With only a few weeks until Thanksgiving, many families are starting to think about how to navigate the holiday season. With a new baby in the house, that might not be as simple as it has seemed in the past! Some functions at this time of year might be family-friendly, but others may not. And if you are travelling for the holidays, it can be even more challenging. Here are some things to consider when planning for the holidays:
1. Can baby come?
Although it might seem obvious, it isn’t always. Some events might be family-friendly, such as dinner with relatives, but other events might not be. Figuring out whether your baby is able to attend is the first step! If the event is not baby-friendly, you will need to consider what you will do. Is this event one that you need to attend? Can one parent stay home? Is it possible to have someone else care for your child, such as a grandparent or a professional doula?
Late Fall and early Winter are prime cold and flu season. Infants are particularly susceptible to respiratory illness. They are also not able to get a flu vaccine until they are six months old. In order to help protect your baby, you may choose to limit how many parties you attend or bring your infant to. You may also ask visitors to wash or sanitize their hands before touching the baby. For yourself, friends, and relatives, you can create a “cocooning effect” for your baby by making sure everyone around them is up to date on vaccines including whooping cough (pertussis), measles, and the flu.
3. Bring a Backup
A backup what? A backup everything! Just like a baby will always have a blowout if you forget the diaper bag, a baby at a fancy party is a recipe for something gross to happen. Don’t forget to have a backup change of clothes, extra diapers, and burp cloths. You should also have a safe sleep space for baby, such as a bassinet or crib.
4. Timing is Everything
There is a very narrow line to walk between baby being happy and baby being overtired, and if you misjudge that line you might be in for a rough night! Knowing when the best time to take your leave is one of the most important things you can think about before even arriving. If needed, let your host know that you might head out early, and then don’t feel guilty for following through!
The holiday season is supposed to be fun, not stressful, so don’t let the planning get you down. Everyone understands that new parents might change plans at the last minute, or need to leave early. And while well-meaning (but pushy) relatives might be clamouring to hold the baby, it is okay to step back and set some ground rules. Use common sense and some very simple advance planning to ensure that you are ready to go this holiday season!
(Or just hide away at home with your baby and enjoy the holiday season in your pj’s with a great big mug of hot chocolate and squishy baby snuggles. We also support that plan!)