It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

But hard.  Christmas can be really hard.
If you are new parents (or veteran ones) it can be a tricky and isolating time.  So my Christmas message is to please be kind to yourselves this Christmas!  Try not to do too much – especially if your little ones are tiny.  Don’t get me wrong – kids love presents and food (and so do adults of course!)  But actually, the precious memories are the family walk in the park or on the beach; the crazy game of monopoly where someone cheated and everyone laughed, the gravy dripped on baby’s head because s/he’s right where s/he wants to be, snuggled on your chest while you struggle to eat one handed the (late) Christmas dinner that your partner just chopped up for you.
So try not to do too much.  Share the load with your partner and/or family, and let things go where you can.  (I share a comic/post about mental load a lot – and oh my does mental load kick in for women at Christmas.  Check it out here).
Over Christmas essential services are cut back (the Baby Room is shut until Friday 4th January when Nappuccino is back 12-2.30, and Saturccino is on Saturday 5th 10-12) – but the NHS never stops.  Here is a list of useful numbers and contacts:
Maternity Triage Service – if you think you are in labour or are still under a midwife and need one urgently call this number 24/7:  01392 406616
Health Visitors – No clinics are running from Friday 22 December over the Christmas period, they return on Wednesday 2 January.  If you need to speak to a Health Visitor you can text Chathealth – this is a text message service where you can contact the health visiting team with a query and they will reply between 9.00am and 5.00pm Mon-Fri (not including bank holidays) Text 07520 631 721 or call the Public Health Nursing Hub on 0333 234 1902  (Mon-Fri 9.00-5.00 excluding bank holidays).  The Hub can arrange appointments over the Christmas period where necessary.
GP – Your first point of call, even on bank holidays is your own surgery.  A few surgeries in the city have appointments available even on Christmas day.  Your surgery should have a recorded message letting you know how to access a doctor – it may be through Devon Doctors on call.
111 – Call NHS for non emergency support 24/7.  If in doubt don’t worry, give them a call, it’s what they are there for.
999 – In an emergency call 999
Pharmacies – in Exeter these are your Christmas options:
25 December – Lloyds Pharmacy, 59 Fore St, Heavitree – 14.00-16.00
– Pinhoe Pharmacy, 1a Station Rd, Pinhoe – 15.00-17.00
26 December – Boots Exe Bridges – 06.00 – 18.00
– Boots High Street – 07.00 – 17.00
– Sainsbury’s 1 Hill Barton Road, Pinhoe – 10.00 – 17.00
– Sainsbury’s Alphington Road – 11.00 – 16.00
1 January         – Boots Exe Bridges – 09.00 – 17.00
– Boots High Street – 09.00 – 17.00
– Sainsbury’s Guildhall – 09.00 – 17.00
– Sainsbury’s  1 Hill Barton Road, Pinhoe – 10.00 – 17.00
– Sainsbury’s Alphington Road – 10.00 – 17.00
Most of all – don’t overlook online support.  While Social Media may be quieter as everyone tries to switch off and focus on family there will always be someone around.  The Exeter Breastfeeding Mums group is an excellent place for any feeding questions, and Mums in Exeter is great for almost anything!   Set up whats-app groups with other new parents, find your safe people you can call to vent to and ask for help and please please DO ask for help or support if you need it.
I hope you all have a really wonderful and stress free Christmas with no need for any of the information in the post!  Jen and Gill will be back at The Baby Room for Nappuccino on Friday 4th January at 12.00, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!