With the Christmas fast approaching, many new parents who have recently gotten their babies sleeping on a schedule are worried that they might regress a little over the holidays.
And I can assure you, those fears could not be more well-founded.
Between the travel, the excitement, the constant attention and then travel all over again, the holidays are the single easiest way to throw all of your hard work out with the wrapping paper and turkey bones.
But I’m happy to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way! With some strategic planning and an iron will, you can keep that carefully orchestrated routine running just the way you did at home.
Keep the schedule.
When you keep baby’s naps intact, the smoother the day and bedtime will go.
Traveling to family’s house? Timing a nap with the car ride to the holiday get together may be needed.
For babies on multiple naps, the first nap of the day is always the most important and tends to be the longest. Ensuring this one is in the crib will set baby up for a quality nap. This will also ease the stress you might feel if other naps are not on track. Getting at least one solid nap will still keep baby from getting into the overtired zone.
Communication is key.
Everyone wants baby awake so they can see them, play with them, take a thousand pictures, and get them really overstimulated. And it’s very difficult to tell all of these friends and family members that you’re putting an end to the fun because baby needs to get to sleep. Best thing is to avoid it and tell people in advance when to expect some baby time based on baby’s schedule.
Staying over family’s house?
If possible, have your baby set up in a separate room. If you have to share a room with baby I suggest dividing up two distinct areas, making ‘2 rooms’.
Come prepared to hang a blanket, setting up a dressing screen, or, yes, this could sound crazy but, put baby in the closet. A decent sized closet is a great place for baby to sleep. It’s dark, it’s quiet, she won’t be distracted by being able to see you, and people accidentally walking in and out of the room are much less likely to distract her.
Stay on course.
You might be tempted to slip baby a pacifier or rock her to sleep if she’s disturbing the rest of the house, but baby is going to latch on to that really, really quickly, and chances are you’ll be waking up every hour or two, rocking baby back to sleep or putting her pacifier back in, which is going to end up disturbing everyone a lot worse than a 20 mins of crying at 7:00 at night.
Now, on a serious note, I find the biggest reason that parents give in on these points is, quite simply, because they’re embarrassed. There’s a house full of eyes and they’re all focused on the new baby, and by association, the new parent.
The feeling that everyone is making judgments about how you’re parenting is nearly overwhelming in these family gatherings, but in those moments, remember what’s really important here.
Your baby, your family, and their health and well-being.
So stand tall and remember that you’re a superhero, defending sleep for those who are too small to defend it for themselves.
Wishing everyone a Happy and Joyous Holiday season!