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How To Navigate Your First Holiday Season With A New Baby

The holidays can be a complicated time for parents with a baby. When first-time parents have excited family members that are all clamoring for time together, there can be a lot of pressure–expectations to spend holidays with parents, in-laws, and extended family members that all want to be a part of baby’s first holiday memories.

However, traveling with an infant isn’t always easy and routines are more important than ever to maintain. It’s important to communicate needs and boundaries and clarify what is realistic for baby. Here are some tips to make it an enjoyable time for all.

RELATED: 5 Co-Parenting Tips To Get Through The Holidays

Divide Time Among Excited Family Fairly

Picture of grandparents holding a newborn baby

It’s understandable for all sides of the family to want to experience holiday festivities with your baby. This can make dividing time appropriately seem difficult. The first step is to discuss the options with your partner, according to The Knot:

In order to balance time between your families around the holidays, it’s important to be honest with your partner about what you want while keeping their desires in mind too. Take the time to hear what your partner envisions for seasonal celebrations, and be sure to respectfully voice your opinion too. From there, you can work to find a compromise on the best holiday system… for you and both families.

You’ll both have to consider your own families and how to navigate their traditions. Then, determine what’s possible for your little family to be a part of. Do you want to visit one family for one holiday, then another? If travel is involved, is flying or driving a better choice? Do you prefer that people come to you instead? Once you both come to somewhat of an understanding of what an ideal holiday plan might look like, you can work on the logistics.

Communication Is Key

Grandparents with grandchildren outside

After a plan is established, make sure you communicate with your family in plenty of time. Having everyone on the same page lets the different groups plan accordingly, and you can avoid disappointing people you won’t really be able to see. Experts agree that plans should be transparent and in baby’s best interest.

It’s also important to open the lines of communication for the holiday time itself. If you’re at other people’s houses, discuss any plans, so you can plan accordingly for your own routine. Let people know what you need, whether it’s a spare car seat, certain groceries, babysitter recommendations, or confirmed freezer space. It makes life easier for all involved.

Remember Baby Comes First

Newborn baby laying next to wooden star

It can be tempting to want to do everything and please everyone. But in this season of life, your baby comes first. No one knows baby’s schedule or preferences like the parents. When making travel arrangements, consider what’s best for baby’s feeding schedule or naptime. Prepare as best you can for ideal sleeping arrangements. When making plans, only commit to the things that make sense. The Every Mom advises:

Letting go of expectations is not only wise regardless of what time of year it is, but especially right now. It can be incredibly freeing, letting go of pressure put on by others and yourself. Instead, embrace the openness of doing what works now in this specific season of life for your family. When there are no expectations, any success, no matter how little it may be, is a win. shares fun ways to make holiday traditions with family members across the miles, or fun things to try when people come to you. So, no matter how you choose to do things, it can still be special. In the midst of holiday preparations and the hustle and bustle of travel, make sure you’re also spending quality, memorable time with baby. It’s your holiday, too.

Ask For Help & Accept It

Family Holiday Around Dining Table

If there’s any time in your life that you need to accept help, it’s when you have a newborn. If you are hosting any holidays because it’s easier to have people come to you, remember that you don’t have to do everything. Explicitly state what items you’d like people to bring or take care of. Allow people to play with baby while you cook, or say yes to offers to clean up while you feed the baby. It may be surprising how much you enjoy letting people help you.

Baby’s first holiday season can be full of unknowns–taking a newborn out of their familiar surroundings and into a family member’s home, or hosting people in your house, putting a kink in your normal routine. There can also be high hopes for replicating traditions and opinions of all kinds. Don’t let too much pressure take over, and stay true to your little family. Most of all, enjoy the time spent with loved ones. While baby’s first holiday season is special, there will be plenty more to come.

Sources: The Knot, The EveryMom, HuffPost

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