3 Ways New Parents Can Take Time for Themselves This Holiday Season
Imagine this: you just spent the last nine months preparing for the arrival of your first child and you are freshly home from the hospital. You’ve been inundated with visits from family and friends, haven’t slept properly in days, your body is swollen and recovering, and the very last thing on your mind is taking time for yourself when you have a newborn to care for. However, the holiday season is still an important time to rest, relax and pamper yourself - and sleighing your self-care should be at the top of your priority list.
Having a baby is a huge life transition; one that affects every facet of the routine you once knew. Such a monumental change can present challenges as you adjust to parenthood - and the holidays can certainly intensify things - so here are three ways you can take time for yourself and prioritize your needs.
Enjoy Date Night
It’s imperative to spend time together - just the two of you - with zero distractions. It will be difficult to leave your baby with a trusted family member while you indulge in a romantic holiday evening, but you’ll be grateful afterward when you feel reconnected with one another. Be in the moment as much as possible - avoid reaching for your phone to check for baby updates and keep the conversation centered around the two of you.
Really soak in this intentional, one-on-one time together. Acting as a solid, united front that empathizes with one another, exudes compassion, and creates a space where patience and kindness are nurtured will strengthen your bond and parenting abilities. So remember to schedule regular date nights - they are an invaluable asset to thriving in your new role as parents.
Create New Traditions
This is your first holiday as a family, so start creating traditions that will transcend time. Take inspiration from your fond memories as a child and incorporate them into your own festivities. With the aroma of freshly baked cookies, a festive playlist, and a blanket of fresh snow outside, get into the spirit and start decorating the tree with your partner.
Include your newborn in the festivities by squeezing in some playtime. The coos. The laughs. The tickles. It will be a holiday you surely will never forget. If you are feeling extra merry, go a step further and really up the ante:
- Purchase matching pajama sets to get into the holiday spirit.
- Write letters to Santa and collect them over the years (your newborn can read these as they get older.)
- Capture the fleeting moments on film.
- Turn the photographs into postcards and send them out each year to friends and family as a way to send warm, thoughtful greetings.
Newborns require a lot of care, so give each other breaks and comfort. Adjusting to parenthood can have significant effects on your overall emotional well-being, which can manifest into postpartum depression. If it has been a few months since you’ve welcomed your baby and you are still struggling to feel like yourself again, it may be time to seek professional help. Your doctor will work with you to provide an appropriate course of action for your specific needs, and may provide a prescription for generic zoloft, a common antidepressant that is safe to take while breastfeeding. A proper treatment plan can help alleviate negative feelings you are experiencing.
While you get the care you need, lean on your partner. Allow them to pick up a bit more of the responsibility while you sneak in a little time to wrap presents or take a long bath. Once you start to feel like things are looking up again and you have some extra energy, let your partner hit the snooze button and do something thoughtful for them. Make sure you pay close attention to each other’s needs - this will allow you to both flourish as individuals and as parents.
Don’t underestimate the power of simple acts of kindness in the first months of parenthood. During a time of uncertainty, unknown, and overwhelm, small gestures for your partner speak volumes. Kiss under the mistletoe, add a 4moms Gift Card to her stocking and treat him to a massage (because you know that alone brightens his day.)
Raising a child isn’t easy, but working together and taking care of yourself both mentally and physically along the way will infinitely help ease the stress, and allow you to enjoy the good times even more.