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Do’s and don’ts: Surviving Chinese New Year visiting with a newborn

Posted on January 17 2023

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, the decorations are up, new clothes have been bought, and you probably already have a list of houses that your family plans to visit.

 

But the visitation game changes when a newborn is thrown into the mix, and bringing your little one to a slew of homes for a full day out can be an intimidating challenge. While the Chinese New Year celebrations can be a wonderful opportunity for relatives and loved ones to meet your newborn, heading in with a plan and being as prepared as possible will make it easier for you to enjoy the festivities as well.

 

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you and baby make it through unscathed!

 

Do plan ahead

 

Knowing exactly where you’re going each day will help you plan out your schedule as well as the essential items that you’ll have to bring along. Map out the homes that you plan to visit, taking into account travel times, and how long you intend to stay at each location.

 

Schedule things such that you’ll be able to feed your baby comfortably throughout the day. If you’re breastfeeding, this could mean calling ahead to check if a home will have a quiet space for feeding time.

 

If your little one sleeps well in a baby carrier, stroller, or car seat, syncing travel times and nap times can also help to ensure that your baby gets as much rest as possible.

 

Do make a packing list

A day out with a newborn can turn into a disaster if you realise at some point that you’ve forgotten to pack extra clothes for your baby who’s just had a ‘poonami’. Making a list ahead of time will help ensure that you pack all the much needed essentials.

 

Remember to bring along extra burp cloths to soak up any excess baby drool as well as an extra set of clothes for yourself in case of any spit-up incidents.

 

Do dress comfortably

 

With Singapore’s sun and humidity levels, everyone usually dresses for the heat when Chinese New Year comes around. But if you’re going to be carrying a newborn around most of the time, comfort becomes even more important.

 

Ditch the lace and or textured pieces that could chafe both you and your baby, and opt for simple outfits made of smoother, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.

 

If you plan to have your baby in a carrier, go for more fitted pieces so that you don’t get any extra fabric bunching up under the carrier.

 

Do align with your spouse on potential ‘tricky’ questions or comments

“When are you having your next child?” “Are you still breastfeeding?” “Wah your baby is so small!” “Huh she’s not sleeping through the night yet?”

 

Meeting with relatives can often be paired with having to answer awkward questions or having to bear with unwanted advice. While you might love and respect them, having to listen to stressful comments about your baby can be frustrating and could also trigger anxieties that your loved ones might not know about.

 

Talking through some potential scenarios with your spouse can help the both of you to be mentally prepared with acceptable answers (or escape plans).

 

Don’t stress too much over the schedule

 

While having a game plan will help to make things easier, a newborn can be unpredictable. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to keep to your baby’s sleeping or feeding schedule.

 

Expect that your little one might not get as much in their belly that day and might be more than a little tired by the end. Trust that your baby will be able to bounce back after just one or two days of eating and sleeping a little less.

 

Don’t feel pressured to let everyone carry/touch your baby

Babies are adorable and naturally draw the attention of loving aunties and uncles. But even without the risk of Covid-19, newborns are more vulnerable to viruses and you’d want to protect your little one from germs.

 

It’s alright to gently remind those who approach you and your baby about certain boundaries. You could politely let them know that it’s alright to touch your baby’s arms or feet, but not her face. And if you need to decline someone’s request to carry your newborn, gently tell them that your baby is more comfortable in your arms at the moment.

 

Don’t sweat it!

 

Ultimately, Chinese New Year is a time of reunion and celebration. Remember to have fun and allow yourself to enjoy the good food and good company!

 

Tips for visiting families with newborns

 

  1. Don’t visit if you’re sick

This applies to children as well. You want to pass on festive cheer not nasty viruses. ‘

 

  1. Ask for permission before carrying or touching the baby

Make sure to wash your hands if you’re going to be holding or touching the newborn. Alternatively, if the parents would rather you not touch their baby, don’t be offended and simply enjoy how cute the baby is.

 

  1. Offer help

New parents often have their hands full. Helping them to get some food or water if you’ve noticed that they have not yet eaten would be a welcome gesture. If you’re visiting them at their home, you could also offer to help with house chores such as washing the dishes or taking out the trash.

 

  1. Don’t take it personally if they can’t give you their full attention

Parents of newborns are often sleep deprived and using all of their remaining brain cells to remember when to next feed, change, or put their baby to sleep. So don’t be upset if they can’t fully engage in conversation with you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy your company.

 

  1. Be encouraging

Be generous with encouragement for both the parents and the baby. No need to point out how tired new parents look but feel free to let them know what a good job they’re doing as parents. And rather than commenting on a baby’s weight or size, which could be something the parents are already worrying about, talk about how lovely or alert their eyes are, or that their little feet and hands are so adorable.

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