It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year! I just love Christmas and can’t wait to spend it with my boys and loved ones, but I know that for a lot of people, Christmas brings with it a lot of anxiety about travelling, staying elsewhere with their babies and change of routine. I wanted to share some advice that I frequently share with my clients, as well as from my own personal experience as a Mummy, and hope that it helps you to enjoy this time of year without worrying too much about sleep and feeding.
1. Don’t stress – inevitably, if you are visiting family and friends over the festive period then routines will change. There will be times when your little one goes to bed slightly later or sleeps for longer in the car than you’d usually allow, but please don’t stress. Instead, relax and enjoy the festivities. If routines are well established then they don’t fall apart and a couple of days of change will not make a good sleeper a terrible one!
2. Try and match travelling times to nap times if your baby/toddler sleeps well in the car. If your baby/toddler isn’t a fan of sleeping on the move, then it’s worthwhile investing in a new favourite toy and some snacks to keep everyone happy on the journey. Try using music and story tapes/singing together to see journeys through. Planning is your friend when it comes to unhappy car sleepers and, although nobody can predict the Christmas traffic, if you can go at a time when you know your child is well fed and sleepy then the journey will be nicer for everyone.
3. Snoozeshade sell an excellent car seat cover for naps on the go, which helps to recreate a dark, black-out environment and allows baby to feel cosy, enabling a better quality nap. You can take advantage of a special offer with my affiliate code HEIDI10 at the checkout, too.
4. A little bit of a later bedtime never killed anyone, so please don’t worry about keeping to your rigid 7pm bedtime when you’re away. It really isn’t the end of the world if they go to bed later and chances are, if anything, they will just wake a little earlier from being a bit more tired so no adverse effects!
5. Naps might be different and that is ok. Remember that this type of event only happens once a year so it’s much better to work with the positives rather than get stressed about the duration of naps. You could try white noise and the Snoozeshade travel cot cover if you are at someone else’s house, to minimise distractions.
6. Don’t forget your bedtime settling routine will be the same whilst away, so that your child will know that bedtime is coming and feel comfortable with your consistency, even if in a different environment. This is really important and will help baby to go to sleep feeling settled and relaxed. Keep the same stories, sleepy song and comforter that you’d have at home so that baby knows it’s time to sleep.
7. If extra day time stimulation causes night waking, comfort them and deal with it in the way that you feel most comfortable whilst away from home, as you can soon go back to your normal routine when you are back at home.
And, finally, just enjoy it! They are only little once and habits change so easily, even if you do experience a few unsettled naps or nights, things will fall into place when you are back at home! And if they don’t, it will just take a few days of re-jigging/tweaking to set them back on track. Christmas comes but once a year and the smiles on faces are the memories that you will keep with you for years to come. The reason routines work so well is that they allow for flexibility at times like this; enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas.