We are determined to help you experience your very best Thanksgiving with your baby this year! So we’ve compiled our 10 best tips for you and your family, here:
#1: Plan the big dinner during your baby’s nap time, if you can!
If you’re planning to host the dinner at your home or if you have any say in what time it will be served elsewhere, definitely choose to serve Thanksgiving dinner during your baby’s nap time this year. Trust that everyone will have plenty of time with your baby during the other hours of the big day. During the meal itself, be proud and revel in the fact that your baby is successfully following one of our schedules and that that actually allows you to take your sweet time eating and enjoying this once-a-year feast!
Here are our PPB schedule nap times to coordinate with the dinner time, according to your baby’s age in weeks:
Your baby is 0-3 Weeks = Dinner time @ 5:30 OR 6:00 p.m.
Your baby is 27-36 Weeks = Dinner time @ 3:30 OR 5:00 p.m.
Your baby is 37-46 Weeks = Dinner time @ 1:30 OR 5:00 p.m.
Your baby is 47-52 Weeks = Dinner time @ 4:00 OR 2:30 p.m.
(during her catnap)
#2: Keep to the regular schedule as best you can, adjust, and catch up!
Try to maintain the schedule whenever possible, but know when to let it go a little too. For example, grandparents who don’t see their grandchildren often may want to plan activities when your baby typically would be napping or during the time of day when your baby tends to be cranky. But choose your battles today by adjusting the schedule when you have to, and catching your baby up as soon as you can. The holiday will be over soon enough and you can get back to the regular routine then.
Catching up is all a numbers game. Let’s say you need to wake your baby up 30 minutes early from a nap because you’re going to take a family picture, for example. You’d then put her down for her next nap 30 minutes earlier than her scheduled time, but then you’d wake her up at the allotted end-of-next-nap time and then she’s all caught up. If she has a hard time sleeping til the end of that nap, get her up 15 minutes before that end-of-nap time, then put her down 15 minutes earlier for the next nap, etc. You get it — get creative with the numbers when you have to and do what you can to get her caught up quickly.
Remember, this is supposed to be a vacation! So try to find ways to reduce the stress. Keep in mind that ultimately you want this holiday to be a special time for everyone. Make a point to remind yourself of that when the day gets frantic and stressful. Tamp down your expectations of the day and of everyone else’s participation in it. This is not always the easiest time for everyone, after all. So cut yourself, your partner, your baby, and everyone else some slack. Schedule in quiet times and create “chill zones” in the home for your baby. And for goodness sakes, remember to breathe…
#4: Accept help when it’s offered.
Are you the type that auto-answers: “I’ve got it!” when asked if you need help? We get it. But accepting help when it’s offered is especially important during the holidays. Friends and family may not know how they can help unless you tell them. Give them some idea of things they can do to support you – from looking after your baby while you cook – to pouring you a glass of wine! And remember too, everyone wants to hold your baby. So go ahead and let them.
#5: Be ultra-prepared to handle unsolicited baby advice.
Everyone whose ever had a baby has advice they’d love to share with you regarding yours. Couple that with the fact that you may be with people you only see once a year and you better be ready for massive amounts of baby advice to be heaped on you all at once! Some may make comments that appear insensitive and rude — especially about scheduling and sleep-training, but try not to let it ruin the day for you. Focus on your baby and resist the urge to fire back. Turn the conversation into something positive, if you can. And forgive your uncle for his total disinterest in your baby and your mother-in-law for her intense-interest!
Here’s some more of OUR timely advice on how to better deal with the onslaught of advice you’re sure to get over this holiday: Post: How to Deal With Unsolicited Advice
#6: Take breaks.
Recognize when you are getting a little overwhelmed and frazzled and then talk to your partner, a relative, or a close friend and ask them to handle the baby for a spell. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, because it’s really important to take some time to recharge and center yourself. If being baby-free is not an option, take your baby with you to a quiet spot (even if it’s in the freaking bathroom!) and try to decompress for a second or two. And know you can and should return to that spot for some solace as is necessary during the day!
#7: Be the adults.
You’re the adults now and that means you should try your damnedest NOT to revert back to the old roles you played when you were the kids in the family. You’re no longer the kids…you’ve got one! We know it’s easier said than done, but it’s SO to your advantage to get your family used to seeing you in your new role as parent now…by acting like adults really should. And in the midst of this, you’re going to need to learn to lean on each other now more than ever to keep your cool because you’re going to need your partner’s constant backup or even for them to take the lead in nixing a relative’s ridiculous plans! So don’t let your partner totally withdraw because that’s their normal self-defense mechanism they use to deal with their overbearing mom — remind them that it’s time to be present for you and your baby. And don’t allow yourself to revert either, even when that certain family member totally deserves a tongue lashing from you. Again…you’re the adults now and you should act as such, even when (ESPECIALLY WHEN) the other adults are not acting their age! You owe that to yourselves and to your baby.
During these times, also try to look for the good in each other. Lift the other up when they’re stressed out about dealing with their family — as you’ll both probably get down some during this overwhelming day. Say the positive thought you’re thinking about your partner out loud when you’re thinking it. And don’t ever underestimate the power of a little encouragement during this big family milestone. Remember to be grateful for and act grateful to each other!
#8: Recognize the signs of your baby becoming overtired or overstimulated so you can help her through it.
It will be a wonderful but completely overstimulating and overtiring day for your baby. It’s priceless that so many people want to give your baby attention, but there is quite certainly a price to be paid for it: an overstimulated baby. And with so much disruption to your baby’s schedule, she’s bound to get overtired on top of it all! Read up and know all the signs of both, plus how to help your baby deal with them, BEFORE the big day: Overstimulated Baby, Overtired Baby
#9: Embrace the Potluck!
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your home this year, you really, really should let go of the idea that making every single dish on your own will make the meal better or perfect. All it will most likely do is make the meal mega-stressful-work! No one will remember that the mashed-potatoes were infused with truffle oil but everyone will feel and sense it if you’re stressed-out. Recruit all the side dishes that you can (all!) and let your focus be on the turkey (or whatever the main dish is going to be). We mean it…let Nana bring the pumpkin pie, Auntie bring the green bean casserole, and even let your cousin bring the stuffing — even if it’s not the traditional stuffing you love. You’re a first year parent — you get a pass! So let go in this small way this year and you’ll find you’ll gain a much more enjoyable memory in return.
#10: Count your blessings!
This is a day to remember above all else that a beautiful baby has blessed your lives! You’ve probably spent many a time daydreaming about what this kind of traditional holiday would be like with a baby of your own in your arms. So, slowly drink it all in whilst knowing that this is the only first Thanksgiving you’ll ever have with your baby. Remember that much as you count the many blessings you’re experiencing on this day.
We’ll count each and every one of you among our blessings this Thanksgiving. And we wish you all a very peaceful, loving, and memorable day with your new little, precious family!
Related Posts: Baby’s Witching Hour, Unsolicited Advice, All Our PPB Schedules, Why Use PPB Scheduling Logs, Be Ready for the First 3 Weeks, Your Baby’s Blueprint: Year One, Overtired Baby Signs, Overstimulated Baby Signs