As we countdown to the joys and delights of the festive season, the stress naturally begins to build, however much organisation and planning has gone into your pre-Christmas preparations.
How much harder then, if you have a new born baby or one due this month – after the initial euphoria and the thrill or that very first cuddle along with the overwhelming love you feel for your little miracle, the reality starts to set in.
Adjusting to a new born, particularly your first, takes time – nothing can prepare you for the demands or an infant and the highs and lows of parenting.
Every family member, friend and neighbour will want to call for a cuddle – you may even have to fend off Santa! – so anticipate a constant stream of callers dropping by on the pretext of delivering gifts, but really desperate to be the first to rock-a-bye baby !
As new parents, you are the ones who need to set the parameters particularly if you are trying to establish a routine with your new born. Decide early on the best Christmas arrangements for you and your partner. Some babies will naturally snooze their way through a long journey around their feeds, but others will let you know that it’s just not their thing – and there is nothing worse than being caught up in a stationary queue on the motorway with a screaming infant strapped into his or her car seat.
So make a decision early on and then no-one will be disappointed, whether that means staying put and having Christmas at home, or, if you decide you are up to travelling, which of your family and friends would really help and support you if you stayed with them. If you do decide on a family get together, ensure that the holiday revolves around you and your baby’s needs, so if a late breakfast and even later Christmas lunch suits you better, be firm and make your demands!
Your next decision will be laying down some rules for relatives craving a cuddle. Are you happy for your new born to feature as the festive pass the parcel, will you ask people to wash their hands beforehand, how long are you happy for your baby to be held – all your emotions are already heightened, so don’t succumb to pressure and be made to feel you’re being hysterical, just do what feels right for you and your little one. You will sense when your baby has had enough stimulation from all the different faces, hands, and sounds and that will be your cue to find a quiet room where you can have time together to feed or settle your baby and get back into your zone.
Advice and protocols change from generation to generation and even year to year and there is always someone setting him or herself up as an expert usually with that irritating “it wasn’t done like that in my day” refrain! Everyone parents differently and there is no definitive right or wrong – add to that a whole gamut of advice out there for newbie parents and it can feel overwhelming but if you trust in your own instincts as a new mum and dad you won’t go far wrong.
However you plan to feed your baby, it can take time for you and baby to get used to breast or bottle so give yourself time in those early days when you are both adjusting so that you can enjoy the experience and bonding time together.
Breast feeding can be awkward at first and for many new mums it can be difficult feeding in a public place or even at home among familiar faces. You will learn in time to cover up discreetly with baby shawls and covers which shield you both giving you extra privacy if need to feed while you are out. Plan your meals around the feeds so you are not called away in the middle of a feast, as mums need to eat too!Enjoy your new baby’s first Christmas – savour this new experience, and if do you need to escape a social situation, it’s so easy – just blame it on the baby!