Our first son just turned five last week, and even though it’s been five years I can vividly remember his first Christmas. Nothing particularly traumatic happened, but it wasn’t exactly enjoyable either. I have to assume that it was in part to being new parents combined with the craziness of the holidays. I hardly remember anything about our second son’s first Christmas. I’m going to say that’s because we were more experienced, and traveling wasn’t as difficult with our second. (And not, you know, that I’m a bad mother for not remembering even though it was only two years ago.)
1. Trying to figure out how to take care of a newborn is stressful enough without having holidays to deal with.
There’s normally a lot going on around the holidays, and learning how to care for a newborn can be quite stressful. People might be willing to cut you a bit of slack in the holiday preparations, but you most likely won’t be able to get out of obligations completely.
2. Threat of bad weather.
Having a baby at the end of the fall months or beginning of the winter months means a much higher chance of encountering bad weather. It was snowing the night we brought our son home from the hospital, and even though my husband was being super careful our car still slid sideways in the snow. We were all fine, but it was scary. Also, while lugging an infant seat around anytime is a pain, it’s especially difficult in snowy or icy conditions.
3. Your family will expect to see you and the baby.
Everyone will want to see the baby, and most likely you will want to show your baby off, even if that means traveling long distances to do so.
4. Traveling long distances with a newborn is not fun.
When our son was born we lived more than a 7 hour drive away from the majority of my family. Dealing with diaper blowout in the bathroom of a roadside rest area is an interesting experience.
5. Some babies (mine) refuse to eat (breastfeed or bottle) in public or even in the car.
For me, the thing that made traveling the worst was that our son refused to nurse or take a bottle while we were on the road. He hadn’t taken to nursing right away as it was, and his doctors had been concerned that he wasn’t gaining enough weight. So for him to refuse to eat for the entirety of the seven plus hour drive was maddening and enormously stressful for me.
6. Your body is still going through unexpected hormonal changes.
Severe constipation while staying with family? Thanks hormones!
7. Everyone will want to touch your baby.
This wasn’t a thing I normally worried about, but after dozens of family members wanted to touch him and hold him even I got a bit nervous. Especially family members who don’t know how to hold a baby or apparently forgot.
8. Stores are nightmares, and you WILL need something for the baby.
There will end up being some item that you need for your baby that can’t wait, and you will have to go shopping. You will curse the holiday shoppers because you just want to get the thing your baby needs and get out.
9. You might miss family meals or other activities.
Other family members might have a particular timetable for holiday meals or activities, especially to accommodate older relatives or children, and you might not get to join them if you’re busy nursing, feeding, or putting the baby down for a nap. Try not to be mad at everyone for apparently forgetting that you exist or would like to eat/do things as well.
10. No alcohol.
This doesn’t apply to everyone, but for new breastfeeding moms alcohol is not usually recommended when you’re trying to get your milk supply established. I was having so many problems with breastfeeding as it was that I wasn’t willing to risk anything else messing it up. There are many times when I could have really used a drink though.
This is a reader submission.
(Image: getty images)