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Surviving the holiday season with your baby

Surviving the holiday season
Getting into the Christmas spirit with friends and family you really don’t want to be stuck at home stressing about your babies sleep routine and schedule. It’s the time of year where you want to be a bit flexible but doesn’t want to ignore your babies sleep needs entirely. Many people have to travel to be closer to family, and for many, it can be impossible to stick to the home schedule the whole time through the festive period.
Here are some of my tips for surviving the holiday season and minimise stress during this time.
Keep the sleep environment as familiar as you can.
Try to use as many of your usual sleep cues as you can. Maybe bring portable block out blinds or rig up some blankets over windows if the environment you will be putting your baby to sleep in is particularly bright.
Bring a portable white noise machine or use a white noise app on your iPhone so that you can use these familiar sounds from home while away, white noise can be extremely comforting for overtired babies especially if there’s a lot of extra noise going on in the home.
Bring the blankets sheets sleeping bag or bedding from your babies cot at home and preferably ones that they slept on recently, so it smells like home.

Bring your babies usual sleep comforter(s) and use these as you would typically do so at home.

If you need to travel distances try to make the travel during their sleep time rather than awake time and make sure that they’ve had a good feed before going into the car so that their sleep won’t be disturbed by hunger on the road.
Having a nap in the car before they arrive will mean they arrive refreshed and more able to cope with all the stimulation of new faces and new environment.

Try to offer your baby regular naps at regular times following age-appropriate awake windows more than set times. When settling your baby try to understand that all the new faces maybe 100 times more stimulating for them than at the usual home environment. They may be feeling a little anxious hyper and overstimulated. They may (actually they will definitely ) need a little bit longer a wind-down time than usual so don’t be afraid to whisk your baby away from all the hustle and bustle of family and spend some extra time soothing them and winding them down before a nap, maybe reading a story or just chatting to them in the calm, quiet environment before starting your bedtime routine. If your baby is already in a good routine, this extra-long wind-down period will really help them recognise sleep cues in a strange environment.
For the bedtime routine at night time I would recommend that you say good night to everybody before starting the bath time routine with them, this way they will have a long enough wind-down period before the final settle at night time. It will also allow you to reconnect with your little one at the end of the day.

If it’s all gone a bit haywire and your baby hasn’t slept for as long as they should have or at the time that they should have, try not to sweat it.
Try to work on their age-appropriate awake windows and if they are massively overstimulated and finding it really difficult to settle, just do WHATEVER works to settle them. You’re not going to undo all your hard work in that short period, tomorrow is a new day, and you can start afresh. It’s much better for your mental and emotional state to just enjoy the special time with your family and your little one rather than getting all worked up about their sleep. This will do nothing but stress you out and in turn, stress your baby out.
Go easy on yourself this is most likely your first Christmas as a family enjoy it your doing an AMAZING job, Mumma. Take it easy on yourself take advantage of having lots of other people who want to cuddle you baby remember to take some time for you.
Once all the festivities are over you can get back to your regular routine and if you need some support with getting your routine back on track one of my sleep services may be the right thing to help you kick off 2020 with confidence.

From my family to yours
Thank you for all your support over this year. Merry Christmas

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