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Baby is here and the whole family is excited to meet its newest member. This means you will have to fight off swarms of visiting family members or outings.
Also, there will always be that one big family event you will feel guilted into going to. Of course, you will toss and turn at the idea of bringing a newborn to a large family gathering. No matter how well-behaved they promise to be, you know there are at least a couple of aunts who cannot wait to smooch your little one on the face and hands, a few of your cousins who will yank baby out of your arms and give some unwelcome pieces of advice, and some kids whose runny noses will give you chills.
So how do you cope with bringing a newborn to a large family gathering?
Play the special situation card.
You may be perfectly fine attending the entire event (at the risk of your own mental health), but you should invoke any reason to get out of there sooner and arrive later. Do not make your baby the main attraction for hours before the meal is served. All guests can get curious if bored while waiting for the food.
If you’re bringing a newborn to a large family gathering, call ahead and ask when they expect to be serving the meal or whatever is supposed to happen during this family celebration. Get there 15 – 30 minutes before that. Call ahead on the day of the event and ask how things are going so you can adapt if things have changed.
Your relatives will swarm at the door to watch you come in with Baby. Just ask for some time to set up and make yourselves comfortable. Also, try to leave just as soon as the main event is over. You can say anything that will get you out of there before the baby gets overstimulated and you have a Baby who’s fussy for days afterwards.
Lay down the rules.
Regardless of whether or not your baby has been vaccinated, it is better to keep him shielded at all times. No touching the baby without washing the hands first. No kissing the baby’s face and hands. No yanking baby from the arms of mom and dad. Nobody holds Baby unless you specifically ask them to.
Also, consider breastfeeding in private to give Baby a break from all the attention. Baby may get overwhelmed. Be sensitive to his needs and respectful of his longing to be alone with Mom for comfort.
Be firm and authoritative!
It will be difficult to tell off an old great grandmother or a well-meaning aunt, but this is when you create a precedent. Whenever anyone tries to go do something with Baby that you don’t want them to – take the baby away, carry him off to another room, or feed him – simply get up and state that you do not want anyone doing anything with Baby, firmly. Show that you mean business. You do not need to explain yourself. Your baby is your responsibility alone and this is something the others need to agree with. Be strong when you are bringing a newborn to a large family gathering!
Watch out for kids.
Their parents might try to encourage them to touch, kiss, or pick up the baby. Unfortunately, kids are the biggest germ carriers. Even if you explain to the adults how important washing their hands is, the kids will less likely do this more than once. They might even play outside between two touching and kissing sessions. It’s best to limit this type of contact. Also, if school has started already (illnesses spread faster in groups) or there are going to be a large number of children around, it’s best to avoid bringing a newborn to a large family gathering.
Keep it clean.
Make sure your baby is constantly in a clean environment. Wipe his hands with a wet cloth every time he comes into contact with a larger group of people. Travel with all the stuff you use at home. You do not know what you can find in another person’s home, no matter how clean or accommodating they are. One of the main rules of bringing a newborn to a large family gathering is to protect your baby from germs coming from other people as well as from a new environment.
Avoid it as much as you can.
Bringing a newborn to a large family gathering is not impossible, but it is not recommendable either. Newborns should be home, sleeping and bonding with Mom and Dad. Large groups of people are more than any new baby should be forced to handle.
Also, other people are hard to control and older relatives are likely to disregard your wishes in how they handle the baby. It is always better when baby spends the first months of his life at home. Cherish the time. He won’t be a tiny baby for long.
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