Sister's wedding, Family reunion, DD's first trip- Tips for protecting DD's health, happiness, sleep etc. amidst family chaos? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-08-2010, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD will be 10.5 months when we make our first trip home to CA for 10 days. Lots of parties with lots of strangers to her(maybe 50)- family members & friends- including a party for everyone to meet her the day after we arrive. My sisters wedding (I'm the matron of honor so also expected to be ready to help with everything) is the following weekend & every day contains reunions with folks flying in from all over.

I'm already feeling anxious about protecting her sleep as I have basically organized my life around her naps and bedtime (I go to bed when she does to keep my cosleeper asleep) at 8pm here, 7pm pst and we start getting ready an hour earlier. I figure for the wedding we can stretch things but not much before so she can make it to the wedding without meltdowns.

We are likely staying at Moms and she dissaproves of the way I feed DD- letting her eat with hands, make a mess, stop when she wants etc. when she visits she tries to get DD to "finish the last few bites" even though DD is clearly done. I have explained this is not how we are doing things. Mom also can be prone to meltdowns herself which could be bad for DD.

So basically, I would love BTDT mama advice.
-What has worked for you in this type of situation?
- Did you just say no to alot or set aside rest days or rest periods every day that was set in stone? I'm afraid if I dont do this everyone is going to try to badger us into going to everything. I really want quality time with all these people who I love but not at DD's expense. - How did your babies do?
- Did you do anything special to keep babes healthy around tons on loving and germy family, friends, kids etc?
- Anything work great for feeding? Maybe I should feed DD outside to not freak out Mom etc. I figure I'll make some healthy food for her while we're there.

We are also going to New Orleans for DH's work straight from CA so I need to keep her happy and healthy to go onto another strange (to her) place for 6 days before heading home. No wonder I'm anxious!

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Forgive me if overly long above- DD is cutting 5 teeth at once so I've barely slept in 3 days.
Germ concerns due to being rather sheltered & unvaxed here & wedding guests etc. coming from across US, Europe, Venezuela, Haiti, Dom Republic etc.- though DH travels to Europe often & this hasnt been an issue. It seems she's mostly got bugs from kids who have trouble keeping their hands off a baby!
I'm already hearing from family- "she'll nap on the ferry to Sausalito", "she'll nap in the car to SF"- unfortunately thus far she only naps in ergo on me with boobs at the ready! I wish she were as easygoing as they imagine her to be!
Any successful experiences/strategies for visiting home are sooo welcome!
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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Does she nap at the same time every day?

Honestly, I'd schedule nap time and make it inviolate. Same for bed time. Anyone who doesn't like it - tough.

I'd also tell your mom to back off about the food - "clean your plate" is a contributing factor in the size of our nation.

And if it's not working, I'd be ready with the name/number of a nearby hotel so babe and I could go get some sleep.

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Old 05-08-2010, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you, cristeen! yes- i think a back-up hotel is probably essential jik.
DD naps were the same time until this weeks extreme teething experience has changed all sleep patterns. hopefully we'll emerge soon.
everyone loves DD but they been used to me being extremely helpful, flexible, available in the past so i think there may be lots of adjustment all around.
i appreciate the mama bear encouragement!
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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I just want to encourage you to do what you need to to help your DD to sleep and eat in the way which suits her. You are mama and you know best. I sometimes struggle with family judgment about how we parent but just remember that you don't need their permission to parent the way you do. And just be honest and don't apologise for it. I also think being positive and not talking about your baby as being 'difficult' really helps. When you are at things just go with the flow and let people come to you. I just stayed with my sister and she hates mess so I put a big towel under the highchair and wiped up carefully afterwards. I also try to joke and laugh off people's comments - like clean your plate. I think if you seem stressed or sensitive it makes you more of a target but if you are confident and relaxed then people seem to back off.
Best of luck and I hope you enjoy the event.

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Old 05-08-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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I think a huge part of a successful trip is to not stress about all the various scenarios in advance (I know it's hard, because I've done the exact same when DD was a baby!). I also had a very "difficult" sleeper and was always so concerned about her sleeping whenever we traveled. In our experience she actually slept better when traveling because she was so tired from all the new activities. My advise is to keep your DD's best interest in mind and don't think twice about saying something to a friend/relative that goes against that, but also to relax and be flexible. There's no way that things will be exactly as they are at home and that's a good thing, it gives DD an opportunity to experience new things and will probably end up in you getting a break with so many relatives who will be giving her tons of attention. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy yourself!

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Old 05-09-2010, 02:49 AM
 
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I agree that it's good to try to go with the flow. I think you need to prioritize your issues. Then stick to your guns on the really important ones and maybe let some of the others slide a little.

