Sometimes we need reminders to keep it simple! That’s what I loved so much about this guest post from Kathleen, a parenting specialist, who helps us with:
Five Super Simple Ways to Rock the Holiday Season as a New Parent
By Kathleen Strom, MA
While the holidays can be filled with friends, family, and festivities, we all know how busy the season can be with the many obligations and expectations that come along with it. And with the added responsibilities of being a new parent you may begin to suddenly feel pulled in a thousand directions! Luckily with a little planning, you can easily minimize the stress while you maximize the enjoyment of the holiday season AND still feel sane as a new mom or dad. Here are the top five ways:
Make Things Easy on Yourself
Set limits and stick to them! Be choosy about what events and parties to attend this year and what, if anything, you are obligated to do. If you must bring a dish, become friends with the prepared foods section of your grocery store. If you must plan an event, have food catered or go out instead. Keep gift giving simple by avoiding the madness of parking lots and crowded stores by ordering things online (and tell them to gift wrap your items too!) Better yet…do gift cards this year instead of presents. Perhaps they are a bit less personal, but everyone always likes to choose their own gift. Plus you can even make it fun by enclosing a cute note along the lines of “thanks to being a sleep-deprived parent newbie…” Everyone will understand and appreciate you even more for thinking of them!
If You Travel be Prepared
Whether you are flying or driving to a destination this year, being prepared is key to having the most successful experience possible. Pack your diaper bag with all the usual suspects but add a few enhancements such as extra blankets, toys, baggies (great for soiled diapers and clothes), pacifiers, lovies, medications, etc. Always bring more diapers and wipes than you think you need. Be sure to pack extra snacks and water for yourself as well because when those unexpected delays occur it is important to be well nourished. It’s a good idea to plan more than one way of transporting your baby (such as bringing both a stroller and a wrap-type carrier, which can be folded nicely into luggage). If driving, plan your route carefully and plan for plenty of stops, especially if you’re nursing. If flying, be sure to check with each airport you will encounter regarding security regulations. Most rental car companies rent car seats, but many families like to bring their own. Just remember how big and bulky car seats are and that they will probably get tossed around in the cargo area of the plane. Babies’ ears are sensitive to the pressurization in airplanes, especially upon takeoff and landing, so plan to nurse or have a pacifier ready to minimize discomfort.
Begin New Family Traditions
Having a new family is a perfect time to create new customs! Be creative and have fun as you come up with your own special and unique ways to celebrate together. Whether it’s baking something special (babies LOVE playing with dough), going on a new adventure, helping another family in need, or having a quiet evening together, starting a new tradition with your family can be a really special way to reflect on the spirit of the season and honor your love for each other.
Don’t Forget About Your Baby!
It can be so easy to get so caught up in the hullabaloo of the holidays that before you know it, your baby gets sidelined! First of all, try not to feel bad or guilty about not being able to spend as much quality time with your little one as you may want to. The holiday season is quite busy for most families, but remember, it’s only temporary. Do try to take some time each day to be fully present with your baby and just be together without outside distractions. Both of you will feel more connected and grounded. And even though your baby may be young, it’s never too early to have her participate in the festivities! While it may take some time for your little one to understand everything that’s going on around her, this is a perfect opportunity to talk to her about the meaning of each holiday your family celebrates. Check out some books from the library to read aloud or even do a special project together. Most likely the holidays will become even more meaningful for your entire family!
And Don’t Forget About You!
Ah, yes, YOU! It is so important during this super busy time of the year to remember to nurture yourself! What that looks and feels like is different for everyone, but make sure that you are working in opportunities for self-care. Get as much rest as you can, drink plenty of water, eat well, exercise…you’re heard it all before but it’s during the stressful times in our lives that we tend to put these items at the bottom of the priority list. Do your best not to fall into this trap and schedule a little “me time” while you’re at it. Best wishes to all of you and may your holiday season be filled with happiness, health, and harmony!
About the Author
Kathleen Strom, M.A., PCD (DONA), LE (CAPPA)
Kathleen Strom is a postpartum doula, lactation educator, early parenting specialist, and certified Early Childhood teacher with over 20 years of experience working with children from birth to age five and their families. She has an extensive background in child development and holds a Master’s in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education. She is also the owner of Family Heart Parenting, which provides individualized support to parents with new babies, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions to families experiencing the unique challenges of raising young children. Please visit www.familyheartparenting.com to learn more!
Join Kathleen in January at Belly Bliss for Baby Steps: The Journey of Becoming a Mother. Baby Steps is a six week workshop series especially created for new moms that explores the unique changes that comes with the first year of motherhood. Topics include play for mamas and babies, returning to work, coping with moods and emotions, attachment parenting, changing relationships, mindful motherhood, and much more! Classes begin January 10, 2015. Go to www.bellybliss.org to register today!