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Surviving the Holidays with Baby in Tow

Oh the holidays! This time of year can be such a beautiful time to spend with friends and family, but if you are a new parent, the thought of surviving the holidays with baby can be a daunting one. However, with a little preparation you can focus more on showing off your new bundle of joy and worry a lot less.

Tips for Surviving the Holidays with a New Baby

Make sure to get packing just right! Whether you are traveling in your car for one day or flying to see family far away, packing just the right stuff for baby can make a big difference in your trip. In addition to plenty of outfits, extra diapers and wipes, and options for food, think about where you are going to change baby, where she is going to sleep and where she will eat.

Consider an outdoor mat to ensure you have a safe, clean place to change baby or just to sit baby down to play with cousins. This mat folds up small and will fit into your diaper bag or carry-on.

JJ Cole Outdoor MatOutdoor Mat from JJ Cole

Make sure you have a safe place for baby to nap or sleep overnight. This travel crib is a great option because it is breathable, super easy to set up and the cover is fully washable. As a bonus, it only weighs 13 pounds, and the crib and mattress fit compactly into their own bag.

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib LightTravel Crib Light from BabyBjörn

If your baby is six months or older and has started solids, you definitely need a safe high chair. Check out this portable high chair that will clip onto just about any counter or table so baby can safely join the family festivities. It comes with a compact carry bag and only weighs four pounds, so it is super easy to take with you anywhere.

phil&teds LobsterLobster from phil&teds

Be ready to deal with a disrupted nap schedule. Ideally you will be able to time your travel so you are on the road or in the air during nap time. However, the chances of this are pretty low, so the first step is just to be prepared to miss naps and take it in stride. The day before, make sure baby gets all his naps in, and do what you can to ensure he gets a good night’s rest so you aren’t going into the holidays with an overtired baby. Here are a few things you can do to help baby sleep at Grandma’s:

  1. Bring items from home such as the crib sheet he slept on the night before, a sound machine or lullaby music and his lovey. Baby will be more likely to sleep in a strange environment with the help of some comforts from home.
  2. Try to follow the same routine before naps or bedtime that you do at home. Baby will take these cues from you that it is time to fall asleep.
  3. If all else fails, make sure you pack your carrier so if needed, you (or auntie!) can hold baby close and comfortable so he can get at least a little snooze.

Four Position 360 Baby Carrier from ErgobabyFour Position 360 Baby Carrier from Ergobaby

Prepare yourself for lots of unsolicited advice. Almost everyone has that aunt or sister-in-law who just can’t help it and will inevitably advise you on how to care for your baby. Before the holidays, make sure to get on the same page as your partner on how to address this unsolicited advice, and then be ready to gracefully face it head on. Start any response with a smile and a “thanks,” and then you can say something like, “We appreciate how much you care,” or “We will definitely think about that.” Another option is to simply say, “Thanks, we will check with our doctor on that,” and no one is going to question your decision to defer to your physician.

Have a plan for lots of hands wanting to touch or hold baby. This can be a really tough one because all those hands are reaching for baby out of love, but you may be thinking about cold and flu season. And on the other hand, you also may be really grateful for the attention and take the holiday as a small break for yourself, which is awesome. For young cousins or friends, don’t be shy about making it a teaching moment on why we should all thoroughly wash our hands before touching baby and that we don’t touch near a baby’s face. For adults, it gets a little sticky, but if you truly don’t want people to pass baby around, use your carrier to keep her close so everyone can still see her but won’t be tempted to pick her up.

I wish you the best of luck for surviving the holidays with baby in tow!

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