As we all know, Christmas can be stressful enough without having to think about a new baby. As a first time mum, I was pretty conscious that Toby’s routine was unlikely to coincide with our Christmas day plans, and I was right, but we did our best. Here are my five top tips for surviving Christmas.
You make the decisions
Decide where Christmas will be spent (and possibly Boxing Day too). Trying to please everyone in the family is virtually impossible, so don’t bother trying. If you want to stay at home because you don’t feel up to seeing too many people then that’s fine, other people might not be happy with it, but it’s about you doing what’s best for your new family. I guess this depends on how ‘new’ your baby is when Christmas comes round. We went for a ‘mini break’ (a 10 minute drive) for 2 nights to my in-laws but spent Boxing Day with all of my family, thus pleasing both sides. Win.
Make time for yourself
Grandparents, aunties, uncles, mums and dads. Some of them are too overbearing, some of them aren’t attentive enough, but some of them are just right, thankfully. Where possible, I suggest using them to your advantage. If they want to feed the baby, let them. If they want to take them off your hands for 5 minutes, remember that Christmas is about you too; a 5 minute break is better than nothing. Most importantly, Christmas is all about family and I believe everyone should be together as much as possible. It’s their, and baby’s, chance to engage with someone other than you, and it allows you to sit back and admire the most beautiful gift of all.
Keep to your baby’s routine
Keeping to your routine as much as possible is essential. Try and stick to baby’s nap times, feed times, bath time and bed time if you can. An over tired baby isn’t something you want to be dealing with when you’re trying to enjoy yourself in the evening. You could, of course, be using that time much more wisely; a drink of mulled wine, demolishing the chocolates from the tub and the cheeseboard that’s been out since 5, or sitting on your bum watching a good Christmas film, or playing family games.
Beware the perfect parent experts
With all the relatives around it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when they start offering you advice. Telling you all about how they did it, what you should or shouldn’t be doing. How it was in their day. Let’s face it, lots of people who’ve had a child automatically think it gives them the right to tell other people how to parent or that first time, new parents want their advice.
My advice is to thank them for their concern, input or advice and try and change the subject. The last thing you need over Christmas is a debate over how best to parent, and you don’t want to feel like you’re in the wrong, because you’re not.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of year that you really don’t want to spoil it by being stressed. Online shopping is your friend. Vouchers are your friend. There is nothing worse than trying to battle through the town crowds, trying to do your shopping when you have to stop mid flow to feed and change the baby. You’ll have enough on your plate as it is, so there’s no need to add to it.
Try and be a guest instead of the host, and have people tend to you this year instead. This one should be all about you and your baby, enjoying those cuddles and of course the Christmas dinner.
Toby’s first Christmas was good fun for us all, completely stress free and we made so many memories with no stress, debates or arguments.
Do you have any top tips?