The least important issue for me is sleep because I have found that just when I think my older dd would only nap in a certain way, she'd prove me wrong. My dd is also one who slept better on vacation, so she may surprise you. I also didn't stress about sleep on vacation because my dd was easily entertained in a new environment and less fussy because there was so much to look at. If either of my girls fell apart on outings if their nap was thrown off, that would be a higher priority. I'd plan on trying the nap on the way to ___ thing and be prepared to leave if things get too rough on your dd.

I'd wear her a lot around crowds so she doesn't have to be passed around. That is more of a priority to me. I'd make sure to be the one to feed her and if your mom comments let her know that you appreciate her sharing her views, but this is something you've researched and you simply disagree. I have flat out told my MIL that she doesn't have to agree with me, but she needs to respect our right to screw up our kids as we see fit. LOL. That said, if your mom does things differently every now and then, it won't hurt too much. You have way more influence over your dd than your mother. As long as she is kind to her and not upsetting her, then maybe give her a little wiggle room or just feed her yourself and if she comments, say "yeah, I know we disagree on that." Just stating the fact with a smile.

Try to stay calm and have fun though. Your dd is probably most in tune with you, and you can do all you can to stick with her schedule trying not to stress her out, but there is nothing more stressful to a baby than a stressed out mama. I know this from way too much personal experience. My first dd always acts up when I am stressed. Sometimes her behavior lets me know that I am stressing before I even realize it myself.

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Old 05-09-2010, 03:34 AM
 
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that's a big trip. if i were you, i'd be preparing myself to cut corners (on obligations, etc.) every chance i got. also... is it totally *necessary* to head to new orleans right after california? it sounds like the wedding/family reunion is essential. is it also essential that you accompany your DH on a business trip, or can you skip that part and get her home almost a whole week earlier??

this is your first child? no wonder you are able to keep her on such a strict nap and sleep schedule. when you have another, the demands of the first child sometimes trump nap and sleep schedules. going to bed when the baby does becomes a true luxury, and sometimes the baby has to take naps in the car seat on the way to soccer practice, etc. they adjust!!

the besst advice i read above is for YOU to stay calm. seriously give yourself as much slack as humanly possible. do what is *essential* and allow yourself to forgo all the rest.

if your mom has the time to sit around and critique your daughter's eating habits and try to force feed her, she is clearly not busy enough with helping with the wedding preparations and family reunions. i'd say: let your daughter eat her fill, then swoop her out of her high chair before your mom has a chance to move in on her.

good luck with the trip!

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Old 05-09-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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The more YOU stress out about it the more she'll stress. Traveling with a young baby is stressful, but if you can just relax a bit about the naps, you might make your life a little easier. Personally I'm not one to stress about stuff like that, yes I don't want meltdown city, but I also don't revolve my life on at X time the baby has to nap, I have a friend who does that and it makes scheduling anything with her nearly impossible. She always stressing about sleep. I know sleep is important, but you don't want to make it impossible to have any fun. I've seen what stressing over naps and bed make, and it's extremely inflexible, for me that's just not my style. I'm not saying that I don't care about it, I just don't think a half hour here or there is going to make or break it. I guess that is totally dependent on the kid(and the parents).

For me I'd solve a lot of my issues with wearing the baby, that's what we did when we took DD to Mexico when she was 15 months and it solved many of the problems with sleep, germs and such. She's selective vax'd though.

As for your mom, that's just a MYOB type of situation, that's how babies eat. Finish you plate doesn't apply to babies(or anybody) really. I know ti's hard, my mom ignores all of my feeding things, like don't give the baby such and such. I've told her no, then caught her doing it, ugh. My IL's think I'm the sugar police, you know what though, they can do whatever with their kids and I'll continue to be the "sugar police" with mine.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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I've done two trips with my 6 mo, one week long trip and one 5 day trip, and they both went much better than expected. I was concerned about him picking up a cold or the flu, but he never got sick (he is unvaxed, btw). DH and I, on the other hand, picked something up on the first trip, but DS never caught it from us.

My DS almost always only naps in the sling or after nursing and I was able to get him enough naps during the trips. However, most of the time I had to settle for quickie 30 min naps that were just long enough for him to recharge. My DH and I would just throw him in the sling whenever he started to melt down and try to get him to nap. He even napped in the car a couple times. He was a real trooper during those trips, but he was so happy to see all the new faces and soak up all the new things to look at.

