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  • Cleo Marchese, IBCLC, RLC

Are the Holidays Stressing You Out? Tips for New Mothers


The holidays can be a fun exciting time for new parents,including parties, rich food, shopping and lots of time with extended family members. It can also be a stressful time because the same things that make it fun can also make your family’s schedule hectic. Making you stressed out and your baby fussy. Here are some tips on how to handle holiday stress.

  • Make time for yourself and the baby. It is easy to get so busy with shopping and holiday planning that you forget to take some time for yourself and your new baby. If you have a newborn, let someone else do the decorations for you or keep them simple this holiday season. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest, eat healthy snacks and get some exercise. Daily walks can chase away the holiday blues.

  • Try to stick to your daily routines. During the holidays, daily routines can fly right out the window. Don’t let yourself become the victim of too many responsibilities and very little time. Keeping to your daily schedule will help your baby stay calm and happy.

  • Keep your baby happy at family functions. Everyone wants to hold the new baby at family gatherings. However, well-meaning family members can overwhelm your baby with too much attention. Set limits and find a quite spot with your baby for nursing and alone time with mom.

  • Minimize holiday stress. Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Do more online shopping, take advantage of free gift wrapping services at stores or try shopping at off peak hours. Try to plan shopping and holiday activities around your baby’s least fussy time of the day.

  • Set limits before you engage in any activity. If you find holiday activities stressful, set clear guidelines as to what you are willing to participate in, when you need to leave and how much help if any you are able to contribute. Also don’t be afraid to say no to adults only holiday parties. If you are not ready to leave your new baby with a sitter, then others should respect your decision.

  • Be firm with extended family members about your baby’s needs. Older family members can sometimes be critical of your natural parenting choices because they are different than the way they parented. Set firm guidelines about feeding the baby food from the table. Understand any criticism of your parenting comes from misinformation about breastfeeding and what is safe and recommend for the breastfed infant.

  • Finally enjoy the holidays. The first holiday season with your new baby is a great time to set family traditions and create memories that will last a life time. Do fun holiday activities with your baby. If you love the sights and sounds of the holiday season, put your little bundle in a sling or front carrier and go to a tree lighting ceremony or the mall. If you have a very young baby who gets fussy at night, simply get in car with your spouse with some hot chocolate and take a tour of the local holiday lights.

Remember, this is your special time with your new little bundle. The first holiday season with your new baby should be memorable. Take lots of picture and make time for activities you enjoy, not responsibilities you feel obligated to do. Focus on the joy and magic of your new family dynamic and the special memories you will have to cherish for years to come.


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