Over the holiday season, our lives become busier, and our sleeping schedules can get off the normal schedule. New parents with children who have recently achieved a good sleeping schedule are concerned they might lose ground with all of their hard work. Their fears are definitely well-founded.
With the excitement, travel, the attention of well-wishers, and more travel, the holidays are the easiest way to see all of your efforts tossed out with the empty boxes and wrapping paper. The good news is—it doesn’t have to happen that way. With some strategic planning, you can maintain your carefully symphonized routine flowing the way you did at home.
Over the holidays, there are two significant hiccups in your child’s sleep pattern. One is the excitement of friends and family, and the other is traveling to different places. I want to dive into these two topics and give a few tips on how to handle each.
Let’s start with travel.
If sleep training is on your to-do list, and travel is on your calendar for the upcoming weeks, I would suggest waiting on the training until you return home. Although, if you do not want to travel and need a good excuse to cancel your trip, a good one is not wanting to disrupt your baby’s sleep schedule. Just a thought!
If there is no way of getting out of the trip, don’t worry! Usually, taking a trip won’t encourage your little one to sleep better, but if you can keep some sort of semblance of normalcy during the trip, you and your child should be ready to resume with good habits once returning home.
Schedule a Car Nap
When traveling by car to your destination, schedule the time you are in your vehicle to be during baby’s naptime. We all know car naps are not ideal, but when compared to no naps at all, it is the best option for the time being. Try to schedule your trip around the time your little one would generally be taking the first nap of the day.
Another clever trick is to stop at a tourist attraction, a park, or find another outdoor adventure on the route where you can take a break as soon as baby wakes up. The fresh air and sunshine will make the next naptime easier.
Don’t Stress About Flying with Baby
If flying is the chosen means of transportation to your holiday getaway, start with a made-up mind to make it the best trip possible. For some reason, babies and planes do not usually get along, so do your best to get through the ride with the least possible amount of fussing. This may include electronics, snacks, and anything else to make the trip bearable for you and the other passengers on the flight.
Do not try to force your baby to sleep if they are fighting a nap. It will just end up with you both at your wit’s end and feeling a lot of frustration on the trip.
Friend, Family, and Oh, the Chaos!
You have arrived, and now the hard part begins! When you are traveling, everyone is helping you keep baby relaxed and quiet, and even asleep. But now, everyone wants just the opposite! They want your little one awake so they can play with them, take pictures, and basically, you end up with a baby who overstimulated. It becomes difficult to get baby away for a quiet naptime.
If permission is what you need, I am here to do just that. No exceptions, no negotiating, and no feeling bad! Simply explain the baby has a routine that must be kept at all cost. Make them all aware of what time baby will be awake, and they can visit at that time. It may sound a little harsh, but it is better than slipping back into the craziness of bad sleep habits.
If the accommodations only provide you with one room, split the room in two by hanging a blanket between you and baby. This method will keep her from being distracted. Sharing a bed is not okay even for a night or two. And while discussing no exceptions, this goes with sleep “props,” such as rocking her to sleep or giving her a pacifier. Do not feel embarrassed by everyone watching your techniques. Feeling that everyone is judging your parenting skills can be overwhelming, but remember what is most important: You, your baby, your family, and their well-being.
Contact Adele Thompson Sleep Consulting for Help
If you are looking for more help on how to get your baby to enjoy a good night’s rest, contact Adele Thompson Sleep Consulting. I will work with your family to help your child sleep like a baby so everyone else can get the rest they deserve. Contact us me at 415.691.1298 or fill out our online form.