Surviving Christmas with a new baby
Christmas can be hectic enough, without adding a brand new baby into the mix. If it’s baby’s first Christmas or your baby is due this Christmas period, take a step back and think of a strategy that will work for you.
Don’t think you that you have to accept any pressure to attend family events, organise get-togethers, or tackle that huge present buying list. See this as an ideal opportunity to downscale your Christmas to suit you and your new arrival:
- Tell friends and family in advance that you may not be able to make events, as caring for your new baby will take priority.
- Delegate tasks to other family members and friends. Ask them to help out with cooking or errands to pick up Christmas presents. People are often only too willing to help out once they are asked.
- If you are planning a Christmas event at your home, don’t take all the organising on yourself, ask each person to bring a dish and let them know what you would like them to bring (just so you don’t end up with four curries and no side dishes!)
- If you are tired from the birth or are up overnight feeding your baby, don’t be afraid to say that you appreciate the invite but will need to spend the day resting instead. People understand that new mums need their rest.
- Make time for you. If you have a new baby and feel ready, ask a trusted family member or friend to babysit for a few hours. You and your partner can have a trip out for lunch, shopping, or to meet up with friends in the evening to unwind. Don’t feel guilty about asking, as many people love spending time with a new baby, as well as having the opportunity to help.
- If you are staying away from home, at relatives or friend’s houses, don’t forget baby’s essentials, such as a travel cot and baby’s favourite familiar toys and blankets. This will make bedtime smoother for them in an unfamiliar environment.
With so much going on at Christmas, as well as caring for a new baby, it can be easy to forget about your own needs. However, it is vital to make sure that your own physical and mental health needs are nurtured.
If you have had a vaginal birth your body often recovers more quickly, but you may still have some soreness for a few days even if you didn’t need any stitches:
- Find a position that is comfortable for you, especially if breastfeeding for long periods. A side lying position for feeding and will relieve any pressure if you have had stitches.
- Keep the area where you’ve had stitches very clean by bathing or showering at least twice a day, as this will minimise the risk of infection.
- Change sanitary pads very regularly, at least every four hours, as this reduces the likelihood of infection.
- Wash your hands before and after going to the toilet.
- If you feel as though the area is becoming more sore as each day goes by, has an unusual smell, is oozing or is becoming more swollen, make sure you see your midwife or GP. If it is becoming infected, you may need some antibiotics.
- Think about starting to practice your pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel able to. This will help you feel more in control of your bladder both now and in later life.
- Eat healthily and drink plenty of fluids to help your body heal from any wounds such as an episiotomy, tears and caesarean section
If you have had a c-section, you need to remember that this is a major surgical procedure, which will take longer to heal from afterwards than a vaginal birth. You may find that your movement is much more restricted, so you need to take more care when walking around and when getting in and out of bed.
If possible, you may need more help and for a longer period of time from your family and friends. Check your wound daily to make sure it is healing well. There should not be any redness that is spreading or any smells or oozing coming from the wound site. If you are worried then contact your midwife or GP for advice.
You shouldn’t drive until you are sure that your surgery won’t affect your reaction times - roughly six weeks. It’s worth checking with your car insurance company to see if they have any specific driving restrictions relating to surgery.
Above all, if you are feeling under pressure at Christmas and New Year, always remember that the most important people to please and take care of are yourself and your newborn baby- everyone else can wait a little while!