During our most recent trip, we flew to a time zone that is an hour earlier and we had no problem having him stay up an extra hour until his usual bedtime (9 pm). I've read that kids have no problem adjusting their schedules an hour since their bodies sense that the sun is setting at a different time.

And one of the perks of traveling with a baby is that you can show up for family events late and/or leave early and use the baby as an excuse. If your Mom gets annoying, definitely get a hotel. I did a mixture of staying with family and getting a hotel and it can be sooooo nice to have a quiet place to retreat to at the end of the day.

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Old 05-10-2010, 08:52 AM
 
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We live far from family, so every time we go back it's just as you describe. My best advice is to pick your battles. For example, my family just does not understand BLW. So if grandma is perfectly happy to feed him organic purees, so be it. I can live with that. On the other hand, feeding my baby formula so I can have a "night out" is a big fat NO. I am also a stickler for no one but myself or one of the grandmas changing his diaper.

I generally don't worry about sleep schedules-I just let DS nap when he's tired and although he generally goes to sleep at night later, I try to keep it reasonable.

I really don't worry about germs since DS is breastfed. He is very selectively/delayed vax, FWIW. DS loves to be entertained and passed around-I am fine with this. It's fun for me too-I get a chance to relax and enjoy the company!

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Old 05-10-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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I have kids that really need their sleep, or they end up cranky, tired, falling down messes that are miserable to be around.

So, on vacation, some things we've tried to get them sleep is to walk them around in a stroller, carry them in a sling (patting their bottoms until they sleep), or sometimes, relying on the magic car seat (mine will sleep in the car if tired). The car seat only works if you don't have an extra person in the backseat keeping that tired baby awake, though.

One thing we've done is throw normal schedules out the window, but be prepared for an escape when/if the meltdowns start. Oops! Gotta go get Junior a nap. We'll be back soon! Even a quiet room where you can both lay down and nurse will work well (maybe back at someone else's house?).

Our kids are always exhausted by vacation, and they usually sleep the entire way home. LOL. But, it usually does turn out pretty fun. And, the best vacations we had were tagging along on business trips where the little ones nad I could nap in the hotel room during the day (just like you and New Orleans). Hope you have a great time!
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:55 PM
 
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I agree with the others...wear her a lot and/or bring a stroller for her to hang out in/nap in. That way you have her close to you and she can nap on you or in the stroller if she needs to. Good luck!

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Old 05-10-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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YOu might want to have a conversation with your sister and the other attendants (assuming there are others) about what you can and can't do. Some people have really big expectations of matron of honor, some are more laid back. Confirming the bride and others understand that you have to take care of your baby might prevent someone from getting feelings hurt.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:34 PM
 
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Wow, that all sounds quite stressful! I know I'd be stressing about it!


-What has worked for you in this type of situation? The best thing that has worked for me is to realize there is no way to control everything about the trip. Some naptimes may be missed and some bedtimes will be later. It is not much fun for mom, but usually my son handled it okay.
- Did you just say no to alot or set aside rest days or rest periods every day that was set in stone? I'm afraid if I dont do this everyone is going to try to badger us into going to everything. I really want quality time with all these people who I love but not at DD's expense. - How did your babies do? I would just take each day as it came, say no to somethings. When we were visiting in-laws, they planned a dinner around when the adults wanted to eat, so we were supposed to arrive at the restaurant at 7:00. I just told them we would be staying home because my son had to start getting ready for bed at that time. They didn't seem to care too much
- Did you do anything special to keep babes healthy around tons on loving and germy family, friends, kids etc? Probiotics. Our ped also recommended echinacea, he said to start taking it a day or two before you will need it. It does work, but only if you don't take it all the time. Another thing you can do is wear her, not too many hands can get to her if you do that. It might be best to start out that way anyway, just so you can gauge how she will handle the situation.
- Anything work great for feeding? Maybe I should feed DD outside to not freak out Mom etc. I figure I'll make some healthy food for her while we're there. I haven't had to travel on planes with DS, but at that age I brought all his own food. I didn't want to depend on other people to have what he needed to eat. I say make a stand now on how you choose to feed your child. There is no reason for a young child (or anyone for that matter) to have to clean their plate. Ridiculous. I remember when DS was just over one and we were at a large family gathering. One child was told he couldn't have a cookie because it would keep him up for naptime...yet the mom was letting him guzzle Hawaiian Punch. All the other parents were big on finishing the plates too, we don't do that at all.


For bedtime, bring some books or a laptop. I usually ended up in bed with DS quite early while DH stayed and visited with family. I also brought the baby monitor with me, so I felt a lot more comfortable leaving the room if I needed to.

