Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Low-Key New Year's Even With Baby

Preparing for the New Year with a baby can seem like it will be no fun. The truth is, though, that most of us outgrow our penchant for crazy celebrating in our early 20s. If this is your first new year with your baby, do not think that you will not be able to have any fun. Just plan a different type of celebration that you have had in the past.

First try to keep your baby on a schedule. I say this with all seriousness although I am guilty of it. I always want to keep my son up to have fun with him and celebrate holidays. The reality, though, is that babies do not care about the new year. Everyone will be happier in the long run if you just let your baby go to sleep like normal. Then you can plan your own celebration. The only change you may want to make is to move baby to a different room in a portable crib if you will be up and loud near where the baby normally sleeps. Also consider adding some white noise, such as a fan or sound machine, so that the baby can sleep with the celebrating.

After you have put the baby to bed, you and your partner can break out the fun stuff. Try to be good spirits about the evening. Get a nice bottle of wine and some good cheese and bread if that is your thing. Otherwise order some pizza or make something special. Once the baby is down, you can eat together and enjoy your evening.

I always like to plan my resolutions at some point on the last day of the year, and this night is a good a time as any. Having a baby is a big change in your life, and you likely have seen the need for some changes. Maybe you want to lose weight and get back to your pre-baby body. Perhaps you realize your family needs some major organizational tools. Or you may want to increase your income for this year. Write down your goals for the new year, keeping in mind that you have a baby who will be competing for your attention.

You and your partner could rent a good movie that you have been wanting to see. Try to get something fun and light-hearted so that you do not mind if baby interrupts you with crying or feeding and so that you can feel good about the new year. Depressing movies will only put you in a depressing mood, so sticking to something fun is best. You also could watch the various specials on television during this evening or just sit and talk to each other. Try to avoid serious talk, such as about the baby or about finances or any of the topics you probably cover fairly frequently. Instead you should spend some time just talking to each other about whatever is on your mind.

Try to pamper yourself a little during your mini-celebration. Give your partner a back massage (in hopes of getting one in return, of course!) or give yourself a manicure. Do something to make yourself feel good, and you will get as much out of the celebration as if you had gone out.

Having a drink or two is okay as well as long as one of you moderates the drinking enough to take care of anything the baby needs. If you are breastfeeding, express some milk in the hours leading up to the celebrating so that you can have a drink without worrying about any effect on the baby.

Do not use the evening to think about what you could have done. Sure, considering that awesome New Year’s Eve you once spent in Los Angeles with your friends from college may be fun, but do not dwell on what you have done in years past that you cannot do now. Even if you wanted a baby desperately, you can begin to long for the good old days when you had less responsibility. Do not do that tonight. Instead focus on having a low-key good time and enjoy your little night so that you can ring in the new year with a positive attitude.

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