Sarah Answers Mum’s Big Christmas Question in Mother & Baby

Sarah Beeson MBE is a former health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family (£9.99, Harper Thorson). In November 2017 Edition of parenting magazine Mother & Baby  Sarah shares her advice on celebrating Christmas as a new family.

Question: We’ve always taken it in turns to go to my parent’s house and the in-law’s house for Christmas. Now we’ve got a baby, we want to stay at home, by ourselves. How should I handle telling everyone – I don’t want to upset them!

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay in your own home for Christmas. When it comes to telling your families you and your partner can work as a team by being positive, clear and firm about your decision.

First of all tell both families as soon as possible so everyone has time to adjust and adapt to the new arrangements. When you’re both relaxed and calm each of you could phone your parents to let them know what you’ve decided.

Let your parents know how much you’ve enjoyed their hospitality during past Christmases but that you both feel this is the time to start an exciting new chapter in creating special Christmas memories for your little one. Thank your parents for all they’ve done and if you’d like to make them part of the festivities maybe suggest a family tradition they can pass on in the build up to Christmas Day. Make it clear that it isn't open to negotiation and it’s a decision you
and your partner have taken together.

Discuss with your partner beforehand if you’ve got ideas on how your families could be involved. If they don’t live too far away maybe you’d like to meet for lunch or tea on Christmas Eve and go to a Crib Service with your baby.

Whatever you decide give everyone plenty of notice and don’t feel like the rest of your days have to be spent making everyone else happy. Do what you feel is manageable whether that’s having visitors on other days or going to stay with family for a night.

It may be next year you’ll feel like doing things differently but the way we spend Christmas doesn’t have to be set in stone. Whatever you decide be resolute and don’t get drawn into lengthy explanations or heated discussions. Try your best to be calm, clear, positive and thankful for the love you’ve received and will now give to your own child and enjoy your special first Christmas together as a new family.

Sarah Beeson’s MBE is a former health visitor and author of parenting guide Happy Baby, Happy Family and health visiting memoir Our Country Nurse published by HarperCollins available in paperback, eBook and audiobook.

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About BabyCup

BabyCup is a mini open cup for healthy sipping from weaning onwards – no lids, spouts or seals. It’s translucent so children can see inside; easy to clean and can go in your steriliser and dishwasher. It’s good for tiny teeth too – with no spout to chew on.

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Sarah’s Tips For Using BabyCup

BabyCup is suitable for babies to use from 4+ months – follow your baby’s lead. Giving them an open smaller cup that fits into the palm of their hand gently gives your baby the opportunity to handle a cup at mealtimes when you start weaning.

Start by getting your baby to cup their hand first and let them explore this new object and get the feel of it – this is a new experience for them. Put a BabyCup intp your hand too and let them copy you.

Pop the BabyCup onto your baby’s high chair tray or place it into your baby’s hand. Don’t comment too much or go over the top if they start using it; calmly wait and see what happens. If they pay no attention to the cup at all, leave it a week or so before introducing it again. You might want to put down a plastic sheet to catch any spills!

Gentle praise is all that’s needed, don’t force it – your baby will get there in their own time. Keep putting the BabyCup on their tray but be patient and let them find it. It’s good to give your baby some decision-making power. They’ll have a preference but you’re giving them the opportunity to choose for themselves without pressure or expectations.

Fill the cup a quarter full with some cooled boiled water (if your baby is under six months). You might want to drink some water yourself from a matching BabyCup and let your baby observe and copy you – cheers!

Your baby will still need their breast milk or formula, so it’s great to use the BabyCup at meal and snack times to compliment their milk feeds in the early days of weaning.

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About Happy Baby, Happy Family

“There isn’t one perfect way of parenting; every single baby and family is unique. Feeling confident, authentic and positive about your role as a parent is key to building a loving relationship with your child,” says author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE.

“This is the best generation of parents I have ever seen. I’ve never known more mums and dads who are putting their children’s needs first. I want a world filled with happy babies and for mums and dads to see what a fantastic start in life they are giving their children by putting them at the centre of their lives and meeting their emotional needs as well as their practical ones.”

Discover Sarah’s top three secrets of breastfeeding and what the signs are your baby is getting enough milk. How all parents can use feeding time to bond with their baby and instant calming methods to soothe and help your Little One sleep. Weaning your way and an A-Z of solutions to common problems from colic to teething.

Take care of the whole family by understanding the emotional needs of your baby. Discover what life as a new parent is like from your partner’s perspective with advice on sex and relationships from both a woman’s and a man’s point of view.

Nurturing, practical and refreshingly honest that one-size doesn’t fit all and no-one is a perfect parent, Sarah Beeson’s advice is the perfect companion to parenthood. Get your copy now.

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