This Christmas is going to be slightly different than ones that have come before; some of you will go visit family and some will choose to stay at home. Whatever you choose to do, stay safe and enjoy.
If you are on the move with your Sleepy Star over the festive period, here are a few tips to help you to protect your Sleepy Stars’ sleep.
If possible, travel early in the day, this way you have the rest of the day to get back on track if your naps didn’t go to plan. If your child has a morning nap that can be incorporated into your journey, then this is the best time to travel. Alternatively, if your little one only has a BIG nap you can leave a little earlier than your usual big nap and hopefully, they will sleep on the journey.
Allow your little one to become familiarised with the room they will be sleeping in. Play in there for a while after arriving.
Bring the familiar basics: snuggie teddy, sleep bag, stories, songs etc. And the portable blackout blinds to help your little one have good naps. There is no need to bring the bedsheets. I’ve travelled the world with many families, and once I brought the essential basics and followed the routine, all of the children settled easily.
Try to mimic the same bedtime routine as you do at home.
Be aware of the risk of overtiredness. Naturally there will be excitement when visiting family, especially if you haven’t seen those family members in some time. There will be toys, lights, noise, stimulation and all sorts which can become a little much for little ones. If your child is sensitive to overtiredness, say goodnight to the family slightly earlier than your bedtime routine and have some one on one wind-down-time before you begin your bedtime routine. It won’t do a sensitive baby any good if aunts / uncles / grandparents are popping in mid routine for a nynight kiss. You are not being mean, you are just being aware and suggesting they have those kisses and cuddles before going to start their routine.
If you are just staying for the day and you wish to travel home in the evening, you can do a mini bedtime routine and then hop into the car close to the bedtime, with a fresh nappy on and a full tummy. Your little one should sleep as their body clock is set to sleep at that time. If your little one still has a dreamfeed in their routine then they can have that upon returning home. Arrive home, snuggie teddy next to them, all lights off, carry them upstairs, sleep bag on, dreamfeed and bed. If your child has recently dropped the dreamfeed you can of course slot it in for the night in question to help make the transition a little easier. I have done this hundreds of times myself.
If you are staying with family for a few days try to stay as close to the routine as possible but Christmas is just once a year so don’t stress about it if it goes a little off track. As soon as you are back home just get back on track.
If you are sharing a room with your little one then place them to bed as normal then join them later. If possible move their cot as far away from your bed as possible. Avoid doing things that you would do at home, e.g. like taking them into your bed, or giving extra feeds etc. Your child won’t understand the reasons behind this and if it happens a few nights in a row they will expect this to continue and there will be a high level of confusion which is unfair on them.
If you are breastfeeding and your baby takes a bottle (mini or full feed), I’d advise that you keep this part of your routine over the Christmas, it can only take three days of no bottle exposure and a baby can refuse to go back onto a bottle. This happens almost every Christmas and causes unnecessary stress for baby and parents.
I hope this helps you keep on track over the festive season.
Have a lovely Christmas and a Happy & Safe New Year from all at Sleepy Stars.
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