You've survived the long flight or car ride, and now your family visit can begin! While spirits are usually high at the beginning of family gatherings, these situations sometimes become stressful—especially when you have the added responsibility of keeping your babies happy and healthy while you're there. These tips will help keep you sane and help you stay in control:
- Don't micromanage your family members when they are helping with your babies. Instead, consider modeling what works best for you and let them follow your lead.
- Try to maintain a normal routine for your babies. Don't worry about following a strict by-the-clock schedule; just keep consistency in the routine. For example, read a book before sleep or change the babies' diapers before meals.
- If you or your babies are getting stressed, take a break. Drive around in the car or take a walk with the babies.
- Try to avoid physical contact between small kids and your infants. Little cousins and other young children can be germ incubators. Ask them to look but don't touch.
- Be protective. Avoid situations that are likely to result in overstimulation or illness for your babies. Ensure that someone (your mom, sister, friend, etc.) is on board with your plan to support and protect your babies so that you have some support too.
- Continue to make tummy time a priority. Set up a small area for tummy time and use it as a safe place to lay the babies down, instead of asking someone to hold them.
- Talk to your babies. Make sure they know where they are and what they are doing at all times. Being in a new home with lots of new faces can be overwhelming.
- Bring a little bit of home with you. Take a blankie or crib sheet from home (make sure it has been slept on before) and use that bedding for your babies while you are away. Doing this keeps the familiar smell of home close when they are sleeping in a new place.
- Don't overschedule. Try to have as much downtime as you can during your visit. If you want to see several relatives, try to encourage everyone to meet at one place at one set time so you aren't constantly shuffling from place to place.
- Bring a copy of your babies' feeding schedule, instructions for making bottles, instructions for cleaning bottles, and emergency information. This will be helpful when you and your other half get to sneak away for a date or if one of your family members is helping you care for the babies. You'd be surprised how many relatives forget that babies can't eat solid foods until 6 months!
If you're stressed, your babies are going to be stressed. Try to relax as much as possible. Luckily, there will be lots of helping hands around if you need to take a break!