The holiday season can be busy and stressful in its own right but when it takes place smack bang in the middle of your fourth trimester it’s enough to bring back your postpartum night sweats just thinking about it.
Unfortunately, postpartum healing and recovery don’t make exceptions for the holidays and if you’ve recently had a baby you still need to focus on yourself, your baby and what’s best for your family.
Mazz napier is a postpartum doula who knows this exact struggle with her firstborn arriving on the cusp of the holiday season five years ago. Mazz shares her tried and tested top tips for surviving (and actually making the most) of the holiday season with a newborn.
Keep baby close
Pop your baby in a carrier if you have visitors coming or if you’re out visiting friends and family to avoid them being passed around, receiving unwanted smooches and getting a sensory overload. Everyone will be excited to meet your baby, especially during the holidays but you still get to choose when you’re ready for others to get close to them. Go at a pace that feels comfortable for you and your baby
If you’re in a busy family setting and your baby is fussing, quietly remove yourself to avoid that feeling of being watched and becoming overwhelmed by unwanted advice and opinions. You want to keep your oxytocin levels high and stress levels low to promote your wellbeing, the flow of breastmilk and to support your physical recovery so don’t feel guilty for ejecting yourself when you need to.
Set your expectations low!
Your baby doesn’t know it’s the holidays and they’re unlikely to be on their ‘best’ behaviour for this special occasion. They will keep on being a newborn – it may be unpredictable sleep, cluster feeding, poo explosions, fussy periods, projectile vomits on your new outfit etc. If you expect nothing different, then who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Get on the same page as your partner ahead of celebrations with family and friends so you are both clear on your boundaries. Perhaps it’s a code word or a look that says i’m ready to go or to kindly let visitors know it’s time for mum and baby to rest.
On that note, continue to radically prioritise your rest. I get it, fomo can be real but it’s not the year to be hosting, cooking and burning the candle at both ends. This is the year to take it very slowly and do things a little differently for now.
Chances are family and friends may actually be more available at this time of year to provide you with some practical support if you’re resourceful and willing to ask for it. Perhaps it’s some meals or groceries dropped off, getting on top of the washing, spending time with older siblings or stopping in to watch the baby while you have a shower, a nap or some other self care moment.
All I want for Christmas is you!
Your newborn probably doesn’t need any presents this year. Take the pressure off and give them the gift of nurture. Keep them close, stay curious about their needs and enjoy lots of special time together.
Mazz napier is a sydney-based postpartum doula and infant massage instructor helping modern mums and their families to prepare for and experience a time of rest, recovery and bonding with their newborn babies. Check out her packages of postpartum support and details on her upcoming baby massage courses: www.thebondwellbeing.com and follow along on instagram for more postpartum tips and resources.
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