We are at that time of year when life can get busy making it hard to ensure your little one is able to follow their same routine. This can lead to missed naps, late nights and disrupted sleep as well as some sleep, especially naps, having to occur outside of the home. This can cause a bit of stress and concern with the worry that your little one may miss out on sleep and end up tired and cranky.
In terms of sleep occurring outside of the home, you may not be able to avoid your little one having to sleep in a different environment, but there are some things you can do to increase your chance of sleep success when you are out or at somebody else's house.
First of all, ensure you have your little one’s sleep associations with you. This is whatever your little one associates sleep with such as a sleeping bag, dummy, white noise, comforter or anything else that is included with sleep when at home.
Second of all, if you are able to, make the sleep environment nice and dark as this can really help to decrease the chance of the different environment causing overstimulation and overnight, a dark room helps to produce melatonin making for much better sleep.
Finally, when it comes to day sleep, if it is possible, stick with the same nap times you would be using if you were at home as this is when your little one’s body will be most sleep ready. When your little one's body is sleep ready, it will create some sleep pressure which increases your chance of the nap being successful. If you are going to be driving somewhere, timing the drive to be at the beginning of a nap can help and if it is a long drive, timing the drive with the longest nap or driving at night can help as well.
When it doesn't all go to plan and some sleep has been missed, an earlier bedtime can be your saving grace. This helps stop your little one from becoming overtired or at least reduce how overtired they are. As you probably know, an overtired baby can be quite irritable and this can then carry through the night causing lots of wake ups. An earlier bedtime may not necessarily solve some night issues from occurring, but it can make a difference. An earlier bedtime can also mean your baby starts the next day feeling a little happier and is able to more easily achieve their naps.
If you have had to work on your little one’s sleep, the thought of your routine being thrown out can be scary! However, it is important that you enjoy yourself. If you can manage to get back on track the next day with the normal routine, that can really help your little one but if that is not possible, just manage as best you can and enjoy this time of year. We can always work on the sleep once this busy time of year has passed!
Silent Night Baby Sleep Consultant
Helping your family achieve sleep harmony