Surviving the Holidays with a Newborn

Surviving the holidays with a newborn, newborn baby in a Santa hat

The magic of the holiday season is magnified by the arrival of your baby. Of course, it is natural to want to create the perfect first Christmas for your growing family. Be that as it may, bringing a newborn home means your daily routines have undergone a major adjustment. Add in the bustle and flurry of the holidays and you may be left feeling like you have too much to juggle. So, how will you survive the holidays with a baby? 

My son was born on September 13th. I was excited about the holiday activities we would take on and the photos we would capture. We had family to visit, friends to see, presents to buy, and decorating to do. And let’s not forget preparing for Santa’s first big visit. I even agreed to hosting my family’s Christmas Eve party all while caring for my three month old baby. At the time, I didn’t consider how taking on too much would affect me, my sleep and breastfeeding

After weeks of planning and working to make the holidays special, I was worn out. While I enjoyed the celebrations and festivities, at what cost? I didn’t have a drop of energy left to give and my baby was fussy too. The quality of time with friends and family was affected. As a result, I promised myself to slow down and take on less for the holidays in the future. 

If you are looking to have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season, try doing things at a pace that works for you and your little one. Here are some tips that may help you survive the holidays while caring for your baby: 

Make a list of the simple things that bring you joy during this time of year. 

Firstly, consider the memories that matter most to you and allow time to enjoy them. This list doesn’t have to be long. Maybe it is walking through the lights at your favorite local park, pictures with Santa, or baking your secret family cookie recipe. Prioritize a few of your favorite holiday activities

No isn’t a bad word. 

Say yes to the essential holiday traditions that are important to you. However, you won’t be on Santa’s naughty list if you choose to decline an invitation or commitment. Try not to take on more than you are comfortably ready for. Set boundaries with family and friends, and make plans around your schedule. 

Get plenty of rest.

Santa needs breaks too, and he only works one day a year! Don’t feel guilty for taking some much needed “you time.” Rest includes actual sleep, but also simply relaxing when you can. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with your feet up while watching your favorite holiday movie. Being well rested will make the festivities better for everyone.

Accept and ask for help. 

You can’t do it all on your own this year. You will be holding, changing, feeding and snuggling your sweet newborn. And most importantly, you should be allowed to 100% enjoy this special time with your baby! But, this does mean less time for preparing holiday cards, cooking fancy meals, shopping, wrapping and everything that comes with the season. Let your family know that you need their help and give them tasks to do. Delegate duties to your partner and friends. Consider having a postpartum doula who can provide hands-on support. Your doula can care for your baby to give you a break, or help with decorations and mailing out your Christmas cards. Yep, that’s right. Doulas attune to your needs to make your life easier and your holiday bright!

If you aren’t enjoying it, what’s the point? 

The holidays should be full of laughter, cheer and fun. When we get too mired down by our to-do lists we forget what it’s all about. So here is your permission to focus on the simple, happy moments you share with people that you love the most. Let other things slide this year. You just had a baby! You deserve it.  

I kept that promise to myself nine Christmases ago, and each year gets better and better. Keep in mind the reason for the season, whatever that may mean for you and your family. Happy holidays!  

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading