How to Survive Your Baby's First Holiday Season
The holidays change when you're a parent. If you're spending it with your baby, here are some ways to make your spirits bright this year.
16 December 2019
Though it's cute to dress them in little Santa hats and take photos, a new baby will bring their own brand of stress come Christmas time
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but trying to keep your family, friends, and newborn happy can really sap the joy from the festivities.
For mums, Christmas trees and fairy lights start looking like a disaster waiting to happen, boarding a plane for the holidays will become a test in patience (yours and the passengers), dinner at grandma's will turn into a stressful affair, and you wouldn't want those shiny (breakable) decorations anywhere near the wrong (tiny) hands.
With all these potential problems and perils, is it any surprise why mums are stressed come the year's end?
Rest assured, it's still possible to have a magical time with your family. Here are the parenting tips and tricks to help you survive the holidays with a baby, with solutions from the car to the plane, parties, and festive family dinners.
Avoid overloading your baby
Parents may feel pressured to keep the holidays fun and festive by participating and hosting all sorts of Christmas activities along with their little ones.
For new mums, it's important to remember that the baby still has needs and will require time for silence, sleep, and feeding. To keep your kid from going cranky, let others know that you will need some parent-downtime to take care of them. Try to avoid getting your baby involved in way too many events and activities, as this may upset their routine.
Feed your baby and spend time with him or her in quiet places, away from the boisterous celebrations. Consider feeding them before lunch or dinner is served so you can tuck into the Christmas feast knowing your kid is content and full.
Some parents with a baby prefer to avoid air travel during the festive season to avoid potential delays, manage a crying and wriggling infant onboard, and dragging pieces of baggage around. If you're able to, try to reconsider travel plans while your child is still very young. Check with family members and friends if they can come to you instead.
If you're still flying with a baby, it's best to pack the items your child is familiar with, such as stuffed animals, blankets, favourite toys, and some first-baby-book to keep them occupied during the flight. Along with these items, toss in spare pacifiers in case one will get lost during your journey, as well as protective earmuff for babies to minimise the cabin air pressure on your child.
That weird ear-popping sensation is an unavoidable part of air travel. You don't know just how healthy your infant's lungs are until they're screaming due to air pressure in their ears.
Make gift giving simple
Little ones are oblivious to the special attention and thought that comes with finding a Christmas gift for them, and as they're still very young, they don't need that many presents.
Parents may be tempted to spoil their newborn with gifts for the holidays, and this is best avoided so you can save yourself the additional holiday shopping stress. If it's their first Christmas, consider these special ways to mark the occasion.
Still looking for that perfect gift for children? See our list of the hottest Christmas toys for kids.
Do your holiday shopping online
Shopping malls during festive sales and squirming newborns simply don't go together. The last thing you want is a diaper problem while you're waiting in the middle of a long and slow check-out queue. Amazon is your little helper and we've got a ready-made list of 50 of the best Christmas gift ideas this year.
Beware the relatives who are too invested in your baby
We're talking about the relatives, friends, and extra people around your baby come holiday season.
If you're attending a festive party, you might encounter people who are too eager to feed the baby, like aunties who "are just curious to see what their niece thinks of the casserole!" Introducing an infant to all sorts of adult food will no doubt affect their digestive system. Should they insist, be straightforward about the limits of what a baby can eat.
Others will want to play with and hold the child. Don't be afraid to set rules, such as washing hands before holding your kid.
You will also meet "baby experts" who will tell you what they think is correct when it comes to baby feeding, settling, parenting, and sleeping, regardless of whether they ever had a kid of their own. It's best to thank them for their thoughts and change the subject.
Keep a child-safe section
Some hosts might not have a babyproof home and will be displaying their crystal snowmen figurines on a table, put glass ornaments on the Christmas tree, hang ropes of twinkling fairy lights across the house, and own some not-so-baby-safe furniture.
But as much as mums would love if the holiday hosts' home is babyproofed, it's just not realistic, especially if the host doesn't have a child. To save jittery parents from stressing on their baby's safety, consider keeping a small, safe area for the toddler.
Ask the host if they will let you move breakable items to higher shelves to spots in the house that have less guest-traffic. If there's a place that the baby cannot resist but it's unsafe, such as the kitchen or stairways, try blocking it with a baby gate or keep the door shut.
Take breaks and don't panic
Above all, it's important to remember that celebrating Christmas is all about you and your baby. You don't have to make the holidays perfect, as what matters is that you focus on caring for you and your child.