Christmas is coming, who's excited? I know me and my family are. This is my first Christmas with bubba, so I'm very keen to see what she thinks
about it all. I'm also aware that Christmas can be a bit busy with a new baby, so I thought I would list a few things that I'll be doing to help me and my little one have a great time, with hopefully not to much stress.
1. Get help from family
Your family are there over Christmas - why not use them? They will usually be willing to hold the baby for a bit, entertain them, feed them, and have a festive cuddle. Let them have that opportunity to give you a chance to go and get a cup of (hot) tea, have some time to catch up, get straight and eat some food. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
2. Prioritise you and your family
At Christmas time we can often get overwhelmed with parties, meet ups and visiting all the family, sometimes resulting in traveling all over the country! However, things have changed for you, so take this chance to rethink habits from previous years and maybe stay at home this year. Start new traditions now whilst you have the chance. Let people come to you. Don't be afraid to say no and stay in with baby - it reduces the stress and means that you can be comfortable and relax.
3. Stick to your routine as much as possible
If baby usually goes to bed at 7pm, or has a nap at 3pm, then try as hard as possible to stick to that daytime / nighttime routine. Or, if you normally go swimming on a Wednesday but your class isn't on, still go swimming! It will help you to find some normality, baby to feel comfortable and allow you almost sit in autopilot for a bit. Likewise if you come to my baby yoga classes, you can do some of the songs and movements with your baby even just for five minutes if you're short on time.
4. Limit presents for little ones
Little ones don't really need a lot of presents (= lots of toys to find a home for) and they most likely won't understand what is going on. If people insist, which of course is lovely, maybe instead make a list if things you really need. Or instead of spending money on a toy, ask them to write a cheque and set up a ISA or savings account that they can't access until they're 18. While perhaps a little sensible, in the long run, your little one will appreciate it. Don't feel pressured to have a stocking full of presents under the tree from Santa - do what you feel is right for you - a few little gifts is fine. At the end of the day, your baby will appreciate cuddles and time with family and friends and this is what is special about their first Christmas.
5. Take breaks away
Breaks away will help to keep your sanity together, and help to give both you and your baby some downtime amidst all the crazy festivities. If spending all day with a big family group becomes a little overwhelming, don't be afraid to move upstairs to the bedroom for example, and have a little quiet time and a cuddle with your little one.
Planning your days is important and helps to maintain a sense of normality. However don't fret too much if something goes slightly wrong, just adjust your plan a bit. Try and schedule meal times and keep them as close to what you would normally do and help bubba to sleep as they would normally. I find planning helps keep my stress down as I can have a map of what I want to do during the day and I can enjoy it more!
7. Get more sleep
There's almost no need to explain this!! If you don't get the right amount of sleep overnight, why not take 10-20 minute cat naps if you can (get family to hold baby so you can escape for a sleep)? Christmas and New Year often means later nights and perhaps a drink or two, so it is important to catch up on your rest in the day time when you can. I have a handy online course called Relax Mama Relax of guided meditations especially for new mamas and this can help you to rest for 15-20 minutes whether in the day or in bed before you go to sleep. I use it myself, so I'm not just pushing a sale, it really does help to recharge the batteries.
8. Make it fun
Enjoy Christmas and don't feel like it has to be perfect. If something goes a bit wrong or half the sprouts haven't cooked, don't worry, have less sprouts! If baby cries when you put on his/her Christmas hat, just let it go (in true Frozen style) and try again later. By having fun and enjoying yourself, everyone around you will feel the same way. Don't forget, you have a baby - what more excuse do you need for playing with silly toys and being a big kid again yourself (Batman Lego time here we come!) All your bubba will see and experience is lots of happy people that he/she loves to bits - there is nothing better than that for Christmas.
So, enjoy your first Christmas with your little one - I know for me it is a very special time and I just can't wait.
Right, I'm off to rescue the Christmas tree from little grabbing hands...