Surviving The Festive Season With Little Ones
Christmas excitement has reached fever pitch in our house. There’s a very fine line between excited and overwhelmed and I think this time of year makes it a little blurry. I’ll admit, I’m the first person to throw routine out of the window when the time is right. But Christmas and New Year is such a long stretch, sometimes it’s good to remember to keep things simple and come out the other side feeling rested – rather than completely frazzled.
Feeding a baby for hours in a darkened room while you can hear people merrily drinking, listening to music and eating delicious food isn’t fun. It can feel like you’re the only person in the world who isn’t enjoying Christmas but I absolutely promise you next year will come around quickly. I know, I know, I always wanted to punch people in the face who said that to me when Elle was little. But, it’s true. They change so much and those tiny, feeding days really are short lived, even though they feel relentless. Plus if your evening surroundings are calm, bedtime is usually a little easier. And there’s no reason why you can’t watch a Christmas film while you feed either.
(On the flip side of this, I wasted a lot of time trying to get Elle to sleep when she was tiny and sometimes you just have to give in and accept that they just aren’t playing ball. Pop them in the sling and go and have fun).
If you’re weaning a baby then keep an eye on what they are eating. Over Christmas you’re at other peoples houses, people want to give them their first taste of chocolate, etc etc. This is great as new experiences and new tastes are fabb, but everything in moderation. Rich foods are harder for little tummies to digest and I certainly notice a difference in Elle’s behaviour if we eat out or if she eats mince pies all day.
Don’t be afraid to say no. For whatever reason, certain family members might try to give your little one something you don’t want them to eat. If you’re not comfortable with this, then say something. Your baby, your rules.
The guidelines around whether you can drink while breastfeeding are very confusing, so I’ll let you decide your views on that. (Although I do have a friend, who shall remain nameless, who says ‘As long as you can pick up your baby, it’s fine.’ HAHAHAHAHAHAHA). Somewhere in that crazy logic though, she has a point – ultimately you’re still responsible for a tiny baby and that comes first. And remember if you co-sleep consuming alcohol is a strict no no.
On Screen Time
Another tricky one, as snuggling up with a Christmas film is one of the best things to do, but too much screen time sends Elle utterly bonkers. We try to balance screen time with outdoors time. So if we’ve been out for a few hours in the morning getting fresh air and running around, a film is fine. My mum was a stickler for fresh air everyday and I hate to admit it, but she’s right. Even if the weather is awful, getting outside makes everyone feel better and sleep better too. If you struggle with this, get a dog. Then you have no choice 😉
On Being Guests
When Elle was tiny I always hated staying at other peoples houses. What to do with stinky nappies? How to latch your baby on discreetly in front of your Father in Law? How to go to bed at 8pm without offending everyone?! Then there’s ALL THE STUFF. Not only your stuff for the baby, but also the stuff in other peoples houses. Make life simpler for yourself and stay at home. I’m only joking of course, but a quick call ahead to say please stash anything precious/fragile/dangerous in a locked room and please go out and buy a large pack of nappies and nappy bags makes your life easier. Also, make the most of having extra hands – it’s not selfish to go and have a nap. It’s necessary.
Some of what I’ve written above is a little tongue in cheek – Christmas is clearly a time to relax and have fun with your family. If you can strike the balance between looking after yourself and your little ones, then you’re doing a great job. And remember, those tiny newborn relentless days really do fly past. They’ll be singing jingle bells and demanding Paw Patrol look-out towers before you know it.