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Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

How do I ensure everyone in the family gets some face time with my newborn, including me?

Re: How do I ensure everyone in the family gets some face time with my newborn, including me?

The Bump Expert

What are holidays like with a new baby? Well, Grandma A invites you over for the whole week of Thanksgiving (don’t worry about packing—she’s set up a full nursery and bought a dozen turkey-themed onesies). Grandpa B insists that he and Grandma B will tag along for baby’s first Santa photos and will have you sleep over for baby’s first Christmas Eve. After Christmas lunch, of course, it’s over to Grandpa A’s place so that he gets a piece of baby too. (And if it’s Hanukkah you’re celebrating? That’s eight days of in-law action! Sheesh.)

Sound familiar? This sort of scenario is common, and it can be really stressful for new parents who just want to grab a few minutes alone together as a new family. Maybe you don’t want an audience for baby’s first holiday milestones. So what’s the solution? According to Tammy Gold, founder of Gold Parent Coaching, it’s all in the planning.
 
Make a game plan
First things first: You and your spouse have to be on the same page. This means sitting down together and really discussing how you each envision the holidays now that baby is on board. “Be open and honest,” urges Gold. You’ll need to iron out your individual ideas and decide how the two of you would like the holidays to happen. What’s important to you? Will you be creating new traditions? How much time would you like to spend alone? How much time do you want to spend with extended family and how can you make it fair? Would you consider hosting so that everyone travels to you? Hash out the challenges as soon as possible. You won’t want to wait until invitations are being issued and promises are being made.

Share the plan
Once the two of you have decided what you want to do, it's time to make it happen. “Announce your plan as soon as possible,” Gold says. “Say something like, 'We have a new baby, we're exhausted and I'm really concerned about the four-hour drive. What can we do to make it easier?'” According to Gold, it's best to make it clear that you love your folks and want to make time to be with them over the holidays, but that things are different now and there are new things to consider. Does this mean also considering the families of your siblings? Of course. “Let them all know you want to set it up so there's a little something for everyone,” Tammy says. And if your family insists that you stick to the same holiday schedule they’ve been on since you were born? Don't be afraid to refuse. “If they push, we push back and simply say no,” says jlw2505, a new mom chatting on our message boards, who limits family to two nights of Hanukkah.

Lose the guilt
Your parents may get upset when you start shaking up the holidays. Still, it's okay to give yourselves priority. “This is your new family,” Gold explains. “This family comes first.” Go ahead and set aside some time to have baby all to yourselves. “I see a lot of guilt coming from new parents surrounding this issue,” says Gold, explaining that by trying to satisfy everyone else, parents are missing out on valuable holiday time as a new family unit. “I dread that we will have to drag [our son] around for the whole day,” complains GM&DG, who plans to divide family holiday time between three full sets of grandparents. Still, she can't seem to imagine it any other way. “You can't assume what worked before will work again,” Gold points out. “This is a new family. Needs are different.” Does this mean ditching your mom's big dinner? Not necessarily. But it might mean asking Mom if she can do her dinner one night earlier this year. “It's about creating a new tradition that incorporates the old,” Gold insists.

Go with it
Your needs have been laid on the table, you've stuck to your guns and you've listened to what the new grandparents have to say. Maybe you've made a few compromises along the way. Once everyone is (relatively) on the same page, mark your calendar, shake off the stress and savor the holidays. This is a time for celebrating, after all!

Erin van Vuuren

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

I am already stressing about this. My mom has always been one to stick to traditions. My husband on the other hand wants to start our own traditions. We typically do Christmas morning with my family, the afternoon with his family and the evening with my grandparents 2 hours away. I like to try and keep everyone happy but it seems next year that will be impossible. Any suggestions? PS- Not to make it any better my sister just had a baby and she is still "sticking to the traditions" so if I break them I will be the bad guy and have no excuse since my sister still does it.

JoCoBride2Be |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

Sooner or later in life, you have to start making decisions on what is best for you - not what makes everyone else happy. Families should be supportive. They should know how much a baby can change the family dynamic!

sdthiessen |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

The sooner you set down how YOU want to do the holidays the better so everyone understands what you guys will be doing. No one will be happy with your decision whatever it is, cause someone will get mad about it. I completely agree:: Families should be supportive. Especially after a new one is born.

MandaE85 |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

I am soo worried about this. My wife is not due until next year so there is pleanty of time. But Christmas Eve we do my parnets house with her parents invited, then normaly on Christmas Day we visit the rest of my family 2 hours away. Now the tricky part, a major portion of my wifes family lives 2 hours away in PA and we would alternate years, 1 yr south jersey, next yea to pa. Tak about being stuck....

dmtammaro |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

This is definately a tricky situation. I know when this time comes for our family it will be hard. For the past 3 years each seperate family has chosen the same exact day to celebrate Christmas. We've had 4 Christmases on one day each year. And there not all in the same city. Then last year we tried to break it up by hosting 3 Christmases ourselves on different days. That was way too much work and it won't be any easier with a little one. I know me and my Husband will make our own plans how we want them to be and stick to them. Especially since he is a fireman and is allways gone either Christmas eve or day.

