There is no doubt about the fact that Christmas can be disruptive. Never mind all of the lights, the visits, the music and the gifts. Usually, your whole routine is different too- later nights, longer visits, perhaps lots of travelling to and from relatives? All of this can be lots of fun, but if you have a baby who is extra sensitive to routine and functions better with a clear schedule, you may want to start thinking about your routine over Christmas now. Likewise, perhaps you function better with a set routine that you know works well and allows you time to unwind too? There is nothing worse than feeling stressed when everyone else is having a good time! Maybe sticking to your baby’s routine over Christmas might be a good idea…
Hopefully this guide will help:
Assess your baby’s temperament. This is easier than it sounds! If you know that your baby is fairly easy going normally, then you might want to just see how it goes and adjust the routine accordingly. Most babies will be fine with a slightly later nap/ bed time- as long as you stick to your usual wind down routine (story, bath, etc) then most won’t notice for a couple of days. If this is the case, don’t sweat it if a late night is on the cards. Make sure that you leave the following day fairly clear for recovery and watch out for sleep cues so that baby does not become over tired. If you can’t stick to the usual meal times, have lots of snacks on hand ready so that hunger doesn’t create a problem. Make allowances for friends and relatives who are visiting and remember to keep lights and music low at crucial points- wind down times especially.
If your baby is more sensitive to change then you may want to consider putting steps in place to protect your sleep! Here are some tips for you:
- Ask friends and relatives to visit you so that baby can still have sleeps in their own bed. Ask them to respect nap times and even let them know when that will be so that visits can be arranged accordingly. If you do have to visit, try to arrange them around nap times. If that isn’t possible, take lots of your baby’s familiar things with you so that sleep time is as comfortable as possible. Don’t forget the babasac, favourite blankets or comforters, and pyjamas. Having a bath wherever you are staying is also a good idea if that is part of your usual routine.
- Write down your baby’s schedule so that you can try to plan your Christmas day around it. This may sound silly, but chances are your baby already fits around your daily routine fairly well anyway. If you know that naptime is usually right after lunch, get the turkey in a little earlier than you would normally so that baby can eat with you then sleep as normal. If you are eating out, take snacks and be prepared for baby to perhaps sleep while you are eating. It’s not the end of the world and if your baby functions better after a nap it might be the most attractive option!
- Organise a quiet activity for during nap time. There are lots of Christmas movies that the whole family can settle down to enjoy, or a board game might be just as good during nap time. Christmas day can be exhausting- early get ups, lots of excitement- so wind down time is not a bad idea for everyone! Quiet Christmas crafts are also a good idea, and a chance for some quiet so that baby can sleep. If this is not possible, try taking baby for a walk in a pram instead. Walk off your dinner and get a nap in at the same time! A SnoozeShade is great for this!
- If baby is under the weather or teething, make sure you bare this in mind when you are organising your festive period. Stock up on baby paracetamol and other soothers so that you don’t have a desperate midnight run when the shops are shut!
It’s easy for other parents- or indeed those without children- to pooh-pooh your carefully laid plans at Christmas time. Cries of “But it’s Christmas!” are all well and good, but when you have a baby that is a stickler for routine, there is nothing worse than being disrupted. If you know that your Chritstmas will be a lot smoother with the routine in place, then don’t be afraid to say so. Make sure all caregivers are aware and be prepared to put baby’s needs first. Next year they will be older and you won’t need to be so strict!
Keep an eye out for over stimulation at Christmas too. Even the most easy going of babies can tire easily with the business of this time of year, so use it as a good excuse to slow down yourself. Most of all, have fun!