Thanksgiving time can be both amazing and super-stressful. If you're a new mom then the holidays probably feels closer to the latter. When you're still in the throes of new parenthood, the idea of cooking or traveling anywhere beyond your bedroom is enough to make you want to scream. Sure there may be a house full of well-intentioned relatives that want to see your baby, but asking for a pass this holiday is totally OK. Sometimes it takes the wisdom of other moms who have been there and done that to help guide you on the right way to handle first time mom situations. We spoke to several moms who recall their first Thanksgiving as a new mom and learned a thing or two from the experience.
Caitlin Lindquist (@caitlinclairexo)
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Let someone else do the hosting so you don’t feel pressured to clean the house, cook and make people feel at home. Instead, head to someone else’s home and let them do the cooking.
- If it’s a potluck Thanksgiving, offer to bring something easy like the salad, rolls or store-bought pumpkin pie. This will allow you to still contribute but with less effort so you can focus your time on where it really matters--your baby.
- Have an escape plan. If your baby gets fussy, have an area available where you can quietly feed, play or reset. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to speak up and head home. Large gatherings can easily make you or the baby feel flustered and that’s ok.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help! If you fancied yourself the consummate entertainer pre-baby, now might be a good time to outsource some of your holiday prep. Order a few sides from a local caterer, ask a family member to bring the wine, have flowers delivered for your centerpiece. And if cooking feeds your soul, ask for a helping hand with the baby for a few hours so you can cook your way to bliss. Being a new mom is a whole new world, and asking for help along the way can make all the difference.
- Know when to say no. The holidays can be a hectic time, even without a newborn. Family and friends can require a lot of attention this time of year, and it can be hard to fit it all in. Remember its OK to say "no" this Thanksgiving, especially to plans that might be more stressful than fun with a new babe.
- Go with the flow: Life with a newborn can be unpredictable. So be sure to give yourself some grace this Thanksgiving. Things almost certainly won't go as planned, but that's OK in this season of life. So kick up your feet, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy some sweet holiday baby snuggles.
Samantha Collins (@samanthaecollin)
- When it comes to saving my sanity during the craziness of Thanksgiving, the biggest thing with littles was that we made it a point to invite family to come to us and cook at our home (so the cooking wasn't all on me), this way we could keep our schedule as normal as possible for our baby without having to pack up diaper bag and bottles and push bedtime!
- Another tip (if you absolutely have to go somewhere) would be to be clear on when you're arriving and leaving so that you can protect your downtime and need for rest.
- Potluck! People are always happy to be helpful if you ask them to be. The first Thanksgiving with a new baby can be so daunting, crowdsource when you can!
- Buy a pre-seasoned, prepared turkey! There are some restaurants that will sell you a prepared Turkey that you just have to stick in an oven and go; they're super delicious.
- Host at home! Staying close to home makes things really easy to manage, less stress. Unless you want to have an easy way out in which case go to someone else's house and use the baby as a way to scoot out early. Everyone will understand.
- Pick a partner who cooks well. Might be a little late for this piece of advice, but it's a good tip nonetheless. My husband is a great cook and he loves Thanksgiving. He and his brother took the driver's seat and prepared a really lovely meal for us. If your partner enjoys cooking, take the back seat!
If you are venturing out of town for the holidays, don't forget to pack your DockATot along with some other travel essentials for baby. Read more tips on how to prepare for a trip with a baby in tow.