Keeping the Holidays Low Key with a New Baby
Welcoming a baby into your home and family instantly makes the little things in life more enjoyable. Bathtime, dinner, and taking walks outside have never been so fun. And this is especially true when it comes time for the holidays! Children are what make the holidays bright. But the holidays also bring chaos, lots of activity, and stress. Which are the last things that a new mom and infant need. Here are a few ways that you and your newborn can enjoy the holiday season without feeling overwhelmed or offending family members and friends.
1. Let Someone Else Host
Even if the family tradition is for you to host the holidays, if this is your first holiday season with a newborn, pass the honor onto someone else. Hosting a party can be extremely stressful. Not only are you cooking, entertaining, and cleaning up both before and after the party, but hosting the holidays means a lot of people in your home. This also means lots of germs and hands wanting to hold and snuggle your baby. While their intentions are pure, this can be extremely overwhelming for a new baby and exposes them to the potential of getting sick. When you attend a party somewhere else, you can arrive and depart based on your baby’s unique schedule. If the party becomes too chaotic, you can respectfully bow out. While letting go of traditions can be tough, relish in the fact that you’re not responsible for entertaining this time around.
2. Put Your Baby’s Needs First
Being a people pleaser and a new mom can be a tricky balance to strike. And while the holiday season is about giving, your baby’s needs should top your wish list. You know your baby best. Do they get fussy at night and only settle when rocked in their favorite chair? Do late night car rides or too much activity stimulate and upset them? If so, plan your holidays accordingly. Your true friends and family will completely understand that you’re a new mom and that your baby’s happiness and comfort is most important. This might mean skipping a party, changing locations, or laying low -- none of which you should feel bad or guilty about.
3. Keep Gift Giving Simple
New moms barely have time to cook, eat, or sleep, let alone shop! While online shopping is all the rage, it still takes time, money, concentration, and effort. Make a pact with friends and family to keep gift giving to a minimum this holiday season. This means you can spend your money on diapers and formula rather than gifts. It also means less stress for you and baby. You won’t be bothered by making lists, ordering presents, wrapping, and delivering them. But this doesn’t mean family and friends won’t want to spoil your newborn with adorable clothes and other gifts. Just be sure to set boundaries when it comes to having visitors.
It’s Okay to Say ‘No’
This rule holds true for the holiday season and pretty much any time following the birth of your child. This point ties back to putting your baby’s needs first. Don’t forget that your needs are important too. Are you feeling extra tired, emotional, or overwhelmed? Then don’t feel bad declining someone’s offer to visit, a party invite, or any other obligation that brings you additional, undo stress. The holidays are about love, happiness, and family. And your loved ones will understand if this holiday season you need support and acceptance while you care for yourself and your infant.
As fun and enjoyable as the holiday season can be, it can also be very stressful. And this is especially true as a new mom. But that doesn’t mean you or your baby need to miss out on all the holiday fun. It simply means you may need to do things differently than you’re used to. Let someone else host the party, buy less gifts, and celebrate with a small group of close friends and family. Next year, you and your adorable toddler can be the life of the party!
I am a 32-year-old mother and wife of a police officer living in NJ.
I have my MFA in creative nonfiction and 10 years writing experience.
When I'm not writing I enjoy hot yoga, cardio kickboxing, running, and camping.
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