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Sleep Prep For The Holidays

Are you excited for the holidays but are a bit worried about how your little one will sleep during your stay over at your in-laws? or when everyone is at your house for Christmas brunch?

The good news is that you can help your baby practice sleeping in different environments so that it's a bit easier when you go to put them to bed in a strange environment.

The caveat here is: some babies are more flexible than others! I do believe that you can help your baby become more flexible:)

Ok, so let's get to the tips!

1) Practice sleeping in a pack 'n' play

Here's the thing with most play yards, is that they're not as comfortable and not as big as a crib. And just like you and me when we go to a hotel and sleep in a bed that's not like our own, it can take some getting used to.

So, start by having your baby practice sleeping in the pack 'n' play. I usually suggest to start by placing them for a nap in it once a day!

2) Practice sleeping in a pack 'n' play, but in a different room or house

This is also something that your baby may not be used to, so put the pack 'n' play in a different room in your house and place them there for one nap a day.

Or if you have the ability to be at your parents/in-laws/family/friends house a few times a week and practice napping there, that can work too.

3) Clean up their bedtime routine & improve night sleep if needed

Now, I totally get that this isn't a 'simple' thing, but it's worth putting in the effort.

If your baby takes an hour + go to bed each night, I can't imagine how stressful that would be when you're at someone else's house for Christmas dinner, or even if they're at your house and it takes you forever to get your baby down.

I found that if bedtime takes too long in those cases, I myself find it stressful.

So here's some bedtime routine tips:

  • The routine shouldn't be more than 20-30 minutes

  • Move your baby's feed to earlier in the routine so they don't rely on it so much for sleep

  • Bath, diaper, feed, PJs, book, sleep sack and to bed is a great routine!

  • Watch the timing of bedtime, should be about 12 hours after their morning rise time, earliest bedtime I suggest is 6:30 pm.

Depending on your baby's age, it may be time to reduce some night feeds to help improve their overall night sleep.

Here's some food for thought:

By 4-months, if your baby is healthy, and the doctor is ok with your baby sleeping longer at night, then usually we wean down to one night feed, usually between 12-5 am.

By 6-months, if baby is healthy, and the doctor is ok with your baby sleeping through the night without feeds, then it's a good idea to consider cutting out night feeds.

I usually start with this guideline:

Night 1-3: Max. 2 night feeds, between 10 pm - 5 am, at least 4 hours apart

Night 4-6: One night feed, between 12- 5 am

Night 7+: Consider cutting out night feed

If you're needing more help with how to help your baby wean down/cut out night feeds, you can check out my Dreamy Nights Mini-Training here! Use code 'email' for $10 off!

4) Practice independent sleep

Maybe up until now, it's not that big of a deal to have all contact or motion naps.

Though, in my experience, even if a parent really enjoys the contact naps (I know I did!), there's still a small desire to be able to put your baby down and I don't know, eat/shower/complete a household task/spend time with other child(ren), etc.

So, if that's you, and you'd like for your baby to take a nap on their own 1-2 times per day, that's doable!

Here's a couple of tips:

  • Practice eat-play-sleep first thing in the morning and put your baby down for a nap without assistance

  • Do check ins every 5-10 minutes, whatever you're comfortable with

  • Practice for the first 1-2 naps per day and do it for several days

  • Remember! That first wake window in the morning can be short, don't try too hard to extend it!

If you feel like you need more help with naps, reach out to me by booking a quick call here! We can get your baby well on their way to napping well before the holidays!

5) Remember the FOMO rule

FOMO {Fear Of Missing Out}

Whenever you're around other people with your baby before a nap or bedtime, you'll need to give them some time to wind down from all the excitement of socializing.

I usually suggest to give them 10-20 minutes to unwind BEFORE starting their nap or bedtime routine.

It helps them to feel the tiredness, and have a better chance to fall asleep for their nap!

Okay! That was a LOT of information!

Make sure to read through it, see what you can do to help your baby out before the holidays, and reach out to me asap if you realize that you may need more help than these tips!

Here for you!

Melody Patton

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