Nothing says the holidays like the frenzy of shopping, parties, cookies, dinners, gifts that mark the holiday season each year. Every mum looks forward to twinkling Christmas lights and babies in Christmas pajamas who open gifts under a glowing tree. But the steps it takes to get to that magic moment – well, they’re almost enough to send any mum into a peppermint-flavored free fall. Not only are mum’s responsibilities doubled at this time of year, bub seems to need so much more attention. And with all of the activity and chocolate and holiday delight, this is certainly a recipe for imminent disaster. Sleep disaster, that is.
Nothing ruins bub’s sleep faster than a special occasion. And the fallout from a change in schedule can haunt you long after the eggnog has run dry and the holiday decorations have been carefully stowed away. You might even feel this until Spring.
With the constant disruption in schedule, the influx of friendly faces bearing new toys, and the sweet treats, bub doesn’t stand a chance! There’s no way she will maintain the sleep schedule you have worked so hard to create.
But it doesn’t have to be this way … read on for tips to maintain your sanity and help ensure that bub doesn’t completely lose his sleep schedule.
Schedule and Routine when Possible!
Whether you are home or traveling, do your best to keep to bub’s schedule. Now, this may not always be possible, but you can try to alternate nights of maintaining her normal sleep schedule and veering off course. Once you create a pattern of three or four nights off schedule, it will be harder to get your little one back into the same rhythm. One or two nights a week off schedule shouldn’t cause any long-term harm.
Along the same lines, try to maintain your baby’s sleep routine. If you usually read a book and feed before bed, keep up that pattern. Bring a book along with your if you are traveling or choose holiday-themed books at home to help keep up the Christmas spirit. If you can, quiet down your house for some time before the bedtime routine starts. It will help bub settle, and it will help you relax, too!
If your little one is used to sleeping with a favorite stuffed animal or a particular blanket, bring it along with you. Anything you can do to remind your baby of home – particularly at bedtime – will help to make disruptions to his sleep schedule easier. If you know your little one is especially particular, bring along a sheet that he is used to, as well. Remember that babies won’t understand the concept of a holiday, so they won’t know why they aren’t sleeping at home! Reminding them of home helps to ease the transition, particularly if they wake during the middle of the night.
White Noise and a Dark Room
If you can provide your baby with a dedicated space to sleep while on holiday, this will help them immensely. Creating ambiance with a white noise machine or a sleep CD can help create a calming environment that will ease any stress that comes from being away from home. It will also help in the event that bub wakes in the middle of the night. A dark room can help with the same issues. It can help bub forget that he is not home and help him self-settle at night.
Your baby feeds off you – literally and figuratively! If you are stressed, either about holiday plans in general or her sleep, she will know! If you are enjoying yourself and are relaxed, she will know this, too! Enjoying yourself helps both of you and will help bub feel at ease every night as you try to get her to sleep in a strange place.