7 Tips for Surviving Your First Christmas with a Newborn
Babies are wonderful especially when they come during Christmas. With one in your arms now, you’ve not only gotten an early Christmas present, but also the best. And while it will be amazing to cuddle the little pumpkin on his first ever Noelly celebration, it is also that type of day where things can get nuts especially for a new momma and her needy new baby.
Without any assistance or a twist in the normal agenda of baking, cooking, decorating the home and endlessly receiving visitors who have come to celebrate Christmas with the newest member of the family, the stress can come down really hard on you. But that wouldn’t be the end of your woes. Remember who’s also doing the babysitting. Am guessing someone will have no choice but to remain glued to the couch, exhausted and somewhat frustrated while others are merrying and having their good time. I wish it could get any better. Fortunately, it can!
Even without a baby, Christmas has always been a pressured time. And trust me; a new baby in the house now wouldn’t make it any easier. The loveliness of being a new mom or dad, notwithstanding, the recipe could be that of tears and frustration instead of turkey.
I have heard a lot of touching stories of mothers who went through torture just to cross the Christmas milestone with their new baby. And while they were busy trying to be supermoms, it’s not difficult to see where the problem was coming from.
Although you might not be able to skip the feeding and napping sessions, you can still partake in the fun and merrymaking that comes with the Christmas holiday. Unfortunately, I didn’t know so much when I had my second child just 14 days before Noel. Though I could celebrate, the logistics were overwhelming and I ended up frustrated.
My hubby and I welcomed our first daughter into the family just two weeks before Christmas 12 years ago. And you could guess I had the worst Christmas of my life. I wish I was exaggerating but am not. The same period I was supposed to be feeling on top of the world for the greatest gift of motherhood turned out to be a moment of utter frustration and pain. I was choked up everywhere, gasping for breath.
As I discovered later, there was so much I could have done to make things better. All my effort to be a “supermom” turned out to be my greatest regret. I didn’t put first things “first” or should I say I didn’t even know how to. My daughter’s needs had to be met just like the family needed someone to do all the cooking, cleaning and decoration. But I was wrong to think that I could jostle between everything. Instead I ended up making a mess of everything.
As I’ve learnt from experience over the years, it’s easy to look back now and see where I missed it. Like I said earlier, there were things I could have done differently which I know would have ensured my survival through the big day without much of the stress and angst I experienced. Hopefully, you won’t make the same mistakes after reading this guide.
With this in mind, here are eight tips for surviving your first Christmas with a newborn with less stress and more baby bliss.
Don’t expect things to remain the same
Like I pointed out earlier, Christmas without newborns is pressured, not to mention when you have a baby to cater for. So don’t expect things to be like they were last year.
The first step towards surviving through the big day is to adjust your mind-set. Don’t expect everything to be the same. In fact, it will help a great deal to lower your expectation. Try to make everything as simple as you can so you can.
As the pressure increases, emotions are heightened and you still have your role to play towards friends and extended family. But even at that, try not to draw too much attention to yourself or whatever you’re doing. Remember, you have a baby emergency section which is going to take all your time.
Put first things first
Your baby must come first, then yourself, then your spouse or family. It must not be the other way round. Your baby’s needs must first be met before yours or anyone else. You have to be care your baby first, wrapping your baby into the baby wrap to protect from the cold climate and take every precaution. So, wade off every pressure to become everyone’s hostess or you may be the one to suffer in the end with your child.
Remember, this time around, you’re not responsible for everyone’s good time except that of your baby. You can’t do the same things you did last year because, you know, you have the baby thing to worry about. Your expectations about what you can do or what role you can play in the whole festivity should be different.
Before the big day, try to figure out what you want to do (of course it should be something that doesn’t keep you away from your little one for long). Now is also the right time to determine how much help you are going to need. Don’t worry about disappointing some few persons or stepping on some toes. They are likely going to see reasons with you.
Agree with hubby
As a couple, my first Christmas with my husband felt very special. We went out for dinner, played host to a couple of close friends and did a lot with our extended families. Every bit of the moment we shared was electrical and we created a lot of beautiful memories, some of which I still cherish till today. But then, the children came and things changed (not necessarily for the worse). You know- children are also testament to love and happiness.
I guess you’ve had the same experience or something similar. Whatever be the case, here is the point am trying to make here-once your baby comes, you and hubby must agree to cut out some of the things you did before especially for or with friends and extended family. In order words, you too must make up your mind to be selfish at least for the sake of your baby.
Now is not the time to trek off to family for wine and sherry or go out in the cold for dinner with pals. Hubby should listen and put his baby first. You two should agree or at least come to a compromise or you risk putting your relationship on the line.
Baby first before Noel
Your baby should come first, Noel follows. In order words, don’t lose sight of what’s really important. Christmas is just one day, but your baby will remain. So only handle what you can and make provisions for the rest (or leave them undone). For instance, if eating apple pie is an essential Christmas tradition in your home, then get your hubby to take care and cuddle new born with a baby sling carrier, while you make the pies. Mind you, this only applies to chores that don’t take much of your time. But for usual contributions like cooking dinner or preparing gingerbread from scratch, I think it would be better to skip it all till next Christmas when you will have more time without the baby thing!
Don’t try to be a supermum
Just before you bounce off to save the world, know this- there’s no such thing as a supermom. You will likely make a mess of yourself and everything else trying to be one; take it from an experienced mom who has had to cuddle three kids during holiday seasons including Christmas.
Now is definitely not the time to show how serious you’re with your family role. The baby thing alone spells WORK, lots of it. Think about what will happen when you throw Noel into the mix. The simple truth is that you need HELP, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it even when it’s not offered.
Prepare early and plan for the big day
It makes sense. Though Noel is just one day in the year, it seems to be the day when we spend and plan most. And with a newborn around, expect to plan even more. Don’t wait till 25th before your plans are ready.
Personally I won’t advise you to host Christmas dinner. You already have a new baby to cater for including siblings (if there are any). Cooking for the whole extended family is something you shouldn’t even dare to do. If I were you, I would prefer someone else do the hosting while I focus on my baby.
But just in case you eventually decide to host dinner for reasons best known to you, then make proper arrangement for it, probably between the feeds. Make sure the freezer is well stocked. If you are not ordering, then employ guest to help with the cooking and serving while you use take the chance to go for a nap with the little bald head.
Know when to take a break
All the cuddles from family and friends including the boisterous conversations amidst heightened emotions could make you feel irritated or even tearful. This is absolutely normal for mothers who have just given birth considering the unsettled state of their hormones. So in the midst of the celebration, whenever you notice a mood swing, look for a quiet place with your baby, somewhere like a dim-lit room and calm your nerves and that of your child.
While your baby’s first Christmas won’t be the easiest situation, it doesn’t have to be the worst either. By following the tips above and taking things slowly, you should be able to scale through without so much stress.
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