Managing The Holidays with a Newborn

Published On: December 13, 2023Categories: Holidays, Postpartum

Many people look forward to the days they have a little one to celebrate the holidays. Holidays with a newborn with all the joy and excitement creating family traditions are extra special.

While this may be the case for many, several new parents also struggle with the stress of managing family demands, shifts in family roles, how to keep newborns safe from viruses, and how to maintain a consistent rhythm for baby.

If these thoughts feel familiar, you are not alone! This is a normal experience for many. Village Birth’s Marriage and Family Therapist, Tanya Veluz, has some tips to navigate the holidays successfully.

Create clear communication: This means talking to partner and family around expectations.

For example, if family expects you to travel to the state with a 10-week-old baby to see everyone in a day, consider the reality.  First, this may not be a realistic request from family. If you and your partner feel you can manage it, discuss what is needed to make this successful and comfortable. Maybe, the family needs to have a pack-n-play set up at their place for naps, a bottle warmer, etc. Alternatively, you may consider splitting up the visits and do one family one day and another family the following day. Ask people to be flexible on the schedule for that day. Another strategy is that you could ask them to cook and come to you. Once you and your partner determine what is needed, then discuss how to communicate this to family. Typically, if it is your family, then you do the communicating and vice versa.

It is acceptable to say NO.

Many times, new families feel they “have to … (fill in the blank).” You and partner have permission to respond with a “no” and a short explanation or none at all! Here are some common examples:

  • “This year we are not going to make it.”
  • “If you would like to see the baby, please take a covid test the morning of.”
  • “We are waiting until baby is fully vaccinated and built a stronger immune system before having any visitors, which will be on this date. See you then!”
  • “We feel it is best to just have us (mom and dad) holding baby.”

Try first to frame the boundary in a positive way versus a negative, i.e. “We don’t want anyone holding the baby.”

Identify the most important thing.

We can all get caught up in ALL THE THINGS, especially during the holidays. It can be helpful to think of what is most important to you. Ideally focus on no more than one to three things. Do you want to rest with your baby on the holiday or make a traditional meal? (Since you do not have much time for that lately.) Trying to highlight the most important things, find gratitude in those moments and help decrease stress around the other aspects of the holiday. Then see if you can work to let go and enjoy your most important moments.

Wishing you all the best during the holidays with a newborn, however you choose to spend it. Remember that you know what is best for your baby and setting boundaries is a way of showing love and creating clarity.