Christmas with a new baby is magical, but it might throw your routine off. Here are some of our suggestions for making the holiday season with a baby a little simpler.
Be prepared to deviate from the norm a little.
Unless you plan to be extremely rigorous, you'll have to accept that your baby's routine will need to be adjusted over the holidays. Prepare for it and don't get too worked up over it. Keep in mind that while consistency is important, you need to be adaptable.
Allowing for little wiggle room in timings while maintaining a known routine is a smart tip to follow. Maintain your typical bedtime/naptime pattern, with a decent wind down session, even if it is a little later than usual.
Have a plan for late nights.
It's fine to stay up late over the holidays, but you should try to follow it up with a somewhat low-key day. Your newborn will require some rest. With older children, Christmas morning may come early as well, so get a good night's sleep yourself! If you can, go to bed a little earlier in expectation of a busy day.
Try to come up with a reasonable time for everyone to get up. Request that your friends and family adhere to your schedule. Be firm if you know your baby is overdue for a nap, even if a member of the family hasn’t been able to hold your newborn yet. There's a better likelihood of peaceful hugs after your baby has slept than there is with an overtired baby.
Watch for newborn sleep cues.
With all of the extra visitors, lights, and overall noise that Christmas brings, your newborn may become more weary. Keep an eye out for indicators of exhaustion and take action when you notice them. If your newborn becomes agitated by the small variations in the routine, you may want to consider tightening things up a bit.
If you discover that your newborn isn't sleeping as well as they used to after the holidays, try and maintain a sense of serenity at home. Set a date for when Christmas will be 'over' and your family will return to normal. This usually coincides with the start of school for the kids, but it's entirely up to you. The over stimulation of Christmas may be too much for certain babies and youngsters, and you should scale down the pace much sooner.
Related: Tips to get your newborn to sleep through the night
Tips if you are visiting family:
- Plan your trip around your child's current routine, even if it means arriving early at your location. If they generally sleep between 12 and 2pm, make sure you're in the car at that time so they can get their rest.
- When travelling with a baby, you must schedule more time for pauses to change diapers, feed, and get some fresh air than when travelling alone. When you arrive, the last thing you want to be is rushed.
- If you're going to be gone from home for a while, bring some familiar items with you. Take your baby's favourite blankets, books, and comforters with you, so that bedtime is as stress free as possible.
- You may wish to stay in the room while your baby sleeps the first night of your visit to provide them some reassurance for their first time in unfamiliar surroundings. While they sleep, try not to focus your attention on them; instead, play on your phone or read a book. You should be able to walk out of the room like you would at home the next night.
- Always bring a nice pushchair with you; while many people prefer buggies, babies often struggle to sleep in them. If you're going out for lunch during nap time or an evening dinner when you want your kid to sleep, this might be rather restricted.
- If you want to take your newborn out in the evening, we recommend sticking to your baby's regular bedtime routine. Give them their bedtime feed, swaddle or sleep in their sleeping bag, then put them in the pushchair and head out for the evening.
Tips if you are having visitors over:
- Keep your expectations in check! It's possible that planning and preparing a three-course meal is a bit ambitious. Try a one-pot wonder like a casserole, risotto, or curry, which can all be prepared ahead of time. Remember, there's nothing wrong with asking for help when it comes to Christmas lunch! Invite your guests to contribute or bring a dish to share.
- Not everyone understands the term "silent." If your guests bang a door or stomp up the stairs, play music or white noise in your baby's room to keep them from waking up.
- Take advantage of some time off; with additional relatives, grandparents, friends, and partners nearby, you can leave your child with them and do activities you wouldn't otherwise do. It doesn't matter if it's cooking or entertaining!
- Make the best decision for you and your new family; scheduling too many visits might lead to an unhappy baby and a frustrated parent.
- If your baby requires assistance with sleeping alone, the holiday season may be an excellent time to address the issue. Make the most of your partner's vacation time! It's a fantastic moment to start a new habit.
Usually when a baby’s routine is disrupted, it is short lived. Use your own instincts to decide whether or not you are happy to stray from your routine, and don’t let it spoil your Christmas. We hope you all have a truly wonderful Christmas with lots of fond memories to look back on.
Love from Babocush x