With the holidays quickly approaching, and a new client lingers on the horizon for me, I got to thinking about how the holiday season is such a tricky time to introduce a newborn into the mix. There are so many visitors, so many schedule variations, there is the potential for travel. All things which might send the most zen mama into a state of frenzy. This made me wonder:

Is it possible to have stress free holidays

with a newborn?

Of course it is! But it does take a little bit of thought,  planning, and perhaps enlisting some family members and friends to help set proper boundaries. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges new mamas experience when having a newborn during the holidays, and then how to deal with the many transitions of postpartum while navigating through a very busy holiday season!

imgres-4VISITORS

The holidays are usually divided up between those who travel and visit, or those who stay home and receive visitors. Neither one of those options sounds completely appealing to a new mom. Most of the time, I’ve found that family tends to come to the new mother in the immediate first 6 weeks, and a houseful of guests postpartum might not be exactly what they need. A few guidelines in place prior to your visitors coming can go a long way!

Setting Boundaries For Yourself

Setting boundaries and communicating your needs first, as the mother and the one who just gave birth, is your right. Do not get steamrolled into having more people over than you can handle. You can allow your partner to tell people no, or that you’re going to have a more relaxed holiday this season instead of making an appearance at a holiday party. If you wind up having people over, don’t be afraid to go into your bedroom and quietly feed your baby without all of the distraction around. Have one of your family members let people know that, “She’s just taking a little quiet time while she feeds the baby” if anyone asks.

Let Others Do the Work

There is no need for you to overexert yourself even if you have visitors, I’m sure you’ll find everyone wants you to relax while they do whatever needs to be done. These people love you, sit in your nursing chair and be the queen bee this holiday. Let them help, or, even better, actually let them know, using concise direction, exactly what is it that they can do for you. You’ll be amazed at how great it feels for everyone involved!

tumblr_static_5z3wgnlcvsg8c4scw8sssks0sPRACTICE SELF CARE

While it might be tempting to stay up late and be the belle of the ball, you will definitely be thankful if you allow yourself time to rest uninterrupted, even if everyone else is bustling around. Your body needs to recuperate, and your baby needs you to be well rested in order to provide to their needs.

Rest

When you are a parent of a newborn, you can anticipate losing approximately 350 hours of sleep at night over the course of the first year! Catnaps are a fantastic way to get a bit of restorative sleep back. When a parent has gone a few nights without getting good rest, when they finally do rest their body is able to get into a deeper, more effective sleep faster, so the nap has quite a few healing properties even if it isn’t long in length. Researchers found that a 45-minute nap improved alertness for six hours after the nap, but that even a 20 minute disco nap could dramatically help out.

Think Outside of the Box

As it is the holiday season, what better time than to take it easy around the fireplace with your extended family members? This is the perfect time to talk about past holidays and spend quality time talking with family members. You don’t have to run around or have elaborate plans in order to really enjoy yourself with your newborn. While you might not be able to participate in a game of charades, you can certainly hang out with your baby on the couch, watching and laughing.

tumblr_nfz085wY2y1rzzn4po1_500LOWER THE BAR

As in, lower it to the ground and then kick it to the side. No bar this year, no perfection levels to achieve. The new mama mantra is less is more!

Dress Up Comfort

Glorify a pair of leggings and nursing top with eyeliner, a bit of blush and earrings. I love a simple tank, a button-front sweater for easy access if you’re nursing and a lovely scarf with a pair of ballet flats. Perfect, comfortable yet still not cringe worthy when you look back at the pictures!

Decorate Simply

Strap your baby on and decorate your house while listening to some seasonal music if that’s what makes you happy. If it doesn’t make you happy but you still want the cheery house, invite some friends with kids over for an afternoon to hang, drink wine, have snacks and let them decorate for you. Or, get your partner to do the heavy lifting. Overall though, make it simple if possible.

Potluck Party

The best holiday parties are potluck parties! If you are entertaining, make it a potluck and then stay out of the kitchen and let your guests do the bustle around. Plus, having leftovers when you have a new baby at home is heavenly!!

“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.” Donald E. Westlake

I think, in light of all of this, that perhaps the most important thing to remember is that at the root of the holiday season is the love and joy you share with your family. Enjoy this time with your newborn, and make it a magical memory.

Looking for More?

The video above is a quick overview with tips on managing new mom stress.

The Mayo Clinic has wonderful mindfulness exercises.

Babyproofing your holiday made easy with this write up.

Nothing offers stress free comfort better than making your house smell like winter.

If you forgo having a mocktail for the full monty as a way to destress, make sure you’re breastmilk isn’t boozy with these breastmilk alcohol screen strips.