It can be both a wonderful and challenging time of year to have a baby. There is so much excitement around the festive season and around welcoming a new little love into the family. This will come with so many different opinions, expectations and feelings to juggle and those early weeks and months of motherhood can be a really fragile and emotional time.
If your baby arrives in the week or two lead up to Christmas it could be beneficial to opt out this year and that should be completely acceptable and understandable.
Birth and recovery can be unpredictable, as well as breastfeeding, sleep, your emotional state and physical state. Creating a postpartum plan with the festive season in mind can be really beneficial.
This is obviously completely up to you but chances are even if you feel good in the moment, the toll a big family event can take on you and your new baby may not be worth it.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful small intimate Christmas at home. It can still be festive and fabulous. But if a family Christmas celebration during your postpartum is on the cards. Here are some tips to help support you and your little love this Christmas.
Ideally, Don’t Host
It can seem like a good idea to stay in your home where you have everything you need, you have your own room to retreat to and you don’t have to travel. But the weight of hosting Christmas is too much for a postpartum family. It’s better to be a guest where you can leave if it gets too much, rather than have too much going on in your home and not be able to escape. Not to mention chaos and clean up to follow.
Request a Nest
If you are going to someone’s home for Christmas, request a nest. Ask them if you can have access to a room that can be a safe place for you and your baby to retreat. Somewhere that can be dark and quiet, a comfortable place for you to breastfeed, change a nappy or just take a moment for yourself.
Set Boundaries and Pre-empt Triggers
You can do this as a family privately before the event or choose to send a message in advance. It’s okay to ask people not to kiss the baby, wear perfume if they want to hold the baby and so on. If you aren’t comfortable saying these things to family members, have the chat with your partner before you go. Make sure you are on the same page so you can support each other through any difficult interactions. If you have family members who you know will make a fuss (I love this example over on Mama Matters), preempt these and come up with a plan of attack and a…
Have an SOS code word that means help or it’s time to go. Communicate this with your partner in advance so you can work as a team to manage uncomfortable situations or a swift exit if it is feeling all too much.
Your baby carrier will be your best friend over Christmas. Not only is it your baby’s happy place being close to you, but it can be a really great way to avoid playing pass the baby and avoid unwanted touching and kissing. You can even discreetly breastfeed in most carriers. It can sometimes be hard to set boundaries with family members and if you are a people pleaser it can be hard to say no. Especially when family members sometimes feel entitled to the baby. Your carrier can be your protective cocoon while you still enjoy the day.