Sarahjensen08 |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

My husband and I live 8 hours away from both our families so we have an excuse, which I am so thankful for. Our DD will be almost 4 months old during the holidays and it will be the first time that most of our family member see her in person, so this time we do have a huge obligation to be there. But we are planning to do things our way. We are going to have Thanksgiving by ourselves, and an early Christmas with just the 3 of us before we leave to visit family. Then we will be staying with my mom at her house which is next door to my maternal grandparents so even if we don't spend Christmas Day or Christmas Eve with them because we are visiting other family, they are still close and we can still spend plenty of time with them. Usually we try to visit my paternal grandparents on Christmas Eve, maternal grandparents on Christmas Day. We will also be visiting DH's family in between events with my family since they live relatively close by.

beautiflaw |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

This is the most stressfull situation for my husband and I. For the last 8 years my husband and I have been together the holidays have been a circus and now that we have our son my head is spinning. My parents are divorced and his never married so we both have mom, dad, step mom and step dad along with all their families, so 4 sets of grandparents and 8 sets of great-grandparents. Some of the families do their christmas parties weeks before christmas which really helps but we still have had 4 places to go on christmas eve and 4 places on christmas day. Our families both say we need to do what works best for us but i know each family still expects us to be there. I feel guilty if we skip any families christmas but at the same time thats a lot to do with a 3 month old.I just dont know how to go about this without disappointing any of our families. Our house isnt big enough to host christmas and my parents dont get along so combining families wont work either. Cutting out parties seems to be the only option but how do you decide who you cut out and who you don't and how do you deal with the families you have cut out? Ugh so stressful!!

Daniellegehrin |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

I just had to do this with my family and my in-laws. I had Turkey dinner over at my aunts house with my son then i went to my in-laws for desert and it worked out quite well. I think i may do that again for christmas eve.

Lynnybell |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

This year is my little man's first Christmas - My parents live 3 hours away, and my in-laws are 6 hours away.... NOT happening. Although I regret that his great grandma has only seen him once in his 6 months, I have put my foot down and will NOT be traveling. This is my family's first Christmas. If they want to share in it, they have to come here... but not on Christmas eve, or day. Those are my days. I love them, but they pushed and pushed while I was pregnant for visits, and my husband dragged my round aching body all over. No one respected my physical discomforts then, so I am standing my ground on this one. We have made offers to pick them up from a ferry service that cuts their trip in half, and my parents have no problem travelling to see us. They do it at least once a month anyway.

Taelyn_Hawke |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

I remember the first Washington DC New Years Eve that I spent with may baby. It was a family reunion, a very beautiful one where we had lots of laughs. I wish I can do that again sometime.

jacklondon |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

like a lot of people, we have 4 sets of family to divide our time between. my husband's dad & stepmom live 3 hours away, so we don't see them...and they are the most understanding! my husband's mother lives 20 minutes away is giving us the most grief because we said we can only see her for christmas breakfast/brunch rather than christmas dinner (we travel to my grandpa's for lunch and my mom's for dinner). it always seems like it will never be good enough for her, and it makes me not want to see her at all!

aalfonso816 |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

Great article, we are also preparing for the first Christmas with our baby, so this article is very useful for us. We even bough some nice Christmas Flowers in Atlanta.

deanjohnson |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

Everybody seems to be making plans for the most popular holidays of the year. Normally, spending the holidays around the house means receiving a lot of guests who will want to see the baby, of course. On the other hand, traveling can be a bit too much for the baby also, so make sure you find a middle way plan for everyone to be happy and safe and spend a great time.

conquerer |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

We are also preparing for the first holidays with our baby and we are so excited. We are also thinking about buying a nice artificial christmas tree so we can all enjoy Christmas.

deanjohnson |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

My husband's family lives 4+ hours away so we alternate each year where we go for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year most of my family has seen our son so we are doing Thanksgiving with his family. My extended family gets together on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning at our apartment and then go to my mom's for the day. As far as Christmas with his family we go up for a few days between Christmas and New Years and have Christmas with his immediate family. If grandparents and aunts and uncles want to see him they can come to the inlaws when we are up. LO gets fussy when he is passed around so we are trying to find ways to escape for a little bit at a time at Thanksgiving. Luckily it's at my inlaws this year and not at the grandparents so we don't have to travel more and will have our room to escape to.

KYCWhite |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

LISTEN EVERYONE. Me talking from experience says just write down what would really make you happy and stick to it. If ANYONE does not agree or go with your plan then they don't truly care about you. You probably will regret that alone time you probably need with just your new immediately family (Baby(and or kids), you and spouce or significant other) if you don't do it. I had birthday parties with just my daughters and husband, then I also had birthdays with other people. And although it's wonderful to spend with others, you see and enjoy soooooooooo much more of your kid(s) when it is just yourselves. Same with Christmas. When others are there they try to control and take your kids away from who they should be with or you are just attending to others needs also and that takes your precious time away from you and your littl ones. Of course that partically depends on who is invited and how many people are there. In-laws listen up! These are NOT YOUR BABIES. They do not belong to you. If you do not treat BOTH partents with respect you do not deserve to be around the child because that will teach the child that it is ok to treat others like crap. Be nice to get what you want. LIke going to a restaruant, if you want to continue to get good service that treat them with respect. In laws - hopefully you taught your own children respect and manners, now it is there turn to get it from you. MERRY CHRISTMAS. Take lots of pictures and video.

Anjolina |

Q&A: First holidays with newborn?

Great in theory...but if you're like me and have a manipulative and selfish family, there is no pleasing everybody - put yourself first!! :)

kmackkor |

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