PopYum Tips on Surviving Your First Holiday Season as a New Parent
Being a new parent during the holiday season can be overwhelming, but with the right strategies, you can navigate this special time and have some fun! Check out our new parent tips below to help you make the most of the holidays while taking care of your little one.
Plan Ahead: Start preparing for the holiday season well in advance. Create a schedule that accommodates your baby's routine, including nap times and feeding schedules. This will help you avoid last-minute stress and ensure that everything runs smoothly. Whether you like using a daily planner, an online calendar, or recording voice memos, using a tool to help you stick to your baby’s routine will ultimately save you time and streamline your to-do list as the holidays get closer.
Take Care of Yourself: Remember to prioritize self-care during this busy time. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but taking care of yourself is essential for your well-being and your ability to take care of baby. Make sure to get enough rest, eat nutritious meals, and find time for relaxation. Don’t feel pressured to stay at social gatherings for the entire duration, especially if you’re feeling tired. It’s totally okay and understandable if you need to excuse yourself early from an event.
Be Prepared: Traveling with a newborn can be very stressful and you should do what feels right for you and your immediate family. If you do decide to travel, make sure to schedule in extra time for driving or flying with your little one(s). Bring extra breastmilk or formula with you just in case of travel delays on the road or at the airport (both breastmilk and formula are exempt from the 3 oz liquid rule at TSA). This will save you from the stress of a hungry baby. When traveling, always bring extra baby clothes, swaddles and burp cloths in the event of spills, spit-ups and/or accidents. If you don’t feel comfortable traveling long distances with a newborn, it is completely reasonable to stay at home during the holidays.
Set Realistic Expectations: The holidays can be a magical time, but it's important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your baby. Understand that things may not go exactly as planned or be the same as before becoming a parent, and that's okay. Allow yourself to let go of set ideals or perfection, and focus on enjoying the memorable moments with your little one.
Create Baby-Friendly Traditions: Start new holiday traditions that are baby-friendly. For example, you could decorate a special onesie or bib with your baby's handprints or footprints. This will not only create lasting memories but also allow your baby to participate in the festivities. Other ways to create traditions might be to attend a lighting ceremony, read holiday stories, or put a holiday time capsule together of your little one’s favorite things.
For your baby’s safety, also remember to baby-proof your home during the holidays. This could mean something like putting up a baby gate around the base of a tree, avoiding small ornaments and holiday decor that are within baby’s reach and could be a choking hazard. As well, putting child-protective coverings on the edges of any low tables or sharp furniture will help prevent bumps and scrapes.
Don't Overwhelm Your Baby: It's important to remember that babies can easily become overwhelmed by too much stimulation. Avoid crowded places and loud noises that may overstimulate your baby. Instead, opt for quieter and more intimate gatherings where your baby can feel comfortable and secure. Also, don’t feel pressured to let everyone hold your baby if you are not comfortable with it. Try not to schedule too many things on the same day -- if possible, try to spread out your events over multiple days to make it easier for both you and your baby.
Accept Help: Don't hesitate to accept help from family and friends. They can assist with tasks such as babysitting, cooking, or running errands, allowing you to have some much-needed rest and relaxation. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child, and there's no shame in asking for support.
Stay Organized: Keep a checklist of all the things you need to do during the holiday season. This will help you stay organized and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. From gift shopping to meal planning, having a clear plan in place will reduce stress and make things easier for you. Think of ways to ease your daily routine or holiday related tasks. For instance, there could be ways to simplify your holiday cards - you could combine a birth announcement and holiday card into one card, or instead of doing all the cooking for a party, you could consider having it cartered or having a potluck format with everyone bringing a dish. For gift shopping, you may consider shopping online and direct shipping to save you the time of going out and later mailing packages.
Capture the Memories: Take plenty of photos and videos to capture the special moments of your baby's first holiday season. Your baby will only be a baby once, so enjoy it while it lasts! These memories will be cherished for years to come, and you'll love looking back on them as your child grows. Don’t be afraid to ask others to take photos of you, or to have a designated photographer on hand during the holiday festivities.
Connect with Other New Parents: Reach out to other new parents who are also navigating their first holiday season. It is very likely that you are not the only one who may be feeling stressed, anxious, excited, and feeling the whole 360 of emotions as a new parent going through their first holiday season. Join parenting groups or online parent communities where you can share experiences, exchange tips, and find support. Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can be incredibly comforting.
Embrace the Joy: Finally, remember to embrace the joy and magic of the holiday season. Despite navigating uncharted territory, this is a time to celebrate and create beautiful memories and traditions of your own with your newly expanded family. Cherish every moment that comes with being a new parent during the holidays.
We always love hearing from our fabulous PopYum community – moms, dads, caretakers, specialists, teachers, friends and more – and, in turn, we believe in sharing what we’ve learned from our community with you! Check out these great tips for surviving the first holiday season as a new parent below:
PopYum Mom Jenny: “When it comes to getting ready for the holidays, get yourself ready first, and then the baby or toddler. Let me tell you why - the baby or toddler will still eat or play while you are getting ready and end up getting dirty. Always pack 2 outfits, extra PopYum bottles, diapers, baby wipes. It’s also good to have small toys, snacks, and diaper rash cream handy in your diaper bag.”
Anonymous PopYum Mom: “PopYum is the only baby bottle you will need. Don’t bother with the others!”
PopYum Mom Chantty: “Get yourself a PopYum kit and thank me later.”
PopYum Mom Jillian:” I remember that first Christmas. I had waltzed into the family so happy and proud and got basically ambushed by loved ones telling me about all the things that I should be doing. Now looking back, I know it really wasn’t meant to be malicious but as a new mom, that can be so overwhelming. So just a few things to remember.
- Overstimulation is a real thing for both mom and baby! There are a lot of new faces, and a lot of excited people to see your new bundle of joy! It can be equally overwhelming to hand your baby to so many people as well as to see so many new faces. Take quiet time as needed!
- It is not your season to be everything for everybody. There are absolutely zero things wrong with delegating, sourcing out, or flat out saying No. Giving yourself grace during this time period is not failing, it’s persevering your sanity.
- As I mentioned before, people will come blasting with all sorts of opinions, but trust that “Mom” ALWAYS knows best. So just a “Thank You for that Insight” will get you a long way.
The Holidays are Magical! Be Kind to Yourself, Let Go of Expectation & Celebrate in the Moment. Oh and LOTS of pictures …Next Year you won’t believe how far you’ve come!