Mama to three

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Old 05-11-2010, 02:33 AM
 
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If my baby does not nap he melts down. My brother (who has a son 5 weeks older than my baby) kept telling me "relax! go with the flow - he'll just fall asleep when he is tired enough" when I was trying to figure out nap times organize a recent trip cross country (sans DH btw, just me and the babe) for a family obligation much like you describe. I guess it's true, all babies are different. My nephew gets all cute sleepy whereas my son screams at the top of his lungs the instant he hits a wall. Like you, I work around his sleep as much as possible.

This is what I found helpful.

-I purposely scheduled "decompression time" for both me and the baby - which ended up meaning that I booked a hotel room the night I flew in so I wouldn't be anxious about being a guest and if the baby had had a hard time flying or with time change I could just lay in bed and nurse him. It was an expense and I thought my family would judge me but it really worked out. Turns out my baby is an amazing traveller and loves airports and crowds. Who woulda thunk it?! When we arrived at the hotel we both took a wonderful nap and were able to go out to a dinner that I had been pretty positive we would miss! If I had gone directly to someones house, he and I would have been "on" and would have missed the nap and it could have gone down hill fast....

I had to demand decompression time during the busy days too. I borrowed a stroller and took him on a long quiet walk one day (nap city!!) and another day had him nap at my sisters house in a pack and play (2 hrs!) Sure, we missed some events but he didn't melt down at all....worth it if you ask me. It was hard for me to "demand" this time because my family is really judgmental of me and my parenting choices (and I tend to be a people pleaser so I get anxious) so I actually ended up feeling liberated by my demanding little buddy.

He really surprised me. He can be a real Dr Crankenfuss but was so happy on the trip. He took a lot of catnaps in the ergo (I would excuse myself and go someplace quiet) and responded in a way I never could have anticipated to all the changes! Sure, we had to duck out sometimes and leave early etc ---but we have to do that at home too! He was a joy and we had a great trip.

Good luck to you. You know your baby better than anyone else - so trust your instincts!
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:13 AM
 
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You guys will be fine! I traveled quite a bit with my son starting at three months (our first trip by plane and it was to Mexico). He was a pretty intense baby (and now kiddo), and somehow, travel always worked out fine. I would guess that you are going to be pretty surprised by your baby's ability to roll with it all!

Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about germs. How do you handle germs at home? Aside from obviously not handing your baby to a sneezing feverish person, you can't avoid them.

You can't really preserve her sleep. Being in a different place, a slight time change, going to events that require you to be present when she would normally be sleeping, etc all mean that it will be thrown off. I have always felt that the travel, experiences and relationships are worth a messed up sleep schedule for a short time, though! I still find that my son is so tired from all of the interactions, everything being so new, etc that he sleeps in places and at times that he normally wouldn't if we are at home doing our regular thing. She may just crash out in the car because she is so tired.

Food - you are her mama, so you get to pick her food and feed her. I would just calmly tell whoever is offering "suggestions" something along the lines of "oh, thanks. we seem to have figured out a system that works for us..." and sort of blow them off.

What was most important when we were traveling was paying attention to my baby's cues and responding. Notice if your baby is tired and needs to sleep, if there are relatives she really likes or dislikes and either promote or protect their interaction, if she is starting to seem overwhelmed, take her away for a bit, etc. Also, I think that carving out some down time each day is a great idea. I don't think it has to be set in stone, but would try to find some time each day where you guys could have that quieter time. I think that if you listen to her and respond, she will do great! Have fun and don't worry too much!
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just got back online today to all of your wonderful messages! I feel like I've just had a cup of calming tea on the porch with some really wise girlfriends- Thank you! Your insights, experience, support and BTDT sharing is sooo helpful! I think it will be a good trip and I totally agree that my attitude and state of relax is super important to make this go well for DD- this is why I guess I'm doing my stressing now!!

Nicole 730 &/or others:
Can yo tell me more about using echinacea for a 10.5 mo. old? I've read I wasn't supposed to use it whiole nursing so would love some info/references on using this with babes.
Have you used a good baby probiotic that doesn't require refrigeration? This is a great idea- that I hadn't thought of- but with not needing to refrigerate wuold make this WAY easier with travel!

ElliesMom: I considered skipping the NO part if the trip to make this easier on DD- but I have't had a vacation in ages and would love this getaway myself! I do have tickets with SW though so I feel good that if DD really isnt up to it, we can change itinerary with no problems!

I feel so much better hearing your wonderful stories of the kiddos enjoying all the new faces, sleeping well while away (we can hope for this!!) adjusting to time zones etc.

Thank you for making me feel more optimistic and giving me some more good info and tools to deal with the challenges!
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