It’s your very first Christmas with the newest member of your family, and you want everything to be just perfect. But even the most wonderful time of the year can have its challenges. Last minute present shopping, visiting relations and cooking a Christmas feast can add up to festive stress, and that was before you had baby on board. Luckily there’s no longer any need to fear those Yuletime hiccups. WaterWipes, the world’s purest baby wipe, has joined forces with parenting expert Sarah Ockwell-Smith to bring you her tried and tested failsafe’s to guarantee a stress-free Christmas – and a very Silent Night.
Sarah said: “Christmas can be a magical time for families, but mums and dads have to be kind to themselves too and remember that it’s just one day. Sometimes parents put themselves under so much pressure trying to make baby’s first Christmas perfect that they can forget to slow down and enjoy the moment. Remember, you’re doing a great job – just relax and take it in.”
1. Choosing where to spend Christmas is always tricky when you have a new family. You might arrange to spend baby’s first Christmas at your parents’ house, where Nana and Grandad can pitch in. Some new families however prefer to spend their first Christmas at home alone. Don’t be afraid of doing what you want to do, including declining visitors and invitations. You have many more Christmases to spend with the grandparents, but you will never have the first one again. Spending Christmas at your parents’ house does have benefits though. It leaves you free to look after and enjoy your baby while somebody else does the cooking and cleaning up!
2. Be realistic. If your baby hates being put down for a nap on the other 364 days of the year, they’ll still hate it on Christmas Day. Your baby is still a baby and will get tired, hungry and cranky just like they always do – don’t expect them to turn into a little angel just because there’s one on top of the tree.
3. Start your own Christmas tradition. Whether it’s decorating the tree as a family (pop baby in a sling, they will love the colours and lights) or taking a walk through the (hopefully!) snow on Christmas Day, your own special tradition will be something your little one can look forward to every Christmas.
4. If you’re going to visit Santa, try to go off-peak and at a time when your baby is usually happy and awake. Big department stores will have very long queues on weekends and baby could be bored and cross by the time they finally meet Santa. Some babies will get very distressed when they meet Santa, especially those who are going through separation anxiety and are scared of meeting new people, if this is the case it may be better to delay this Christmas tradition for a year or two.
5. If baby is weaning, try to include her in the Christmas dinner, with a seat at the table and a selection of food in small chunks for baby to hold, suck and chew on. Sticks of cooked carrots, parsnips, cauliflower florets and strips of turkey all work really well. Don’t be worried if she isn’t too interested though, especially in Brussels Sprouts!
6. Dress them comfortably. Christmas fancy dress may be adorable for social media shots, but spending all day in a costume could make baby hot and bothered. Make sure you have a comfy babygro to pop them in after the photos are taken.
7. Understand that Christmas is a big deal for babies, but not for the same reason as you. All of the noise, lights, visitors and merriment can quickly overwhelm and overstimulate babies. They are likely to want to feed more than normal and may get tired quicker. So be flexible with any routine you have for them.
8. Hold back on the presents. It can be tempting to go overboard for baby’s first Christmas presents. Too many presents can overwhelm babies and usually they prefer to play with the box that the present came in than the toy itself. Opening a bank account and popping some money in it for the future is a great idea, you can ask relatives to contribute too instead of giving actual gifts.
9. Give yourself a break. Not everything is going to be 100% picture perfect all day, that’s just life. When things take a wobble just take a breath and remind yourself that you’re doing your best, and this is just one moment in one of the many, many Christmas Days you’re going to share with your child.
* Collaboration with PR