Family wants to be with the new baby on his first Thanksgiving. For many, Thanksgiving is about family and nothing says family like a new baby.
Preparation: Invitations to attend family Thanksgiving dinner celebrations are likely to come early and often.
1) Schedule with the new baby in mind. It may be a holiday but your new baby doesn’t know that. It is important to keep the new baby on his schedule. It’s natural for family to want to be with the new baby on his first Thanksgiving, but not if he’s cranky from not getting enough rest.
2) Make a list of everything that you’ll need. Write everything down that you’ll need from food, to new baby stuff, to toys, books and supplies for Thanksgiving activities. It’s going to be a lot harder now to get away if you’ve forgotten the cranberry sauce. Some things to include if going to visit the family for baby’s first Thanksgiving are: a playpen so the new baby can get away from the hustle and bustle, his favorite toys/lovies and a bib and chair to use while at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
3) Dress the new baby in layers. The heat of cooking mixed with lots of warm bodies in the kitchen will combine to make for a very overheated and uncomfortable new baby on his first Thanksgiving. Sure, he may look cute in that sweater with the turkey on it, but use it as an outer garment so he can take it off after the pictures have been taken.
4) Pictures, cameras and videos of the new baby are sure to be requested at every turn. Bring several ways to pass around the year’s memories of the new baby to avoid everyone crowding around a desktop computer straining to see the ones posted on Facebook.
Thanksgiving Dinner: Again, keep baby to his schedule. If Thanksgiving dinner isn’t scheduled for his regular meal time give him snacks so he isn’t starving by the time dinner comes around.
1) Make it simple. Rachel Ray has a great, one hour, easy Thanksgiving dinner on her website. It takes a bit longer than one hour, especially if you have to take care of the new baby while you’re cooking, but it’s still much faster than the all day affair that cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be and is probably a better bet for baby’s first Thanksgiving. Other easy Thanksgiving dinner ideas involve utilizing the microwave for everything from sides to desserts. For Thanksgiving dinner, let the store do some of the work for you. You can have the grocery store cook baby’s first Thanksgiving dinner for you and all you’ll have to do is pick it up, or you can just use their precut vegetables, appetizer platters, bakery items etc. to make cooking Thanksgiving dinner with a new baby even easier.
2) Let the new baby share in Thanksgiving dinner. If he’s old enough, cut up some turkey, dish up some plain mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and anything else from the Thanksgiving dinner table that you think the new baby would like. Thanksgiving dinner guests will delight in seeing the new baby try the dishes they prepared and the new baby will love being able to eat the same things the adults are eating.
3) Beware of Thanksgiving decorations. Burning candles, potpourri, and other decorations meant to make Thanksgiving dinner more festive will ruin the mood if they are snatched up by eager, curious fingers. The priority is always making sure baby’s first Thanksgiving be a safe one, even if it means putting the decorations away.
4) Take a time out. Family get-togethers are notorious for being hard to handle and looking after a new baby brings that to a new level at Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure baby’s first Thanksgiving activities incorporate time to get away and play quietly for several minutes throughout the day. The new baby will appreciate it and rejoin the group rejuvenated and ready to participate in more Thanksgiving activities instead of feeling exhausted and over stimulated.
Celebrate: Thanksgiving dinner is full of rituals. Thanksgiving food and Thanksgiving activities (like pulling the wishbone) give us comfort and define the holiday. Use baby’s first Thanksgiving as an opportunity to start new Thanksgiving activities for your family. I Love You Rituals, a book by Becky Bailey, Ph.D., has some great ideas for Thanksgiving activities to get you started that create bonds and connections between family members. Other Thanksgiving activities that might be good to do with a new baby include taking a stroll after Thanksgiving dinner and pointing out the leaves, animals and other sights, painting with food, or reading a special book together.