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12/21/2018 15:23 EST | Updated 12/21/2018 15:23 EST

Strategies For Surviving Your Newborn Baby's First Holiday Season

The under-six-months set can be particularly challenging at this time of year.

It's that time of year. Finding parking at the mall is impossible, if you hear another Christmas carol you might pull your hair out, and the constant events you need to attend has you ready for a long winters nap.

Or at least, a nap-until-the-baby-is-hungry-again.

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Because surviving the holidays when you have a small baby takes on a whole new meaning than it did in years past. The under-six-months set can be particularly challenging at this time of year! Between routines being thrown out the window and being held, kissed and passed around to relatives who feel like strangers, most babies are going to get out of sorts. So what can you do?

1. Say no

It is OK to say no, even during the holidays. If you know an event is too late, too loud or too far away, there is nothing wrong with politely declining the invitation. And this goes for so many things this time of year! You can also say no to relatives who ask to hold your baby, to people coming to your home, or to the advice your great aunt wants to give you about parenting.

2. Save space

Not for seconds, although you might reach for more if you are breastfeeding. When you save space, you are staking out a spot wherever you go that is a quiet place for you and baby. That could be for feeding, changing, or even taking a nap. (Note I didn't specify who was taking the nap!) Don't feel shy asking if there is a place for you to go have some quiet time with the baby. If there truly isn't anywhere, it might be time to head home.

3. Routine, schmoutine

There are going to be days this season where you just have to accept that the routine is not going to happen. And that one day being off will probably throw the next two or three days off as well. Just in time for the next special occasion! This time of year, with it's never ending events and outings, can wreak havoc on a little one's schedule. While some families have success maintaining a routine, most find that this time of year it is too hard and they just accept that there are going to be some cranky and over-tired moments.

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4. Keep what you can

While it is very unlikely that your entire routine will stay intact the entire holiday season, it can be helpful to keep what parts of the routine you can! If you have a bedtime routine (and you should!) keep it going, even if it is a different bedroom and a different crib. Keep sleep and wake windows in mind so that you can keep an eye out for when your baby might be getting ready for a nap. Just because you can't do your entire routine, doesn't mean you can't keep up what still works. And continuing some parts will make the transition back to "normal" at the end of the holidays easier!

5. Let go of expectations

Know that you're going to look at holiday pictures in the future and realize there was spit-up on your sweater or your adorable top was covered with a burp cloth that you totally forgot about. You might not get perfect Santa photos, the menu might be a little shorter than other years, and Amazon Prime might have delivered most of your presents, but it's OK! You will find that the holidays were just as much fun, if not a little hectic, anyways.

Bonus tip: A new baby is a wonderful opportunity to create new traditions and memories. Just because something hasn't been a family tradition in the past doesn't mean you can't make it one now.

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The holidays can be a busy time of year, and they can feel even busier once you have a baby. Remember to take your time, take care of yourself and have fun!

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