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[Guest Editor] Nicole Ossip: 6 expert tips for surviving the holidays with a newborn

In Features, Guest Editors, Motherhood, Pregnancy + Birth, Stories by Nicole Fuge

Hey new mama, welcome to holidays with a newborn! It may be a little different to what you’re used to, but just go at your own pace.

By Nicole Ossip

Surviving the holidays with a newborn can feel like a monumental task, especially for first-time parents. This festive season, it’s time to embrace a new approach to holiday traditions and parenting.


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1. Let go of the martyr mindset and ask for help

You don’t have to do it all yourself. I repeat, stop trying to do it all yourself. You may be used to elaborate decorations and cooking up five course lunches, but with a newborn your hands are full enough! So my advice is to prioritise, cull and outsource everything that is not essential for you to do.

Give yourself permission to not only accept help when it’s offered but to ask for it – whether it’s help with your baby so that you can enjoy your Christmas lunch or help with the Christmas preparations while you nurture your baby or take some much deserved rest!

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2. Do less and say no without guilt

It is okay to not do as much as you would usually do or not to attend all of the events you usually attend. Let yourself off the hook and don’t worry about disappointing others, that’s their problem. You and your newborn’s wellbeing and sanity are priority number one, two and three.

3. Be selective with the events you attend

If you are sleep training then yes, it is advisable to stick to your baby’s regular feeding and sleeping schedule, but also recognise that sometimes that won’t be possible and that’s okay. This is the mindset of surviving holidays with a newborn!

The key is: preparing and forward-planning, being selective with the activities you participate in or events you attend, making sure there’s a quiet space to put your baby down in; and weighing up the pros and cons of attending versus the potential disruption to the routine or level of stress it may cause you as the parents.

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4. Minimise overstimulation

If you are attending festivities with your baby, the best way to minimise disruption to their sleep cycle is to be mindful of overstimulation. Holiday get-togethers are a sensory overload for adults, so you can only imagine how overwhelming it might be for a newborn.

My best piece of advice is to make sure there is a quiet space for you to put your baby down for sleep so that they aren’t around all the activity the whole day. I also do not recommend passing your baby around the table for everyone to hold or goo-goo ga-ga at. I know it’s done with love but this can lead to your baby being overtired and then struggling to fall asleep that evening.

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5. Organise back-up milk so you can relax

This one seems like an obvious one but an important one nonetheless! Make sure you have back-up milk available whether that’s breast or formula depending on your circumstances, especially if you think you might get swayed into a cheeky glass of vino.

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6. Don’t stress if the routine falls off for a day or two

Routine is important for a newborn. So ideally you want to retain as much of your baby’s routine as possible during the festive season. However, you deserve to have fun too so if there is an event or gathering that you really want to attend, then do it.

If you can’t or don’t want to get a sitter and your baby’s routine goes off track for one day, don’t stress, just get back to it tomorrow. That is life after all.

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