Christmas is always a special time, but your first festive season as a parent is a truly memorable occasion. This is your chance to incorporate your new – and oh so cute – family member into your existing celebrations, to start fresh traditions and to have some fun together.
There are lots of things to consider in making your baby’s first Christmas a special and safe one.
Here are our tips for managing the day so it ends as well as it begins:
Plan ahead. Thinking about the big day strategically can help you make it work for you and your family. If it’s being held elsewhere, what travel times do you need to take into account? If the celebrations are at your house, what meal can you have that can be prepared ahead of time?
Ask for help (and lots of it). “Christmas Day can be physically draining as a new parent, so ask others to help,” Bernice suggests. If you’re hosting, that might mean asking your guests to contribute to the meal by bringing a dessert, for example. Of course, you’ll need plenty of back-up from your partner, too, so have a chat about what’s right for your baby ahead of time so you can both stick to a plan.
Consider your baby’s needs. What you can manage during the day will depend on the age of your baby and what his needs are.
For example, Bernice says, “If you have a new baby you might be feeding two-hourly, so you don’t have a lot of time to be preparing a huge feast.” Taking your baby’s needs into account when planning the day can help you be realistic about what you can achieve, and what you need to outsource.
Take the weather into account. “If it’s a hot day, your baby might need extra breastfeeding or, if he’s over six months he’ll need some water in a cup,” says Bernice.
Consider safety. If you’re celebrating at a family member’s house that might not be baby-proof, remove any high dangers and watch closely for other risks. Whether you’re at home or out, it can help to enlist the help of others to watch the baby while you do other things, but always make sure that one person knows they’re in charge at any given time rather than assuming everyone is watching your little one.
Stick to your usual routine. “Try and keep to the same routine but also make sure you have a good time,” says Bernice. If you’re following a traditional routine of a feed followed by playtime and then a sleep, you might like to encourage anyone who wants to see and cuddle the baby to do so during his more alert time. “Avoid having the baby passed around like a parcel, because that creates an overtired baby,” Bernice advises.
Have fun! Try to create a balance between sticking to routines and relaxing into some little changes that help you enjoy the day. For example, if your baby usually has a nap in his cot but needs an extra cuddle on Christmas Day to sleep amid the celebrations, then go with it. Remember, others will be happy to support you, so ask for help whenever you need it. “Enjoy the day, but don’t make it so hectic that you become physically unwell and are also left with an overtired baby,” says Bernice.