Managing Your Baby's Christmas Sleep Routine
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Less wonderful is how stressful it can also be for parents. If you have a baby, you’ll likely be worried about how to keep their regular sleep schedule going with all the extra visitors and change in routine. Snuz Sleep Expert, Katie Hilton shares her top tips for keeping your baby sleeping soundly over the holidays.
Know Your Baby
While some babies are fabulous little sleepers and can snooze everywhere and anywhere, other babies will struggle if they miss just one of their naps. The slightest change in routine can totally throw some babies out of sync. When planning your Christmas activities, take into account your baby’s sleep personality and plan around it accordingly.
Keep It Simple
Christmas is a time full of parties, family gatherings, shopping and trips to see Santa. It’s easy to over-schedule and feel completely overwhelmed by the amount you’re doing, so imagine how babies and small children feel! Carefully pick and choose what you’re doing and prioritise whatever works best around your baby’s sleep schedule. Then breathe! You've got this!
If you know you’re going to be out & about when your baby is due a nap, plan it wisely. Most babies do much better if their morning nap is in their usual environment, so make that one a priority. If your baby does skip a nap or has a rubbish day of sleep, be sure to put them down early for bedtime in the evening.
If you have guests visiting, try to involve them in your little one’s bedtime routine. Babies of around 6-7 months really don’t like missing out, and generally don’t like being put to bed if there are new people around. To avoid bedtime battles, try to involve your visitors in their bedtime routine. This can be done by getting them to read your little one a bedtime story they're used to hearing, singing them a lullaby, or simply by popping in to say goodnight.
Unless you plan to be really strict, you’re going to have to accept that your baby’s sleep routine might deviate from the norm over Christmas. Be prepared for this to happen, and don’t worry too much about it. Consistency is of course key, but being flexible will make things easier for everyone.
If you know you’re likely to be getting home late past the usual bedtime, then change your little one into their usual pyjamas before getting into the car. If they fall asleep on the journey, you can then simply move them from car to bed without too much disturbance.
Whilst it should go without saying, don’t feel bad about asking your friends and relatives to respect that you have a small child and need to keep to a sleep routine. Explain that there will be plenty of time for cuddles and playtime after your little one has had a nap. They don’t want to be around an overtired baby, after all!
Stay Alert to Sleep Cues
Your baby is likely to get tired much more easily with all the excitement of extra visitors, music, pressies, twinkling lights and visits to Santa. Who wouldn’t?! Unfortunately, unlike everyone else, your little one can’t tap out when their energy levels are running low. It’s up to you to keep an eye out for their sleep cues and signs of tiredness, and put them down for an extra nap if needed. This is different for every baby, of course. But trust me, when you know, you know!
KEEP CALM & CARRY ON
If all else fails, just do what’s necessary to get through the Christmas period. If you completely lose your sleep routine, then make it your New Year’s resolution to get back on track as soon as you reach January 1st. This is a hectic time of year for everyone, so most of all try to enjoy it. It’s an adjustment period for both you and baby, so remind yourself that it won't last forever. You'll both make it to the other side eventually, better prepared for when routine inevitably decides to go out the window again!