Baby's First Christmas
by Andréane Loubier
You have a teeny tiny baby and you’re readying up for the soon-to-be holiday season? Are you split between the joy brought by the traditions you enjoy and the idea that this period will completely drain you of your energy due to the fatigue you already feel? You might want to see your family to enjoy these wonderful moments, while still having the impression that this year will be a bit more complicated…
Indeed, the first Christmas with a baby can be taxing for new parents. We thought we should share with you some suggestions and ideas to make the season much gentler and less tiresome for you.
Respect your limits
Whether we want it or not, the fatigue and the changes that come with the arrival of a tiny human will create new limits which you might not have experienced before.
You know, that little inner voice that tells you that you don’t really want to go to this supper or that event. That’s where they are, your limits!
Out of fear of disappointing, your first reflex might be to dismiss them. To avoid having to justify yourself or being on the receiving end of unpleasant comments, you might decide to do as if they didn’t exist.
At the same time, you’re thinking to yourself that it’d be a shame to miss out on everything! After all, ‘’it’s only once a year’’!
So what would be your possibilities? Could plans for a supper be changed for this year? Maybe have lunch instead of supper? Maybe leave at an earlier time than on previous years? Maybe you could make sure that there’s a quiet place where you’re going for your baby’s naps? How about just saying ‘’no for this year’’?
What would happen if you declined an invitation? Disappointed people? Would it be possible to calmly explain to them that just for this year, you will be changing your habits to better fulfill your own need for quiet time and rest, and to care for your baby’s needs?
What could you come up with that would be different, but just as agreeable, to celebrate while respecting these new temporary limits?
Routine and emotions
It’s obvious that baby’s routine, if he has one, might not necessarily be followed during the holidays. This means you will probably have a few more eventful days, evenings and/or nights
When babies are highly stimulated, for example, by noises, smells, travelling, being put in someone’s arms, etc. , they accumulate different emotions, among which is stress (yes, even when done gently). They are destabilized by having their routine disturbed, but also by this overstimulation. How do they get rid of it all? By crying!
Don’t be surprised if your baby cries for longer for a few evenings/nights and if his sleep becomes more agitated. If all his needs are met, keep your cool and accompany him through his crying. Your presence will make all the difference. Isolate yourselves in a dark and quiet place, speak to your baby gently, caressing him very delicately. Your baby will eventually calm down, with you, without feeling alone (which would add to his stress).
On a similar note, it’s possible that your baby might need to feed more often, without necessarily really having a ‘’physical’’ hunger. These feedings have more to do with comfort and answering your baby’s greater need of your presence and to feel safe. Breastfeed your baby skin to skin and add more gentleness and envelopment in your gestures.
As you can see, when routine is disturbed, your baby needs YOU. He’s on the lookout for what reassures him the most: your warmth, your smell, the sound of your heart and of your voice, sucking and feeling secure and safe.
Microbes and overstimulation
To reduce overstimulation and the exchange of microbes we’ve talked about to a minimum, we’re going to make an unsurprising suggestion: Babywearing!
Indeed, by the simple fact that your baby will be snug on you will make him less ‘’accessible’’ and will avoid him a few infectious kisses and touches! Furthermore, your relatives will have a tendency to ‘’not want to disturb the baby’’ and this proximity to you will reassure him greatly. Also, carrying him will make you extra attentive to his needs, and will make it easier to appease him if necessary.
Breastfeeding in publicIf you’re already at ease and comfortable, breastfeeding during your Christmas supper is no big deal! Although, during the first few weeks, getting your baby to latch might be a little difficult. Mommy and baby aren’t quite used to it yet! I recommend you to take your time choosing a quiet place to breastfeed. Go to a different room so you’ll have your baby’s full attention and that you’ll feel at ease to manipulate your breasts anyway you need!
Your questions and worries
As new parents, you probably have worries and questions arising. It’s natural, as you have your child’s wellbeing at heart and want what’s best for them.
Family members often become precious resources when having a first child, but it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone gives advice that’s actually good. Many false beliefs still circulate around topics related to babies: crying, sleep, feeding, fussiness, colic, etc. and your values might not be those of your cousin or aunt, for example. This could cause uncomfortable discussions, which could raise your stress level, create worries you didn't have in the first place or leave you even more confused.
Unless you have access to a perinatal expert or an experienced parent with similar values in your family, it would probably be smarter to find better references to answer your questions and listen to your concerns!
What about the magic?
Maybe holiday magic will be a little different from what you’re used to. Things won’t be the same and you might not enjoy every instant in the same way.
On the other hand, you will get a taste of an entirely new magic!
The magic of having your heart beaming with pride and love as you present your baby to your relatives!
The magic of seeing Christmas through the eyes of your little one.
And above all else, the magic of creating new traditions for your little family!
My name is Andréane Loubier, I am the mother of 3 wonderful boys, a doula since 2013 and a certified babywearing instructor since 2016. I'm convinced I'll be having a lot fun chatting with you throughout the weeks over Facebook and Instagram, the main platforms where I'll be sharing my thoughts with you on babywearing, of course, but also on other subjects around perinatality.