The Blands

Preparing for baby's first Christmas

Are you a first time parent? Whilst Christmas can be magical, especially with a new addition to the family it’s also a step into the unknown. Get the lowdown from Steve.

Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of a baby who brings great joy right? Well, in our fledgling family, that’s going to be doubly true this year. Preparations for our first Christmas as parents are well underway and needless to say, are bringing with them some very unique challenges but plenty of unbridled joy.

A baby in reindeer outfitChief among those challenges so far seems to be deciding what novelty Christmas outfits we 'need' to buy for the baby. For the last few years, retro Christmas jumpers have been all the rage and makers of baby attire certainly haven’t missed out. We have plumped for a couple of outfits that - hopefully - will cover all bases and put us in a solid position to win the best Christmas outfit competition at church on the big day.

First is a stylish red onesie featuring a reindeer pattern but my favourite by far is the full reindeer outfit. Our boy is only a wee lad at the moment and we've bought it in size 3-6 months but we’re hoping it will get a couple of outings before being packed away in the 'stuff we forgot we had' section of the cupboard or attic along with every item of newborn clothing we ever bought.

Another big challenge is how to answer the what does he want for Christmas? question. Answering that feels exactly like handing out your wedding present list. There are so many things you need and literally any one of them would be gratefully received. As long as we haven’t already got two of whatever it might be, any present is a good present - and it’s even better if it’s something that promises to solve a problem like baby reflux. I heard parents describing their evenings as the witching hours before our son arrived and it hasn’t taken long to find out exactly why so many parents find the 7pm-11pm period so testing.

We’re also trying to deal with the issue of where people spend Christmas - and this is where a baby really comes in handy. People naturally gravitate towards a new arrival into a family - and not just that, people don’t expect the parents of said new arrival to be able to go anywhere that requires any level of effort. We’re very lucky in where we live in Cheshire because my parents are just a five minute walk away, and my sister, her husband and their two daughters are five minutes in the other direction. My wife’s family are all in Cardiff so it’s a bit more of a struggle for them to get up but we’re expecting her mum from the 23rd onwards. It’s fair to say the little man has gone down a storm with all of his grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins.

This week we’re planning to create what I really hope will become a Bland family Christmas tradition. When I was a boy I used to love going with my dad to pick a Christmas tree even though it was often a hugely frustrating process for the rest of us. He could never quite find THE tree and it would take a good few minutes of hunting and examining before we found one close enough to do the job. Now I get to do all that for the first time with my son and I have no doubt that I’ll be have exactly the same expectations and standards.

We’re going to a local farm where they bring you mulled wine as you peruse the trees looking for that perfect pine and then it’s off to a pub nearby for lunch before we head homewards to begin the overly-complicated tree decorating process. I can’t imagine I, or my son, will help too much with that but we’ll be on hand to offer creative input and advice where needed from our position on the sofa.

Away from Christmas, our son has had his first swimming lesson at the ripe old age of 11 weeks. I had the pleasure of taking him in the water and while I couldn’t conclusively say he loved it, he definitely didn’t hate it. He was by a distance the youngest there but he took it all in his stride including being taken fully underwater by the teacher. I wasn’t quite sure about this despite my wife’s assurances that babies have an instinct to hold their breath - but as tends to be the case, she was right and he popped up looking a bit surprised but otherwise unscathed.

Steve Bland and his baby swimming

Next item on the calendar is our Christmas lunch with all the NCT couples. It has been brilliant to have such a supportive and like-minded NCT group. I think it has particularly helped my wife to have people who are going through the exact same trials and tribulations as we are. For us chaps, it’s nice to be able to blow off a bit of steam every so often - even if it is becoming tougher and tougher to find the time as Christmas approaches!

So everything is in place to spend a magical first Christmas with our smiley little fellow. The best Christmas gift we could ever have wished for.

Merry Christmas from the Blands!