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Are you concerned about surviving the holidays with a newborn?
If you are pregnant with a holiday due date, you might be feeling stressed about trying to juggle postpartum, newborn and holiday preparations!
However, with proper perspective and planning, you CAN relax and enjoy this season without stress or pressure!
In this post, I’m going to help you think about this in the right way…
- First of all, let’s put the holiday preparations and celebrations into proper perspective.
- Secondly, it’s important to keep self-care and baby-care at the top of your “to-do” list!
- Above all, remember what’s true… You just had a baby! What else really matters?!
Now that you are thinking about this in the right way, stay tuned for your 14 great “surviving the holidays with a newborn” sanity-saving tips!
Keep reading for more…
14 Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Newborn
You CAN do this mama! Take a deep breath… keep yourself and your baby at the top of your priority list. Here’s how…
1. Remember…You Have No Idea What to Expect!
Even if you’ve had other babies before, each baby and recovery is different.
Moreover, you don’t know if you will be recovering from an unplanned c-section or perhaps some other unforeseen postpartum complication or newborn issue.
Although you shouldn’t be overly anxious about this, keep in mind that you may not be up for travel or celebrating.
Make tentative plans, but always be open to canceling them, if needed!
2. Give Yourself Permission for a Less-Than-Perfect Holiday!
You will probably need to let things go this year.
If you are used to a “Martha Stewart Christmas” or you feel that you must hang on to special family traditions, you may need to let those things go this year. That’s okay!
You are having a baby and that needs to be your #1 priority and concern. If you need to skip the usual decorating, gift buying or celebrating… skip it!
They’ll be plenty more holidays in the future. 🙂
Keep it simple. Buy ready-made desserts. Send gift cards. Eat take-out. Rest.
Instead of fancy Christmas decorations, buy a newborn Santa hat and take lots of pictures!
Your memories of this season will be extra special, no matter what you do!
3. You Call the Shots This Year!
You need to decide what you can handle this year.
Remember, things will be different. You won’t have the same energy and you will need to care for your baby. You will probably also need a nap during your family gathering… maybe two!
Communicate your needs with your partner or family. In fact, allow your friends and family to help brainstorm some ideas for coping.
Does going to a family gathering seem overwhelming? Are you up for travel? Would you rather have friends or family come to your home? (see tip #5)
Take some time to reflect and discuss this before you make your plans. In addition, make sure that your family knows that your plans are always subject to change.
Surviving the holidays with a newborn is easier if everyone has reasonable expectations. Be flexible!
4. It’s Okay to Say No!
It’s okay to say “no” to holiday party invitations this year.
You have a great excuse and everyone will understand. If they don’t understand, then don’t let that bother you, either!
Traveling with a baby is super stressful. If you are recovering from childbirth, you don’t need that stress! If your baby will be less than six weeks old, you may wish to reconsider long distance travel.
Surviving the holidays with a newborn sometimes means saying “no”.
5. Consider Being a Host without Hosting!
You should NOT play hostess this year!
If you think it will be easier to have the festivities at your home (and it might be!) then ask someone else to host in your home!
Don’t agree to hosting unless you have lots of help! I don’t mean just with the food, but ask someone to help clean, get the house ready and clean up as well.
If your baby is less than six weeks old, you need to stay out of the kitchen and let everyone else do all the work! This needs to be the agreement before you say “yes” to this! Make sure that everyone agrees to your terms and ask your partner to support this!
Having the holiday family celebration at your own home has many advantages since you can more easily sneak away for feedings and naps.
Your baby will also be more used to your home and will probably be much more peaceful with familiar surroundings and routines!
Young babies can be very sensitive to the extra noise and can quickly become over-stimulated, especially if their nap routine is off schedule. This post explains this more in detail and gives you some great tips to prevent an over-tired or over-stimulated baby.
If you agree to hosting, make sure that you have a sound machine to drown out loud conversations, laughter and/or family debates!!
Plan on excusing yourself early and go to bed when needed!
6. Establish Some Rules
Everyone will want to hold your baby.
How do you feel about that? Take some time to reflect and discuss this with your partner before your baby is born.
Would you want people to wash their hands first? I can assure you that someone will have a cough or sniffles. It’s inevitable this time of year. How will you handle that?
Another thing to consider it this: A baby that is held a lot during the day, is also more likely to sleep more. Make sure that you watch the clock (and baby) and don’t miss those necessary daytime feedings.
A baby that misses daytime feedings will be waking more at night to eat! Read this post for more about how to prevent excessive night waking!
You may want to hold your baby often so you don’t miss her early feeding cues. A great way to keep your baby close is to wear your baby!
I love baby-wearing for this reason. When baby is close to mom, she is more likely to keep to a regular nursing routine.
Baby-wearing is also a great way to keep holiday germ-covered fingers away from baby’s face. If you have sick relatives or children at your holiday party, baby-wearing can be the best way to protect your baby from getting sick!
Make sure that you add a baby carrier to your Christmas wish list or Baby Registry!
Surviving the holidays with a newborn may mean keeping your baby close!
7. Have a Plan
Begin now to start thinking about your holiday plan.
Caring for a newborn is already a full time job without the extra stress of the season.
In addition to all the normal “busyness” of Christmas, throw in night feedings, short periods of sleep, diaper changes, cluster-feeding and multiple loads of laundry. There will be little time leftover for holiday preparations!
