressure to do holiday cards is real yo!! Especially once you have kids! (Or maybe I just didn’t notice the holiday card craze until I had a kid…)
But when you have a newborn, again it’s a lot of work to have professional pictures taken or to create cards to send out via mail, (not to mention pricey!).
You probably still want to document your baby’s first christmas, you just don’t want to do it with all the hassle.
What I did was have my mom, (a budding photographer) take pictures of my baby and found an online card service and sent the cards via email.
You can either take them yourself, or have someone you know who is skilled taking pictures and doesn’t mind doing it for free or cheap.
Sending them via email is cheaper and less stressful, (no running to the store to get stamps, envelopes, and having to collect a million addresses).
Yes, Christmas with a newborn is a tough season. But there’s definitely ways to make it easier on yourself and your baby.
Use these tips to make the holiday season less stressful and more pleasant.
Be sure to pin this for later so you can refer back to it whenever you need a reminder!