Becoming a new mom or dad at any time of the year is stressful, but add in the obligations and stress of the holidays, and new parents have a double-recipe for losing it! Don’t let that happen!

Follow these simple tips for keeping stress levels to a minimum and stay Breath of Life Keep It Simple and Sane for the Holidayssane through to the new year. After that, well, that’s another blog!

1. Keep the decorations to a minimum. A newborn doesn’t know if it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or just another day in paradise! All they want to do is eat, sleep and poop. So resist the temptation to get this year’s “most decorated house award.” Consider skipping the lights and tree all together – and trade in that time for a nice afternoon nap.

2. Take a nice afternoon nap. Yes, it’s so important, I’m saying it again! Giving birth and caring for a newborn is tiring! To recover and heal, rest and sleep are invaluable. Napping is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

3. Get help with meals. If your house is “the” house for the holidays, skip the usual 5-course dinner and either ask guests to bring a dish, potluck style, or have the meal catered. You might feel good enough to create the feast, but then lose it when it comes to the clean up, or simply crash the next day and want to do nothing but stay in your jammies and nap all day (which you should do anyway!).

4. Stick close to home. Traveling with a newborn can be challenging. Some don’t like being in a car seat and that’s a rough thing to discover 30 minutes into a 5-hour road trip. Others aren’t crazy about flying, but they can’t tell us that until we’re 5 miles up and they screaming at the top of their lungs because their ears are hurting. It’s also a lot of work to get out the door with a newborn, even if it’s local, so stick to just one visit for the day rather than shuffling from house to house.

5. Keep baby close.  A newborn’s immune system is still very much in its infancy, so passing him or her to aunts and grandmas and cousins and…who are you?… significantly increases the risk that baby will catch something, especially during cold and flu season. Consider wearing baby and keeping him or her close to you. This also cuts down on the number of people who want to touch baby’s hands. Or put their fingers in baby’s mouth. Yes, people will do that.

Having a baby is a beautiful thing, but it’s also a stressful thing. Especially for first-timers. Especially at the holidays. Keep the obligations to a minimum so you can enjoy this first sleepy-eyed Christmas with your sweet new baby.