By Christina VanGinkel
A new baby's arrival is special at anytime, and one who arrives in the midst of the holidays carries with them a bit of extra special ness. However, with so many family gatherings taking place during the weeks surrounding the holidays and stores overflowing with more than the average crowd though, getting out with that new baby in tow can be a bit more hectic than if baby had arrived at any other time during the year. While not many people keep a newborn on lockdown from germs as they did in days past, the return to caution is coming back, and rightly so. Exposing a newborn infant to any place that is crowded with sneezing, sniffling, coughing people may not be the wisest thing to do, especially with concerns of the new strains of flu viruses possibly making the rounds. This does not mean you should stay home and miss family gatherings, though it does mean you should take more care in the planning of any shopping trips and quick stops here and there to avoid unnecessarily contact with people, and possibly pass on large family gatherings, choosing just a few smaller ones to attend.
If you know you are going to be running in an out of several different stores, or will be spending a large amount of time at one place, such as a mall, consider leaving baby home with your significant other or a trusted babysitter or other family member. If you must take baby with you, be sure to learn the word 'No!' While well meaning people may only want to sneak a bit of pleasure from holding and snuggling a newborn, learn to politely, but firmly, say no to them. Have a quick answer ready, such as my all time favorite, that baby has had an upset stomach all morning, (or all afternoon, etc., whatever works) and you would feel just terrible if they spit up all over them. Be warned though that some people will be persistent and still want to hold your sweet little one. Stand firm, and just tell them that no, that you think baby is coming down with something and you prefer that no one hold him or her.
Even at family gatherings, learn to just tell everyone that with all the colds and flu viruses making the rounds this year, that you know you are probably over reacting, but you would just feel better if baby was not passed around. Tell them they may admire baby all they want, but that you are requesting no one other than immediate family hold him or her. If you feel this just will not work, then you will have to decide beforehand if you will just pass on some of the more crowded festivities this year. Feign tiredness, lack of sleep, just still feeling a bit out of sorts with the newness of baby, whatever you want to tell everyone, that you will be passing on this year's party, and you will see them next year when life is not so hectic.