Because of this, make sure that you plan accordingly. By the way, do you have a postpartum recovery plan? It’s the most important plan you make!
Speaking of plan, have you thought about how you want to celebrate Christmas, Hanuka or other seasonal holidays?
Once baby arrives, Christmas baking, wrapping presents or trimming the tree will not be high on your priority list. Do you care?
What holiday preparations are important to you this year? If there are any, do them now or line up someone to step in and help.
Maybe you can bake and freeze some Christmas cookies ahead? Think about doing some holiday baking early along with preparing some freezer meals.
What happens if baby comes early? Or late? Get your plan ready now.
In fact, I have written a complete post on how to plan for a new baby. It comes with FREE Printable Checklists and lots of FREE Planning Resources! Go here to read it now!
Christmas Planning Resource
On the subject of planning… I have another great resource for you… it’s an ultimate Christmas Planner!
This planner is LOADED with printable checklists to get you organized and ready for Christmas. It’s very affordable and will help you plan and get ready with less stress!
Read more about this planner here.
8. Ignore all the “Baby Experts”
Because everyone loves to give new parents advice… you will get lots… ignore most of it!
When Great-Aunt Gertrude tells you to give your baby a bottle of formula mixed with rice cereal to help him sleep through the night (at 2 weeks old)… just smile and say thank you, politely! Then change the subject. It’s just not worth it!
Finally, the older generations LOVE to give out baby advice. Unfortunately, most of it is either outdated or just plain bad. See this post about outdated newborn myths.
Ignore all the unsolicited or unwanted advice. Ask them for tips on surviving the holidays with a newborn instead!
9. You Might Need to Take a Break!
First of all, don’t be surprised if you are more emotional than usual.
Christmas and holiday season can be stressful. Additionally, some families have relational problems, making family gatherings even more stressful or emotional.
In addition to the normal stresses of family holiday gatherings, you will have just given birth to a baby!
As a result, your hormones will be unsettled. You might feel like crying. For no reason. That’s okay. Take a break!
10. Accept Help
While it might seem stressful at first, it will probably come as a welcome relief to have friends and family around to help you out. This is especially true if you are feeling trapped under a baby all day long!
Allow them to give you a break. Let your needs be known. Remember, not everyone is good at recognizing what you need but most people are very willing to pitch in when asked.
Therefore, don’t expect family to read your mind. Some people are more shy about offering help, although very willing!
Surviving the holidays with a newborn means accepting help… lots of help!
If anyone asks you how they can help you during this season, give them ideas! Here is a quick list:
- Bring you a meal.
- Share some Christmas cookies!
- Pick up some groceries before visiting.
- Tidy up your kitchen.
- Do some laundry
- Run errands
- Help with holiday decorating
- Clean your house 🙂
- Wrap your presents
11. Practice Self-Care
Surviving the holidays with a newborn means prioritizing self care. The craziness of the season is no excuse for not taking care of yourself, dear mama! Self-care and baby care need to be your primary focus!
In order to do this, make sure that you are getting adequate sleep, eating plenty of nourishing food, and staying hydrated. This will make a huge difference in surviving the holidays with a newborn!
Here is a quick self-care list reminder:
- Keep taking your prenatal vitamins
- Get enough sleep
- Drink lots of water
- Eat healthy foods
- Minimize sweets
- Plan for lots of quiet postpartum recovery time with your baby.
- Don’t stress! Relax and enjoy your baby.
12. Pack What You Need to Be More Comfortable
If you are going to be away from home, don’t be afraid to bring what you need to make your visit more comfortable for you.
Here are some ideas you may wish to consider:
- A large nursing cover if you plan to be nursing around family members. You don’t want to be fumbling with a small one that doesn’t work properly! There are some really great nursing covers that do double or triple duty as a car seat cover and infinity scarf as well! Check them out here.
- Bulky baby equipment… if you think it will help! (portable crib, bassinet, baby swing, etc.) Although it will be more work to haul these items, it may help you keep your sanity to have some of the conveniences of home! You can also ask your family to have some of these items available for you if they have access to them.
- Extra clothing for baby and parents. Babies go through lots of laundry. Not only that, but they tend to “share” their meals with those who are holding them! Bring extra clothing and burp cloths so you don’t need to do unnecessary laundry.
- Finally, offer to bring wine or some other food item that doesn’t need advanced preparations!
13. Keep Telling Yourself the Truth!
When discouragement or anxiety creeps in and tries to rob you of your joy and peace, arm yourself with some basic truths!
Fight off those lies by reminding yourself of what’s true. Here are some truths to get you started…
- You’ve just had a baby.
- You need to rest.
- You are up often during the night.
- Your body is recovering.
- You have had major surgery (in the case of a cesarean birth)
- Your body is expending lots of energy to produce milk.
- Your hormones are all over the place.
- Sleep is crucial to healing and harmony.
- Your baby needs calm and peace.
- Your baby needs recovery time too.
- Postpartum healing takes time.
- You are still in survival mode.
- It’s okay to say “no”.
- Next year will be different!
- You got this, mama!
14. Travel Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a Newborn
Finally, if you do plan to travel a long distance with a baby, then check out this post for some great tips on airline travel as well as other great travel tips for surviving the holidays with a newborn.
Do you have any other ideas or great holiday baby survival tips to share? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment. 🙂
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