If you gave birth to your first child in 2016, chances are this New Year's Eve is going to look very different than last year.
But just because you probably don't want to take your new baby to a loud party, that doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to fun get-togethers for the next 18 years — there are plenty of other ways to make New Year's special that include your baby.
Unless you can spend a fortune on a babysitter or have a family member in town who is willing to watch the baby, you might be staying in to watch Ryan Seacrest ring in the New Year in Times Square. To be real, most new parents are in this position. You can spice things up by planning a fun menu to cook together with your significant other or have some board games to play during the commercials.
If you have enough space at your home, there's no better time to have some close friends and their babies over for a classic slumber party. Order pizza or host a potluck dinner, and when the kids go to sleep, you can pop open the champagne. The beauty of a slumber party is that no one has to worry about transportation when the festivities come to a close.
As a new parent, the easiest way to celebrate in pre-baby style is to bring the party to you. Invite other parents with babies and young kids to create a play date and New Year's Eve party rolled into one. Watch the ball drop early — it's New Year's in other time zones after all — and you can maintain the family-friendly atmosphere.
Some babies can tolerate a short time in public without too much fussing. Plan an early dinner well before bedtime. You can also find a day-time holiday event that is not overly long and slightly more mellow — lots of local parks usually have events that go on during the daylight. Try to give your baby a nap, clean diaper and food right before the outing so they are content when you go.
If you really, really want to go out to a party, consider bringing your little one with you. This depends on what kind of party you'll be attending, of course. A loud, raging soiree is not an option, but it's acceptable to bring your baby to a gathering at a friend's home where there will be food, drinks and celebration. It's a big plus if the host has a secluded area where you can lay your baby down early — no one really wants to ring in the New Year with a screaming baby.
Believe it or not, you don't have to be awake at midnight to celebrate the New Year. Instead, consider going to bed early and then celebrating on New Year's Day. Going out to a special family brunch or having friends over for appetizers and cocktails the next afternoon is a fabulous idea. You'll have something fun to look forward to and going to bed at an earlier hour won't seem so lame. Also, you can't beat waking up on the first day of the new year refreshed and hangover free!
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Originally published December 2012. Updated December 2016.
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