"All I want for Christmas... is a good night’s sleep!" said almost every parent under the sun. Unfortunately, babies live by their own schedule and not ours!
That's why it’s a great idea to make sure that your baby sleep schedule is adjusted a little over the festive season - to save your sanity if nothing else! Here are some tips and tricks to perfecting your baby's sleep routine over Christmas.
- Stick to your usual routine…
Most babies respond really well to a good sleep routine for both daytime naps and night time sleep and they soon learn to start to prepare for sleep as soon as they recognise their sleep cues – bath time, a feed, a story and a change into pyjamas or a baby sleeping bag. For this reason, it's important to try and stick to your usual baby sleep routine as much as you can.
If you're going to be away at Christmas, try to take your baby’s familiar items (blankets, toys, sleep aids etc) with you so that you can follow your usual bedtime routine as closely as possible. It might be tempting to pack light because you're on holiday but remember that your baby doesn't know that, and is likely to become grumpy and tired very quickly if they don’t have a measure of familiarity around them.
To keep their sleep environment as ‘normal’ as possible, pack your SnoozeShade for cots or travel cots to create a calm, quiet and dark environment in which they can sleep.
- …but be flexible if you can
As much as we believe you need to stick to your usual baby sleep routine over the Christmas period, we also think that you should be able to insert a little flexibility into it all too. Be prepared for a few slight changes that can't be avoided (especially if you are going away on holiday and there is a few hours’ time difference). It can be truly lovely to experience your first holiday with your baby!
Don't stress if your routine becomes a little muddled for a day or two. As long as you can rescue it quickly once you are back home, you and your baby will be fine.
- Prepare for late nights
Preparation is key when it comes to tackling most things! Late nights are inevitable in some situations, especially if you're busy visiting friends and family this Christmas. If you know you're going to be out late, try taking pyjamas or your baby’s sleeping bag with you. If you’re visiting friends for example, check ahead that you can bath your baby before you leave. Most people will be delighted and offer to help join in! If you're facing a long journey, it's likely that your baby will sleep in the car. If this is the case, try to plan the travelling part of your trip at your baby’s usual nap or sleep times and pop them into bed as soon as you get home. If your baby wakes when you get in, go into your usual sleep routine.
If your baby does get to bed a little later than usual, be mindful of this the next day. Keep stimulation and activities to a minimum if you can, to avoid her becoming overtired too quickly. You’ll probably welcome a quieter day too!
- Watch for sleep cues during busy days
Christmas can mean a lot of visitors coming and going and new faces wanting to help make your baby's Christmas special. This is lovely but can also mean that your baby gets tired a lot more quickly than usual. Add to this the bustle of excitement, lights and music and you might find baby seems more unsettled than usual. Check for sleep cues (rubbing eyes, yawning, crying etc) and bring nap or sleep times forward if you need to.
- Watch your own routine
This one is for the adults. As we have already mentioned, babies have no idea that it's Christmas and even less of an idea that you might like a glass of sherry on Christmas Eve! While we hate to be a party pooper, if you know your baby is going to be up early on Christmas morning, it might be a good idea to stick to your own bedtime routine this year too. If you do stay up late, or have a later night here or there over the festive season, perhaps now is the time to arrange baby-sitters for the morning – perhaps some willing grandparents who might get up early and leave you to have a lie-in? Call it a unique Christmas gift opportunity! Otherwise, get to bed at a reasonable hour and you'll be much better equipped to deal with your baby and all the festivities.
- Disruptions are temporary
If your baby's sleep routine does get disrupted, don't panic. Any disruptions are usually short-lived and are easily rectified. Make sure you decide when Christmas is officially 'over' and set that date as the time to get back on track with your usual nap and bedtimes. You may find that your baby responds well to being back on track too.
- Don't let routine rule you
With all the best intentions in the world, it makes sense to strive for a sense of balance. Don't let your baby's routine rule you so that you turn down all the party invitations of the season; pick and choose the ones that you feel are most important, or that will be the least disruptive. If you need a break from routine, then so be it.
What are your top tips for surviving Christmas with a baby?