There’s no denying that the holidays are a whirlwind of activity for many families with young children. This can be both exciting and terrifying for parents with a newborn baby. Of course, you want to make the rounds so everyone can meet the newest infant addition. But also, you’re on the verge of falling asleep and you’re still trying to find firm footing with this whole newborn baby thing.
Even if it’s not your first holiday with a baby and you have multiple children, welcoming a new little one into the mix is challenging. There are lots of learning curves, adjustments, and sleepless nights, no matter how many kids you’ve had. The holidays can add an extra layer of anxiety to days when you already feel overloaded.
However, with a bit of prep, your first holiday with baby can be fun and enjoyable. You just have to think ahead—no mean feat for parents operating on 4 hours of sleep a night!
How to Prepare for the Holidays
Fail to plan, plan to fail… ever heard that old adage? It’s typically used in business, but it applies to navigating your first holiday with a baby as well --along with just about every other endeavor in life!
Chat with Your Partner
It’s important that, if you parent with a partner, you are both on the same page about how the holiday season should go with a new addition. Some couples may have different expectations about what the holiday season should look like, and if you don’t communicate those expectations right away so that you can find some common ground, lack of sleep and short fuses can make everyone (including baby) miserable.
Decide ahead of time what you envision your holiday season to look like, whether that means travelling, going out and using a babysitting service, or staying in with your bundle of joy. Come to an agreement before making any plans. Some new parents just want to stay in during the holiday season, making their house a true home.
Other parents want to get out and make the family rounds, showing off the little nugget. Neither choice is wrong, but they can conflict if you don’t talk it out ahead of time.
Keep It Simple
There’s no doubt that the holiday season is a bustle of activity. Everywhere you look, people are preparing for the holidays and doing all the things. That doesn’t mean you have to fall in line and follow suit.
Sometimes the best plan is to keep life as simple as possible with a newborn baby. Yes, you want to go see Santa and book your holiday family photoshoot or travel to those best winter vacation spots for families. Yes, you want to take the older kids to the ice rink for some cold-weather skating or other toddler winter activities. Yes, you need to shop for the family and find something for that cantankerous old aunt of yours.
However, give yourself a bit of grace and allow yourself to skip the things that aren’t 100% important to you. Your cantankerous old aunt might be miffed that you didn’t get her another scarf this year, but she’ll get over it.
Your holiday family photo session, on the other hand, means memories you can look back on someday, which makes activities like that pretty priceless. Plan your schedule according to the priceless things you don’t want to miss, just don’t forget your diaper bag for the go for all your baby essentials. Then, let everything else go and allow for accommodation.
Skip Toy Overload
With a new little one, it can be tempting to go out and buy every cute toy you can find. However, the reality is that most babies and toddlers don’t need half of the things that line toy shelves today.
Most of them are content with a big pot and wooden spoon! Obviously, you don’t want to buy them a pot and spoon for their first holiday gift, but you don’t have to go crazy either.
A handful of age-appropriate toys you know they will enjoy is plenty. Your little one will probably have more fun playing with the wrapping paper anyway! Plus, don’t forget that your baby will likely receive gifts from other members of the family, too. Make sure they have a JuJuBe backpack to hold all their goodies!
Be Willing to Say No
It’s easy to fall into the habit of wanting to please the people around us, especially when it’s your first holiday with baby. But boundaries are healthy, and one boundary that new parents absolutely must master is the art of saying no when something doesn’t work for them.
Your family might receive a flurry of invites to holiday parties, park dates, and dinners. However, you are not obligated to attend even a single one of them if it doesn’t work for your family. Your little unit, with your new addition, is your number one priority.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your family is to say no to that next event, stay home, and rest. You’ll have more energy and excitement when considering the next invite that comes along. You have to focus on staying healthy during the holidays by keeping yourself rested and sane and your baby in the best health.