It’s your baby’s first Thanksgiving and you are about to walk through the front door, into a crowded home filled with all your relatives, delicious scents, and more chaos than your sleeping bundle of joy has ever seen. Your new mama instincts are telling you to run while you can. Holidays can be stressful for a new baby and a new mom, but with these 7 tips, you can survive baby’s first Thanksgiving.
Don’t Try to Please Everyone
Thanksgiving is a major holiday and for many families that means visiting multiple sets of parents and grandparents. Pre-baby, you and your partner could easily go from one home to another and see everyone. Now that you are parents, your family will expect you to do the same, but there is no shame in saying no. If possible, spread out your Thanksgiving dinners so that you can see one family for breakfast and another for dinner with a break in the middle. Or decide to spend Thanksgiving with one side of the family and Christmas with the other. Plan for downtime and make sure that you allow yourself a break. Don’t underestimate how overwhelming a large and loud family gathering can be to a baby. G still gets stressed out with too many people and he’s over a year old.
Adoring relatives may try to feed your baby straight off their plate claiming that “a little mashed potatoes never hurt anyone.” While that’s probably true, if you aren’t ready to table feed your baby, simply make your wishes clear. Your family should respect your role as the child’s mother. If they don’t, then simply take your baby back.
Be Prepared For Unwanted Advice
Everyone has their own opinion on how you should raise your baby and they will be more than ready to share it with you the first chance that they get. Take this advice with a smile, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Forget advice that seems too harsh and forgive that nosy aunt whose questions are a little too personal. Glean wisdom when possible and let the rest roll right off your back.
Carry Hand Sanitizer and Set Boundaries
While everyone means well, it doesn’t hurt to bring a bottle of hand sanitizer and insist on everyone using it before they touch your baby. They might call you overprotective, but that’s better than having a sick baby. Also, trust your gut; if your baby is starting to get overwhelmed take them back and take them to a private room where he or she can have some down time. Little ones need their mommas. Don’t feel like you have to please every single person who wants to hold your baby. Whenever baby has had enough, let them have a break. Your baby’s comfort is so much more important than pleasing your relatives!
Be Over Prepared
Thanksgiving is no normal day, so pack that diaper bag with everything you think you need and more. Babies have a way of having explosive poopy diapers at the most inconvenient times, so pack an extra outfit or two. If you are traveling, make sure you pack all that you need and more. I usually keep an extra stash in the car with diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes. If you’re going to be at grandma’s all day, stick the pack ‘n’ play in the car. You may be able to put baby down for a little while.
Wear Your Baby
If you have a newborn and you are worried about them being passed around too much, bring a carrier or a sling and wear them all day. Everyone can admire your baby from afar while getting the message that you aren’t passing the baby around. You also have the power to decide when the baby is ready to be held and don’t have to worry about people picking him up before you are ready. Bonus: you still have both hands free so you can shovel pie in your face.
Take Care of Yourself
Baby’s first Thanksgiving is fun, but don’t forget that this is also your first Thanksgiving as a mother! Take care of yourself. Enjoy the food, but eat right, especially if you are breastfeeding. Whenever someone offers help, accept it. It’s okay to let others help you. Be kind to yourself and realize that you are killing it as a mom, even when all that unwanted advice kicks in. Your eyes probably won’t leave your baby all day, but try to relax a little and enjoy some adult conversation while you are there.
Count Your Blessings
There is no greater blessing than a new baby! Take time to reflect on just how blessed you are to have your little one and a family that loves you and your baby so much.