How-to: Handle Social Events with a Newborn

Fresh little newborn babies, is there anything better? The stage of infancy is so precious and goes by so quickly. Before you know it they are crawling and walking and talking. When you have a newborn, you are not the only one who wants to see them, hold them, and love on them. What a beautiful thing to have a community that loves your new baby almost as much as you do. I want to take a moment to bask in that: if you’re willing, pause. Take a moment to close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths, then think of 5 people that love your baby (almost) as much as you do. What a blessing to have those humans in your life.

Now – Mamas, Papas, and Caregivers – hear me when I say this, you are in control of your family unit and you have a right to participate in community in a way that feels best for your family.

Whether you are having a viewing party, social gathering, or seasonal events are coming up. Here are some ways to manage all the love that is coming your way.

I had a mama recently ask me about how to handle not over committing to events when you have a new baby.

If you’re reading this, I want to give you some permission slips.

First – permission to say “yes” to events when you feel up for it, and “no” when something does not align with you and your family.

Second – permission to change your mind. Share with the host of the event, or your family, that you would love to come but that you will have to let them know day of.

It is PERFECTLY OKAY to change your mind.

If you wake up the morning of the event and attending something does not align with you on that day, cancel. This isn’t “flaking,” this is you intuitively knowing your family needs and then acting on what is best for your family at that moment. It’s near impossible to know what life with a newborn with throw at you a week (or more) in advance – playing things by ear and sharing your needs honestly with the host may be the best way to honor you and your newborn’s needs.

Germs and Illness

Another mom recently asked about how to keep baby safe and away from germs during social gatherings or when your family wants to visit with the baby. A couple thoughts on this…

Wash your hands, please!

Hand washing is a must. The number one way to keep the spreading of germs to a minimum is to wash your hands. Asking friends and family to wash their hands before holding your baby is an easy way to decrease the risk of your newborn picking up adult germs. If you are not in a setting where hand washing is available, the second best option, hand sanitizer, can help as well. Either way, wash those hands!

Adult Illnesses

If a family member is currently sick or has recently been ill, unfortunately holding the baby may not be in the cards for them that day. Ask that they wait to hold the baby. Share with them about RSV and how serious is can be for newborns. Adults can carry RSV with minimal to no symptoms and easily pass this to newborns because their immune system is not as strong as ours yet.

Pass the baby

If you are practicing Conscious or Respectful Parenting, you may not want you baby passed around from friend to friend or family member to family member. If you are not ready to share your “why” behind this preference. Wear your baby. There are SO MANY benefits to baby wearing, a benefit that isn’t discussed in the literature often is the benefit that you are able to move your baby around a social gathering without the risk of others “passing the baby.”

Time and Presence Boundaries

Setting time limits on parties is something that I do for myself as an adult. If I really want to attend something but I know I have been over extended lately, I will commit to myself a time to leave the party.

You can do this for your family too. Share this timing with your close family members, so they know what to expect. Please also know that you don’t have to walk in the door at the party and exclaim – “WE’RE HERE BUT WE’RE ONLY STAYING FOR AN HOUR”… not that you would, but know you don’t owe everyone an explanation.

  • Agree beforehand with yourself and/or your partner. Maybe you agree to 1-hour at the party.
  • (Again), permission to change your mind, leave if it’s too much and stay longer if you’re really enjoying yourself.
  • You also do not have to show up at all — FaceTime into the party to say hello if that day doesn’t align for your family.

Declining Events

Some, including myself, have a difficult time declining invites when something doesn’t align with us. I want to attend everything and I frequently feel like I’m missing out if I decline an invitation.

I can’t say this enough. You know what’s best for your family and you know if there is an invitation you need to decline. So, HOW do we do this if declining invitations is something that comes with difficulty for us.

If you feel an event will be too much for you and your family, you can kindly share,

“Thank you so much for the invite, right now we are getting settled with our new little one and we would love to raincheck for when we’re more settled.”

OR

“Thank you for the invite, it sounds like a blast. We can stop by for an hour around (this time), would that work?”

The Viewing Party

If you’re up for hosting at your place, many parents are also now having “viewing parties” where all the family and friends can come when the baby is a bit older and their immune system is ready. This gets all the visits in during one afternoon and can be less stressful than constant visits or parties.

There are so many ways to set boundaries and choose what is best for your family. Know that boundary setting is uncomfortable for many, and that I applaud you for your recognition and awareness for the need to protect your energy and family unit. Your awareness of this need makes you a stellar caregiver already.
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