Arguably one of the best parts of the holiday season is, like parenthood, there's no "right way" to go about it. Sure, you have your traditions, but families get to make create their own, unique ways of celebrating with friends and families. So, I won't say you absolutely should go about ringing in Thanksgiving one specific way, but I will say there are more than a few reasons why you should host Thanksgiving when you have a newborn. Does it sound a little crazy? Sure. But, I mean, so does motherhood.
Most of the advice I like to pass on to fellow moms — when they ask, because we all know that no new mom needs more unsolicited advice — is about the things that worked well for me; swaddling, using blackout curtains, and sleeping on a towel if you’re nursing. Of course, I did learn a few lessons the hard way, which I'm more than excited to share so people can learn from my mistakes. For example, it's best to purchase your breast pump before your baby arrives, let you want to find yourself crying under the neon lights of a big box store, staring at racks of bottle nipples and trying to read the packaging through blurry eyes when you're three days postpartum. Not to be dramatic or anything but, seriously, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Another hard-earned lesson? Host your kid's first Thanksgiving. See, I didn't host my son's. I wanted to and was, in fact, planning to. However, I got sick and had to turn the responsibility over to my mother-in-law. It’s actually a sensitive subject for me because, now my son is a toddler, and the idea of hosting a major holiday is laughably more complicated. Every fantasy I have about carrying a glorious turkey on a platter to an beautifully adorned table surrounded by smiling family members is squashed by the reality that I would most definitely step on one of my son's fifty billion trains and send both myself and the turkey flying, sitcom style. How I wish I’d had my stuff together enough last year to host, and here’s why:
Your Baby Can’t Really Move Yet
It’s not that I miss the days of being able to lay my tiny baby on a blanket and know that he wasn’t going anywhere, it’s that the days of him running all over the house seemed to come out of nowhere. I felt like, “Hey, I’m not done with the immobile stage,” but you know what? He had other plans.
Your Baby Will Sleep Through Most Of It
Newborns spend more time asleep than awake, so you probably want to use this to your advantage and take your turn hosting now. Otherwise, a year or two from now you may find your future plans to host, foiled by his tendency to run around the house gleefully throwing peas because, hey, toddlerhood.
You Can Control The Photo Opportunities
Wait, your newborn is sleepily smiling at the football game? It’s way easier, and less awkward, to leave a half-mashed pot of potatoes on the counter for ten minutes in your own house than it is at your in-laws’.
You Won’t Have To Pack And Haul Their Gear Somewhere Else
It’s definitely easier to buy all the ingredients and prepare a homemade Thanksgiving dinner from scratch, than it is to pack a car for a day trip (or longer) with a newborn.
You Can Wear Your Baby While You Prep
Your baby will love having a bird’s eye view of the cranberry sauce exiting the can or the green bean casserole being scooped onto plates. Plus, any excuse to babywear is a good excuse to babywear.
You Can Stock Your Own Kitchen With Whatever You Need
When you bring a baby with you into someone else’s home for Thanksgiving, your attention will go directly to their needs. In your own home, you can keep things more balanced. I also suggest that you keep your own favorites in the kitchen (might I suggest sparkling cider for the breastfeeding moms) so you can still enjoy yourself.
You'll Have A Lot Of Helping Hands
When hosting anything with a newborn in tow, you're going to have more than a few people volunteering their services. Sure, they'll probably assist by holding and/or playing with said baby, but at least you'll have people to keep the baby preoccupied. When you're touched out or just in need of a break, an endless line of people quick to lend you a helping hand will go a long, long way.
People Are Far Less Likely To Offer Your Newborn a Turkey Leg and Laugh When He Licks the Grease In Your Own Home
You Get To Show Off Your Baby
I mean, what's better than that, right? I don't know about you, but I'm all for hearing how absolutely adorable my baby is. #NoShame