The holidays can be a tough time for your baby’s sleep schedule. There are events, meeting new family and friends, and exciting new toys that can distract parents and babies alike. You may consider tossing your ideal sleep schedule out the window when the holidays come around in order to compensate for all of the extra excitement, but this can have the opposite effect as intended. A sleepy baby means a grumpy baby and as parents, you probably won’t be enjoying the festivities for long.
Your best bet is to try to maintain your baby’s sleep schedule throughout the holiday season, even if it means a bit of extra planning. Here are some of our favorite tips for keeping your baby’s sleep schedule on track during the holidays.
Have a Plan B
There are inevitably going to be situations during the holiday season where things don’t go quite as expected. Maybe you are stuck in line at the grocery store, or your party guest just won’t leave. It’s ok for your day (and your baby’s sleep schedule) to get a little off track, but it is important to have a Plan B.
If you know you’re going to need to head to an all-day event or a dinner with a late start, come up with a backup plan like hiring a babysitter or letting the host know you can only stay for a portion of the event. It is much better to plan ahead to work around changes in your schedule than simply hope for the best when it’s time for your baby to fall asleep.
80/20 Your Expectations
No one is perfect 100% of the time and the 80/20 rule can apply to everything from your diet to your baby’s sleep schedule. The 80/20 rule means consistently sticking to your plan or schedule 80% of the time while allowing 20% of the time for the unexpected. By applying this to your baby’s sleep schedule, it may mean that you miss a nap on a special day or get in a shorter, earlier nap to make up for a late event. As long as you’re maintaining your baby’s schedule 80% of the time, those small changes won’t have too much of an impact on their overall sleep hygiene and habits.
Keep Your Bedtime Routine
Even if you are traveling and spending time somewhere other than home, it is important to maintain your baby’s bedtime routine and environment to help them get to sleep on time and effectively. Make sure you have a crib or pack-and-play, so your baby feels safe and secure. The room should be dark and quiet or have a sound machine if this is something your baby is used to. Your goal is to make it feel as close to home as possible.
Take Advantage of Naps
Your baby’s regular nap time can be a great time of day to take advantage of for travel. Whether you’re driving, flying, or simply getting out for a walk with your family, travel time is ideal for getting in that necessary midday nap. If you have a day full of events and won’t be spending time at home, this may be the only time your child has to go down so take advantage of it and circle the block a few extra times if necessary.
Get Back on Track
After the holidays are over, be sure to readjust back to your child’s normal sleep routine. It is likely that bedtime has drifted a bit later and you’ve gotten out of the habit of parts of your bedtime routine. Slowly reintroduce these calming habits and start making bedtime a bit earlier each night, in 10-15 minute increments. Soon, everyone will be back to their normal, restful sleep schedule.
Contact Petite Dreamers Today!
If your baby is struggling with sleep over the holidays, be sure to reach out to Louise at Petite Dreamers! Louise has years of experience as a mother and sleep consultant, and she spends much of her time helping tired parents and babies get the rest they need.